The adoption process is emotional and requires a lot of thinking and contemplating. This is because the decision to place a child for adoption is a permanent one — at least, once the relinquishment papers are signed. Before then, birth mothers can change their minds on whether or not to place their child for adoption.
Before placing a child for adoption, birth parents should think about three important aspects of the adoption process.
1. Once the papers are finalized, the parental rights of the birth parents of the adoptive child are revoked.
Even in open adoption, where both birth and adoptive parents have open contact with one another, birth parents no longer have parental rights of their child once the relinquishment papers are finished. This means the adoptive parents now permanently have custody of the adoptive child and are responsible for them.
Some states, like New York, allow birth parents 45 days to withdraw their consent to an adoption. However, this doesn’t mean they’ll get their child back. Hence the need to carefully consider whether or not to place a child for adoption. Every state law is different.
2. Consent is a big part of the process
Although not all states require the same amount of consent, most states require both birth parents to be involved in and consent to the adoption process. Once consent is given, the next step is most likely to sign the relinquishment papers.
However, this doesn’t mean birth parents should feel pressured to make a decision right away about placing their child for adoption. Circumstances and thought processes change throughout a birth mother’s pregnancy. Rushing a decision can lead to parents feeling negative emotions, too. Neither the birth mother nor the birth father should quickly overlook anything, especially when the final decision can be made after the child is born.
3. You might need to see a judge but probably not
Birth parents may or may not need to see a judge when placing a child for adoption. It depends on the state or country. If an agency or facilitator is used, birth parents usually won’t need to see a judge; the company or person they are working with will most likely show the court the written consent given by the birth parents. Likewise, if these adoption agencies aren’t used, parents will presumably need to appear in court.
Adoption is a wonderful thing: it provides opportunities for children to find new families, helps potential parents overcome infertility, and gives birth parents a chance to watch their children grow up in a safe environment.
The decision to place a child for adoption shouldn’t be taken lightly because, once the final decision has been made and signed, the child is someone else’s responsibility. Because a child’s future is on the line, this decision should not be spur-of-the-moment. Emotional tolls on birth parents can happen if the choice to place a child for adoption was made prematurely.