If You Give Your Baby Up for Adoption, Can You Get it Back?

And Other Birth Mother Rights

Placing a baby for adoption is a big decision, and one that can cause some uncertainty for many prospective birth mothers. Many women considering adoption worry that they may later regret their decision, wondering, “What if I change my mind? Can I give my baby up for adoption and get her back later?”

Your adoption decision only becomes permanent when:

  • your baby has been born

  • you sign the legal paperwork consenting to the adoption, AND

  • your revocation period passes

Once that happens, there is no way for you to reclaim your child or your parental rights.

However, you will have opportunities to change your mind and discontinue the adoption process at any other point during your pregnancy. Here, learn more about your adoption rights throughout your pregnancy and during the legal document-signing process.

You Have the Right to Change Your Mind During Pregnancy

First, it is important to understand that nothing you do or say during your pregnancy commits you to adoption. You can contact American Adoptions at any time to learn more about your unplanned pregnancy options, with no obligation to proceed with adoption.

And, even if you do proceed with the adoption process, you are always in control of your adoption plan. This means that you can change your mind and discontinue the adoption process at any time.

Remember, your adoption decision does not become final until you give your consent after the birth of your baby. Until then, you have every right to change your mind and decide to parent your child. 

You Have Parental Rights for Your Baby Until You Sign the Legal Paperwork

Every state has laws regarding when and how a prospective birth mother can consent to adoption. Most states require a waiting period before consent can be executed, ranging from 12 hours to several days after birth.

These waiting periods are designed to give you time to emotionally and physically recover from childbirth, reflect on your adoption decision, and allow any medications that may potentially cloud your judgment to leave your system.

After your waiting period passes, you may sign the adoption consent forms whenever you are ready. Your adoption specialist or an adoption attorney will ensure you understand the legal consent process and your rights to give your child up for adoption when it is time to sign these forms.

You May Have the Right to Revoke Your Consent After Signing

You are likely considering adoption because you want to provide a stable home for your baby. However, some birth mothers experience feelings of doubt or regret after signing. While it is rare, some women even find themselves thinking, “I gave my baby up for adoption, and I want her back. Can you ‘unadopt’ a kid?”

Because adoption is meant to create permanence for children, most state laws limit the rights of birth parents to withdraw their consent. However, in some states, you may have the right to revoke your consent, and the court may reinstate your parental rights under certain conditions or within a certain timeframe.

Before revoking your consent, it is important to consider whether you are truly making the best possible choice for yourself and your baby. Remember that feelings of grief, loss and doubt are completely normal and to be expected, especially immediately after placement.

If you are considering withdrawing your consent, talk with your adoption specialist or legal counsel. They can help you determine whether you are just experiencing a normal moment of difficulty, or whether adoption truly is not the right choice for you. They can also assist you in exploring your options and beginning the legal process to revoke consent, if you decide that is what you need to do.

You Have the Right to Choose Your Post-Placement Relationship

While you will not have parental rights after you give up a child for adoption, placement does not have to be the end of your relationship with your baby. Many prospective birth mothers take comfort in maintaining an open or semi-open relationship with their child after placement.

In some states, birth mother rights in open adoption are legally enforceable with a post-adoption contact agreement. However, even if your state does not have laws in place to enforce post-placement contact, American Adoptions will continue to facilitate your relationship after placement and ensure your child’s adoptive parents are honoring their commitment to you.

You Have the Right to Free Counseling and Support Services

Adoption is rarely an easy choice to make, and most prospective birth mothers experience difficult feelings before, during and after the adoption process. Your adoption specialist is available 24/7 to provide the free, professional counseling services you need to sort through your feelings, explore your options, and ultimately make a decision that you feel good about.

To learn more about your legal rights in the adoption process and the support that is available to you, call 1-800-ADOPTION to speak with an adoption specialist, for free and with zero obligation. 

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