May 17th, 2007
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This question recently came to me via email from an expectant mother considering adoption and I thought it was important enough to bring to the attention of all expectant mothers considering adoption.

I am considering placing my child for adoption and am wondering how long I have to change my mind and get my daughter back once I sign papers?

Ok, first of all, if you are already thinking that you might want to take your daughter back, don’t sign those papers! Do not let an adoption agency, a family member, friend, partner, boyfriend, husband, prospective adoptive parent, or anyone else talk you into signing those papers either!

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If you are already thinking that you might want to take her back once you sign, why not take her home after she is born and parent her for a few days? If it doesn’t work out and you still think that adoption is the best option for you; then you haven’t lost anything, you’ve only gained a little extra time with your baby. Most adoptive parents would still happily take a baby that is a few weeks or a month old and if they don’t then that is their loss and probably means that they were not the right family for your baby.

Now, as to how long you actually have to change your mind after you have signed relinquishment papers, that varies from state to state.

In some states, you can not even sign relinquishment papers for a certain amount of time after the birth of the child. For example, you can’t sign for 72 hours in Arizona. The revocation period (time you have to change your mind) varies from state to state as well. In some states, like my home state of South Carolina, you have no revocation period. In other states you have a longer revoke period, like Delaware which allows birth parents 12 days to revoke their consent. But be warned that revoking your consent is not always as easy as it sounds.

Find out the laws in your state, ask many questions, and be as positive as possible that you do want to sign those papers before you do. Don’t let anyone pressure you into signing them sooner than you feel comfortable.


For more on signing relinquishment papers and the law check out the links below:
Signing Relinquishment papers
Statues at a Glance

4 Responses to “What if I Change my Mind?”

  1. Deb Donatti says:

    Excellent information Coley.

  2. jpdakota says:

    “if you are already thinking that you might want to take your daughter back, don’t sign those papers!”
    No truer words were ever written.

  3. Coley S. says:

    Thanks Deb and Jpdakota!

  4. Heather Lowe says:

    Great post. Important for women to know that when they contest an adoption, the presumption of “fitness to parent” is almost always with the adopting parents. Despite all the pre-birth talk about selflessness, if you consider entrusting your baby to others and then change your mind, you’re a bad mom. There is also the matter of finances – adopting aprents are almost always wealthier. And they’re married, so preference is given to a two-parent home.

    If you’re in doubt, DON’T SIGN.

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