Adoption is the legal procedure through which an adult becomes the legal parent of another person. Most of the time, this entails adopting a child who is not the biological child of the adoptive parent or parents.
Following the adoption, the child will be regarded as the biological child of the adoptive parents for the following purposes:
- Obligations to pay child support
- Custody rights and responsibilities
- Rights of heirs
Other fundamental legal rights and duties conferred on parents include decision-making about the child’s health care and education.
Both private and public organizations provide adoption services. Adoption involves court approval, and each state has its own rules and procedures that must be met before the adoption occurs.
What Am I Entitled to Before I Agree to Adoption?
You have complete parental rights as a biological parent until you consent to your child’s adoption. Many states will not give you legal consent until the child is born. In this sense, the rights of the birth father vary. Consult with an attorney to learn about adoption rights for biological parents available in your state.
Although the rules regarding the adoption process differ from state to state, the birth mother has the following essential rights:
- You have full parental rights until you consent to your child’s adoption. It is quite improbable that you will be able to retract your agreement to your child’s adoption. Although the law varies by state, even the states most receptive to revocation limit it to 21 days. Other states permit revocation only in circumstances of fraud, duress, coercion, or deception.
- Participation in the adoption planning process
- The right to conduct interviews with prospective adoptive families
- The entitlement to limited financial assistance for pregnancy and birth-related medical expenses
- The ability to choose the adopting family
What Are the Rights of a Biological Father in Adoption?
If a child’s biological father seeks custody and the mother wishes to place the child for adoption, the father may commence paternity proceedings. In such a case, the father may be granted custody of the child, provided he can demonstrate that he is the child’s natural father and that he is capable of caring for the child.
Other rights awarded to the biological father throughout the adoption procedure are as follows:
- Participation in the adoption planning process
- The right to take part in the interviewing of potential parents
- The entitlement to modest financial assistance for pregnancy and birth-related medical expenses, if appropriate; and
- The right to choose the adopting family, along with the biological mother
Suppose the kid’s biological father is unknown or cannot be discovered.
In that case, many states require that a public notice be issued informing all those claiming to be the child’s biological father of the impending adoption. This is normally performed by putting a notice in the local newspaper’s legal advertising section.
Can I Revoke Consent?
It is improbable that you will be able to reverse an adoption. Although the law varies by state, even the states most receptive to revocation limit it to 21 days. Other states permit revocation only in circumstances of fraud, duress, coercion, or deception.
Are There Options for Me If I Want to Have Contact with My Child after Adoption?
If you are considering adoption but want to maintain contact with your kid, you may have choices. Adoption can be classified into three types:
- Confidential Adoption: This sort of adoption prohibits any contact or information exchange. The biological and adoptive parents have never met, and the adopted child has never met their birth parents. A closed adoption is another term for a confidential adoption.
- Open Adoption: An open adoption allows the adopted child to develop a relationship with their birth parents. It is a sort of autonomous adoption in which the birth mother and father may have minimal post-adoption contact with the child.
- Partially Open Adoption: In this sort of adoption, the biological parents and the kid have limited interaction. Allowable contact could involve the exchanging of letters and photos on occasion.
Even if the adoptive parents allow the biological parents to meet and visit the child throughout the child’s life, a court may overturn such an agreement if it would be detrimental to the child’s well-being. When evaluating whether to grant post-adoption visitation rights, courts will generally consider various issues.
Some of these factors include, but are not limited to:
- Did the child’s biological parents agree to the adoption?
- Have the child’s adoptive parents agreed to the child’s biological parent(s) visiting?
- Was the adoption contingent on the biological parents gaining visitation rights?
- What is the connection between the biological and adopted parents?
- Would allowing the biological parents to visit the child be detrimental to the child’s growth or bond with their adoptive parents?
Above all else, the child’s best interests are always prioritized over the biological parents’ rights after adoption.
What Are the Steps in the Adoption Process?
Each of the aforementioned types of adoption procedures includes the following steps.
The Filing of an Adoption Petition
The individual(s) wishing to adopt gives information for a family court judge to review in the petition for adoption. The basic information comprises the names, ages, and addresses of the birth parents, the child, and the adoptive parents.
In addition, the petition usually includes the following:
- Adoptive parents declare that they understand their rights and responsibilities concerning the kid.
- The legal basis or cause for terminating the rights of the biological parent.
- A description of the nature of the adoptive parents and child’s connection. This relationship can be familial (as in a stepparent relationship) or nonfamilial (the child and the adoptive parents are unrelated).
- A declaration that the adoption is in the best interests of the child
In this step, the adoptive parents give all legally interested parties the required notice of the petition. The birth parents, adoptive parents, and, depending on their age, the kid are all legally interested parties.
The adoptive parents come before the court at the hearing. Under oath, the judge asks the parents if they understand their rights and responsibilities as adoptive parents. If the judge determines that the adoption is in the best interests of the child, the judge issues an order of adoption. This order is the adoption’s legal court approval.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
If you have an adoption or family law difficulty, an adoption lawyer can advise you on the law in your area and assist you in resolving your situation. If you are having problems with the biological father’s rights, particularly regarding adoption, you should speak with a qualified and knowledgeable father’s rights attorney.
Adoption can be a long and tough process at times. This is especially true when there are concerns with the biological or adoptive parent(s), the facts underlying the adoption, or the rules of a specific state. All of these issues might make the adoption process more complicated. Working with an adoption lawyer has numerous advantages.
An expert adoption lawyer, for example, can walk you through the full adoption procedure. This includes assisting you in filling out the necessary documents and selecting which type of adoption is appropriate for you. Furthermore, if any concerns or disagreements develop during the adoption procedure, your lawyer will be able to represent you in court.