What if the Birth Mother Wants to Keep the Baby?
Only about 6% of birth mothers change their minds about adoption. However, if the birth mother does suddenly decide she wants to keep the child and there is a contested adoption, the adoptive parents should immediately retain a New Jersey adoption lawyer. It is fair to wonder what might happen after the birth mother changes her mind once the adoption is complete.
How Can the Birth Mother’s Rights End?
If a birth mother chooses to give up her child for adoption, the easiest way to do it is to surrender the child to an adoption agency. Once this happens, within three days, barring any exceptions, her parental rights to the child will end.
Adoption agencies are required to do certain things for the birth mother or birth parents if both are involved in the surrender. Before the child is given up to subsequently be adopted by adoptive parents, the agency is required to ensure that the birth mother undergoes at least three counseling sessions with a qualified social worker. The goal is to make sure that the birth mother is both mentally and emotionally prepared to give up custody of the child to the adoptive parents.
The agency must also make sure both natural parents sign a statement that says they attended counseling sessions and that they understand what was said in the statement. In some cases, they might refuse counseling but must still sign a statement.
Additionally, the agency is required to have the biological parents sign a statement that says that it went over all of the provisions of the adoption and advise them on how to get more information from the Department of Health.
What Happens if a Birth Mother Changes Her Mind?
If the birth mother changes her mind, the court must review the matter and make a decision based on certain factors. If the adoption agency committed fraud, misrepresentation, or put the birth mother under duress, the surrender of the child could be legally reversed, giving her the child back. However, if the adoption was done legally and the agency did everything in the legal, proper way, then the adoptive parents would keep the child.
Regardless of the laws being on the side of the adoptive parents in that regard, it is still wise to retain an experienced New Jersey adoption lawyer if the adoption is being contested.
The court will also always take into consideration what’s in the best interest of the child. If the birth mother suddenly decides months after the adoption was finalized that she wants the child back, the court will consider the psychological effects on the child if they were suddenly taken away from the only family they have ever known. A legal adoption will typically not be nullified in this situation.
Exceptions to the Rule
Of course, there may be exceptions to the rule when it comes to reversing an adoption decision. In addition to fraud on the part of the adoption agency, this might happen when there’s a problem with the adoptive parents such as serious health issues or disabilities that prevent them from raising the child and properly providing for them. However, if the child has certain unexpected needs that are impossible for the parents to meet, the adoption might be nullified.
These are extreme situations, as in most cases, the adoptive parents will get to keep the child. It is important to know what your rights and options are as the adoptive parents when the birth mother suddenly changes her mind. Knowing the facts will help you to see whether the law is on your side in such a scenario.
If you are looking to adopt in New Jersey and need an attorney to help you, contact Donald Cofsky at Cofsky & Zeidman today by calling (856) 429-5005. We will be glad to answer any questions you may have and walk you through your options.