Birth Mother

What does Birth Mother mean?

The birthmother is the biological mother of a child. The term is most frequently used if a child is placed for adoption and there needs to be a differentiation between the adoptive mother and the birthmother.

When should I place my baby for adoption?

Birthmothers should only make their decision to place their babies for adoption if they are fully informed and free from coercion. This includes:

  • Receiving factual, unbiased information through nondirective counseling to help them explore all of their options.
  • After receiving proper counseling from a qualified professional.
  • After considering all the legal issues, including the legal period of time the birthmother has to change her mind about the adoption.
  • After considering the emotional consequences of the decision.
  • After notifying the birth father and getting their consent in the decision. Father’s rights may vary by state, but generally, if a birthfather's rights are legally violated, they may have the right to challenge the adoption.
  • After consulting with an adoption lawyer about the laws in the state.

Adoption laws and birthmothers

As mentioned above, state laws related to adoption vary. For example, in states such as Iowa, the birthmother may be able to choose adoption and start the planning process at any time during her pregnancy, but the actual legal process will not start until the baby is born.

In fact, custody is not legally released until at least 72 hours after the child’s birth. Iowa is not alone in this requirement; in fact, there are twenty-eight states which require a waiting period for relinquishing parental rights until after the child is born, although most waiting periods are less than three days.

States may also allow the adoptive family to pay for certain expenses. For instance, certain legal costs, counseling costs, medical expenses, and transportation costs may be financed by the adoptive parents. It’s also important to note some of these funds may not have to be repaid if the birthmother changes their mind.

Adoption laws and birthfathers

Birthfathers may have to take a more active role to ensure they are notified if a woman is trying to terminate their parental rights. For example, many states have a Putative Father Registry. Registering with the registry allows a father to be contacted if women, with whom they have been intimate with, initiate a termination of their parental rights.

Men who decide to participate in the registry may be notified of all termination petitions, but they may not automatically be granted parental rights of a biological child. In fact, the court will hold a hearing to determine what is in the best interests of the child before making a custody decision.

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