Understanding your adoption rights is important because it gives you that much more control over your adoption process.
Adoption is a personal and emotional journey. It is also a legal process. While it’s natural to focus on the former aspects of adoption, understanding your adoption rights is vitally important.
This is a delicate process. Parental rights, adoption paperwork, the adoption revocation period and more — these are all things that can have a noticeable impact on your overall experience.
The most important step you can take to protect your adoption rights is to work with a good adoption agency and attorney. These professionals’ job, among other things, is to ensure that your best interests are protected to the fullest extent of the law at every step of the process.
When you’re a prospective birth mother, it can be helpful to understand your adoption rights. Even though it’s your attorney’s job to be the legal expert, a personal knowledge of birth mother rights in adoption can help give you a sense of confidence and security.
While this article should not be taken as legal advice, we hope that it serves as a helpful guide to understanding your rights during the adoption process.
If you have questions about your adoption rights, or if you are ready to start the adoption process today, you can contact us here to get connected with a helpful professional.
YOUR ADOPTION RIGHTS DURING PREGNANCY
Once you begin the adoption process, you become a “prospective birth mother.” This comes with certain rights, which can impact everything from your pregnancy to birth mother rights in open adoption. For example, you will most likely have a right to adoption financial assistance that covers all costs associated with medical care.
We say “most likely” for two reasons. First, adoption rights are determined by adoption laws, which are different in each state. Second, and most importantly, you will need to make sure you are working with a good adoption agency and adoption attorney so that you experience the benefits (like covered medical costs) of all your adoption rights.
Let’s take a look at some of the other prospective birth mother rights during adoption that you should know about.
Your Right to Choose Adoption
Unplanned pregnancy can be an incredibly disruptive and challenging experience. If you are wondering about your rights to “give your child up” for adoption, you should contact an adoption agency and adoption attorney. While there could be complicating factors to your situation — such as the father of the baby being unsupportive of adoption — you always have a right to do what is best for your life.
Your Right to Control Your Process
When you choose adoption as a prospective birth mother, you are in charge of the process. What does this mean, exactly?
Working with an adoption agency, you’ll create an adoption plan that outlines how you would like things to go. What level of openness would you like in your adoption? What would you like the adoptive parents to be like? Where would you like to receive medical care, and which hospital do you prefer for labor and delivery?
It is within your adoption rights as a prospective birth mother to make these choices.
“You could tell they weren’t just putting on a front to make you want to do it or push you into it,” said Angelica about working with her adoption professional. “They want whatever you want, and that’s what they told me during the whole process. It wasn’t up to them; they were just going to be there for me no matter what decision I made.”
Your Right to Change Your Mind
During the adoption process, you are still the legal mother of your baby. You don’t officially agree to the adoption until after your baby is born. While it should only be done after serious consideration, you do have a right to change your mind about the adoption all the way until you complete the legal adoption paperwork.
“Can I get my child back after adoption?” This is a question many prospective birth mothers ask about parental rights after you “give up” a child for adoption. It’s natural to experience some uncertainty. The answer is complicated.
Essentially, it comes down to a case-by-case basis. Many prospective birth mothers find that this feeling comes and goes, so they never attempt to pursue legal action in response to the question, “If you ‘give a baby up’ for adoption, can you get it back?”
For others, they do decide to see how they can get their child back after adoption. If you would like to pursue this route, you need to speak with your attorney. Generally speaking, the most important factor in determining whether or not you can get a child back after adoption is your state’s revocation period.
The revocation period is a set period of time after you sign the adoption paperwork when you might be able to revoke your consent. Each state has a different revocation period. Speak to your attorney about how this could impact your specific situation.
This can become a complicated and challenging situation. Ultimately, the best way to avoid it is to be certain about your adoption decision. Speak with a specialist or adoption attorney early on if you are having doubts.
Your Right to 24/7 Support
The adoption process is rarely easy on an emotional level. When you’re a prospective birth mother, you’re going to experience many challenges that come up outside of traditional office hours. While not legally guaranteed, we believe that all prospective birth mothers have adoption rights to 24/7 support.
“She was there for me when I didn’t have anybody, and she always knew just what to say,” Lindsey remembered about working with her adoption specialist. “I did have a lot of concerns and fears, and she knew how to talk me through them. She’s someone that’s — even now, three months after I’ve had my baby — probably going to check in on me from time to time. She was just amazing, and I’m so glad that she’s in my life.”
Some agencies provide this, while others do not. Ask any professional that you are considering whether or not they agree that 24/7 support should be a part of birth mother adoption rights.
Your Right to Unbiased Counseling
What’s best for you will be unique to your situation. When deciding on an unplanned pregnancy option, you have a right to honest, informed, unbiased counseling and information. You should never feel pressured into choosing adoption, or any other unplanned pregnancy option.
Your Rights When Completing the Paperwork
Parental rights after you “give up” a child for adoption ultimately end when you complete the adoption paperwork after your baby is born. When you sign these documents, you clear the way for the adoptive parents to become the child’s legal family. This means that your connection to the child as his/her legal parent ends.
When completing the paperwork, you have a right to speak with an attorney and take the time to fully understand the important legal step you are taking. Many states require an attorney to be present and for the birth parents to receive counseling prior to signing the papers.
Keep in mind, like we mentioned above, that many states do have a revocation period for consent to adoption. However, for an adoption to be completed, it’s required that the birth parents no longer have parental rights after you “give up” a child for adoption so that the adoptive parents can take on these rights.
Your Rights for “Getting Baby Back” After Adoption
Can you get your child back after adoption? Like we’ve said, it’s a loaded question. It will depend on your specific situation. Once you have signed the adoption papers and the revocation period has passed, you no longer have a legal claim to the child. This means that the answer to, “Can you get you child back after adoption?” is, “No.”
This article shouldn’t be taken as strict legal advice. For an answer to this important question in your specific situation, speak with your attorney.
YOUR RIGHTS AFTER THE ADOPTION
What are your parental rights after you “give up” a child for adoption? While the consent to adoption terminates your parental rights, there are some adoption rights as a birth parent that you should know about.
First, you have a right to continued support. The adoption journey doesn’t end with placement. It sticks around, in one way or another, for the rest of your life. While some agencies may not guarantee lifelong support, we believe you have a right to the support and counseling you need to move forward after adoption.
“Even though adoption was the hardest decision I will ever make in my life, [my adoption agency] also made it the best decision I’ve ever made in my life,” Erika said. “Even to this day, I know that every time I call [my adoption specialist] I feel like I am her only birth mom that she has to deal with, because she has no problem talking to me and listening to everything I have to say.”
Additionally, most adoptions today are open. This means there is a lasting connection with your child and the adoptive parents. When you create an adoption plan, you decide what this relationship will be like. While many open adoption agreements are not legally enforceable, you do have the opportunity in open adoption to see the type of relationship you agreed upon fulfilled.
CONNECT WITH A PROFESSIONAL TODAY
Adoption rights can be complicated. Decisions often come down to a case-by-case basis. Are you interested in learning more about your specific adoption rights? Contact us today to get connected with an adoption professional.