Can the biological parents come back to take the child after adoption?

Can the biological parents come back to take the child after adoption? 

Best Answer

  • No. When the adoption takes place the parental rights of the birth parents are severed. After the adoption is finalized, the adoptive parents are legally responsible for the child. A birth parent cannot sign the adoption papers and then come back and say they regret their decision and now want to keep the child.

    Many adoptive parents are fearful that somehow they will lose their child to the birth parents. There are many reasons that the fear exists, but if the adoption is handled correctly there will not be any issues. Some Hollywood movies have played on the dramatic aspects of a few adoption cases. There have been a number of high profile adoption custody battles that have further instilled that fear.

    The only cases that I can think of where a set of birth parents have taken back a child they placed for adoption are based on a biological father that was not part of the adoption and who did not legally sign away his right to the child. Under those circumstances, the birth father would have more of a right to the child than the adoptive parents. That is, if the birth father wants custody of the child and is willing to take the adoptive parents to court for it.

    I understand being fearful of losing an adopted child. I'm an adoptee, and I saw that fear in my mom's eyes when my little sister was a baby. It took her several months to get over the fear that her birth mom would take her back. I can't imagine anything more devastating in life than losing a child. As long as you make sure the adoption is done by someone with experience and both biological parents sign to terminate their parental rights, then you won't have anything to worry about.


  • The basic legal answer is “no.” Once an adoption is facilitated by a licensed adoption agency or an adoption lawyer and is signed off by a judge, the adoption is finalized.  The adoptive parents are put on the child’s birth certificate and the original birth certificate is sealed. For an adoption to precede to finalization a lot of things have to occur in a certain order.

    Here are several things that the adoption agency and adoption lawyers will make sure do or do not happen to ensure everything is on the up and up and is totally finalized.

    1) They will make sure the birth mother and/or birthfather were not coerced or tricked into placing their child for adoption and relinquishing their parental rights.  Private adoptions are done at the free-will of the birth parents. They have to make the choice to place their child for adoption. Children in foster care will be under the supervision of the state/county and may be available for adoption after all paths to reunification have been explored.

    2) Agencies and lawyers will make sure that every attempt has been make to  reach maternal or paternal registries in the event that there is someone  actually looking for the child. This may happen in the case that the birth mother became pregnant by an unknown man or never told the father that he had a child.

    3)  The social workers and lawyers will oversee every detail of the mountain of paperwork that needs to be completed to ensure a completed adoption is “bullet-proof.”  After they submit the packet of papers to the court for finalization, a judge will verify that all is in order before he puts his signature of approval for finalization on the document.

    A licensed adoption agency or an adoption lawyer will make sure every “t” is crossed and every “I” is dotted. Please realize that the above mentioned things can only occur after the perspective mother gives birth, after she has signed the parental termination papers, and after the revocation period (time in which she can legally reclaim her parental rights) for her state has expired. Any time prior to giving birth and before the revocation period expires she can revoke the adoption plan and decide to parent the child. Once those three things are done, she cannot take the baby back.

    Adoption Laws -

    Map with Links to State-Specific Information about Adoption -

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