Maryland

Maryland

Adoption

Access to Adoption Records

Who May Access Information
Citation: Fam. Law §§ 5-4C-05; 5-356; 5-357Only the following persons may register with the adoption registry for exchange of identifying information:

  • Birth parents and siblings
  • An adopted person, age 21 or older, who does not have a birth sibling under the age of 21 with the same adoptive parents

Nonidentifying and medical information shall be available to:

  • The adoptive parents
  • The adopted person
  • The birth parents

Access to Nonidentifying Information
Citation: Fam. Law §§ 5-356; 5-357; 5-358

A local department shall make reasonable efforts to compile and make available to a prospective adoptive parent a comprehensive medical and mental health history of the prospective adoptive child. On request of an adoptive parent, a local department shall make reasonable efforts to compile a pertinent medical and mental health history of each of the adoptive child’s birth parents, if available to the local department, and to make that history available to the adoptive parent. A medical or mental health history may not contain identifying information about a parent or former parent.On request of an adopted person, adoptive parent, or birth parent, a local department shall provide information in its adoption record on the adopted person. The records that are accessed may not contain any identifying information.

If, after a hearing on a petition of an adopted person or birth parent, a court is satisfied that the adopted person, a blood relative of the adopted person, or a birth parent urgently needs medical information not in department and court records, the court may appoint an intermediary to try to contact the adopted person or a birth parent for the information.

Mutual Access to Identifying Information
Citation: Fam. Law §§ 5-4C-06; 5-4C-07

To register with the Registry, an individual shall submit a notarized affidavit containing identifying information, including the individual’s current name, any previous name by which the individual was known, address, and telephone number. A registrant may withdraw at any time by submitting an affidavit.

On receipt of an affidavit, the administration shall:

  • Attempt to match registrants or to provide matching information
  • If a match is made, direct the child-placing agency or the local department to notify the registrants through a confidential contact

Access to Original Birth Certificate
Citation: Fam. Law §§ 5-359; 5-3A-42; 5-3B-29

For adoptions finalized on or after January 1, 2000:

  • An adopted person who is at least age 21 may apply to the secretary for a copy of his or her original birth certificate.
  • If an adopted person is at least age 21, a birth parent may apply to the secretary for a copy of the adopted person’s original birth certificate.

A birth parent may file with the director a disclosure veto to bar disclosure of information about that parent in an accessible record. The birth parent may also cancel a disclosure veto and refile a disclosure veto at any time.

An adult adopted person may file a disclosure veto to bar disclosure of information about him or her in an accessible record. The adopted person may also cancel a disclosure veto and refile a disclosure veto at any time.

Except as provided below, the secretary shall give to each applicant who meets the requirements of this section a copy of each record that the applicant requested and that the secretary has on file.

Whenever a birth parent applies for a record, the secretary shall redact from the copy all information as to:

  • The other birth parent if that parent has filed a disclosure veto
  • The adopted person and each adoptive parent if the adopted person has filed a disclosure veto

Whenever an adopted person applies for a record, the secretary shall redact from the copy all information as to the birth parent if that parent has filed a disclosure veto.

Where the Information Can Be Located

Mutual Consent Voluntary Adoption Registry, Maryland Social Services Administration

Collection of Family Information About Adopted Persons and Their Birth Families

Agency or Person Preparing the Report
Citation: Family Law § 5-3A-39
The child-placing agency shall make reasonable efforts to compile any available information.Contents of Report About the Adopted Person
Citation: Family Law §§ 5-3A-39
The child-placing agency shall make reasonable efforts to compile and make available to a prospective adoptive parent:

  • All of the prospective adopted person’s medical and mental health records that the agency has
  • A comprehensive medical and mental health history of the prospective adopted person

Contents of Report About the Birth Family
Citation: Family Law § 5-3A-39
On request of a prospective adoptive parent, a child-placing agency shall make reasonable efforts to compile pertinent medical and mental health histories of each of the prospective adopted person’s parents, if available to the agency, and to make the histories available to the prospective adoptive parent.

When the Report Is Made
Citation: Family Law § 5-3A-39
If, after adoption, a child-placing agency receives medical or mental health information about the adopted person or adopted person’s former parent, the agency shall make reasonable efforts to make the information available to the adoptive parent.If, after adoption, the adoptive parent requests additional information, the child-placing agency shall make reasonable efforts to notify the former parent at the former parent’s last known address available to the agency of the request and the reason for the request.

Exceptions for Stepparent or Relative Adoptions

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Intestate Inheritance Rights for Adopted Children

Birth Parents in Relation to Adopted Person
Citation: Fam. Law §§ 5-341, 5-352, 5-3A-36, 5-3B-25; Est. & Trusts § 1-207
After an order of adoption has been entered, each of the adopted person’s living birth parents is relieved of all parental duties and obligations to the adopted person and divested of all parental rights as to the adopted person.Upon adoption, a child no longer shall be considered a child of either birth parent, except that upon adoption by the spouse of a birth parent, the child shall still be considered the child of that birth parent.Adoptive Parents in Relation to Adopted Person
Citation: Fam. Law §§ 5-341, 5-352, 5-3A-36, 5-3B-25; Est. & Trusts § 1-207
After an order for adoption has been entered, the adopted person is considered the child of the adoptive parent(s) for all intents and purposes and is entitled to all of the rights and privileges of and is subject to all of the obligations of offspring born to the adoptive parent(s). An adopted child shall be treated as a birth child of his adopting parent(s).Adopted Persons Who Are Not Included in a Will
Citation: Est. & Trusts § 3-301
A will may not be revoked by the subsequent adoption of a child by the testator except under the circumstances referred to in § 4-105 (3).

A child described above or the issue, if any, of such child who does not survive the testator, is entitled to a share in the estate to be determined and paid in accordance with § 3-302 and § 3-303, if:

  • The will contains a legacy for a child of the testator but makes no provision for a person who becomes a child of the testator subsequent to the execution of the will.
  • The child was born, adopted, or legitimated after the execution of the will.
  • The child, or his or her issue, survive the testator.
  • The will does not expressly state that the child, or issue, should be omitted.

State Recognition of Intercountry Adoptions Finalized Abroad

Effect and Recognition of a Foreign Adoption Decree
Citation: Family Law § 5-3B-04(c)An order for adoption entered in compliance with a foreign jurisdiction’s laws shall have the same legal effect as an order for adoption entered in this State.Readoption After an Intercountry Adoption
Citation: Family Law § 5-3B-04(d)

An individual is not required to petition a court in this State for adoption of a child if:

  • The individual adopted the child in compliance with the laws of a foreign jurisdiction.
  • The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services verifies the validity of that adoption by granting, under the Federal Immigration and Nationality Act, an IR-3 visa for the child.

Application for a U.S. Birth Certificate
Citation: Health-Gen. Code Ann. § 4-211(i)

The Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene shall, upon request, prepare and register a certificate in this State for a person born in a foreign country and who was adopted by a State resident:

  • Through a court of competent jurisdiction in this State
  • Under the laws of a jurisdiction or country other than the United States and who has been granted an IR-3 visa by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service* under the Immigration and Nationality Act

The certificate shall be established upon receipt of:

  • A certificate of adoption from the court decreeing the adoption
  • Proof of the date and place of the adoptee’s birth
  • A request from the court, the adopting parents, or the adoptee who is age 18 or older

If the child was adopted under the laws of a jurisdiction or country other than the United States and has been granted an IR-3 visa, the certificate shall be established upon receipt of:

  • An official copy of the decree from the jurisdiction or country in which the child was adopted
  • A certified translation of the foreign adoption decree
  • Proof of the date and place of the child’s birth
  • Proof of IR-3 visa status
  • A request from the court, the adopting parents, or the adoptee who is age 18 or older
  • Proof that the adopting parent is a resident of this State

The certificate shall be labeled ‘Certificate of Foreign Birth’ and shall show the actual country of birth. A statement shall also be included on the certificate indicating that it is not evidence of U.S. citizenship for the child for whom it is issued.

[* As of March 1, 2003, the responsibility for providing immigration-related services was transferred from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, a bureau of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. This section of the Maryland Code does not yet reflect this change.]


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