Adoption reversals are rare, but every state has a law that outlines under what circumstances they can occur. All revocations must occur prior to the adoption finalization with the exception of adoptees wishing to be emancipated or adoptive parents reacting to a dissolved or disrupted adoption. That being said, any member of the adoption triad can reverse an adoption.
Sometimes a birth mother may change her mind after signing a consent form to an adoption placement. The time period that she can legally revoke or reverse a placement depends on the state laws and whether the adoption has been finalized. If it has been finalized, she would need the adoptive parents' consent to the reversal and even then it is unlikely the courts will approve the petition to reverse the placement. An adoption reversal will retract a birth parent's prior consent, replace his or her parental rights to the child and will end all adoption procedures.
While some adoptive parents fear adoption reversal, they should prepare themselves for the possibility pending their state’s given time period. Adoptions that are overseen by agencies where the birth parent receives proper education and counseling leading up to the birth and placement are less likely to seek adoption reversals. The birth parent does however retain the right to revoke prior to the finalization of the adoption but not after that point.
Sometimes, but rarely, in the event that the birth father was found late in the pregnancy, the birth father may come forward and petition the courts to parent his child. In the event that a birth father does not wish to relinquish his rights, he has the right to parent his child as the paternal father. This is rare, but does happen especially in private adoptions. Agencies are more cautious and seek out the paternal parent early on in the pregnancy to eradicate any chance of such complications in the finalization of the adoption.
An adoptive parent reversing an adoption is incredibly rare as prospective parents invest a lot of money, time and emotional effort into the adoption process. However, if the adoptive parents have a just cause to petition for the adoption to be dissolved, also called vacated, or annulled, then the placement can be reversed and the child will be placed in foster care until he or she is adopted by another adoptive couple.
One more form of reversal is adoptee emancipation in which the adoptee cuts legal ties from the adoptive parents.
Church Of Christ
Adoption And Foster Care
Note: Our authors are dedicated to honest, engaged, informed, intelligent, and open conversation about adoption. The opinions expressed here may not reflect the views of Adoption.com.