Birth Mother's Rights Regarding Child Adoption
It is important that you know and understand your birth mother parental rights. In every child adoption you have the right to make many adoption related choices including the type of child adoption, such as open or closed child adoption or an agency or private child adoption. However, the legal right that birth mothers are most concerned about is typically the one that ends their parental rights.
Birth Mother Rights
As the biological mother of the baby, whether born or unborn, you have the right to control your body and to determine how you and the baby are to be cared for. Your rights are limited only by the laws of the country and state in which you reside. To see the adoption laws of your state of residence, visit the link State-by-State laws.
Once the baby has been born you have the right to make all the decisions about both your care and the baby's as long as your decisions do not jeopardize the health and safety of the baby.
If you have been thinking about raising the child or placing the child for adoption, none of the decisions you made or the documents you signed prior to the baby's birth are binding on you. You have every right to change your mind as often as you want. However, as regards the adoption process, there are limitations in your ability to change your mind.
Regarding an adoption, you are not the only one who has rights and you can not make all the final decisions on your own. The birth father always has parental rights and in many states even the child's grandparent on both the mother's and the father's side have rights. For more information on the rights of others, visit the links Birth Father Rights and Grandparents rights.
Termination of Parental Rights
The right most birth mothers are concerned about is the ending of their parental rights and the amount of time you, the birth mother, has to change your mind regarding the ending of these rights.
To address this issue you need to recognize that your parental rights can be ended voluntarily, that is with your signature and permission, or they can be ended involuntarily, without your permission. The involuntary ending of parental rights is usually done only with children who have been placed into foster care within the state child welfare system. If you are working with a private adoption agency or with and adoption attorney, over 98% of the time the your parental rights will be ended voluntarily and only with your approval.
Every state in the U.S.has their own unique legal requirements for the voluntary and involuntary ending of parental rights, so there are at approximately 50 different laws for involuntary ending parental rights and 50 other laws regarding the voluntary ending of these rights.
The ending of the parental rights, called the termination, surrender or relinquishment, is different in every state. However, in every state, any document regarding the ending of the birth mother's parental rights that was signed before the baby has been born is not legally binding. After the baby has been born some state allow a birth mother to voluntarily end her rights immediately after the birth and other states allow the ending of these rights only after the passage of 1-3 days, or 15-21 days, 30 days, or more. Depending on the age of the birth mother and the circumstances involved, some states even require a birth mother to appear in court before her parental rights can be ended. Again, every state is different.
The laws of the state in which you end your parental rights as a birth mother will also help define your rights regarding such issues as your ability to receive pictures and updates and your ability to have ongoing contact with the child and the adopting family.
All of these rights and options should be fully and carefully reviewed with you by your adoption agency or attorney. That is one of the reasons that your choice of proceeding with an agency or private adoption and the selection of your adoption agency is so important.
Birth Father Rights
For information about Birth Father Rights click on this link.
You may want to look for the section "termination (or surrender or relinquishment) of parental rights", of the state in which the birth father resides. This can be done at ChildAdoptionLaws.com. You may also find it helpful to read the Child Welfare Information Gateway article "Grounds for Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights".
Additionally you may want to find a family law attorney from the Lawyers.com website.
If You Need Help
Adoption Services has been helping birth mothers and birth fathers for over 20 years and Dr Vince Berger, a PhD psychologist and founder and director of the Agency, has been working with birth parents for almost 40 years. We can help a birth mother living in any state or a U.S.A. citizen birth mother living in any foreign country. Adoption Services has helped over 9000 birth parents and families. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or if you want our guidance or help. We can make sure your child is placed with the perfect family, your rights are protected, and that you receive all the financial assistance and medical help as well as other types of help that the law allows. There is never any fee to you as a birth parent whether or not you work with our agency or decide to look elsewhere. Please visit the link "Ways we can help you".