Exploring the option of placing your child with an adoptive family requires a lot of study, analysis, knowledge, and decision-making. In order to make an informed decision, it is crucial that you learn all you can about processes, procedures, laws, and possible outcomes and consequences, as it directly relates to you situation. One of the many things you should learn more about—particularly if you’re considering adoption—is the revocation period. But before you learn about the revocation period, it is important to fully understand the concept of consent.
When the adoption process takes place, consent must be given by the parent or guardian of the child, or by someone who represents the parents. The federal government doesn’t regulate the laws of consent relating to adoption. The individual state determines it. However, in most states, when consent is given, it has to be expressed in writing and notarized or witnessed to an official of the courts—a judge, for example. While this doesn’t completely eliminate fraud and coercion, it helps to diminish it.
If the child is of the age of consent, he or she must—in most states—also give consent before the adoption can take place. In some states, the age of consent is twelve. In other states, it is fourteen years of age. However, if the child is deemed to lack the mental capacity to consent, the court can take on that responsibility, determining what is best for that particular child. Some states—Colorado, for instance—requires that every child have counseling before he or she can give proper consent.
Consent, however, can be executed by a judge or a court also. This would be as a result of the court or a judge finding the parents unfit to parent—usually due to neglect, abuse, or some other behavior that is deemed to be unfit. Even so, there is a state-specific process that must be followed in order for parental consent to be executed. Check with your state to learn about the laws and guidelines that are applicable to you and your situation.
After you’ve given your consent for your child to be adopted into an adoptive family, you will have a revocation period. A revocation period is a set timeframe in which the parents of a child within the adoption process can change their minds, revoke consent, regain parental control, and stop or reverse adoption proceedings or decisions—unless already finalized. This is set forth so that the parents can change their minds—this is especially helpful if the mother or father has been pressured into making a decision he or she didn’t want to make—and protect parental rights. It also protects the child from experiencing unnecessary traumatic events, such as being placed with a new family without proper cause or reason. In addition to birth parents and the children, it is a benefit to the potential adoptive parents. It gives them the peace of mind that the process is progressing legally and properly.
Just like with giving and establishing consent, a period of possible revocation varies with each state. If you have begun the placement process, but you want to revoke your consent, you generally have from twelve hours to fifteen days—depending on the state— before your consent and the adoption can become finalized and official. That means that you can change your mind during this set timeframe. Before you begin the placement process, it is important to fully understand your state’s timeframe for revoking consent. It will help you to be prepared for what may happen during the long and arduous adoption process.
Sometimes revoking consent isn’t as easy as that. Idaho, for instance, requires that when a parent revokes consent for the adoption, he or she must reimburse the adoptive parents for any expenses or amounts that were used on the parent’s or the child’s behalf. And remember that consent cannot be changed once a court issues a final adoption decree for the child.
Familiarizing yourself with your state’s laws will help you tremendously as you explore your options and navigate through the adoption and legal process. Remember that after you give consent for an adoption, you have a small window of time to revoke your consent. If that’s what you feel is best for your child, it is still a viable option. Give yourself the power to make an informed decision. Give yourself the opportunity to make the decision that’s right for you and your child.
Note: Our authors are dedicated to honest, engaged, informed, intelligent, and open conversation about adoption. The opinions expressed here may not reflect the views of Adoption.com.