Original post: Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Last night’s class was all about Adoption Law. What a fascinating class! A lawyer talked to us all about what legal rights we have, what rights the birth-family has, etc. Each state is different, but we are very lucky to be in New York, as the laws here are very strict, and very clear. No gray areas.
So the birth-mother has 48 hours from the day the child is born to change her mind. Our agency doesn’t even get the baby until then, so there is no chance of having to “give it back”. From there, the adoptive family gets the baby. The adoption is finalized after 30 days. That’s it! But even if the mother changes her mind in those 30 days, she had to spend LOTS of money and time in court to try and get it back. Even then, the courts in NY do not favor the birth-mother. The judge decides what is in the best interest of the child. If the birth-mother put up her baby for adoption in the first place, she is usually not in a place to be a good mother anyway. In 8 years, this has never happened at our agency. The agency, as well as us, will have a relationship with the mother, so you can get a feel for whether or not she may change her mind.
The one thing I didn’t realize was that the American Indians have very different laws about babies and birth-mothers than the rest of the state. There are no time limits with these adoptions. If an American Indian woman places her child for adoption, and she decides she wants it back AT ANY TIME IN THE CHILD’S LIFE, she gets it back. Even if the kid is 12! However, she has to be true American Indian, registered with a reservation, and card-carrying, for this to happen. Still, wow…a bit scary. We’re keeping it on the list, because we could be hooked up with a birthmother who is not Indian, but the father is. Then this clause does NOT apply.
Anyway, this was the last class, and I must say, I’m a bit sad. We learned so much and made some nice friends. We will all be staying in touch to give each other support, friendship, and a shoulder, if needed.
So, what’s next? We finish up our paperwork, and get going with the home-study. That should take about three weeks or so, then we’re on the list!!! Yippee!!