The Mutual Consent Voluntary Adoption Registry in Maryland
Even though Maryland adoption laws safeguard the best interests of the children involved, there are cases where natural relatives want to reunite at a later point. That is why Maryland created the Mutual Consent Voluntary Adoption Registry (the “Adoption Registry”). Created by legal statute, this registry facilitates the exchange of confidential information between natural relatives separated by adoption.
What is the Legal Purpose for the Adoption Registry?
As outlined in Maryland Code of Family Law Section 5-4C-02, there are two legal purposes for the Adoption Registry. This initiative was designed to:
- Establish a mechanism through which natural parents and siblings as well as adoptees can exchange identifying information with each other; and
- Create controls to safeguard the confidential exchange of identifying information between natural parents and siblings as well as adoptees.
Who Can Register for the Adoption Registry?
As detailed in Maryland Code of Family Law Section 5-4C-05, there are three categories of people who can register for the Adoption Registry:
- Adoptees — This term refers to a person who was previously adopted in Maryland and is now at least 21 years old and without a natural sibling under 21 years old;
- Natural Parents — This term refers to a child’s birth parents or official parents from a legal standpoint; and
- Natural Siblings — This term refers to any person at least 21 years old who shares at least one natural parent with an adoptee.
When registering for the Adoption Registry, every person must provide specific identifying information. The Social Services Administration (the “Administration) uses this information to match natural relatives and remains confidential throughout the entire process. Examples of identifying information include:
- Current name;
- Previous name;
- Phone number;
- Date of birth;
- Adoption records; and
- Known relatives.
What is the Matching Process for the Adoption Registry?
As established in Maryland Code of Family Law Section 5-4C-07, the Administration conducts a thorough review of all information submitted to the Adoption Review. The Administration determines there is a match when:
- An adoptee and both natural parents register;
- At least two natural siblings register; or
- An adoptee and one natural parent register, though only under specific circumstances.
If reasonably necessary to evaluate a match, the Administration may request legal access to relevant adoption records. Though the Administration may only access these records in so far as needed to evaluate a match of natural relatives.
When there is a match of natural relatives in the Adoption Registry, the Administration must:
- Direct a child placement agency to notify the natural relatives confidentially;
- Direct a local department to notify the natural relatives confidentially; or
- Notify the natural relatives directly in a confidential manner, if necessary under the circumstances.
Reach Out to Us Today for Help
If you need legal help with adoption or other parts of Maryland family law, it can be appreciably beneficial to contact a trustworthy 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. If you need legal help, contact us today for an initial consultation.