If you are considering adoption for an unplanned pregnancy, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed about the adoption process. You will want to find the best information available, as well as the top professionals to help you throughout your pregnancy. Unfortunately, it can be difficult at times to trust the resources and guidance you find.
You may be worried about adoption professionals taking advantage of your situation, forcing you into a decision or only providing you with information that will help their cause. These fears are completely normal. Putting your needs and best interest first should be a top priority.
Although each adoption situation is unique, one thing that remains consistent throughout every adoption are the specific adoption rights in place for all birth mothers. To help eliminate uncertainties and act as an unbiased, trusted resource, we have provided this guide for prospective birth mothers about the rights they have when placing a child for adoption.
As a potential birth mother, you are always in complete control of the decision of whether or not you place your baby for adoption. The assistance of an adoption professional will help guide you throughout your pregnancy and adoption process, but keeps you in control.
It’s likely that you have many different questions or concerns. You can always speak to an adoption professional to discuss your options and gain peace of mind regarding the adoption process and your adoption rights.
Until then, continue reading to learn more about your adoption rights during the process and parental rights after you “give a child up” for adoption.
Your Adoption Rights During Your Pregnancy
As a prospective birth mother, you will have certain rights throughout your adoption journey. The adoption agency you choose should make it a top priority to educate you on your rights, while also making sure those rights are being protected.
Your rights are not just limited to giving your consent to the adoption; they include so much more.
The Right to Unplanned Pregnancy Counseling
Adoption is a brave and selfless decision — a decision that you are in complete control of making. To make sure you do not have to explore the options for your unplanned pregnancy alone, your adoption rights include the services of adoption professionals to help.
Speaking with an adoption counselor does not suddenly create an obligation to pursue adoption. This is always your decision. At no point are you ever required to choose adoption for your baby.
The responsibility of adoption professionals is to provide you with free, unbiased information about your unplanned pregnancy and the options you have available. Exploring all of your options is crucial in the decision-making process, as it will help you make the best decision for your specific situation.
Given the life-changing and emotional impact, adoption can be a difficult decision. It requires plenty of research, thought and planning. Counseling services are available 24/7 to help you through the difficult decisions and feelings you may experience during and after your pregnancy.
The Right to Create Your Own Adoption Plan
As mentioned throughout this guide, your adoption rights as a prospective birth mother mean that you are in charge of the decisions throughout adoption journey. One way to ensure this is by creating your own specific adoption plan.
When creating your adoption plan, you control every detail. You have the final say when it comes to every decision. The adoption plan is the basis for how you want things to play out during your pregnancy, so it only makes sense for you to in charge of this decision-making process.
The goal of the adoption plan is to detail every step along the way during pregnancy and placement. From the family you choose, to the hospital where you will deliver your baby, to your preferences on how you want placement to be handled, these are the types of details covered in the adoption plan.
As part of the adoption services offered by your adoption specialist, they will assist you in creating your plan and keeping you on track toward a successful adoption. With hopes of eliminating stress and confusion throughout each step, your adoption plan helps prepare you for many of the events and steps in the adoption process that are soon to come.
The Right to Choose Your Child’s Adoptive Family
Another of your prospective birth mother rights in open adoption is having the uninfluenced ability to choose the family that you wish to place your child with. Your adoption specialist will help you throughout the decision-making process by asking you about the attributes and personality traits you are looking for in a potential adoptive family and presenting to you profiles of families who meet those preferences.
Choosing the right adoptive family for your baby is one of the most important steps in the adoption process. Although your adoption specialist will provide you with adoptive families who match your goals, you will always be the one in charge of choosing the family who is best for your baby.
Before you place your baby with an adoptive family, you will have the chance to communicate with them, meet and get to know them. Finding a family you are comfortable with and fully trust is key to a successful adoption and relationship after placement.
During your pregnancy, you are able to take as long as you need to ensure you find the best family for your baby. In addition to taking your time, you may also change your mind and choose a different adoptive family, if you do not like the way the relationship is progressing prior to placement. You will always have this right, no matter what stage of your pregnancy you may be.
The Right to Choose Your Post-Placement Relationship
Your prospective birth mother rights in open adoption also include the ability to choose the type and frequency of contact you prefer to have with the adoptive family. Early in the adoption process, your adoption specialist will discuss the options of a closed, semi-open and open adoption, as well as the benefits and drawbacks to each.
The type of adoption you choose will coincide with your preferences for the level of communication, or lack thereof, you have with the adoptive family. Open adoption allows you the opportunity to remain involved in your child’s life, even after placement. Determining which type of adoption you are most comfortable with will help decide your relationship with the adoptive family during and after pregnancy.
If needed, your adoption specialist will always be there to coordinate communication and make sure the adoptive family maintains their communication with you.
The Right to Change Your Mind
We have talked a lot about the adoption rights a birth mother has while she is pregnant and planning to place her baby for adoption, but what happens if you change your mind? Do you still have rights? Can you change your decision and decide to parent your baby?
We cannot reiterate enough: as a prospective birth mother, you are in control of your pregnancy and the choices you make for you and your baby. As long as you have not given legal consent to the adoption (which does not take place until after your baby is born), you always have the right to change your mind about your decision to pursue adoption.
You are never obligated to choose adoption.
Although it is rare, it does not matter how far along you are in your pregnancy or adoption plan; you can change your mind and decide to parent your baby. Prior to completing the adoption paperwork after your baby is born, nothing you do or say during your pregnancy commits you to adoption. Whether you agreed to put a baby up for adoption, created an adoption plan, maybe even chose an adoptive family, you are still able to stop your adoption process at any time if you feel adoption is not the best decision for you and your child.
Your adoption decision does not become final until you give your consent after the birth of your baby. Until then, your adoption rights give you the ability to change your mind and decide to parent your child if you so choose. If you are having second thoughts or need reassurance you are making the best decision, counseling service is always available.
Your Adoption Rights When Giving Your Legal Consent
In addition to counseling and 24/7 support services, another of the services included when a prospective birth mother pursues adoption is the right to legal representation throughout the adoption process.
An adoption attorney will educate you on your adoption rights and the legal steps of the process. They will also stress the importance of understanding that adoption is a permanent choice, which terminates your parental rights. Much like your adoption rights during your pregnancy, there are basic rights you have when giving your legal consent for adoption.
Here are the adoption rights you will have in this legal process:
The Right to Choose When to Complete Adoption Paperwork
Every state has different adoption consent laws. This means that, depending on where your adoption is taking place, you may have to wait a few hours or even a couple of days before you are legally able to fill out the adoption paperwork and complete your adoption.
It is your right to decide to place your baby for adoption. It is also your right to determine when you are ready to complete the official adoption paperwork. Take your time and make sure you are comfortable with signing these papers. State laws dictate when you are legally able to sign, not when you have to. At no point should you receive any pressure toward making a decision or signing documents.
The Right to Legal Representation When Signing Your Documents
As mentioned previously, part of your rights as a birth mother include legal representation for your adoption. When it comes to signing the adoption paperwork, an adoption attorney can explain how your adoption rights will change from the time before you complete the termination of your parental rights, to the time after you have placed child for adoption.
This detailed education will help ensure you completely understand the legal aspect of completing your paperwork. Understanding this life-changing decision is very important, as this decision is usually permanent shortly after signing.
Throughout this process, you will always have the opportunity to ask any questions you may have about the adoption paperwork and the impact it will have on your parental rights after you “give up” a child for adoption.
The Right to Revoke Your Consent, Depending on Your State Laws
Adoption is an emotional and difficult decision. Ideally, the goal of adoption is to give you and your baby the best opportunities in life, with both of you benefiting from the decision made. The decision is one that takes research, thought and planning.
Even with all of the above mentioned, in some cases, there are birth mothers who decide they have made the wrong decision after placing their child for adoption. There may be a specific reason or event that causes your interest in revoking your consent. This leaves birth mothers questioning, “Can I get my child back after adoption?”
Because adoption is meant to create permanence for children, most state laws limit the rights of birth parents to withdraw their adoption decision after the paperwork is signed. There are certain states that have revocation periods and allow a woman to take back her parental rights, but the legal process is complicated.
Before any consent forms are signed, your adoption attorney will explain your state’s specific revocation policy and guide you through the necessary steps if you decide this is the best choice for you.
Another concern birth mothers may have during an open adoption is, “What if the adoptive family does not fulfil their end of the open adoption agreement? Can you get a child back after adoption if this situation takes place?”
In some states, an open adoption with a post-adoption contact agreement is legally enforceable. Elsewhere, other states have no laws that enforce post-placement contact and it is left up to good faith.
Although there are different open adoption rights and laws in some states, a court will not allow you to “adopt your child back” if the open adoption agreement has been broken. Instead, they will work toward making sure the terms of the open adoption agreement are being met moving forward.
If you are considering attempting to revoke your consent, talk with your adoption professional or legal counsel. They can help you determine whether you are just experiencing a normal moment of difficulty or if maybe adoption is truly not the best choice for you and your baby. Your adoption professional will be by your side to make sure you have the support and counseling you may need during this difficult time. They will assist you in exploring your options, explaining how to get your child back after adoption, if that option is available, and how to begin the legal process to revoke consent, if you decide that is what you need to do.
When Adoption Becomes Permanent
Your adoption decision only becomes permanent once your baby has been born, you sign the paperwork legally consenting to your adoption and the
Once these steps occur, there is no way for you to reclaim your child or your parental rights after you “give up” a child for adoption. If you place a child up adoption, and your revocation period has passed, you cannot try to get the child back later. Your adoption specialist will emphasize this information so you are fully aware of the importance of being 100 percent certain adoption is the right choice for you and your baby. Counseling services will be readily available throughout your pregnancy, to help you sort your emotions and feelings, and give you complete confidence you are making the right decision.
As one of your adoption rights, prior to the completion of your adoption paperwork and the revocation period, you are in complete control of the option to change your mind and discontinue the adoption process. No matter your decision, your adoption professional will support you throughout your journey and is concerned about your best interest.
Speak with an Adoption Professional
Your adoption rights are put in place to protect you as the birth mother.
Understanding your rights and how they pertain to your specific situation is important to the overall outcome of your adoption. If you are ready to take control of your adoption rights, you can get free information now by contacting an adoption professional, for free, and with no obligation or commitment.