Consent to Adoption FAQ

Learn whose consent is necessary before a legal adoption can take place.

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Whose consent is needed for an adoption to take place?

For any adoption to be legal, the birthparents must consent to the adoption unless their parental rights have been legally terminated for some other reason. Most states prohibit birthparents from giving their consent to an adoption until after the child's birth, and some states require even more time -- typically three to four days after the birth -- before consent can be given. This means that birthparents can legally change their minds at any point before the birth of the child, because they haven't yet given consent to the adoption. Be sure to check with your state's laws on consent as states differ on when consent may be given and withdrawn.

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I've heard of birth parents changing their minds and taking children back even after they've been raised for a long time by adoptive parents. How can this happen?

Even after consent has been given and the child has been placed in the adoptive home, many states allow the birth parents to revoke their consent for a period of time determined by state law. Though it can be nerve-wracking -- and sometimes devastating -- for the adoptive parents who have begun to care for the child, this period of time may stretch for weeks or even months after the placement.

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