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“What does adoption mean to a child?”

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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. 

Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. America Adoptions, Inc. provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is American Adoptions the right adoption agency choice for many birth mothers?

American Adoptions is one of the largest licensed adoption agencies in the United States. Each year, we work with thousands of women who are facing an unplanned pregnancy and offer assistance to these women. Our large, caring staff is able to assist you seven days a week and provide you with one-on-one counseling about your pregnancy and available options.

You should choose an adoption agency where you feel completely comfortable with their services and staff. With American Adoptions, you will work with an Adoption Specialist who is on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Adoption Specialist will be your advocate and will provide support and guidance as you create an adoption plan that is right for you.

How will the family tell my child about me and the adoption when my child is older?

Each family has their own style of introducing adoption to the child. When you are matched with an adoptive family, you can ask them this question. If you would like your Adoption Specialist to discuss it for you, just let her know. He or she can share your wishes or provide good ideas from other adoptive families.

You will also be able to share what you want your baby to know about you. You can complete a keepsake booklet to share hobbies, stories, photos of you and your family and a letter to your baby. The adoptive family can provide this to your child as he or she grows older. Be as creative as you like! Some birth mothers have even knitted a special blanket as a gift to their baby or given a similar symbol of their love.

The father of your baby can fill out the birth father's keepsake booklet or write a letter too. You may have other family members who would also like to share photos or a letter to the baby. This is your opportunity to pass on your and your family's love and to share your personality, history and reasons for choosing adoption. The adoptive family will treasure whatever information you provide and will share it with the baby at an appropriate age. In most adoptive homes, the word adoption is in the child's vocabulary early on, and adoption is celebrated in their lives.

Additional Resources

Teen Pregnancy - Information for Young Women

While not every woman who chooses adoption is a young mother, many are. Through adoption, many young women have found an ability to give their babies the best life possible, while finding the opportunity to realize their own dreams, as well. Call American Adoptions today at 1-800-ADOPTION.

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Adoption Glossary

Do adoption terms and phrases leave you feeling confused? Learn the meaning to key adoption words and phrases with our comprehensive adoption glossary.

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