Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Feb 4, 2020

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The natural or adoptive parents generally have a limited window of time in which to change his or her mind, if there is an opportunity to do so at all. The specific amount of time will vary from state to state. 

The Rules for Adoption

When birth parents decide to give up their children for adoption, they must sign adoption paperwork or there may be a hearing in which parental rights are terminated. This depends on whether a child is given up as a baby or an infant or as an older child, and depending on the laws of the state. 

When an infant is given up for adoption, the birth parents usually terminate their rights by signing over the rights to the new adoptive parents. In some cases, once these papers are signed, the parent may no longer change his or her mind. In other cases, a waiting period exists and during this waiting period, the birth parent may change his/her mind, stop the adoption from being finalized, and resume responsibility for the child.

The time period within which the biological parent can revoke his or her consent is generally fairly short, usually 48 to 72 hours after birth, unless the parents live in a state that follows the Uniform Adoption Act. The Uniform Adoption Act allows a mother eight days from birth to revoke her consent. After the waiting period, the formal adoption will become final and the birth parents’ rights and obligations toward the child are terminated. 

If an older child is given up for adoption, on the other hand, most often this is done through a hearing, called a termination of parental rights hearing, prior to the adoption. Generally, it is not possible for the birth parent to change his or her mind once this hearing has occurred.

Getting Help

If you are involved in an adoption, you should make sure that you have representation from a good lawyer. An attorney can help you understand the adoption laws in your state and he or she will do everything possible to protect your rights.