November is Adoption Month! International Adoptions: Sometimes the Stork Has to Fly a Long Way

November 24, 2016


Question: What if I want to adopt a child from another country?


  • You must comply with all procedures of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services;

  • Local departments of social services do not usually provide services for international adoptions because of other priorities;

  • Even though marriage is not required to adopt a child in Maryland, some foreign countries expect adopting parents to be married;

  • You will need a completed home study;

  • You will be asked to comply with the expectations and rules of the country from which the child is adopted;

  • You may be required to travel to the foreign country to complete adoption arrangements.


Private adoption agencies in Maryland must be licensed by the Social Services Administration. A licensed agency will deliver counseling, application, home study, and post placement services for a family or individual interested in adopting a child or having a child adopted. Private adoption agencies are the most frequent providers of international adoption services, since public agencies are usually more focused on special-needs children. Domestic adoption services are also delivered by private adoption agencies. Once a contract is signed with an agency, it is illegal to begin negotiating for adoption services with another adoption agency. All private agencies charge a fee for their services. There is no limit on the amount an agency may charge. All private agencies will, however, inform applicants of the fee schedule. In the case of international adoption service, it is often necessary for an adopting family to travel to the foreign country and spend several days in order to finalize the adoption. The private adoption agency assists the family in this process.


Information provided by: Maryland Department of Human Resources


Fanning Law, LLC Can Help


The facts of each case are unique and the laws surrounding adoption can be complicated. This article provides a brief, general introduction to the topic. It is not legal advice. For more information about your specific questions, contact Bill Fanning at Fanning Law, LLC - The Offices of William C. Fanning, Jr. - 301.934.3620 or at  



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