Birth Parent Legal Risk

Michele Fried
By Michele Fried

Keep in perspective that deciding on adoption is a courageous, difficult choice and some birth parents will struggle with their decision to make an adoption plan for their baby, a birth parent may change his or her mind and request the return of the child. Disruption of an adoption plan after placement is rare, but almost always results in emotional turmoil for the adoptive parents and birth parents.

Wow, that paragraph is scary, isn’t it? However, in over 690 adoptions, Adoption STAR has only seen four revocations after the child went home with adoptive parents. With the support of the agency each resolved with a healthy plan of transferring physical custody back to the birth family. In all situations the baby was with the adoptive family for 2 weeks or less and in one occasion for less than 24 hours. It doesn’t matter if it was one minute: the loss is intense. We have met incredible adoptive parents who respected the birth parents enough to know that their loss was just as intense, if not more and that they agreed without a fight to return the baby.

Unless the agency believes that a child would be at risk with the birth parents, Adoption STAR will encourage adoptive parents to return a child to a birth family if a revocation occurs within the time-frame of the state’s adoption laws, if there is such a time-frame.

Birth parent rights typically depend on the state laws governing the adoption. In some cases there is no time period for a revocation because the adoption surrender is irrevocable in that state. In other states there may be a period to express a desire to change an adoption plan but there may not be an automatic return and the return of the child would only occur if a court deems it is in the child’s best interest.