What Adopting Parents Need To Know About Birthparent Rights

This guest post is by Karie Boyd, an adoption attorney

Deciding to pursue an adoption is a huge decision for hopeful parents.

Once the decision has been made to welcome a new child into your life, you will need to quickly decide what type of relationship you are most comfortable having with the birth parents.


Terminating Parental Rights Of Birth Parents

Biological parents can have their parental rights terminated voluntarily or involuntarily.

If a state decides that basic needs for a child are not met by the parents a court can make a ruling on this without parental consent.

If the biological parents voluntarily decide to terminate parental rights then one or both parents must legally consent to this.

This process will usually take place in front of a judge and varies based on state laws.

Once birth rights have been relinquished it is very difficult to revoke consent for the birth parent.

The law for this varies from state to state so it is a very important to involve your adoption lawyer in this process.

Some states will only allow a few days for consent to be revoked, and others do not allow it at all unless you can prove coercion, threat, or force was used.

Open Adoption vs. Closed Adoptions

After consent has been given to place a child up for adoption, the birth parents must decide if they would like an open or closed adoption.

Most adoption agencies will work with the birth parents to decide what adoption is right for them, and then pair them with the appropriate adopting family.

With a closed adoption the birth parents have decided that they want nearly no contact with the adopting parents or child.

Often with this option the only information that is shared between parties is medical records.

An open adoption will allow biological parents to have contact with the adopting family and child.

The level of contact should be discussed with your adoption agency and family lawyer to decide what will make both parties comfortable.

Some open adoptions will involve passing of limited information through a mediator. Other times a closer personal relationship between everyone involved could take place.

Typically, when the parental custody of a child is terminated this will apply to biological grandparents of the child as well.

Grandparents will not be able to make contact with the child or request visitations. The rights for grandparents vary slightly when it comes to a step parent adoption in some states.

Understanding Adoption Laws by State

If you are considering an adoption it is very important to have a clear understanding of what the relationship will be between you and the birth parents.

A local family law attorney in your state will be able to set expectations for the process you will be facing, and help you make the best decisions for your new family.

Karie Boyd is an experienced family law attorney with offices in San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles, and Sacramento. Karie Boyd’s legal team has extensive experience handling adoption, step parent adoption, open adoption, closed adoption, and more.

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