Open adoption means that birth mothers can decide which family adopts their child. Birth mothers also decide how much contact to have with the child and new family after the adoption.
However, there are still some questions about birth mother rights after adoption that we wanted to address. Please read on for answers to some common questions about birth mothers and adoption rights.
Q: How much contact can I have after adoption?
A: As much as you choose. A birth mother’s rights after open adoption include visitations, which can take place as often as you like. However, this will be an arrangement between the birth mother and the adoptive parents. Lifetime encourages discussions and agreements with the adoptive parents prior to the adoption taking place.
But let’s take a step back. Moms will also choose how things go prior to birth. They can decide who is in the delivery room, who gets to cut the cord, and how much skin-to-skin contact they want after delivery.
In short, the birth mother has control over many decisions that have to do with her child — both before and after the birth.
Please keep in mind that many states do not have laws that enforce open adoption contracts. Contact Lifetime Adoption today, and we can discuss this in greater detail.
FindLaw.com explains your rights as a birth mother: “While the current trend for adoptions is to allow open adoptions that encourage birth parents and adoptive parents and the children to maintain contact, there is not much a birth parent can do if the adoptive parents do not want them in their adopted child’s life. To protect against this, birth parents may wish to enter into an agreement with the adoptive parents allowing for such things as visitation or regular updates. These agreements can be wrought with pitfalls and should be considered carefully by both adoptive parents and birth parents before being entered into.”
Q: What if I change my mind and decide to keep my baby?
A: Laws are different in each state. In general, the birth mother can decide not to sign the legal papers transferring parental rights to the new family. This is known as a “reclaim.”
In some states, there is a 48-hour period in which the birth mother can change her mind. In other states, it’s up to about six weeks.
This is why open adoption is such an important piece of the puzzle; it allows birth moms to set the rules, but it also allows them to get to know the adoptive family. This can make it less likely that a mom will have second thoughts about the adoption process, the adoptive mother or father, or the termination of parental rights once the courts finalize the adoption.
Remember, birth moms will always have the support of Lifetime’s adoption specialists, plus counseling, both peer and licensed, if she wants it.
Finally, as one of the top adoption agencies, Lifetime has decades of experience managing adoptions; we ensure a thorough evaluation of adoptive parents through the home study process, so you’ll know they’re safe.
That’s why the reclaim rate at Lifetime is so low. Most of the time, the biological mother is happy that they decided to consent to the adoption. (And almost all the time, the adoptive parents agree!)
Q: What are my birth mother rights if the birth father is against adoption?
A: Again, laws vary by state. At Lifetime, we can arrange a free meeting with an adoption attorney for some legal advice if you have questions. Adoption laws should be focused on the interest of the child and their relationship with the adoptive family. However, there are still some difficult questions related to adoption and birth fathers.
As one of the biological parents, if the birth father is against adoption, then he can contest it. Each state has a process in place that allows birth fathers to contest the adoption. The time he has to do so varies by state. Please see this page for more info.
As Vice President of Lifetime Adoption, Heather Featherston holds an MBA and is passionate about working with those facing adoption, pregnancy, and parenting issues. Heather has conducted training for birth parent advocates, spoken to professional groups, and has appeared on television and radio to discuss the multiple aspects of adoption. She has provided one-on-one support to women and hopeful adoptive parents working through adoption decisions.
Since 2002, she has been helping pregnant women and others in crisis to learn more about adoption. Heather also trains and speaks nationwide to pregnancy clinics to effectively meet the needs of women who want to explore adoption for their child. Today, she continues to address the concerns women have about adoption and supports the needs of women who choose adoption for their child.
As a published author of the book Called to Adoption, Featherston loves to see God’s hand at work every day as she helps children and families come together through adoption.