General Question

essieness's avatar

If a pregnant woman signs adoption papers to give up her baby to a designated family, can she change her mind and keep it once the baby is born?

Asked by essieness (7698points) May 8th, 2009

If it matters, this is in Texas.

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24 Answers

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

It’s happened before.

asmonet's avatar

I’m pretty sure you can, but it is going to get messy.

essieness's avatar

Oh it’s not me… Someone else I know.

Dr_C's avatar

I’m pretty sure it’s all up in the air until she hands over the kid….

asmonet's avatar

@essieness: I didn’t think it was. ;)

crisw's avatar

Yes, although the specific rules vary by state, with most states requiring at least two or three days waiting time between the birth of the child and the signing away of the birthmother’s rights. In some states, it’s even longer. In California, for example, the birthmother can take as long as she wants to sign over her rights! This means she can reclaim her child at any time before signing the papers- and it does happen.

crisw's avatar

Oh- I also see this is in Texas- the relinquishment period in Texas is 60 days. That is, the birthmother can sign over her parental rights to the baby after 48 hours, but she has 60 days to change her mind.

janbb's avatar

I had a friend who adopted a baby from Texas. The baby’s father and grandmother sued for custody and the court awarded the baby to them. I’m not sure what the time frame was but I think they (my friends) had had the baby a few months. I know it’s not exactly the same stituation, but I would think the mother does have the right to change her mind. There is a period of time before the adoption is final.

skfinkel's avatar

I can only imagine the heartbreak of the family to whom the baby was promised. It would seem most kind to not sign papers and get the adoption started unless that is the honest plan—and not take advantage of people who have already probably gone through a great deal of pain and loss.

bea2345's avatar

It depends upon the jurisdiction. In Trinidad and Tobago, a child cannot be “signed over” before birth. After birth, the mother relinquishes her parental rights to the Adoption Board, and prospective adopters must deal with that body.

Darwin's avatar

Yes, the birthmother can change her mind within 60 days of relinquishing her rights, as @crisw says. That is one of the reasons we chose to adopt through Lutheran Social Services. Birthmothers get counseling and support from whenever they contact the agency, to be certain that they are making the right choice for them. If they decide against adoption, LSS teaches the mothers life skills so they can cope with motherhood. Also, birth parents and adoptive parents are encouraged to get to know each other and to interact.

Even after placement with the adoptive parents, the adoption is not final for 6 months so the baby could still be removed from the adoptive home, but not necessarily returned to the birthparents.

SuperMouse's avatar

My brother and his wife adopted a baby, loved him, bonded with him, and were his parents for two weeks when the mother changed her mind. It was a horrible ordeal for them. So yes, the birth mother can change her mind.

cdwccrn's avatar

Very sad for all when that happens.

crisw's avatar


Yep, happened to my sister as well.

AstroChuck's avatar

@crisw- In California a birthmother may sign a waiver that relinquishes her parental rights. It takes effect three days after it is signed. After that the child is a ward of the state. If there is an adoption in progress the child is placed with the adopting party and six months later the child can be declared theirs.

SuperMouse's avatar

@crisw I felt so awful for them when it happened. I don’t think many people realized that they lost their first child, and therefore didn’t expect them to be hurting and grieve at all. I found the way people reacted to their loss very unkind.

crisw's avatar


Yes, but the point is she doesn’t have to sign it in three days- that’s the soonest she can sign it, If she doesn’t sign, she can take the baby back- and she has as long as she wants to sign.

AstroChuck's avatar

@crisw- Actually, I believe that California gives the mother 30 days to change her mind unless she signs the waiver.

crisw's avatar


I did a little research, and apparently the laws have changed since we tried to adopt several years ago. It is now 30 days in CA; when we tried to adopt it was six months.

casheroo's avatar

So, even after a mother relinqishes her rights, she can change her mind within a certain time period?? :(

AstroChuck's avatar

@crisw- We adopted in 2000 and it was the same as now.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

There is a time period where the birth mother can change their mind. It varies from 12 to 24 months in different states. I work with someone who paid a lot of money they couldn’t really afford to adopt a child, only to have the birth mother take the baby back after a year. It was horrible for the child and the adoptive parents. The adoptive parents were out the legal fees as well as the birth mother’s medical expense, not to mention everything they bought for the nursery, etc. The birth mother was not obligated to refund the parents her medical expenses.

casheroo's avatar

@PandoraBoxx That is disturbing. I can’t believe she is held liable for her own medical expenses if she keeps the baby. I’m so sorry for your coworker :(

miranda365's avatar

Look I’m 13 and I’m adopted the last thing you want to do is go andtake back a child you already granted to another person. To answer your question though yes because once I wanted to try and find my mother and my parents had to think about it because they were scared that mine would want to take me back. But please stay in contact with your child so you don’t have to take them away from the family they fell in love with I wish I had contact with mine my brother does and he if perfectly happy knowing his birth mother still wants somthing to do with him.

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