How to Overturn an Adoption

Adoption embodies a deep sense of social purpose the aim of which is to provide a stable and loving home for a child. Article 3 of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child provides that the best interest of the child should be the primary consideration in all matters concerning the child. This provision extends to matters of adoption, including the overturning or rescission of a finalised adoption.

While the judicial system does allow for the overturning of adoptions, legislation dictating the reasons and circumstances required for a court to rescind an adoption is very strict. The main factor considered by the court in its deliberations with regards to overturning an adoption order is the best interests of the child. The best interests of the child presently and in the future is paramount.

Courts may be petitioned by natural parents, adoptive parents or the adopted child to overturn an adoption. In the case of the birth parents imploring the court to annul an adoption order the consent of the adoptive parents is required. Despite having consent of both the natural and the birth parents, some courts will nevertheless refuse to overturn an adoption.

The reasons raised by petitioners for the revocation of an adoption are diverse. The birth parents’ improved financial and social position could enable them to provide and care for the child where they were previously unable to do so. The relationship between the adoptive parents and the child may have deteriorated to such an extent that it no longer benefits either of the parties, or the adoptive parents are no longer able to care for the child. The adoptive child may want to overturn the adoption because he wants to be emancipated from his adoptive parents or because he wants to inherit from his natural parents.

Other grounds on which an adoption may be challenged is if consent to the adoption was obtained as a result of duress, fraud or coercion or if the adopted child suffered from a severe mental illness of which the adoptive parents were not made aware. Petitioners must present compelling reasons to the court for the reversal of an adoption to be successful. If a bid for the rescinding of an adoption is successful, the adopted child’s amended birth certificate is altered to reflect the natural parents of the child as the lawful parents. In addition, rescission restores the child the position he would have been in had no adoption order been made.

In order for any petition to overturn an adoption to be successful and to ensure the protection of the rights of the parents and the child, the services of a specialist attorney in Family and Adoption law is imperative. An attorney’s proficiency will ensure that the correct procedures as required by relevant states are followed in these matters.