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Is it Possible to Reverse an Adoption?

An adoption is considered legally binding and final once the agreement has been signed by all of the parties. The signed adoption document terminates the biological parent’s rights. Once the adoption is legally completed it cannot be reversed.
The termination of parental rights is a binding decision. Because of the severe nature of the decision to terminate parental rights, every state provides significant precautions to ensure the birth parents’ rights are fully protected. These safeguards can include counseling for the biological parents and the adoptive parents, a thorough investigation into the medical, professional and personal backgrounds of the parties involved and an effort to ensure that both biological parents have been contacted and informed of the pending adoption.
While it is extremely unusual for an adoption to be overturned, there are some exceptions to the rule. An adoption procedure can be terminated or reversed under limited circumstances. The termination of an adoption procedure can occur when either biological parent withdraws their consent to the adoption prior to the signing of the final adoption agreement. Each state’s time limitation for revoking consent varies. If either of the biological parents revokes their consent within the time allotted by their jurisdiction, the adoption is halted and their parental rights are not terminated.
An attempt to reverse an adoption can be made by the primary parties, including the biological parents, the adoptive parents, or the adopted child. In the case of the biological parents requesting the return of the child, it may be possible if the adoptive parents agree. The adoptive parents can also request the adoption be reversed if they can show that such reversal would be in the best interest of the child. Finally, the adopted child can also request to be returned to the biological parents. However, in this scenario the child is usually older and able to speak for themselves in a court of law.
While there are many issues that can be taken into consideration for the reversal of an adoption, the court will always apply the best interest of the child standard to any and all reasons as to why a legal adoption should be revoked.
In New York State, if the court has taken away the biological parent’s rights, and the parents wait too long to request that their rights be reinstated, the adoption cannot be overturned.  If the biological parent appears in court and agrees to the adoption, they cannot regain their parental rights. However, if the birth parent signs a surrender agreement, they do have 45 days upon which to change their mind and retain custody of their biological child.
To learn more about the possibility of reversing your adoption, check the consent and revocation laws in your state.
In the event that you find yourself facing any of these questions, please do not hesitate to contact Zurica Law at 917-538-3670. We will be happy to assist you in answering your questions and representing your interests.


Anthony Zurica is an Attorney specializing in Adoption Law and a guest writer for Considering Adoption. Based in New York City, Anthony stands by his clients as an ally and friend during the entire process of adoption, from application to successfully becoming a parent.  Although adoption can be an emotional and oftentimes lengthy process, Anthony is committed to being there every step of the way, 24/7.
Dedicating his life to inspiring optimism and encouraging patience, Anthony works closely with individuals and families. Furthermore, Anthony is a proponent and advocate for LGBT families.
Anthony also volunteers as a CASA (court-appointed special advocate for children), and is on the junior board of the New York Foundling, a charity that that empowers thousands of children and families to live independent, stable and fulfilling lives throughout NY. Find out more and feel free to get in touch through his website, www.nycadoptionlawyer.com, Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.