What To Know About Relinquishing Your Parental Rights With Adoption


Relinquishment refers to the time in which you sign relinquishment papers terminating your parental rights to your baby thus allowing the adoptive parents to adopt your child.

First and foremost, know that you are still your baby’s Mother until you sign those papers terminating your parental rights. You can change your mind about signing these papers and placing your child for adoption at any point!

When and where can I relinquish?

Laws regarding when and where a mother can sign relinquishment papers vary by state and various adoption agencies and adoption attorneys have their own procedures within their state’s laws so you should ask your adoption attorney or adoption social worker for the specific laws and regulations regarding your own state but it is definitely something to think about and prepare for so it doesn’t sneak upon you. Some states allow birthmothers to relinquish a day or two after birth before being discharged from the hospital while other states require birthmothers to wait longer. Some birthmothers sign relinquishment papers while still in the hospital, others sign in an office at their adoption agency or adoption attorney’s office while some states require birthmothers to sign relinquishment papers in a courtroom.

How will I feel?

Undoubtedly, signing those papers is emotional and you are sure to feel a roller coaster of emotions. As much as you try to prepare for this moment, it’s one of those moments that is hard to prepare for but there are a few things to keep in mind.

1. Be gentle on yourself as you experience these emotions. Know this is going to be an emotional time.

2. Have supportive people who love you surrounding you. While others may not be able to actually be present when you sign the papers, have them there waiting. You will need supportive people around you during this time.

3. You may wish to spend some one on one time with your baby directly before or after signing those papers so you can have some private time to say “see you later.”

4. Do not rush. Take your time and don’t sign any papers until you are certain that you wish to move forward with the adoption.

5. Do not let anyone push you into signing those papers until you are ready.

Revocation Period

Some states have a pre-determined allotted amount of time in which you can change your mind and reclaim your child which is known as a revocation period. This varies from state to state and can be anywhere from twenty four hours after signing relinquishment papers to twelve days after, or even a month after depending on the state in which you sign relinquishment papers. In some states, there is no revocation period; once you sign those papers it is final.

Find out the laws in your state, ask many questions to the professionals handling your adoption, and be as positive as possible that you do want to sign those papers before you do.