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Understanding Your Rights

Understanding Your Rights

As a birth mother considering adoption, you have certain rights. The following explains what those rights are if you or the adoptive parents have lived in Oregon or Washington for at least 6 months. We can discuss your specific rights with you in more detail if you contact us.

Right to Parent Your Child

You have the right to decide to keep and parent your child at any time up until you give your irrevocable consent to the adoption. You do not have to give your consent until you feel ready. This means that as long as you have not signed your consent, you may still change your mind and keep your child, even if you have chosen an adoptive family and even after the birth.

Once you sign your consent, your parental rights are terminated. It is extremely rare that birth parents who change their mind after this point are able to have a child returned to them. However, you will still have the right to have ongoing contact with the child as described in your Open Adoption Agreement.

Right to Counseling about Your Options

Adoption is only one option available to pregnant women. You have a right to discuss and consider all of your options before deciding whether or not to place your child for adoption.

Right to Independent Legal Representation

Birth parents and adoptive parents are always represented by different attorneys so that both sides are equally protected.

One of the things your attorney will do is carefully review the adoption consent documents with you before the birth, and again just before you sign them, to make sure you fully understand them and to answer any questions you have.

Right to Choose and Meet the Adoptive Family

You will be able to see profiles of potential adoptive parents and choose those who match the kind of family you want for your child. You will never be asked to place your child with a family you are not comfortable with.

Right to Adoption Counseling

Even when you are sure that adoption is the right decision for you and your child, it can still be a complicated and emotional process. While you are never required to go to counseling, speaking to a counselor may help you deal with and understand your feelings.

In Oregon, adoptive parents are legally required to pay for several counseling sessions for you before and after the birth, and many are willing to pay for more. In Washington, adoptive parents are not required to pay for counseling, but many Open Adoption Agreements include options for counseling anyway.


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