What to do in Maryland When a Birth Father Contests an Adoption

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“We are from the state of Maryland in a hopeful private adoption. The birth father contested the adoption in the very beginning. He has changed his mind and was telling the birth mom for us to re-draw the paper work up he wanted to sign over his rights. Unfortunately, that never happened. Then we were required to pay for his dna testing, which he did prove to be the biological father. The baby was approximately 11 months when he found out he was the biological father. He however, knew from the birth mom’s pregnancy that he could be the father. Once we found out he was the birth father..Our attorney offered him an open adoption plan which he agreed to. Then we received a phone call from the birth mom stating he wanted to see the baby, and if he did not get to see the baby then he would not do open adoption. We were unsure what to do and decided to meet in a public place. Everything went fine..He thanked us for taking such wonderful care of the baby and said He was a man of his word, since we allowed him to see the baby he would do the open adoption. We were so happy. A couple weeks later he now changes his mind and says he wants custody. The baby is now 17 months old. This guy has never supported and has only seen the child one time. Maryland statue says parental consent is not needed -The child has been out of the parent’s custody for 1 year, and has formed a significant attachment to the petitioner. We were wondering if this would apply to our situation. He contested to the adoption and sent in forms doing so, but that was over a year ago. Is there a limit of time for this guy to do something?”

Question: The Court can make its decision based on the information in front of it. Though a consent to adoption can be revoked for up to 30 days (Maryland Family Law Section 5-311) It would seem that he has not done what he would need to do to require his consent to the adoption under Maryland Family Law Section 5-312. I would find out from the Court file, possibly through your attorney, what is the status of your case, and if there are any upcoming hearings. Based on what you are saying, it would seem that Maryland adoption law would favor your ability to complete what you have started. There are limits to what natural father can do, but we still need the Court to make a decision before the adoption is complete.