Do birth parents have rights in the adoption process?

The adoption process is one that is very personal. Birth parents have to make a very difficult decision to give their child up for adoption. Adoptive parents often have to deal with some very difficult circumstances that lead them to adopt. If you are going through the adoption process, regardless of what side of the adoption you are on, you should understand some of the basic points of the rights of birth parents because terminating parental rights is necessary in an adoption.

What does it mean to have parental rights terminated?

Having parental rights terminated means that the birth parents don’t have any legal rights to their child. This also means that they are relieved of legal duties to the child. Parental rights can be terminated voluntarily, meaning the birth parents sign forms to relinquish their rights, or involuntarily, meaning the court takes away those rights.

What is the process like for terminating parental rights?

If the termination is involuntary, it will often involve court proceedings that are based on neglect, abuse, abandonment, criminal convictions, substance abuse, or mental illness. In these, the best interest of the child is considered. For voluntary terminations, the process involves signing forms and waiting for time limits to pass.

Is it possible to revoke the termination?

It is possible for birth parents to revoke a voluntary termination. This would be possible if the case is still within time limits set for revocation, if there was coercion or fraud involved, if the revocation is in the child’s best interest, or if the adoptive parents and birth parents agree to the revocation. The possibility of a revocation is one reason why you should ensure that you understand the full adoption process before you decide on this course of action.


 FindLaw, “Birth Parent Rights,” accessed June 24, 2016

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