To adopt children in the state of Maryland, potential parents must be 21 years of age and submit an application that includes financial disclosures, a criminal background check, medical records and references. In addition, they must complete at least 27 hours of pre-adoption education and undergo a home study.
In Maryland, all adoptive parents must meet the same state requirements regardless of their adoption agency. The adoption process when a would-be adoptive parent contacts the Maryland Department of Social Services in her county, a private adoption agency or a private attorney who handles adoptions.
Adoptive parents may be single or married, and they don’t have to own their own home. Same-sex couples may adopt children. While adoptive parents must be legal residents of the county where they live, they don’t have to be citizens of the United States.
Adoptive parents must attend a foster or adoption parent information meeting to learn about the application process, including requirements of the mandatory home study. During the home study, state and county officials conduct background checks, review medical records to determine parents’ physical and emotional condition, and inspect the home for safety and sanitation. To continue the process, parents must also complete the mandatory 27-hour Child Welfare League of America PRIDE pre-service training.
The home study begins after successful completion of pre-service training and takes 90 to 120 days from the date of application. At the successful completion of the home study, parents are cleared to adopt.