In many cases, birth parents can consent to an adoption of their child even when the adoptive parents have not been specified.  This is commonly referred to as blanket consent. Although most state adoption laws don’t indicate whether adoptive parents must be specified, some courts allow birth parents to consent to adoptions even when they don’t know who the adoptive parents are. However, it is important to note that this decision can vary from state to state.

What Type of Adoption is Blanket Consent Most Applicable to?

Blanket consent usually deals with agency adoptions, where a child has yet to be paired with adoptive parents. However, blanket consent can also be an issue with independent adoptions, where an adoptive family has already been identified. In some cases, independent adoptions may be invalid if the birth parents’ consent fails to name the adoptive parents.

What Types of Variations Exist for Laws on Blanket Consent?

Some states have laws in place that allow for blanket consent so long as the birth parents include a release statement.  These release statements simply indicate that the birth parents consent to adoption, knowing that the identity of the adoptive parents has yet to be established. In the absence of such a release statement, these states may consider the birth parents’ consent invalid.

In other states, the issue of whether blanket consent is valid depends on a case-by-case basis.  Here, courts will try to determine what the birth parents’ intent was at the time adoption was filed (i.e. did they care who the adoptive parents were), as well as the best interests of the child.

Can Consent by the Birth Parents Be Revoked?

In most States, the law provides that consent may be revoked prior to the adoption becoming finalized. An adoption becomes final either under specific circumstances or within a specified time frame. In certain situations, consent can be revoked after it has been finalized if:

  • Consent was obtained by fraud, duress, or coercion
  • Birth parent has withdrawn consent within a specified period of time
  • There is a finding that the withdraw of consent is in the best interest of the child
  • The adoptive parents mutually agree to a withdrawal of consent
  • The adoptive placement of the child has not been finalized with a specified family

How Can a Lawyer Help Me?

If you are birth parent looking to put their child up for adoption, you should contact a local adoption lawyer as soon as possible.  Because blanket consent depends heavily on state adoption laws, it is best to contact an attorney who can inform you about blanket consent laws in your state. An experienced lawyer can also guide you through the entire adoption process, ensuring that your child’s best interests are maintained.