Here’s a quick look at the adoption timeline starting with:
0 : Birth of child.
72 hrs : First moment that a birth mother can sign the paperwork, and the child can be placed.
0-6 months : Social worker visits once during the first week, and once a month afterwards.
3 months : The birth father has until 3 months to register that he believes that he is the biological father, and plans on contesting custody.
6 months : The adoption can be finalized! Unless…
2 years : If the child is of Native American descent, custody can be contested. If Native American heritage is known beforehand, a letter of approval must be obtained from the tribe.
There are things that can mess with the timeline. Birth mom has no requirement to sign at 72 hours. We’ve heard stories of birth mothers who changed their mind, decided to keep, then a week later change their minds again, and then sign the paperwork. One such story had a birth mother who kept the child, and the adoptive parents put their profile book back out. They matched again and had a child in a month. A week later, the first birth mother changed her mind, and decided to put the child up for adoption, and the adoptive family took that child too. Two kids in a week!
If birth father contests the adoption, that can slow things down as well. Typically, the decision falls to the adoptive parents, as birth father typically has not done much to show his intention of raising the child, by not helping out the pregnant mother or providing anything post birth. The Casey Anthony case show though that you can’t depend on the courts to always do what you expect.
Birth mother can contest the adoption after placement as well. That is a difficult case for them to win, as they signed the paperwork. There are angles they can take, such as involving the birth father, claiming Native American heritage, and any undue pressure from the adoptive parents. I should explain that further in a separate post.
The other things that can affect the adoption include bad reports from our social worker, if the adoptive couple divorce, or if one of the adoptive parents pass away. We’re not planning on any of those being issues.
The important thing to remember is that after finalization (assuming no Native American issues), the child is ours. No take backsies.