Hurdles Parents Face When Trying to Finalize an Adoption

Adoption can be a long and stressful process for everyone involved. The adoption process can seem cumbersome and overly detailed but changing a child’s status is permanent. Everyone must be vetted and checked to protect children and put them in a position for the best outcomes. Legally stripping one parent of their rights to a child and giving those rights to another is both a legally and emotionally taxing process. Adoptive families struggle to understand why they must jump through so many hoops, but what can seem like unnecessary obstacles are fail-safe mechanisms meant to avoid obstacles that could derail the process. Once the adoption is finalized, the goal is to ensure everything has been done correctly so families can transition into their new roles with little to no issue.

The most common obstacles facing adoptive parents are:

Last-Minute Challenges by the Birth Parents: Adoptive parents always have a nagging fear that birth parents will change their minds at some point in the process. If birth parents change their minds, they may petition to reinstate their parental rights. While adoption laws are unambiguous and straightforward, birth mothers can sometimes change their minds once the child is born. Many states do not allow birth mothers to give consent until the baby has been born, but birth mothers can withdraw their consent at any point up until the adoption is finalized.

In California, birth parents have 30 calendar days after they’ve signed and given consent to change their mind in an independent adoption. If the birth parents signed a Waiver of the Right to Revoke Consent and a judge witnessed it, consent is irrevocable. If the same document was signed and witnessed by a social worker, birth parents have until the next business day to withdraw consent. If the adoption was an agency adoption, birth parents are allowed to revoke consent any time before the 10th day the adoption agency files relinquishment documents with the Department of Social Services (DSS) or before DSS issues a written acknowledgment of relinquishment papers.

Consent Issues from a Putative Father: A man without a clarified legal relationship with a minor child but has claimed paternity is considered a putative father. When an unwed mother decides to place her child for adoption, it can be complicated if the birth father is unknown. A single woman can place a child for adoption, but her consent will not prevent a known or unknown birth father from stepping during the process to claim their parental right to the child.

Every state treats the rights of a putative or unwed father according to the laws in that state. California doesn’t have special registries and plans for putative fathers. The birth father will have to prove he has a right to the child by signing their birth certificate and preparing to pay child support. The father would also have to have filed a court order to establish paternity if it was not already done. Putative fathers have a strong claim if they can prove they are well-intentioned.

Multiracial and Ethnicity Concerns: Placing children in loving homes is the primary goal of adoption, but many communities have struggled to decide how they feel about children from one race being placed with adoptive parents of another. While federal law settled the issue in 1994 with the Multiethnic Placement Act (MEPA), ethnic and racial issues can still cause problems. The cases are raised in communities of color and shrinking ethnic communities. It can be a sensitive and challenging topic, but with a reputable agency and experience attorney, families can navigate any concerns.

Creative Family Solutions Provides Thorough Adoption Assistance

Adoption doesn’t have to be an emotionally draining process. If you surround yourself with knowledgeable and experienced professionals, you can expect a positive outcome. Both birth parents and adoptive parents can benefit from legal counsel. There are hurdles you can face before your adoption is final. The Roseville adoption attorneys at Cianci Law, PC, can help you navigate the adoption process right away. Call us at (916) 797-1575 or reach out online using our contact portal.

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