Adoption Why Do the Biological Parents Seem to Have More Rights Than the Adopting Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1283 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Children


There are approximately 120,000 adoptions in the United States each year, many of which are successfully completed (ABA, 1). However, while substantial amounts succeed, nearly twenty percent disrupt before legalization can occur (Groza and Rosenberg, 52). This is due, in part, to the high level of rights retained by the biological parents in adoption cases. This paper will discuss these rights, the court's reasoning for upholding these rights, and the consequences of such rights to adoptive parents. This will show that while adoptive parents do hold some right to their new child, the biological parent's have far more rights during the adoption process, and even following birth.

The area is which many adoptions are disrupted deals with the termination of parental rights (Groza and Rosenberg, 55). Each state has statuses which require the termination of parental rights, or an ending to the legal parent-child relationship between the biological parents and the child. Once consent for this termination has been given, or if parental rights are involuntarily revoked, the child is free to be adopted (National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information, 1).

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In many cases, the mother of the child may sign a consent form prior to the birth of the child. However, such consent is not a binding contract according to federal law (ABA, 4). Even after consent is given following birth, the mother has the right to revoke consent in every state. While state statutes vary on the length of time, the period is between 48 hours to 30 days (ABA, 5).

TOPIC: Term Paper on Adoption Why Do the Biological Parents Seem to Have More Rights Than the Adopting Parents Assignment

Furthermore, even if consent is given, and the revocation time has passed, the biological mother can still attempt revocation. In all states, as mentioned, a petition for adoption will not be granted unless a court can verify that the biological parents have relinquished rights. This requirement, however, hinges on the concept of "voluntary and informed" consent (Hollinger, 47). This requirement leaves much room for the biological mother to revoke consent far after the waiting period. If the biological mother can show, truthfully or through falsification, that her consent was given involuntarily, under duress, or without full information, she is able to revoke consent. This vague requirement gives the biological mother much room to negotiate the consent requirement.

The consequences for the adoptive parents can be devastating. In open adoption cases, where the adoptive parents have provided monetary support, physician care, and other necessities to the biological mother, a pre-birth consent is still not binding (ABA, 4). This means the time, money, and effort exerted by the adoptive parents may be for nothing, clearly showing the biological mother's rights to be valued higher than those of the adoptive parents. Even in agency adoptions, the adoptive parents are forced to relinquish the child if the biological parent revokes consent, even if the child has already been placed within the home (ABA, 3).

Additionally, federal law requires a biological father to consent to adoption, if the father is known. In cases where the father is not known, the adoption process may continue without consent (ABA, 4). However, if the biological father was not notified at the time of birth that the child was his, the biological father is allowed to contest the adoption up to six months following the biological mother's consent (ABA, 5). For adoptive parents, this means even a signed and agreed upon waiver of rights from the biological mother does not guarantee a permanent placement.

In recent years, a failure to obtain biological consent from the father has resulted I numerous high profile court cases, in which the biological father obtained custody of the child even after a long period of time. In Illinois, for example, a case came before the court in which a biological mother consented to the termination of her rights. However, the woman did not inform the biological father of her… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Adoption Why Do the Biological Parents Seem to Have More Rights Than the Adopting.  (2007, March 26).  Retrieved November 27, 2021, from

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"Adoption Why Do the Biological Parents Seem to Have More Rights Than the Adopting."  26 March 2007.  Web.  27 November 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Adoption Why Do the Biological Parents Seem to Have More Rights Than the Adopting."  March 26, 2007.  Accessed November 27, 2021.