A Guide to Termination of Birth Parent Rights in Private Adoption
When you think “legal termination of parental rights,” you’re probably thinking about foster care adoption. This process typically occurs when biological parents fail to complete reunification plans, and the state steps in to place their children with different parents — with their blessing or against their will.
But, did you know that termination of parental rights is an important legal step in private domestic infant adoption, too?
“Terminating parental rights” can seem like a scary process, but it’s actually a common one most often completed with good will from all parties. And, when you work with American Adoptions, you can know you’ll have the guidance of a professional from start to finish.
While none of the information below is intended to be or should be taken as legal advice, it may answer some of your biggest questions about termination of parental rights and adoption. Remember: You can always connect with a trained adoption specialist by calling 1-800-ADOPTION or contacting us online anytime.
Have personal questions about the termination of parental rights process? Please reach out to a local adoption attorney for answers.
Terminating Parental Rights in Private Domestic Infant Adoption
So, what is termination of parental rights like in private domestic infant adoption?
Unlike with foster care adoptions, parents who place their children in private adoptions do so because they have chosen this path. Pregnant women are often facing unplanned pregnancies and recognize that they can’t give their babies the opportunities they deserve. Out of love, they choose to place their children with adoptive parents, receiving practical support and education every step of the way.
Voluntary Termination of Parental Rights
With infant adoption, termination of parental rights by a birth mother is completely voluntary — and 100 percent her choice.
American Adoptions works with prospective birth mothers who contact our agency first — meaning they are interested in voluntarily terminating parental rights once their child is born. They have thought about how private domestic infant adoption can benefit their baby, and they want to give him or her a life full of opportunity and love.
A pregnant woman cannot terminate parental rights upon her first contact with us, though. There are strict laws regarding when and how a prospective birth mother can give her consent for her child’s adoption.
If a woman is interested in placing her child for adoption, it is best practice for her to have her own local adoption attorney. This professional will explain to her what terminating parental rights will mean in her situation. The attorney will review a prospective birth mother’s rights and confirm she understands what her child’s adoption after termination of parental rights will mean. After she waits the required amount of time in her state, a professional will help her sign her consent.
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But, What About the Birth Father?
A prospective birth father can also choose voluntary termination of parental rights. Some prospective birth fathers do this because they are actively choosing adoption with the baby’s mothers; others simply choose not to get involved in the adoption and sign paperwork.
While there are many “horror stories” out there about prospective birth fathers who have contested termination of parental rights, the fact is these situations are rare. In our experience, many prospective birth fathers who raise questions about their child’s adoption don’t follow through with their threats. This situation can be stressful for everyone (especially a prospective birth mother), but your team at American Adoptions will do all they can to support you and keep you informed along the way.
Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights
Unfortunately, there are private domestic infant adoption situations in which involuntary termination of parental rights is required. These situations are rare, but they do occur. Rest assured that your adoption specialist will be there to support you through these instances.
In most cases, involuntary termination of parental rights occurs through serving a prospective birth father with legal paperwork. While most prospective birth fathers don’t follow through with legal action, some prospective birth fathers do.
Each situation will be handled on a case-by-case basis with an attorney’s expert legal guidance. We will help you navigate this situation, should it occur when working with our agency.
Our Agency’s Commitment
Here at American Adoptions, parental rights termination is never completed without a voluntary choice of a prospective birth mother. Adoption is a big decision, and a pregnant woman deserves all the time she needs to make the best choice for her — whatever that ends up being.
That’s why our agency is committed to providing objective information and support to any woman considering adoption. Our trained specialists can counsel a woman through her unplanned pregnancy, offering her resources and information on all of her options. If she chooses to move forward with adoption, we can provide financial and emotional support during her journey — reminding her that she can change her mind about her decision at any time.
Terminating parental rights is an irreversible decision, and American Adoptions wants prospective birth mothers to feel empowered with their decision — never regret it. If you’re wondering if adoption is right for your baby, reach out online or call a specialist at 1-800-ADOPTION for more information about this and other steps in the legal process.
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