Historically, Maryland has been one of the most conservative states when it comes to permissible expenses that adoptive parents were allowed to make on behalf of a birth mother in adoption proceedings. Prior to the end of the 2013 Maryland legislative session, adoptive parents were only permitted to pay “customary and reasonable” charges or fees for adoption counseling, and hospital, legal or medical services for the birth mother. New legislation expands the scope of these expenses to include: transportation expenses for medical care associated with the pregnancy; food, clothing, and shelter for a birth mother unable to work for medical reasons; and expenses related to court appearances, including transportation, food and lodging.
This welcome revision to Maryland law brings Maryland into line with other forward thinking states with respect to the legitimate costs associated with the adoption relationship. In previous years, birth mothers would often make the difficult decision to leave Maryland in order to place their child in a state which allowed for compensation for these types of expenses. The liberalization of Maryland’s Adoption laws will now allow for greater access to children by Maryland couples seeking to adopt. The compensation of birth parents outside of the scope of the law is still prohibited. While the potential for abuse will always exist, the expansion of allowable compensation under the new Maryland statute recognizes the difficult realities facing birth parents and adoptive parents in today’s society.