Can Biological Parents Regain Custody After Adoption?

Written by Jonathan Breeden

August 17, 2022

Choosing adoption is a difficult decision. It is not unheard of for them to regret the choice and try to regain custody later. This poses many questions for all involved.

In most cases, the law is clear when adoption is final, but there are exceptions and things adoptive parents, biological parents, and adopted children ought to know.

Can Biological Parents Change Their Minds About Adoption?

In most cases, no. A birth mother or biological parents who have given their child up for adoption cannot get the child back once the adoption has been legally finalized. That is because parental rights have been completely terminated from the biological parents and transferred to the adoptive parents.

However, if the birth mother can prove there was fraud or duress in the adoption process, they may have options to get reverse the adoption. If this is a claim being made, you need to speak with an adoption attorney immediately.

Consent for Adoption & Taking it Back

Many biological parents consider adoption but wonder, “Can I get my child back?” It’s essential to know about the legal process of adoption to understand the answer.

Adoption Requires Consent from the Birth Parents

In most cases, the birth parents must consent to an adoption. According to North Carolina law, adoption is not finalized until the birth parents give legal consent, which must occur AFTER your baby is born.

Although there is no waiting period after birth for the birth parents to consent, they may change their minds until the baby is born and consent is legally given. Nothing during the adoption process before birth obligates a birth mother to give up her child after birth.

Adoption is Permanent

Adoption is the permanent placement of a child with an adoptive family. Thus, the birth parents cannot change their minds after the adoption is final and get their child back.

Revoking Adoption Consent

Once birth parents consent to adoption, they have seven days to revoke it and regain legal custody. However, the legal process for revocation of adoption consent is complex, and both parties should have knowledgeable adoption attorneys.

When birth parents decide to revoke consent, they must do so in writing to the adoptive parents. Whoever accepts the consent to adoption must then provide the birth parents with a copy of their signed document. Within that document, there must be instructions on how to revoke consent to adopt.

If birth parents change their mind again after revoking their consent, thereby placing their baby for adoption again, then there is no additional revocation period the second time. The adoption will be final.

Parental Rights After Revocation

Giving consent for adoption legally removes parental rights from the birth family. When adoption is finalized, the adoptive family has parental rights.

Exceptions to Giving Up Parental Rights

One exception exists to the finalization of an adoption. That is when the birth parents assert fraud or duress was involved in the adoption process. In such a case, the birth parents can challenge the consent given and attempt to regain parental rights.

An Adoption Lawyer Can Help

Breeden Law Office understands both adoptive and birth parents often have questions throughout the adoption process. We have helped countless families in North Carolina work through their legal issues and solve problems. If you have questions, we can answer them.

With offices in Angier, Garner, Smithfield, and Raleigh, North Carolina, Call (919) 661-4970to schedule a consultation.


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