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Maryland Rules For Adoption Search, Contact & Reunion Services

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When a person goes through the process of adoption in Maryland, it can sever the connection to biological parents and siblings. But once an adopted individual reaches the age of 21 years old, Maryland family law allows them to engage in search, contact, and reunion services. These services can help adopted individuals reconnect with their biological parents and siblings.

Definition of Adoption Search, Contact & Reunion Services

Maryland Code of Family Law Section 5-4B-1 defines what qualifies as adoption search, contact, and reunion services. These services can refer to the:

  • Location of adopted individuals, biological parents, siblings, and other family relatives;
  • Assessment of a mutual desire to communicate or disclose confidential information between adopted individuals, biological parents, siblings, and other family relatives;
  • Provision of or referral to counseling for adopted individuals, biological parents, siblings, and other family relatives;
  • Development of contact and connection between adopted individuals and minors currently in out-of-home placement; or
  • Initiation of contact and connection between minors currently in out-of-home placement and other family relatives.

Eligibility for Adoption Search, Contact & Reunion Services

Maryland Code of Family Law Section 5-4B-2 clarifies the eligibility for adoption search, contact, and reunion services. Under this section, any person who was adopted and is over the age of 21 years old can apply for adoption search, contact, and reunion services.

Furthermore, assuming the adopted individual is at least 21 years old, the following individuals may also apply for search, contact, and reunion services:

  • A biological parent of the adopted individual;
  • A sibling of the adopted individual; or
  • A director of a local department acting on behalf of a minor child currently in out-of-home placement.

Requirements for Adoption Search, Contact & Reunion Services

Section 5-4B-2 also explains the requirements for adoption search, contact, and reunion services. Under this section, any person who applies for these adoption services must provide proof of identity and other relevant information.

The Director of the Maryland Social Services Administration is responsible for setting the required fee to apply for adoption search, contact, and reunion services, but this fee cannot exceed the actual cost of processing applications for these adoption services.

Finally, adoption search, contact, and reunion services are not available to certain parents. When parental rights are terminated under Title 5, Subtitle 3 of the Maryland Code of Family Law, it also eliminates the possibility of later applying for adoption search, contact, and reunion services.

Do You Need Legal Help?

If you have legal questions about adoption or other aspects of Maryland family law, it can be tremendously advantageous to schedule a consultation with a licensed Bel Air adoption attorney. Based in Bel Air, Maryland, the attorneys at Schlaich & Thompson, Chartered have more than 60 years of combined legal experience in family and criminal law, including adoption and other aspects of Maryland family law. If you need legal help, contact us today for an initial consultation.

SOURCES:

mgaleg.maryland.gov/mgawebsite/Laws/StatuteText?article=gfl&section=5-4B-01&enactments=false

mgaleg.maryland.gov/mgawebsite/Laws/StatuteText?article=gfl&section=5-4B-02&enactments=False&archived=False

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