Questions About Adoption
What are My Adoption Rights as a Pregnant Woman?
Learning your legal rights is essential to having a successful adoption. But, it may be difficult to know where to get started. Here are some of the most common questions that women like you have about their adoption rights.
If you’re new to the world of adoption, you may be unsure of where to start learning about the legal rights of “giving baby up” for adoption. Did you know that, in today’s adoptions, prospective birth mothers are in control of their adoption plan from beginning to end? If you’re considering adoption, know that you will always have this right as a prospective birth mother.
But, if you’re thinking about this path, you probably have a few questions about a mother’s legal rights in an adoption. To help you out, we’ve answered some of the most common ones below.
Can I Change My Mind During the Adoption Process?
As part of your legal rights of giving a baby up for adoption, you have the right to change your mind at any time during the adoption process. You will never be obligated to choose adoption, no matter how far along in your pregnancy or the process you are.
Adoption is a brave, selfless decision that you’re making to give your child a better future. But, you may experience feelings of uncertainty during the process. While this is perfectly normal, if you’re having second thoughts, it’s best to consult your adoption professional. They’ll be able to listen to what you’re feeling and help you determine if adoption is still the best path for you.
Can I Choose the Adoptive Family?
You have every right to choose the adoptive family that your child will grow up with. This is your opportunity to give your child the life that you’ve always wanted them to have. One of the first things that your adoption specialist will ask you to fill out is a form that details the preferences that you’d like to see in an adoptive family. You’ll be able to decide their age, race, and more.
No matter your situation, as part of your parental adoption rights, you will get to decide what kind of family you want for your child. Consider asking yourself these questions:
- Do I want to find a family that lives close to me or farther away?
- How much contact do I want to have with the adoptive family?
- Do I want my child to grow up surrounded by siblings?
When it comes to finding an adoptive family, no request is too small. Your adoption specialist will work diligently to find you the perfect adoptive family for your child.
You might also be wondering, “Can someone adopt my child without my permission?” The only time that you won’t have a say in the adoptive family is if you choose a safe haven adoption or if the state takes custody of your child (most common in adoptions with incarcerated mothers). In this instance, the state will decide the family that your child grows up with.
The best way to ensure a woman’s right to give up a baby for adoption to a family of her choosing is for her to contact an adoption professional as early in her adoption process as possible.
Can I Choose How Much Contact I Want With My Child After the Adoption?
You can have as much or as little contact as you’d like with your child after the adoption. This will always be your right as a prospective birth mother.
You get to set the rules when it comes to how much contact you plan to have with your child. As part of your prospective birth mother rights in open adoption, you can choose every aspect of your future communication. You might choose to exchange pictures and letters, phone calls, and even visits with one another if you live close by. With an open adoption, you don’t have to worry about saying “goodbye” to your child.
You also have the right to choose a semi-open or closed adoption relationship, if you desire. The choice is always up to you.
If you placed your baby for adoption years ago, you might now be wondering, “If I put my baby up for adoption and now he is 18, do I have rights to see him?” You will need to contact your adoption professional and a local lawyer to determine the steps for opening your adoption records if your baby was initially placed in a closed adoption.
Do I Get to Pick My Adoption Attorney?
In most cases, yes — but this will depend on what kind of adoption professional you initially contact. If you work with a national adoption agency, they will connect you to a trusted adoption attorney. If you plan to work with a local adoption agency, you’ll be able to do your own research for a trusted attorney in your area.
Remember, you must work with an adoption attorney to understand your legal rights behind putting a child up for adoption.
Can I Wait to Sign My Consent to the Adoption?
No matter where you live, you cannot give your child up for adoption without giving up your rights, first. Each state has their own consent laws on how long you can wait before signing over your parental rights. In most cases, it can be anywhere from 12 hours to a couple of days. Your adoption attorney will be sure to inform you of how long you have before you can sign your parental rights.
While you’re waiting to sign the termination of your parental rights, you should take this time to reflect upon your adoption so far. Are you ready for what comes next in an adoption? Are you still sure that this is the right decision for you? Even when you have the forms to sign away your parental rights in your hands, you can change your mind at any time. Your adoption counselor and attorney will be there to support you during this step.
Can I Change My Mind After I Consent to the Adoption?
In many cases in an adoption, termination of a parent’s rights is a legally binding procedure that you won’t be able to change your mind on. Therefore, it’s important that you fully understand that you will have no parental rights after you give up a child for adoption. Your attorney will make sure you understand what you are signing before you make this permanent decision.
That said, most states have a period of revocation after you terminate your parental rights. If the court finds that reinstating your parental rights is in the best interest of you and your child, you should be able to get your child back. However, this can be a complicated process that is not always successful.
Once your period of revocation has passed, you will not be able to reinstate your parental rights after you give up a child for adoption. It’s important to make sure that you’re 100 percent certain before you terminate your parental rights that you’re ready for the consequences of an adoption. That’s why your adoption attorney will be there to help you, every step of the way.
Want to get connected with an adoption attorney now? Consider contacting one of these adoption agencies for referrals to trusted lawyers in your area: