An Overview of Adoption Laws in the us

Imagine this scenario, a couple adopts an infant in any state of the United States. They begin to raise that child and all is fine. Then the adoptive parents receive a notice they are attend a hearing regarding their status as adoptive parents being legal. They attend the hearing and are told that one of the child’s birthparents (or birthgrandparents)did not sign off on the release papers. The couple is forced to relinquish the child to the other family.

If you think this scenario does not happen in the United States, you are mistaken. Not only has it occurred, but the chances of it occurring are strong. Most states have laws that mandate that both of the birthparents relinquish all rights when placing a child up for adoption. However, the loopholes to this occur if the birthmother does not know the child’s father (or knows and does not reveal his identity). In that case, once the birthfather finds out, he can legally seek custody of the child. Another related case is when the birthparent is a minor. If the release documents are not signed by both the birthparents and their parents, then the “grandparents” may also have legal recourse to seek custody of the child.

The existence of these loopholes in US adoption laws are wrong. If a child is given up for adoption, then is adopted, then the adoptive parents should have sole custody of that child. It should not be the case where they are allowed to raise the child, develop a bond and have the bond severed by birthparents or birthgrandparents. It also should not matter if the birthmother is a minor. If she is old enough to get pregnant, then she is old enough to give the child up for adoption.

Along this same area is that of open adoption. The idea behind an open adoption is that the adoptive parents allow the birthparent(s) to have a part in the child’s life as they grow up. It basically amounts to adopting not only a child, but also an entire other family as well. This is a ludicrous idea that many states not only support, but also have laws mandating the right for it to happen. While it may be argued that this allows for access to any possible medical problems that could be genetic to be found easily; the advancement of medicine is such that this argument is nothing more than an excuse. Once a child is placed for adoption and is adopted by loving parents, then the child should be theirs and theirs alone.

A final common aspect of US adoption laws is the matter regarding foster care. In many states, potential adoptive parents must first serve as foster parents for a period of years before they are allowed to adopt a child. This basically amounts to children who fail to develop a bond with anyone as they do not know if they are going to be taken away from the foster parents. It also has a similar effect on the foster parents because they want to develop a bond, but are uncertain as to whether they will lose the child.

US adoption laws, while being well-meaning, have major flaws. If every child truly deserves a good home, then things need changing. The first change is in the rights of adoptive parents and birthparents/birthgrandparents. Once a child is placed for adoption, then all birthparent and birthparent rights should be severed. Next, the practice of open adoption must be curtailed. It is confusing enough for a child to potentially live with parents to whom they do they do not bear a resemblance. The children should not be subject to having birthparent(s) around to confuse them as to who their parents are. Finally, the foster care system should be geared to getting children who will never return to their birthfamilies into a home with parents who will properly love them rather than than bounce them from foster family to another foster family.