For most visitors to this site, adoption is something that they may never have considered before being confronted with infertility. Getting to the point of considering adoption is typically not something that comes quickly or easily; rather, it is a bend in the road that must be journeyed to by people seeking to build their families. Understandably, thinking about adoption can be scary. Fortunately, there are a lot of others who experience very similar fears and are willing to discuss it in an effort to both ease their own tension and to educate themselves on the many facets of adopting children. What are some of those common fears when a person with infertility considers adoption?
The Birthmother May Change Her MindThis probably tops the list for most anyone first thinking about adoption, and particularly for those who want to adopt an infant. How realistic is this worry? “Birthmother” is the term used to refer to those who have physically borne children and then released those children to adoption. Prior to the legal termination of parental rights, a woman is a mother, and a man is a father. An expectant woman is expecting. A fact that many prospective adoptive parents fail to realize is that biological fathers, too, have rights in regard to the relinquishment of their children. Two concepts to be aware of here: consent and revocation. According to the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse, 46 states and the District of Columbia specify exactly when a legal consent to relinquish may be made. (“Relinguishment”, rather than “giving up,” is the more polite term used in regards to a birth parent’s decision to place their child for adoption.) In virtually all states, fathers are allowed to give consent before or after the child’s birth, while mothers are allowed to do so only after the birth. The majority of states require a specified amount of time pass before the mother can legally consent, a waiting period of anywhere from a few hours to two weeks. Revocation, or changing one’s mind about relinquishing a child, is not allowed at any time in five States and the District of Columbia. Nineteen States allow it only in circumstances with evidence of coercion or fraud. Other states are more lenient about the reasons and have specific time periods, ranging from three to 60 days post-consent, and in some, mutual consent of the adopting family or a court is required. The most important thing to know is that each State’s statutes are different, so it is crucial to be aware of the laws in your own State and that of the placing parents.
© Tracy Morris