On May 17, 2013, Governor O’Malley signed into law House Bill 563 which will help to ensure that pregnant women who are considering adoption can remain in Maryland and protect their legal rights while receiving proper nutrition, medical care and shelter during their pregnancies. The law goes into effect on October 1, 2013.
Under the new law adoptive parents can pay for reasonable expenses for birth mothers. An adoptive parent can pay:
- A customary and reasonable charge or fee for adoption counseling;
- Reasonable expenses for transportation for medical care associated with the pregnancy or birth of the child;
- Reasonable expenses for food, clothing, and shelter for a birth mother if on the written advice of the physician, the birth mother is unable to work or otherwise support herself because of medical reasons associated with the pregnancy or the birth of the child or;
- Reasonable expenses associated with any required court appearance relating to the adoption, including transportation, food, and lodging.
This allows woman who wish to make an adoption plan the flexibility to choose a family in Maryland while maintaining her 30 day revocation period, the right to have legal representation throughout the adoption proceedings, the right to adoption counseling, the right to enter into a legally binding post adoption contract and have her basic living needs met when she cannot work during her pregnancy.
This law will help have a profound impact on Maryland families looking to adopt. Allowing Maryland families to provide reasonable expenses to Maryland birth mothers creates more possibilities for families looking to adopt and for women looking to place their children locally but it can also increase the cost of the adoption which needs to be considered by the adoptive family early in the process.