Adoption Papers, Consent to the Adoption and Birth Mother Rights
If you’re considering “placing baby for adoption” in Florida, it’s important to fully understand the legal process that’s taking place when you sign the consent to adoption papers and complete your adoption plan. It’s also important for you to know and understand your rights as a birth parent. So let’s dive into the legal aspects of domestic adoption.
Adoption papers can mean a lot of different things. It could be referring to the intake forms that adoptive couples fill out when choosing to work with an adoption agency or law firm. It might mean the medical and personal background forms that expectant mothers fill out when making an adoption plan. But for the sake of this post, we’re going to discuss adoption papers in the context of the consent to adoption document.
After the mother gives birth to the child, she must wait 48 hours before she can consent to the adoption. The exception to this is if she is released from the hospital before the 48 hours are up; in that case, she may consent before the 48 hour period. If she is released early, it must be in writing, either in her patient chart or release paperwork, and must come from a licensed hospital or birth center.
Consent must be given by a sworn document in front of two witnesses and a notary, who will notarize the consent. Once the consent is given, it is legally binding. If the child is a newborn or infant under the age of 6 months, the mother cannot change her mind later.
The only way the consent could be withdrawn is if the mother petitions the court to withdraw the consent and can show that she was under duress or the consent was obtained by fraud. If the child is older than 6 months, the mother has a revocation period of 3 days during which she can revoke her consent.
Birth Mother Rights
It’s important to remember that there are no documents that legally obligate a birth parent to place her baby for adoption prior to signing the Consent to the Adoption papers. This means if you give birth to your baby, and decide that you want to become a parent, you can do so. You do not need to sign the consent documents, even though you’ve made an adoption plan.
Florida adoption law is designed to provide rights to both the birth mother and the adoptive parent(s). The laws are meant to protect both parties and ensure that adoption is entered into willingly but also recognize that once a child is placed with an adoptive family, it is not in the child’s or the adoptive family’s best interest to allow a birth mother to change her mind.
That being said, adoption doesn’t necessarily mean the end of your relationship with your child. Many adoptions today are open adoptions, meaning there’s some level of contact between the child, the adoptive family and the birth parent(s) after placement. Every adoption situation is unique, so each relationship is different. But if you’d like to have periodic contact with the adoptive family or receive updates and photos, that’s within your rights and can be stipulated when you create your adoption plan.
Are you pregnant in Florida and considering adoption for your baby? Do you need someone to talk to? Don’t hesitate to reach out to The Law Offices of Berkowitz & White PLLC. We provide free, confidential Florida pregnancy counseling, legal expertise and support to women all throughout the state of Florida. If you choose to make an adoption plan, we’ll ensure that you obtain the expectant birth mother support and assistance you need during this time. We’ll also help you find adoptive parents in Florida that fit your hopes and dreams for your child.
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