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Type of adoption available to Maryland residents

When a family is considering adoption, there are a number of ways that they can choose to add to their growing family. Multiple routes to adoption are available to Maryland residents, and give families a number of options. Just as conceiving biological child is not the only way to obtain a son or daughter, there is no one "right" path on which to pursue adoption.

Many prospective adoptive parents focus exclusively on private agency adoptions when they decide to look for a child. A private agency adoption is one in which a third party acts as a conduit between mothers who are looking to place their child for adoption and families who are seeking to adopt a child. Often, the agency handles the screening and paperwork issues surrounding the adoption.

Another option lies in public agency adoptions, in which a state agency guides the process. These children are often coming from the foster care system, or have been left without parental care due to the death or incapacitation of one or both parents. These types of adoptions can be more of a challenge, because the children may have suffered a great deal of trauma. The act of adopting a child in need, however, is one of the most rewarding experiences possible.

Finally, a third option lies in independent adoptions, in which an adoptive family and birth parents find each other outside of a traditional network. These adoptions are processed through the courts. Often, independent adoptions are centered on a stepparent who wishes to adopt his or her child's partner.

These options give Maryland parents a number of ways to add to their family, and to give a child a loving and forever home. Regardless of the method of adoption that a family chooses to pursue, it is important to understand the legal considerations involved. When an adoption falters or fails, the emotional toll can be difficult to bear. The proper legal guidance can help improve the chance of a happy outcome for all involved.

Source: mdcourts.gov, "Family Issues", Jan. 2, 2015

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