Thursday, March 31, 2011

Georgia's Adoption Revocation Period

 At the airport, on the way home to Utah!

One obstacle we expected to deal with when we found out we would be adopting a baby from Georgia was the 10-day revocation period that birthparents have after they sign relinquishment papers. Every state's adoption laws are different (anywhere from 24 hours to something like 6 months!!), but in Georgia birthparents have 10 whole days in which they can ponder the decision they've made and then have the right to say at any point during that time, "I changed my mind!" Just the thought of spending the majority or all of our trip there in such limbo was pretty scary. I understand the logic behind such laws, but at the same time I think that few women who are placing their baby for adoption are in any state of mind to make such life-altering decisions right after giving birth. And to have such a long period of time to do so is just emotional torture for everyone involved. The birthmother's hormones are going to be screaming "BABY!" even though she doesn't have a baby to care for. And postpartum depression can add to the confusion too and make decision-making even that more difficult.

I know some birthmothers who will agree with me that any revocation period - especially a long one - is just another emotional rollercoaster added to the time when they're already trying to recover from giving birth and grieve the loss of a child ... not a good time to be asked, "Are you sure about this?" I think adoption plans/decisions are best made well before the child is born. Still, a birthmother can't relinquish her parental rights until after the child is born... so naturally the revocation period is going to fall right during that emotionally tumultuous time since adoptions so often take place as soon after birth as possible.

Apparently, possible birthfathers can relinquish any rights they may or may not have before the baby is born, which to me is awesome and a great help during the adoption process. I actually don't want to talk too much about our birthfather situation, but I'll just say that it can be one of the most stressful issues to an adoptive couple when all possible birthfathers have not signed papers at the point of placement. Actually, it's probably one of the most stressful things for the birthmother too when an adoption plan is already in place and the biological father of the baby isn't certain or a possible birthfather all of a sudden wants to contest the adoption. There are times when birthfathers want to disrupt adoptions from happening simply out of spite for whatever falling out he and the birthmother had previously - not out of genuine love for the child involved. And that's just sad. In an ideal adoption situation, all possible birthfathers have been contacted and given an opportunity to sign relinquishment papers well before an adoption plan is made. This makes adoptions go much more smoothly, as sucky as it may be to have to contact all your sexual partners and let them know that they may or may not have a child on the way. Sucks, yes... but it's just one of the consequences.

As far as our situation is concerned, I'm pretty positive that there won't be any disruptions regarding finalization of the adoption of our baby boy. The revocation period has passed for the birthmother and the most likely birthfather... and LDS Family Services takes a pretty conservative/cautious approach to make sure any other possible birthfather scenarios are handled appropriately. There's still 6 months or so before everything is finalized - there are more home visits, interviews, attorney fees, government paperwork filing, court dates, and documents to be drawn up... but after the emotional garbage we were dragged through during placement, the rest will be a piece of cake. What a relief. Until then, the agency has legal custody of the child while we have physical custody.

All the legal mumbo jumbo is nonsense to me at this point, because I am just soooo in love with this baby of ours! So precious. So ridiculously adorable. *squeal!!!*

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