Understanding the Voluntary Termination of Parental Rights

November 30th, 2009

Sigining PapersIn the world of adoption lingo, Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) is a frequently discussed phrase. Unfortunately, as laws differ from state to state, understanding the process can be difficult. It's hard to research the topic in places like our forums as each individual adoption scenario will have its own unique outcome regarding the process of terminating the rights of a mother and father. I thought it would benefit you if we looked at the topic as it affects you and your child. In the simplest of terms, the Termination of Parental Rights is a legal process that severs the ties from the biological family and gives all parenting rights to the adoptive family. It gets more complex than that when you… [more]

Accidentally On Purpose

August 12th, 2009

If adoption is all over my television, it seems to be quite the same for the topic of unplanned pregnancy. CBS is bringing an unplanned pregnancy to Prime Time this fall. Straying a bit from the typical knocked-up teen scenario, the expectant mother in question is a full-fledged adult. Interesting! The title made me chuckle: Accidentally on Purpose. Jenna Elfman plays the character in question, finding herself pregnant after a one-night-stand with a much younger guy. She apparently decides to "keep" the baby and, in the words of the site, "the guy." The word keep was also the choice of the network, not what I would have said. I'm intrigued by the premise of the show. I'm sure that other mothers experiencing an unplanned pregnancy… [more]

You’re Not Carrying Someone Else’s Child

May 31st, 2009

I have talked with many an expectant mother over the past few years. For those mothers who are actively pursuing an adoption plan for their child, I have seen something disturbing crop up over and over. These well-intentioned mothers often refer to the child growing within their own uterus as the potential adoptive parent's baby. Don't get me wrong: I understand what they're doing. I understand it because I did it. I was reading back through some of my journal entries during the time that I was pregnant with the daughter that I relinquished for adoption. Sometimes, though not all the time, I referred to her as "their baby" or "her baby." I figure there must be a few reasons for this to happen. 1. The expectant… [more]

Shoul You Make This Decision Alone

April 30th, 2009

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I was encouraged by people who were not involved in my immediate life to make the decision to parent or place alone. What they meant was that I shouldn't make a decision to parent based on whether or not I assumed that my boyfriend at the time would stick around. I was advised to act as though I was going to be doing everything on my own and go from there. Let me tell you: that's bad advice. While it may feel like you are going through this unplanned pregnancy 100% alone, in the end, that's not the case. The decisions that you make now will affect everyone in your family: those living now and those yet to come. Parenting or… [more]

Signing before Birth?

January 7th, 2008
Categories: Adoption Laws

In a recent post in the Hoping to Adopt blog, Faith discusses the fact that in a few states (Alabama, Hawaii, and Washington State) expectant mothers can sign relinquishment papers terminating her parental rights before birth. Although it is legal in those states, it is not required and that is something that you as an expectant mother considering adoption should be aware of. In Alabama, an expectant mother can sign relinquishment papers while she is pregnant but they must be signed and confirmed before a probate judge. Then has five days to withdraw the consent after the baby is born. In Hawaii, an expectant mother can sign relinquishment papers after the sixth month of pregnancy, but she has to sign a reaffirmation after… [more]

What Can I ask Adoptive Parents?

October 16th, 2007

When I was recently browsing the unplanned pregnancy forums, I came across a thread about what questions are or are not appropriate for an expectant mother to be asking prospective adoptive parents that she is meeting with as she considers them to be parents for her baby. She also asked if the adoptive parents are unable to have children, is it ok for her to ask why. My personal thoughts on this subject are yes, as an expectant mother making an adoption plan; you should be allowed to ask just about anything! These are the people you are thinking of placing your child with for life! It’s a huge decision and you should be able to ask them whatever you need to… [more]


September 27th, 2007

As an expectant mother considering adoption, you may be seeing some different terminology used as you are researching. Today, we’ll explore the differences in some of those. Birthmother/Placing Mother You may be reading letters addressed “dear birthmother,” looking at areas on agency websites that say “for birthmothers,” and hear the word birthmother used in regards to you. It might all be a little confusing. Are you a birthmother? No, not yet! And you may not become one at all if you do not follow through with an adoption plan. Technically, you do not become a birthmother until you sign the relinquishment papers terminating your parental rights. Until that moment, you are simply a good mother or a good expectant mother considering the adoption option for her child. Placing… [more]

Adoption Terms and Lingo Part 5: Different Types of Adoption

March 2nd, 2007

Adoption Terms and Lingo Part 1 Part 2 Home Studies Part 3 Relinquishment Part 4 Birthmother and It’s Many Variations In Part 1 I briefly mentioned the different types of adoption, but let’s explore them each a little more closing to conclude this series. Let’s be backwards and start with closed adoption first as it is probably the easiest to define. Closed adoption is the type of adoption where you know nothing about your child. You don’t know anything about his or her family, where he/she is going, etc. Closed adoptions are typically associated more with adoptions in previous generations. It was simply the only choice for many older birthmoms. Any other type of adoption was unheard of. Nowadays… [more]

Adoption Terms and Lingo Part 4: Birthmother and it’s Many Variations

March 1st, 2007

Adoption Terms and Lingo Part 1 Part 2 Home Studies Part 3 Relinquishment You may be noticing a lot of “titles” in your research. Birthmother, First mother, Lifemother, Natural Mother, Biological Mother – What do they all mean? Why are their so many different titles? It can be a little confusing at first. As mentioned in Part 1, a birthmother is defined as: Refers to the people who biologically created the child. Before I delve into explanations of the different names, let’s remind ourselves that an expectant mother is not a birthmother. A woman does not become a birthmother until after her rights are relinquished. According to Bill Bentzen’s Planning an Adoption: Please note that until there is an adoption, the person planning adoption is referred… [more]

Adoption Terms and Lingo: Part 3 Relinquishment

February 28th, 2007

Adoption Terms and Lingo Part 1 Part 2: Home Studies Not too long ago, I wrote about relinquishment but feel it’s necessary to include it again in this series. The definition of relinquishment is: In the context of adoption, this term generally refers to a birthparent voluntarily giving up his or her parental rights to a child, so that someone else can adopt him or her. The term "Relinquishment" is also very commonly used to refer to the actual relinquishment documents that are signed by the birth parents as part of the relinquishment process. -- Source A few key points to remember about relinquishment:

  • The laws vary from state to state, in some states there is a mandatory waiting period