Can I Adopt My Younger Sibling in Maryland?

Adoption is a beautiful way to build a family. It provides an infant or a child in need with a more emotionally and financially stable environment and gives people the opportunity to become a family. Every family is unique, and so is every adoption situation.

We’re often asked if siblings can adopt other siblings – for example, can an older sister adopt her younger brother? The short answer is yes. If you’re eligible to adopt a child, you can adopt a minor sibling or relative through a family adoption. Whether you’re looking to adopt your sibling, cousin, niece, or grandchild, the process here in Maryland is generally the same, and we can help.

Adopting a relative’s child

Relative adoption, or kinship adoption, is adopting a minor child who is related to you. You may wonder why, if you’re already taking care of or living in the same home as your relative, why you would want to go through the formality of an adoption.

Important and practical reasons include:

  • The ability to make medical decisions and access medical records without needing the permission of the child’s biological parents – crucial in a medical emergency.
  • Being able to enroll the child in school, make important educational and extracurricular activity decisions and sign permission slips.
  • Adding the child to your health insurance, Social Security benefits, and so forth.
  • Solidifying the emotional and legal bond with your child, giving them the psychological benefits of a consistent and stable parent.

Process of a Maryland kinship adoption

One of the benefits of a relative adoption is that, generally, it has less obstacles and can move more quickly than a traditional adoption. It is crucial, however, to consult with an adoption attorney first, as all circumstances are unique.

The kinship adoption process can be different for every situation, but in general it goes something like this:

  • Obtain consent from the child’s parents and/or the court’s termination of legal parental rights
  • Petition the court to adopt your sibling or other minor family member
  • Complete any required home studies or documentation satisfactorily

If all goes well, the child is placed in your care with a potential post-placement follow-up. Then, parental rights are granted at a finalization hearing (usually in a few months).

Although adopting a relative can be simpler than traditional adoption, it is important to have an experienced attorney on board to walk you through the process.

If you’re considering relative or sibling adoption, talk to the Columbia lawyers at McCabe Russell, P.A. Our attorneys are well versed in all aspects of adoption and family law and can guide you as you build your new family. To speak with a lawyer serving Howard County clients, please call 443-812-1435 or fill out our contact form. We also maintain offices in Fulton, Bethesda and Rockville.