Changing mind before finalization?

Hi! new here :) Just reading all of the posts and on information overload but in a good way.  I came across some finalization posts and was curious how that differs from birth parents signing over their rights to adoptive parents. Can an adoption be disrupted after signing but before finalization?

Re: Changing mind before finalization?

  • This depends on the state. Some have a revocation period, meaning birth parents can change their minds and revoke termination of parental rights within that time frame. Others (mine included) cannot be revoked after termination is signed unless coercion can be proven or native american heritage is involved. Between TPR and finalization, the child is in official custody of the adoptive parents but not officially adopted. I believe this time period is meant to determine that they are "fit" parents.
    Birthmom to A, 1/8- the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.

    A Journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. -Lao-Tzu

  • There can be a few ways an adoption can be disrupted before finalization.  In my case, the birth father came back to try and fight the termination of his rights after the fact, so we've been dealing with the legal processes involved in that for about 9 months.  Since our agency and attorney did everything by the books, we will be finalizing January 9.

    In cases of foster-to-adopt, or adopting legally free children from foster care, the parents may decide after placement but prior to finalization that the match isn't working out for whatever reason.  It should be seriously and carefully considered with the help of adoption professionals, however.
    [Deleted User]
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  • We had a 20 day wait after rights were terminated. The three day wait for the parents to sign the papers were the longest and most challenging for us. Once they signed, we knew they wouldn't back out.
  • Our last failure, all paperwork was signed but BM had 5 days to change her mind and she did.  Depending on the state, some BM have 30 days to change their mind.  It can and does happen.  Adoption is not for the faint hearted.  GL with your journey.

    Failed Matches - December 2012, May 2013, December 2013
    Moved on to  gestational surrogacy with a family friend who is our angel and due 7/23/15

  • Dr.LorettaDr.Loretta member
    edited December 2014

    The others covered it pretty well, and showed some of the nuances and variations involved. In a nutshell:

    -Birth parents can sign TPR anywhere from before birth to a certain period of time after birth or discharge. It's state-specific. Once they sign, there is usually a time period (hours to days) where they can change their mind. Our state had a 30 day period, the state next door was 72 hours.

    -Birth fathers are (sadly) sometimes not in the picture, and their TPR is also handled differently depending on the state. In some states they're more or less ignored, while in other states the courts require that reasonable effort has been made to find and notify them. Then a process has to be followed for the court to order TPR for them--anything from clauses in state laws to advertising in the paper to legal summonses.

    Essentially once that TPR revocation window closes, it's just a matter of time before finalization. During that time, there are post-placement visits to make sure everyone is transitioning, and a lot of paperwork so you can go in front of a judge for 5 minutes to make it legal! There are cases where the birthparent can show coercion or other legal reasons they shouldn't have made an adoption plan, but that's pretty rare.

  • In PA, where we live, there is a 30 day revocation period after the birth parents sign the TPR, during which they can change their minds for any reason at all.  Then, after the 30 days are up, the attorney files to have the birth parent's rights legally terminated at a hearing, where, technically, the birth parents could fight the ruling and claim coercion.  This pretty much never happens.  

    After that hearing, the attorney requests a court date for a finalization hearing, where the adoptive parents are granted full legal custody of the child (up to that point, the agency, if you went that route, is listed as the legal guardian, with the adoptive parents having custodial rights and medical power of attorney).  In all, our agency-facilitated adoption took 18 months to be finalized, with another 20 weeks before we received a birth certificate listing us as the parents.  
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