Every year there are a great deal of pregnant woman who choose to give their babies up for adoption, and every year there are a great number of families who eagerly adopt these children and bring them into their home. On the surface, adoptions may seem strictly transactional, but the truth is that these situations sometimes can be a little trickier than they may seem on the surface.
However, certain birth mother rights allow them to change the way the process plays out, and here at New Beginnings, we want to make sure those birth mothers fully understand those rights and how they may affect their own situations.
What Are a Birth Mother’s Rights During the Adoption Process?
There is a point of no return for birth mothers—the signing of an affidavit of relinquishment, which is the contract a parent signs giving up parental rights over a child—but until that document has the birth mother’s signature on it, she maintains the following rights over her child:
● A birth mother can change her mind and decide to keep her child until she signs the relinquishment. After that point, she no longer can change her mind, but she absolutely is legally allowed to do so up until that point.
● A birth mother does have some control over choosing her child’s adoptive parents. Just because a mother is putting up a baby for adoption does not mean that she has to allow her child to live with the first family to come along in search of adopting.
● A birth mother can hold or carry a child up until signing the relinquishment, which is something that can and often does happen after the baby is actually born.
● A birth mother is allowed to contact the adoptive parents unless it would breach a trust agreement.
● A birth mother may enlist in a voluntary parent registry should the child decide to search for her later in life. Adoptive parents may wish to keep the adoption private, but many adoptive children decide as adults to seek out their biological parents. If birth mothers wish, they can make this option available to them by registering their identities.
The most important thing to remember about most of these rights is that they go away after the birth mother has signed the affidavit of relinquishment. At that point, the biological mother cannot change her mind about keeping the child, and the adoptive parents are given more control as legal guardians.
How to Find More Information About Adoption Rights?
If you or someone you know is considering adoption, there are plenty of other resources that can help them better understand their rights as birth mothers. You can Google your state’s adoption laws, for example, or contact a family law attorney.
Here at New Beginnings, we offer ministry to birth mothers and adoptive parents to help provide them with the guidance and support they need to navigate what can be a complicated familial transition. We exist to help people through the adoption process, so any questions we can answer, we will happily do so. It is, in fact, the very reason we exist!