It is totally within a pregnant woman’s rights to change her mind about placing her child for adoption and to cancel the adoption. This is one of the biggest decisions of her life, and confusion and mixed emotions are common. It is illegal in all states for a woman to terminate her parental right and relinquish her child for adoption before the birth. She can make plans to do so, and can even accept monetary support from prospective adoptive parents (depending on the state where she lives) prior to birth, but she still has the complete right to change her mind until after the birth and the legal time period has expired. (This period is different in all states. See the Creating a Family Domestic adoption page for more details.)
There are certain warning signs that may indicate a birthmother (or birth parents) is more likely to change her mind and decide to parent. This is obviously an inexact science, so take them as red flags only.
- An on again off again relationship with the birthfather of her child. She may make the adoption decision during an “off” period, but change her mind when they are back “on”.
- Birth grandmother (especially the expectant woman’s mother) is not in favor of adoption.
- Has not shared her adoption plans with her family or the birth father.
- Does not take advantage of counseling or has not had it offered.
- Very young birth mother. May not be clued in to the reality of single parenting.
- Is a high school dropout or has no interest in post-secondary education or training.
- The match is made early in the pregnancy.
- Not prompt in her responses to the adoption agency or adoption attorney’s request for information.
- Conversations with the adoption agency or adoption attorney are focused more on “What can I get” rather than “How can I find the best family for my child.”
- Has not made plans for getting on with her life after the adoption. If she is not making plans for going on with her life without her child after the adoption, she may not be sure she is going through with the adoption.
- The baby is due between Thanksgiving and the end of December. The holiday season is an emotional and family centered time of year, and thus it is tempting for a woman to be swayed to parent her child rather than place for adoption if the child is born during this time.
- Seems too sure and confident of her decision. If she sounds rehearsed or scripted, she likely is.
Image credit: US Air Force
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