What Happens When Birth Parents Want Their Child Back?

by Laura Christianson

The worst fear of every parent who adopts domestically is that a birth parent will decide he or she wants the child back. That’s exactly what happened in two custody battles that culminated Friday in two very different outcomes.

The first case involved a Florida boy, now 3 ½, whose birth mother placed him for adoption in May 2001, when he was two days old. A month before the adoption was supposed to be finalized, the boy’s biological father filed a motion demanding custody. At that time, the judge informed the adoptive parents that the birth father would likely gain custody.

The birth mother supported the adoption until it appeared the court might grant the birth father’s request for custody. In late December 2004, the birth mother was awarded custody (she lives in Illinois, is married to someone else and has an infant daughter) and the birth father was given liberal visitation rights. The adoptive parents appealed the ruling but the court took no action, so today, the little boy went to live with his biological mother.

The second case mirrors the first one: a birth mother made an adoption plan and placed her son with a Colorado couple when he was 3 days old. The boy is now 21 months old. Somewhere along the line (I don’t have the details but I assume it must have been fairly soon after the boy was born), the birthmother changed her mind and won rulings from judges in Missouri (her home state) and Colorado that her son be returned to her. The Colorado Supreme Court intervened and said that a District judge needed to decide what was in the “best interests” of the child in determining custody.

Wonder of wonders, the birth mother and adoptive parents agreed privately that the boy’s adoptive parents should continue their role as parents and his birth mother will move to Colorado to be near him and involved in critical decisions as he grows up. “He has three people who absolutely love him so much that they’d be willing to do anything,” said the boy’s biological mother.

A few reflections:

Adoptive parents tend to live in denial.

We yearn long and hard for a child. When it appears that we’re finally being given the opportunity to adopt one, we’re prepared to move mountains to assure that happens. Sometimes, that means ignoring the obvious. When biological parents challenge the adoption early on, we continue parenting “our” child in the desperate hope that the court system will miraculously change and grant us custody. After all, we’ve already jumped through so many hoops to bring “our” beloved child home. We are convinced that we will be better parents than the birth parents, and that once the child comes
to live in our home, he is ours, period. Our emotions and our love for the child overcome our common sense.

History proves that adoption laws almost always favor the biological parents.

It doesn’t matter whether the adoptive parents believe they’re better parents. It doesn’t matter what’s in “the best interests” of the child. It doesn’t matter whether the birth mother decides she needs to parent her child because she hates the birth father and can’t stand the thought of him regaining custody. It doesn’t matter whether the birth parents acted as if they could care less about their child when he was born, and suddenly, they decide they love him dearly. Adoption laws almost always favor the biological parents.

No matter how heart-wrenching it would be to return the child to his birth parents at the first sign of a court challenge, I believe it is in the best interest of the child to do so.

I often hear about adoptive parents who are embroiled in court battles for years in the desperate hope that they’ll be able to retain custody of their child. And it rarely happens. Everyone ends up heartbroken, especially the child who is ripped from the only home he has known. The media, of course, makes a big splash about the event, and fears about adoption continue to be perpetuated.

These scenarios remind me of the Bible story from 1 Kings 3:16-28, in which two prostitutes testify before King Solomon.

The two women give birth (in the same house) within three days of one another. During the night one of the newborns dies. The mother of the dead baby switches the two babies, but in the morning, the other mother recognizes that the dead baby isn’t hers. The two women argue before King Solomon about whose baby is whose. He asks for a sword and orders that the baby be cut in two. “Give half to one and half to the other,” he proclaims.

While the woman whose son died is content to see the baby cut in two, the woman whose son is alive has compassion for her son and cries out, “Please, my lord, give her the living baby! Don’t kill him!”

While I certainly don’t advocate cutting a child in half in order to resolve a custody battle, that’s often what happens to a child, figuratively speaking. I’m so grateful for the parents who truly did consider the best interests of their child and decided to implement what is essentially an open adoption. The adoptive parents and birth mother put selfishness aside and let love and compassion guide them.

Elizabeth Jurenovich September 13, 2011 at 5:13 PM

Most birthparents already live lives of shame and quiet desperation, as a result of the social scorn we reserve for those we hope have the “wisdom” to entrust their children to others, yet who are shunned or criticized when they have the normal instincts of any parent to want to check how their child is doing or to want to regain access to the child they loved enough to “let go”. Not every adoption IS handled correctly, and not every adoption SHOULD be upheld by the courts… however painful that is for us to admit. In a truly open adoption, the birthparents and adoptive parents share a mutual commitment to the child that prevents either from wanting to cost the child access to the other AND which eliminates any risk that a child’s first family should EVER be “strangers” to their own flesh and blood. Jules, why do you persist in claiming that birthparents are only “thinking about their child’s best interests” when their wishes or desires are in compliance with those of the adoptive parents?! Shame on you– for being so myopic.

Laura Christianson September 13, 2011 at 6:39 PM

Elizabeth, I appreciate your comment, “In a truly open adoption, the birthparents and adoptive parents share a mutual commitment to the child that prevents either from wanting to cost the child access to the other AND which eliminates any risk that a child’s first family should EVER be “strangers.”

Just this weekend, my son (who’s now 19) and I met his birth mom for lunch. She happened to be in the area, and called and said, “Can you meet me in 30 minutes?” At that moment, we were traveling her direction, so we met up. It was great to get caught up on each other’s lives in person, as opposed to just over the phone or through texting or e-mail. We’ve had an open relationship like this with various members of his birth family — particularly with his birth mom — for most of his life, and is has been such an incredible blessing for all of us. Particularly during the rough teenage years, it’s so helpful for him to have an additional loving mom to turn to when he’s feeling out of sorts with me! His birth mom gives him unconditional love mixed with a healthy dose of momish advice. I don’t know how I could have survived motherhood without our son’s birthmom in his life. She has been our biggest cheerleader as parents of her son, and because they are so alike in mannerisms (even though they haven’t lived together), she’s able to help me understand his personality in ways that I never would have been able to do without her.

Our situation is about as good as an adoption can get, but it didn’t happen that way by accident. It was an intentional decision on everyone’s part to commit to loving him. It’s not co-parenting — it’s co-loving and co-commitment. And it works for us.

I Purdy September 21, 2011 at 2:27 PM

I feel the ones who get the short end are the parents that hoped to adopt. They have a child in their home for an extended period of time. They invest love, money, time, emotion and hopes. When the biological comes along they get the child back. The adoptive parents get nothing. Usually no -Thank you for bathing, feeding, housing, loving, nuturing, etc. my child while I was off ‘finding myself’! No financial reimbursement. It blows my mind. They are always asking for people to adopt or foster care child, but the irresponsible get rewarded! Who wants to sign up for that! The system needs revamped. If you give a child up, you should have to go thru the same process as someone wanting to adopt! They should have to pay some back child care. I’m more in favor of allowing them to have contact and relationship with the child, but the gave up rights. If I GAVE you a hundred thousand dollars should I expect you to give it back to me in 2 years! We need to reward those who want to take responsibility and not make it so easy for parents to be irresponsible and selfish.

LifeStar April 18, 2012 at 12:04 AM

Dear I Purdy:

You are right that the adoption systems needed to be revamped. The adoption system truly needed to be changed for the interest of humanity, the child, and both side of parents (the biological and adoption parents or guardian of the child.) However, the reimbursement or compensation amount to the adoption parents “ought to come out from the adoption agencies or the state instead of coming out from the biological parents” since “it was the adoption agencies or the state put the adoption parents through immense loops and hoops and emotional and financial battles prior to bringing home their adopted child!

What I am pointing out is that it was “not the biological parents who caused the emotional and financial battles for adoption parents;” it was in fact the adoption agencies, the poor administration of the agencies and the state as well as the laws enacted in the state, etc. that derived the destructive and defective adoption system overall! Again, adoption system among all other systems in the United States are at a time “truly must and needed to be revamped, reorganized, and redesigned for the purpose of sacredness, honor, ethics, justice, peace, wisdom, and order because time is the essence here and we really need to allow good changes to happen through our diligence, commitment, and integrity!

Therefore, we need to voice our thoughts, out proposals, and our authentic ways of doing things to the government, to the agencies, to the state; so, things could be and shall be the way it is supposed to be and be greater than we ever imagined!



Jacob October 25, 2011 at 4:18 AM

Well, “I Purdy” if that is your user name, I totally agree with you. I just finished watching Dandelion Dust and that really shows the sadness of the situation when birth parents want custody back. My 2 brothers were adopted, and at the same time. I am closer to one than the other but that’s only natural I suppose. My parents were fully aware at the injustice found in the courts regarding adoption and biological vs adoptive parents, and that’s why they adopted from a third world country the Phillippines. We know the background on their mother and how she had several children by different fathers, and really with the job she had, and so many kids where would she start? Sounds mean, but it was in our favor to have a scenario like that and it gave us peace. My brothers were curious at one time about their biological mother, not father really though, although we did meet him, and he was a decent guy who took care of their grandparents and great grandma.

I have heard of custody battles where the biological parent(s) get full custody again and that really is completely unfair to the child, especially after an extended period of time with adopted family, and very selfish of the biological parent(s) who in only one way have acted as a parent and that’s finding a more suitable situation for the child. It is not right for them to demand the child come back. It is fullfilling not only their own need for a child, but quenching their guilt, well they can just own a little more blame for making those years away from them now painful as well by not allowing them to continue them. How SELFISH! The only and I repeat only reason it might be better for the adoptive parents to give up rights rather than have a custody battle is because injustice will likely be done anyway, and the adoptive parents might as well accept the pain that will come, and they will need the money spent on an attorney for their own therapy of whatever form will help ease their pain.

If I were to say one thing to biological parents it would be this, You gave up your rights when you chose the first time not to raise your child, and by giving up on those rights you agreed to have someone else raise that child. They are now the responsible parents of your child because you either did not want to, or were unable to raise him/her. Ethically and morally now you must accept that rather than letting a sympathetic justice system give you rights back to free you from the empty hole in your life you made, not the child, when you chose to give that child up. The child did not give you guilt you did, the child may feel some longing, but you feel way more. Let the child be, and get on with your life. People make many mistakes, but it is them who have to suffer with the consequences. The following are only to give examples of consequences and not to put in the same class except showing for consequence sake, when someone divorces he or she must accept that will likely be the end even if his or her heart changes, a person who doesn’t do drugs anymore but was addicted must accept that damage in health may be unreversable, a person who is embarrassed by his or her cutting must accept that the scars may last forever physically and maybe emotionally. Our society from the individual person who just couldn’t responsibility to the parent who most obviously harmed her child and also didn’t take responsibility seem to get justice to roll in their favor. I ask you, where is the justice in that?

cadora February 27, 2012 at 7:21 PM

I find the above comment very hypocritical. The biological parents gave up their rights when they chose the first time and should just live with it? What about the adoptive parents who knew when they signed those documents that the situation was temporary until the courts decided otherwise and the bio-parents agreed not to contest?

You may not like it, but as a society we acknowledge that the most difficult thing you can ask a human being to do is to give up their child. We acknowledge that under stressful situations that decision may not be made freely or completely. And as a society we allow a limited time for that decision to be changed. I think that’s the decent thing to do, and the smallest thing we could do for a human being we’re asking so much of.

Another thing hypocritical about this argument, is the “only family the child knows” line is bandied around without mentioning that the adoptive parents sometimes keep the child from knowing the bio-parents until the final court ordered transfer. They fight in court to prevent visitation, to stall the case until the child is much older and more attached, then petition the court to ask that because the case was delayed for so long the child should not be returned to the biological parents.

As for the ‘selfishness’ of biological parents who contest the adoption. I’d guess it’s the same ‘selfishness’ of the millions of parents who would never consider placing their child for adoption. It’s not intended to cause the adoptive parents pain, but it’s that the kind of generosity that would allow a parent to give up their child to another is beyond many.

Kelli October 27, 2011 at 10:54 AM

Biological parents should not be able to ever get custody back. Theres a good reason a child is given up for adoption and its nothing short of selfish to rip it away from a loving, stable home thats cared for it longer than the birth parents. Obviously the biological parents don’t care about the kid’s wellbeing.
And that father should have gotten custody, not the mother. She probably only took custody because she didn’t want him to have it. Typical case of a father being regulated to the sidelines in favor of the mother. We ask men to take responsibility for kids yet the mothers never let them do anything. Then the mothers complain that they have to do all the childcare responsibilities.

Freya December 15, 2011 at 9:29 AM

Kelli, I agree with you, biological parents should not get the children back if they ever thought of giving them away. There would have been a good reason for the court to put children up for adoption and it shows the birth parents are not safe, able, responsible… whatever the reason. I also think it makes the childs life complicated and it’s not fair for the child to make him/her unsure about who it’s parents are or will be.

Karissa October 30, 2011 at 4:29 PM

I read a lot of your stories on this for a paper actually. At first I thought I’d just pick a side and write it. But after reading all of your stories, I actually support the adoptive parents on this.
I’m sorry birth mothers, but when you gave up your child for adoption, and did not change your mind in the time you were given, the child is no longer yours in terms of legality. Now, this may sound blunt, but in truth that is what happened. There are cases of open adoption where you can still be apart of your child’s life (except in terms of Chelsea, and I am really sorry about that, I don’t know the adoptive parents, but maybe you should try talking to them about this if you haven’t already?).
I truly believe that if the child had been living with their adoptive family for a decent amount of time, even if you are his or her birth mother, you should not take the child away from the family they grew up with. It’s not fair the the child, or even the adoptive parents. I’m not saying cut yourself out of their life entirely, but do allow them to live in the home they grew up in.
Now in terms of giving the child up for adoption before he or she was born and THEN changing your mind after birth, I believe this is different. The mothers do have a right to change their mind then since the child was never living with the adoptive parents yet, plus the mother hadn’t experienced the feeling of holding their child for the first time.

But returning back to my original statement, please birth parents, before you go seeking to have your child return to you, think about the child themselves. Ignore all desires to have them returned to you and really think. Is your child healthy and happy where he or she is now? If the answer is yes, please really think before you decide to take the child away from the family that he or she has now.

Also, I am sorry if this offended anyone.

Tornintwo November 2, 2011 at 11:03 AM

So here is my question as a birthmother of my daughter who was adopted in an open adoption. I chose the adopted parents, have always gotten along with them, have always supported them. Now my daughter is 14, she has had a rough relationship with her adopted parents the last few years and now is begging and pulling every string possible to try and live with me. She is disrespecting her adoptive family, horribly. Their family is being torn apart. “Our” daughter is threatening suicide, running away, not eating, not sleeping, etc.. you know the emotional teenage girl things. I have tried to convince her to be kind to her adopted family, reassured her they love her, they have always been there for her, taken care of her, etc.. she will not listen. She is bound and determined to come and live with me, (not that I wouldn’t love that more than anything). But now my heart is breaking, the adopted parents hearts are breaking, and my daughter is currently feeling shattered. Please help with any advice..

Freya December 2, 2012 at 10:31 AM

I really hope things are better for your little girl it sounds like she’s unsure about her family to me.
Do you live near her, maybe she could come stay with you for a week each month.
I went through the same, hated my adoptive parents but actually, they we’re there for me and made me who i am, and i’m proud of who i’ve become, is she? if so her adoptive parents can’t be as bad as she thinks. I think you just all need to be there for her when i was 16 i didn’t know what i wanted. I’ve grown out of that and learnt to just love what i’ve had and be thankful for ever getting a family. She’s a lucky girl because she had both parents in her life but i bet it’s confusing for her too.
Just make sure she knows you’re all gonna be there for her no matter what she wants or eventually decides.

Elizabeth Jurenovich November 2, 2011 at 5:38 PM

Dear TornInTwo: my heart goes out to you, and to your daughter and her other parents. Adolescence is never easy on anyone, it seems, and adoption can add yet another layer of complexity to an already challenging life phase. The other grass is always greener, as they say, but were your child to move in with you, tantalizing as that fantasy may seem, would merely make you the authority figure against whom she would feel compelled to rebel, because that’s a rite of passage for so many teens. Yet your role in her life, and your positive rapport with her other parents is undoubtedly a huge asset for her, making the open adoption truly “the gift that keeps on giving.” Agonizing though it may be to witness her angst, as she is working through her issues, the combined force of love that you and her other parents represent is so very important, like a safety net beneath her trapeze. I hope you and they can work together to get her into counseling with an adoption-savvy therapist who appreciates your joint commitment to her and who can provide you all needed affirmation and guidance. Open adoption is about giving children the best that all their parents can offer, working together to achieve this goal, and I salute you for doing just that, through your continued presence in and your commitment where your daughter and her family are concerned. Please keep us posted; I know you’ll all be in the prayers of many (mine included.)
Elizabeth Jurenovich´s last blog post ..ORIENTATION

Sam Echler November 8, 2011 at 8:19 AM

Let me bring some clarity to all this bickering from adoptive parents and people who birthed a child.
Parenting has nothing to do with origin but everything to do with relationship.
And before the stones begin to fly: I’m adopted. I was adopted at 2 months through the social service system in my state and I’m now in my late 30’s.
I found out a few years ago that my “grandmother” orchestrated the adoption.
I grew up not wanting anything to ever do with the woman who birthed me- if she was wishy/washy and changed her mind about the adoption, I’m glad it never materialized. Why would I want to be raised by someone who couldn’t figure out if they wanted me or not.
And yes, 3 years ago I met her. My emotions haven’t changed. I’m sure there were times she had thought about me, or worried of my welfare. However, that pales in comparison to being compassionate about your child and your world revolving around them.
I have children of my own & they are my life. I LOVE them!!
What I do get really sick of on these forums are “birth people” whining about how they were manipulated or they changed their mind. Whatever. I change my mind on an outfit, not my child. Everything is cause & effect. You made a choice- now shut up and deal with it. Period.
However, adoptive parents- you’re not always blameless either! I’ve seen selfishness – because you think it’s all about your desires & not the natural origin desires of a human.. (I’ll go more into this later…). You purposely or ignorantly assume a naive stand by thinking as long as you love a child everything else will fall into place- not true.
And the last factor I’m throwing out is the money. Babies are big business with social services and adoption agency’s.. Sadly, humans are a transaction.

Blessed December 30, 2012 at 3:32 PM

Sam, thank you for your response on here!! We have children of our own and some are grown and one still a teen.. Under odd circumstances we got a newborn whom is in pre-school now and a sibling that is starting pre-school. Adoption are final on both and they are our life.. No different than our birth children! Everything was done by the book and suddenly a guy tries to contact my family saying one of these children might be his.. Birth mother told several men they were the father and the ones that came forward were ruled out! She was even married at the time and he signed off! Ive been in a panic for days and searching the web which has shocked me! I can’t lose either of these children it would be like someone dying to me and my family! I can’t believe we’re not protected anymore than this!
He says she told him but he’s not a name we were given but why wait 3 1/2 yrs to wonder!
Reply to another above about the lawyer or adoption agency reimbursing the adoptive parents!! Stupid! Court cost was the least of our expenses! Feeding clothing and medical bills go beyond but no money in the world can replace losing one that is mine! I can’t imagine turning them over to a stranger! The damage it would do to them! It’s not even how much we love them but how much they love us, depend on us and trust us! It would be devastating!

mikilee December 25, 2011 at 9:47 PM

I have a little bit of a different situation. I adopted my nephew who is now 11. My sister had a drug problem but at the time of the adoption she was clean and sober but felt like she had to voluntarily give up her parental rights. The judge and the guardian ad litem both stated their intent to terminate her rights due to her being unemployed and not having a house that she could stay in for loger than 6 months. I have since found out that I am ill. I worry about if I something happens to me she is the only one that can take care of him. They have a really good relationship and she has remained a big part of his life. Could I give her parental rights back to her? Could she adopt him back? What if I am terminal and cant care for him?

ramesh ramalingam January 7, 2012 at 7:17 PM

King solomon might have been right in his views. But, he is not living in this generation where the biological moms being druggists and selfish abandon their children. At the same time the adoptive parents who really contribute in bringing up this life of this child are so admirable. God bless them. It is idiotic and stupid to sit over and follow king solomons decision in this century. If king solomon lived now, he would have denied the birth parents the previllage to own the child. I totally disagree with not solomon but people of this era. Most of all once someone adopts the child, it is their child. They have the full rights. Not only that in solomon’s story it was not adopted child. The law should not decide on us but we should decide on law. Thats why we have judges to decide on it but not some computers loaded with laws and take logical decisions.

Tabitha January 15, 2012 at 8:34 PM

WOW!! There is always two sides to every story. To say that biological parents should never get their child back is incorrect. My story: 19 years old had my first son , married 3 months before that , bought a house , and imagined my life as happily ever after. A young husband with issues of his own (etc domestic violence , drinking, drugs , destroying my life) just wasn’t ready to be a man or father so after alot of abuse and family court I moved in with my mom. Granted a mom who had issues of her own and my father who passed when I was 16. We tried a go at the relationship after a break , realized he was the same left him again and 2 weeks later found out I was pregnant. I tried it on my own with 2 boys and little income(and harassment from my ex slashing tires on my car to make the income even less) I was faced with a decision. My ex sister in law who I viewed as an older sister at the time, offered to ” help us out”(no not by babysitting or buying diapers) said he could stay with their family. A husband,two kids, good income so much more than I had to give. So when my youngest son was 9 months old I let him live with them and for a while things were ok. They told me I would always be his mom and Cam would always be his brother, we would be in his life always. Sounded good at the time until he would cry for me when picking up his brother from their grandparents house. Screaming and crying for me not to leave him and they would spank him. Yea thats extremely painful when you know you are powerless and you made a mistake as a mother. He will be 5 soon and I haven’t been invited to birthdays and I only get him when I beg or give a big notice. The saddest part is I could have done a better job then them even with less money. My son now has to take a bath every time he gets to come over cause he smells like dog piss and I buy him new clothes and shoes when I can. I never see him dressed well and every weekend he is at grandmas house. His clothes all look like rags, and he says he dresses himself. No problem with him dressing himself as long as they are clean and accesible to him. I don’t go inside grandmas house so we sit outside together no matter the weather just so we can catch up. I was in college tryin to make a better life for me and my boys with little help and I made a bad decision that I regret everyday. Does this make me a bad biological parent and should I never get my child back even though I could do a better job then them now?

Justin January 20, 2012 at 12:25 PM

What if you had something happen to you that happened to me.My ex girlfriend behind my back is trying to adopt my child out she has signed papers and all I am waiting on a paternity test to know for sure she is mine.What you think my chances are of getting her if she is my daughter.I am a father by the way.

dana February 3, 2012 at 10:43 AM

Oh my! Did you sign up for the punitive father’s registry? You HAVE to protect your rights if you want this baby. (I pray that you don’t live in Utah or that Utah is involved). If you are contesting the adoption, you need a lawyer that can stop it arguing the Federal Parental Kidnapping act. ALSO, check out Baby Emma Wyatt and I believe the website babyselling.com Anyone who gets their hands on your child for adoption has already paid $25,000 that is non-refundable. They are not going to willingly give you your baby.

jj February 6, 2012 at 5:23 PM

“The first case involved a Florida boy, now 3 ½, whose birth mother placed him for adoption in May 2001, when he was two days old. A month before the adoption was supposed to be finalized, the boy’s biological father filed a motion demanding custody. At that time, the judge informed the adoptive parents that the birth father would likely gain custody.”

What all of you commenters seem to be missing is that the father applied for custody well within the time range ONE MONTH BEFORE THE FINALISATION and the adoptive parents deliberately and wilfully dragged it out.

In general, bmothers are given a revocation period after signing TPR in which they are able to get their baby back and if they want their baby back, they should get their baby back. It is usually very rare for a bmother to try to get their baby back after the revocation period unless there is proof they have been severely coerced (eg signing forms while drugged in hospital). I actually suspect that you don’t hear many stories about mothers getting their babies back after signing TPR but before revocation because they probably do get returned without any fuss.

The cases you usually hear about and that get dragged on are the fathers who apply for custody. They too have rights but tend to face more opposition from the adoptive parents and the lawyers normally suggest that the APs drag the case on as long as possible so they can claim the “but they have been with us too long” argument. It is a common tactic used by lawyers. If they had returned the child at the time of the request, then the child wouldn’t even remember that she/he had ever had adoptive parents, so it is really the adoptive parents being selfish there.

Btw you are all very judgmental towards bmothers. The truth is that the timing and nature of adoption counselling is so coercive (yes even in this day and age) that a woman facing a crisis pregnancy can end up feeling that the only “moral” thing for her to do is to place her child for adoption – the counselling very cleverly makes her feel that parenting her child is the selfish thing.

As for those of you who are adopted from the 60s/70s etc – your bmoms had very little option but to relinquish their child. Do a bit of reading and you will understand how it was.

Concerned Grandpa February 14, 2012 at 7:39 AM

Nobody expects this situation to happen to their family but it struck mine. My daughter has decided to give up her baby for adoption. She has found a beautiful family willing to have an open adoption. The birth father is totally incapable of raising this child and now will not termintae his parental rights. What kind of father will he be? He will now have 4 kids by 3 different mothers and owes back child support to all of them. Yet, he has enough rights to stop this adoption process. He was not there for the pregnancy, did not help financially, accused her of lying and cheating, etc. He is totally unfit to become a “real dad”. Where are the rights for the child? This is not right and I understand why women move to Utah to have children. Until you experience it from this end you don’t get the full picture. It is easy to preach and moan about birth father rights but it is true- any idiot can have a child but not everyone is a parent..

cadora February 27, 2012 at 7:28 PM

We would not consider taking a child from a mother and terminating her rights to her child without giving her a chance to defend herself in court. Why should a father have fewer rights to his child? Why shouldn’t he get a chance to defend himself in a fair court, instead of being judged by someone where a romantic relationship has gone bad, or their family dislikes him. We wouldn’t say she can’t afford child support, accused the other parent of cheating, and has other kids by other people, so the courts should terminate her rights. That’s not the standard for mothers, why should it be the standard for fathers?

Laurie Nicholas February 25, 2012 at 9:47 PM

My brother and his wife just lost custody of their 3 year old daughter to her birth father. The birth mother is in prison and has been coming to the hearings in orange and chains (yes, you read that correctly). The maternal grandmother just recently got out out of jail for prostitution (she’s going to help the birth dad take care of Kylie while birth mom finishes her sentence). The birth dad has been in jail for drugs and at this very moment has an attachent out for him in a neighboring parish. His attorney drives him around everywhere because he lost his liscence. These people have 5 OTHER CHILDREN who have be taken from them by the courts and placed in foster homes all over the state. My brother and his wife have had Kylie since she was 8 months old. They are the kind of family that is considered “ideal” for a child. He has a good job, she has the privilege of being able to be a stay at home mom. They have a beautiful, clean home. They are long-time members of their Kenner church. The little girl is happy, healthy and loved dearly. Monday, February 27, 2011 at 7 pm, Kylie will be turned over to her birth father and his attorney at the McDonald’s in Laplace, Louisiana. Judge S. Snowdy said that this is the best decision and it will not effect Kylie psychologically. Thank you, Judge Snowdy, thank you, St. John Parish and thank you, State of Louisiana for keeping the best interests of this beautiful child at the top of your priority list.

Christy March 22, 2012 at 10:59 PM

What is wrong with you people! This is children we are talking about. To the birthparents: Yes this must be very hard on you. I can not imagine nurturing a child in my womb for 9 whole months, give birth and give it away. So if you feel this way, then don’t give it away. Don’t adopt. Don’t have children you can’t care for. If you are adopting the people adopting are loving people and want children. Than is why they are spending THOUSANDS of dollars on adopting a child instead of vacation or something. It is because they want to love on a child. My husband and I have been trying to have kids for 5 years now and can’t. We desperately want a baby to raise. Not because we want to have tons of money and torture a birth mother but because we love children and I have PCOS and am not able to conceive. If someone like me was adopting a child that you said I could adopt, why on earth would you be shocked if I fought you in court for that child. If you don’t want to adopt out your child then don’t.

Tink April 23, 2012 at 10:48 AM

I have to say this, I believe in a case where the parent(s) loose custody or decided to put their child up for adoption and later decide they want their child back that’s fine but, they should be required to reimburse the guardians or the adoptive parents back all the money and any legal fees they spent on raising that child while they (the biological parent(s) ) where being irresponsible. It’s not fair to the guardian or adoptive parent(s) to have spent thousands on caring and raising a child just to have the court system hand them back to the biological parent(s) weather they are fit or not but based soley on the fact they are the biological parents and not hold them accountable for their decisions. I have legal custody of my great nephew because his parents where charged with heroin use, sales, and child endangerment, they have not paid one dime in his, mom and dads idea of getting him back is do the minimum to regain custody and then go on welfare again. Mom got kicked out of all the drug programs they place her in they sent her to prison to serve her sentence 30days later she file for judicial release and they let her out on 2yrs probation she rarely sees her son except for an hour or two once a week if that, she immediately filed for welfare she gets food stamps and a free cell phone, if she regains custody she can collect additional food stamps, a cash card and medical for him, all paid by the hardworking people in America. Dad was in prison he file for judicial release was put in a half way house and got sent back to prison 2months later for a POV.
I don’t know about you but I don’t agree with our judicial system, I have paid thousands in his schooling, child care, clothing, extra curricular activities,attorney fees, parents pay no child support because they can’t afford she gets a free attorney because she can’t afford it yet if and when the time comes and they file to regain custody the courts could give him back knowing they are strictly doing it to collect more welfare for themselves and will not be required to pay us for any of his care. Something is wrong with our system rewarding the irresponsible, you complain about all the taxes that come out of your pay, those taxes are going to pay for people like her, welfare should be time limited just like unemployment, free cell phones and welfare should be for the elderly not people perfectly capable of working but choose not to.

JesusSaves July 14, 2012 at 5:45 AM

I am not against adoption I think it’s great; however,Grandparents have no rights in Fl and I think this is awful. Most grandparents are the ones who provide everything needed to their teenage daughter who made them grandmothers: Lets change the Law and give grandparents the same rights as the biological parents; and should they not want to raise their own flesh and blood until the mother comes to herself as did the prodigal son. JESUS gives every one chance after chance-called Grace & Mercy!

SRMABE July 28, 2012 at 2:44 AM

The contradictions in defense of the adoptive parents kill me! Just like you say the birth parents made their bed and should have to lay in it; I’m sorry, but so should the adoptive parents. If you want to adopt a child and invest money into their lives and end up losing that child for whatever reason, then deal with it! No one is requiring you to put yourself out there and adopt. Consider the money spent a gift to the child, even though you didn’t get to ultimately parent them. If it’s about the money, then DON’T adopt! The true problem that overshadows adoption is “Coveting.” Coveting is an inordinate desire to have something that someone else has, whether it is a car, house, employee, wife, husband, or child. Coveting is a condition of the heart–an inner condition which ultimately leads to an outer offense. If someone covets something that someone else has, it can lead to lying, to a person becoming disillusioned about the true state of the situation, to bearing false witness, and a number of other things. Coveting is not pretty and is wrapped up in selfish motives. I want what I want, even if it comes at the emotional expense of another. How is that okay? How is it another person’s job to ensure your ability to become a parent? That’s a huge responsibility to put on a birth parent and the adoption industry has us all believing that adoption is a beautiful thing, when in reality adoption automatically pits a child against it’s birth parents, adoptive parents against birth parents, etc.

There are a finite number of houses, lands, automobiles, wives, husbands and children in this world, so we are not permitted to desire what already belongs to someone else. Coveting is followed ultimately by a clash of wills, painful unhappiness, or open conflict. But God Himself is infinite, and His supply for His people is infinite. We need not covet what belongs to another. Instead, we can ask God to supply, peaceably and freely, the desires of our hearts.

We are permitted, however, to covet God Himself, to long for Him, because there is enough of Him for everyone. God is not diminished if one person “takes” a great share of Him. An equally great share is available for you and for everyone else in the world. So you can let all your desire for fulfillment be devoted toward desiring God.

It’s not right for an industry, driven exclusively by money, to place a vulnerable birth parent in a position to place their child and deny what God himself has given to them…rather you like their lifestyle or not. I would not and could not ever place myself in the position of taking something from someone at their great emotional expense…I don’t care how bad I want it or think I deserve it.

You are all right, the adoption industry does need to be revamped, but not in the selfish ways I’ve seen others describe. The reality is that many of these birth moms could parent their children. It should be about helping out another human being, a vulnerable birth mom and her child…not about taking away the blessing God himself has placed in her life.

Tabitha December 5, 2012 at 4:16 AM

Your post made me feel better. Thanks for posting it. Every situation is different. I didn’t sign over the rights to my son to his uncle because I was a bad parent. I had a lack of support from the father and any family members. I got in a financial bind and was stressed to the max with an abusive x husband harrassing me. Now my son is the youngest of 3 children and has alot of emotional issues. He gets treated differently than the other two. My 9 year old son has alot of crazy emotions from all of this as well. All I can say is every situation is different. And never trust anyone when it comes to your child especially in the great state of Alabama cause after you sign it’s over you can’t get them back unless they can see abuse. I guess wearing hand me down holy clothes and smelling like dog piss doesn’t count.

jennifer December 29, 2012 at 7:14 PM

Your comment was beautifully said. We are a family of believers in God. My daughter and her boyfriend had a baby in Feb 2012. They did an adoption because everyone said it could be a beautiful situation and my daughter chose to do an open adoption with another family of believers. They have now closed the adoption after 10 months. My daughter is devastated. You have explained exactly what this adoptive couple have done, coveted this baby so much that they will no longer allow my daughter in her life. I also now believe that adoption is such a painful option with lifetime of anguish. My daughter is 19 and cries herself to sleep every night because she didnt realize the pain of her choice. Also that the adoptive parents have closed this adoption in such a harsh and cruel way. My daughter sent her baby a Christmas gift and they called her on Christmas night and told her the adoption was closed and the gift was being returned. The pain of this is devastating. We have asked this couple to please return this child to our family because they can not keep the agreement for which this adoption was done. My daughter never would have given her baby up for adoption knowing this would happen. We are now taking this couple to court for breech of agreement only for my daughter to get to see her baby 2 times a year and get pictures of her. We would prefer to go to court to get her back but the attorneys have told us it is next to impossible.

This is a very sad adoption. My daughter and our family are devastated. These laws need to be changed and I am praying that God will show me what my daughter and I can do to start.

Thank you again for your post, you summed it up beautifully from our experience. This family is coveting this baby and in the process hurting her with their selfishness. We asked for her back and they said it wasnt an option. And they have 2 children of their own and want to have more.

Susan October 30, 2012 at 1:26 PM

I just had the most frustrating conversation with a friend. She has already put up kids for adoption two times before and now that her son is over a year old, she wants him back. She wanted to be the “cool aunt” and see him every week or so, but the contract is not written that way and the adoptive parents are having a lot of difficulty with her overstepping her bounds. She said since they can’t handle adoption, they should give him back. No, they just can’t handle her! She wants the benefits of being a mom without the financial obligation, long sleepless nights, etc. She’s telling everyone her sob story and I’m going, “You wouldn’t be going through this if you used birth control!”

She plans on telling her son how horrible his adoptive parents are for keeping them apart. Nice.

Nena Ninovich November 13, 2012 at 9:43 AM

I don’t understand how handing back a child to its indecisive birthparents is a better option.

If a mother has doubts on raising a child and gives it up for adoption, she has already lost credibility as a good mother. A child is not a pet that you can fling here and there – the birthparents are therefore immature and do not realise the duty that comes with bringing a child to this world and raising it.

Such child should be given to the foster parents who thought long and hard whether they want a child and how they are going to raise it, and show that they are enthusiastically prepared to take care of it.

I noticed such overturnings happened when the Republians were in power, and in places where there is a traditionalist mindset. No judge with common sense would give a child back to its irresponsible birthparents who change their minds at whim.

Lynn December 29, 2012 at 11:25 AM

Quite frankly I’m disgusted at most of these comments. Adoptive parents’ rights, birth mothers’ rights, biological fathers’ rights, grandparents’ rights…what about the child’s best interest? As someone who chose a foreign adoption to avoid the stupidity of the adoption system in this country that doesn’t seem to give a flying fig about the children involved.
I do feel sorry for birth mother’s who were forced to give up their child. I feel sorry for competent fathers who were not allowed the privilege of taking custody of their child. I feel sorry for adoptive parents who have put so much effort into bringing a child into their home to love and nurture only to have them ripped away. But children are NOT property. They are human beings. So much of what happens to a child stays with them for the rest of their lives, be it good or bad. Far too few people are thinking about these children and what is best for them.
I am so grateful for my children. We worked hard to bring children into our home and we are doing our best to give them the stability and love that they deserve. While it would be devastating to me to have them ripped away from me now, they are 2 and 6 and I have had them since they were both under a year old, the consequences for them would be far worse. But even setting aside the impact of separating children from their home, shouldn’t both sides be looked at to see who can provide the best environment for that child? It seems to me that the child is the only one who has no rights in this battle.

Maggie January 5, 2013 at 1:17 PM

Lynn, Thank you for a breath of fresh air amidst the muck of this comment stream. It is unbelievable to me how easily a child’s rights are thrown out when an adoption is being contested in any way. Our court system and so many people in this country seem to have had a huge gulp of the kool-aid that says ‘blood and biology’ must prevail–no matter what. And I believe I can say ‘no matter what’ because the situations I hear judges returning children to instead of the stable, emotionally healthy environment that they were previously in is abhorrent. And obviously–I know some of the situations children return to are fine (although sometimes I also question the definition of the word ‘fine’ when it comes to a child’s well-being). The point is….what should be weighed is is what is best for the child. THE CHILD. Blood relation doesn’t necessarily equal best for the child especially when it means a child is to be torn from the only home they’ve ever known with loving stable parents. And this culture is so easy to throw out the, “kids are resilient–they’ll never remember–they’ll be fine–they’ll adjust,” line that is really just a way for adults to assuage their guilt about their own behavior. Experiences that happen to children when they are young shape the way that their sense of safety, security, stability, attachment, and disposition will develop–whether they remember the exact event that shaped them or not–it can have a lasting impact. My challenge to everyone is to take the adults out of the discussion and how they feel or how they’ve been wronged and think about what is truly best for the child. Just because someone loves a child doesn’t mean they are ready to parent that child who will one day be an eight year old, an eleven year old, a fifteen year old, a twenty year old, and hopefully a productive member of society–wise words from my daughter’s birth grandma. Sometimes a child should be returned to the birth parents–sometimes they shouldn’t. But bottom line–the decision weighs on the question, “what is best for the CHILD.” At least it should.

Kimmy January 13, 2013 at 11:30 PM

I happen to be personally acquainted with the contested adoption above. I find it disturbing that people can make judgment calls on a heart wrenching situation where so few know all the facts involved. The child above was indeed returned to his biological mother, even though she wanted the child to remain with the adoptive family where she placed him. He was almost 4 years old when he lost his entire world and everyone in it. Nine months after the boy was sent away with the birth mother, he was removed from her custody because he was physically and emotionally abused in her home. He was not rescued by his Florida family, or sent back home to the safety and security of his world that was taken away, but forwarded to his biological father who was originally denied custody because the courts determined he was the least fit of the two bio parents to raise the child because of a domestic violence and drug history. At no time was the bond to his primary caregivers or best interest of the child ever considered, and the child suffered the trauma of losing his adoptive family, then losing the temporary biological family where he was abused, then shuttled off to yet a third family within the course of 9 months. The birth mother did not want to raise the child, and the birth father had a violent and drug addicted past. Do any one of you criticizing the adoptive family for fighting for their child in court know what you would have done in this circumstance if it had been the precious child YOU raised, loved and adored from birth?

Jess March 20, 2013 at 10:15 AM

You are insane. Having a small child for a long period of time and then transplanting that child back into their bio family is wrong, wrong, wrong. No matter how you spell it. A child doesn’t know anything about blood relations, DNA, etc. He just knows his family gave him away. As someone who has had first hand experience with this, these children NEVER recover from this. And Shame on those of you who criticize loving adoptive parents who are willing to love and cherish someone elses’ child! Criticizing people for falling in love with their foster child is the epitome of ignorance.

Madelyn September 6, 2013 at 10:52 AM

Oh my. So many stories, so many broken hearts, so much anguish and hurt. As all the rest of you, my family and I too have a stomach twisting story. I remember when I was about 16 years old, a very young couple had stopped at my parents house to see if they would babysit their 2 month old daughter, Layla. We of course agreed and took her in without question. The parents never returned for her, for weeks, & lived an astonishing mile down the road from us. From that day on, until she was 2 years old, she stayed with us. We did not involve the court system, afraid that if we did, they would be offended and rip her away from us. In the meantime, the birth parents lived their life, lost another child for neglect/abandonment, and decided to give birth to two more girls, whom they surprisimngly took responsibility for.

Madelyn September 6, 2013 at 11:03 AM

(con’d) When Layla was 2 1/2, law enforcement showed up at our door, claiming we “kidnapped” Layla. Apparently, the parents were ready to take her back. We didn’t see Layla for a solid year. We begged, pleaded, stalked, put petitions in, offered them $25,000 just for visitation. We were awarded with nothing. Thankfully, and very unexpectedly, one day in mid-August, 2010, we got a phone call. They wanted us to take Layla again, because they were having yet another child and found she was too much of a burden at the time. We were overwhelmed with emotions. The transitioning process was hard, and awkward. They had shaved her head, and at almost 4 years old, Layla could not put words into sentences. Months of therapy, apeech classes, and pre-school

Madelyn September 6, 2013 at 11:15 AM

(con’d) and she had blossomed into a beautiful young lady. Although, something clicked this time. The parents now mutually agreed to give up rights. She was finally, officially, ours. We gave her love, and a stable home and family like she most desperately needed. We were on cloud nine. Soon after came kindergarten. She purspired and our love for her wasbeyond endless. And then the awful dreaded day came when she asked to see her real family. With worried, but confident hearts, we contacted them, and they had requested we drop her off. From then on, contact was more frequent and Layla felt more of the missing piece. Now, keep in mind, these parents have been deemed unfit for two other children now. Layla is now 6 years old. Last month, her father came by and adked if she could stay the weekend. (Legally they have weekend visitation every two weeks) but what was there to be woried about? Afterall, we had full custody, at could happen? Ot

Madelyn September 6, 2013 at 11:27 AM

*What could happen? It has been two months, schopl has started, and they have refused to give her back the multiple times we have gone to get her. Law enforcement will not help us. They said even though they only have visitation, they will not go and take the child out of the biological parents care. It’s sick, right? I do not know HOW this is at all legal. We are scheduled October 15th 2013 at court. Because the biological parents do NOT have custody, they can not enroll her in their school district. Layla is missing school now, and wont go until Octobsr if the parents are rewarded custody again. How ia this possible? The bus has stopped at our house f or the past two mornings now. Do you understand how gut wrenching that is? To all birth parents seeking out custody of their birth children, You are ignorant and selfish and do not understand the heartache we go through. I miss my.little

Madelyn September 6, 2013 at 11:36 AM

Sister, and for those of you willing to question what I have said, I am more than happy to give you my personal email address. I will fight it until the bitter end. -Sorry for all the typos, I am on my phone and it has taken me almost two hours to type this up.

Any suggestions or support would be appreciated. Thank you all for reading.

Jess September 20, 2013 at 12:15 PM

That’s so terrible. They need to change the laws. Who cares who shares DNA with the child. If you have abandoned your child, your rights to that child, your visits with the child should be DONE! Get some publicity. Youtube videos, call the local TV station. This makes me want to stop being a foster parent.

Fae September 24, 2013 at 4:02 PM

Reading about these stories is just so upsetting. I’m sorry, but if you give your child up, you don’t get to just change your mind- or at least you shouldn’t get to. No matter what the reasons were for giving up the child. Adoptive parents, especially when they adopt in the US, go through hell trying to get a child and when their child comes to them those parents deserve for that child to be legally exactly the same as a child they would have if they were able to have children on their own. If you buy someone a birthday gift, you don’t get to take the gift back because you decide you kind of wanted the gift, actually. No. You buy a new gift, or you make a new baby, and accept that the child that was once yours is now happy in a loving family who wanted it, and who probably isn’t able to just ‘get a new child’. If you give up a baby for adoption, you are putting yourself through a very emotional situation. If you decide you want the child back after it has been adopted, then you are putting other people through a terribly emotional situation for completely selfish reasons. Adoptive parents shouldn’t have to feel like their child could be taken away from them, they shouldn’t have to feel like their child will never ‘truly’ be theirs.
Unless the adoptive parents are not doing a good job, as in the child is being abused or something, there is just no excuse to…ugh. It just upsets me. I am 23 years old. I have never adopted a child or know anyone who has, but really this whole thing just upsets me so deeply because I just can’t imagine that pain.

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