Can A Biological Parent Regain Custody of An Adopted Baby or Child?

The process involved in adopting a baby or child can be both exciting and stressful for all parties involved. The birth parents, the adoptive parents and the child itself are going through an experience that will have a major impact on their lives.

One of the questions we are asked most frequently is could either of the birth parents halt the adoption or try to regain custody afterwards? Adoptive parents can sometimes be unreasonably anxious about potentially losing the precious baby or child who they have already taken into their hearts. This is why it helps to have a clear understanding of how the whole adoption process works in Texas.

Does A Birth Parent Receive Counseling?

The decision to place a baby or child for adoption is never taken lightly and there are many reasons why birth parents may choose this option for their child. At The Adoption Alliance it’s our goal to ensure birth parents are comfortable with their decision so we offer professional guidance throughout the entire adoption process. You can read more about our 16 step adoption process here.

Contact Between Birth Parents and Adoptive Parents?

We strongly believe that selecting the right family is crucial to ensure a successful adoption. We encourage the birth parent(s) to have full involvement in choosing who they wish to be the new parents of their baby or child. We find that in most cases the birth parents are very happy to meet with and talk to prospective adoptive parents during the pregnancy. After the adoption occurs, the adoptive parents will send letters and pictures of the child to the birth parents. This is typically done monthly for the first six months and annually thereafter.

The Birth Parent Relinquishment Laws

The state of Texas has state-protected parental rights which must be formally terminated in line with state law before an adoption can take place. A birth mother must wait until 48 hours after the birth of her child before she can sign the document to terminate her parental rights. The 48-hour rule also applies to a husband because the law in the State of Texas presumes he is the father of child. Unmarried fathers are able to sign an Affidavit of Waiver of Interest in Child document before the birth, but his parental rights cannot be terminated until after the birth. This voluntary termination of birth parents’ rights essentially means that consent is formally given for an adoption to take place.

Could A Birth Parent Regain Custody?

Once a birth parent has relinquished their parental rights and consented to an adoption there are very limited and rare circumstances in which a court would reverse an adoption. According to the Texas Family Code § 161.103 a relinquishment document is irrevocable once is has been signed by a birth parent. Therefore, the only way a birth parent could reclaim custody of an adopted child is by proving to a court that the decision to sign the relinquishment document was done under fraud or duress. In most cases a court will automatically deny custody to a birth parent when their parental rights have been terminated. A birth parent would need to establish a compelling reason for a court to even consider looking at whether to re-establish custody and proceedings such as this would likely take many months to conclude.

Why Would A Birth Parent Try to Regain Custody?

Pregnancy and everything that comes with it is a time of heightened emotions. Decisions made in the heat of the moment can sometimes be cause for regret and confusion. This is why The Adoption Alliance is very careful to take a birth mother through extensive counseling before and after the birth. A decision as momentous as putting a child up for adoption is one that should be very carefully analyzed.

If you are worried about any aspect of the adoption process, then talk to us. We are here to answer any questions you may have.

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