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Before an adoption can move forward, birth parents have to consent to it. While this may sound obvious, it’s a very important step, especially if parents don’t necessarily agree that they want to give the child up for adoption. Once it’s done, it’s legally binding, so getting that consent up front is crucial. Parents on both sides must know exactly what it means, how it works, and the impact it has on their personal rights.

What you may be wondering, though, is if the birth parent is able to revoke that consent at a later date. Even if it’s done in writing and witnessed properly, can the parents backtrack if they decide they want to keep the child?

Yes, but it can be hard. Certain circumstances may need to be present — if the initial consent was obtained in some fashion through fraud, for example — and there are strict rules that must be followed.

For instance, in California, there is a 30-day window. Other states have longer windows, like Mississippi, which allows for six months. In California, though, parents have to make that decision far more quickly.

The goal of these rules is to keep parents from becoming involved and then backing out constantly. The state only wants parents who are serious about giving a child up to volunteer to do so. On the other side, there are parents who are serious about adopting, and they could lose out if they become connected to a child and start the process, only to find out that the child is no longer available.

If you’re considering adoption from either side, be sure you fully understand the legal process, every step that must be taken, and your rights.

Source: FindLaw, “Consent to Adoption: What Biological Parents Need to Know,” accessed April 21, 2017