Each state creates their own laws to regulate the adoption process, and they can vary quite a bit from one state to another. Adoption laws regulate who can adopt, who can be adopted, and the procedures for adoption. Maine permits any child or adult to be adopted.
Types of Adoption
One of the ways people adopt is through the state foster care system. To become a foster parent in Maine, you must be at least 21 years old, be able to adequately support yourself, and have a stable lifestyle. However, renting, living in a mobile home, working outside the home, being a senior, or having a disability all do NOT disqualify you from fostering.
Representation for Biological Parents
Maine believes biological parents are entitled to legal representation during adoptions and termination of parental rights related hearings. If the biological mother or father can’t afford an attorney, they can request the court to appoint an attorney. However, adoptive parents must provide their own attorneys.
Confidentiality of Adoption Records
Court records are usually available to the public. However, since 1953, Maine adoption records are confidential. However, medical or genetic information in the court adoption records must be made available to the adopted child when he or she turns 18 and to his or her children and adoptive parents or legal guardians, after petitioning the court to request the information.
The table below lists some of the basics on Maine’s adoption laws.
|Code Section||Maine Code Revised Title 18A, Article 9: The Adoption Act|
|Who Can Be Adopted?||Any person, child or adult, can be adopted in Maine.|
|Who Can Adopt?||Married couples jointly or unmarried persons, resident or non-resident, can petition to adopt a child or adult in Maine.|
|Consent for Adoption||Any adoptee at least 14 years of age or older must consent to the adoption. However, note any adoptee can be interviewed by the judge overseeing the adoption to determine his or her desires. Every child 12 or older must be interviewed.
In addition, any of the adoptee’s living parents, the agency having custody of the child, and the guardian appointed for the court if he or she has no living parent or custodian must consent as well.
|Home Residency Requirement||At the discretion of the court, one year may of home residency may be required before the finalization of an adoption.|
|State Agency||Maine’s Department of Human Services Child and Family Services office provides the state licensing of adoption agencies in Maine, takes care of foster care administration, etc.|
|State Court||Adoptions are conducted at the local probate court in Maine.|
|Annulment||Adoption decrees can be annulled (voided or cancelled) on the petition of two or more people for fraud, duress, or illegal procedures, or if it’s show to be in the best interest of the adopted child.|
Whether you’re adopting as a stepparent, other relative, through foster care, or any other way, you may want to speak to an experienced adoption attorney to make the expansion of your family go as smoothly as possible.
Note: State laws change often, contact a lawyer or conduct your own legal research to verify these adoption laws.
Research the Law
Contact a qualified attorney.