Can I get my child back after Adoption?

Recently on our legal forum a user asked, “I placed my daughter for adoption several days ago, and I am now regretting my decision. I am wondering what options I have to get her back or if the adoption is permanent? I live in the State of Texas.”

If you have consented to an adoption the adoption is not finalized and the child is not legally placed with another family until your parental rights have been severed (either voluntarily or involuntarily). Not only do your rights have to be terminated, but the action also generally has to be in writing, executed before a judge or witnesses and notarized. The courts may also require birth parents to attend counseling, be provided an explanation of their rights, and have access to an adoption lawyer.

Termination of parental rights is necessarily difficult

Why is it so difficult to terminate your parental rights? Because the state recognizes the importance of the parental relationship and they have developed state laws to protect parents and ensure that if they do decide to terminate their parental rights, it is done with the full consent of both parents (exceptions may exist in some states for fathers who do not file a notice of paternity or who do not respond to notifications that an adoption is pending).

Review the waiting period in your state

If you have questions about the adoption process in your state it’s important to talk to a family law attorney. You must, however, do so immediately. Although adoption is permanent, some states require waiting periods after the birth before legally allowing the birth parents to consent to the adoption.

According to information provided by Landrith & Kulesz, L.L.P., in the State of Texas, for example, the “affidavit of relinquishment of parental rights must be signed after birth of the child, but not before 48 hours after the birth of the child, by the parent, whether or not a minor, whose parental rights are to be relinquished.”

Landrith & Kulesz, L.L.P. also states that the affidavit of relinquishment can be revoked under specific conditions. Specifically, “an affidavit of relinquishment of parental rights or affidavit of waiver of interest in a child that fails to state that the relinquishment or waiver is irrevocable for a stated time is: Revocable only if the revocation is made before the 11th day after the date the affidavit is executed or Irrevocable on or after the 11th day after the date the affidavit is executed.”

Can the adoptive parent’s rights be terminated?

If, following the adoption, the adoptive parents prove to be unfit parents the courts may have the right to terminate their parental rights. They will only do so, however, under very specific conditions.

For example, the court would have to have clear evidence that some type of action has occurred which jeopardizes the health and safety of the child. Actions which could result in parental rights termination could include abandonment of the child for an extended period of time, endangerment of the child, or failure to support the child.

Adoptive parents rights can also be terminated if they have been the major cause of the failure of the child(ren) to be enrolled in school as required by the Texas Education Code, they have executed an unrevoked or irrevocable affidavit of relinquishment of parental rights as provided for by chapter 161 of the Texas Family Code, or they have been convicted of certain criminal actions.

Bottom Line:

Adoption is a serious decision. States have different laws regarding when the consent may be revoked. Review your state’s laws to determine if there is a waiting period for revocation, whether revocation may occur if it is deemed to be in the best interest of the child, or the adoption occurred by fraud or coercion.

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