Home Contact About
Adopting Family Resources

Birth Mother RightsBirth Mother Rights

Birth Mother Parental Rights

The parental rights of the birth mother and how her parental rights are legally ended are critical elements in the child adoption process.

Birth Mother Parental Rights

The biological mother and the biological father have parental rights concerning their child and their parental rights must be ended (called termination, surrender, or relinquishment depending on the state adoption law) before the child can be adopted. 

The parental rights of the birth mother like those of the birth father can be ended either voluntarily or involuntarily and may or may not require the birth mother to appear in court.  The involuntary ending of parental rights is usually done only with children who have been placed into foster care within the state child welfare system. If you are working with a child adoption agency or with an adoption attorney the birth mother's parental rights will typically be ended voluntarily and only with her approval. 

The time period for the ending of parental rights varies according to each state adoption law.  Every state in the U.S. has their own unique legal requirements for the voluntary and involuntary ending of parental rights, so there are at approximately 50 different laws for involuntary ending parental rights and 50 other laws regarding the voluntary ending of these rights.  After the baby has been born some states allow a birth mother and birth father to end her/his rights immediately after the birth and other states allow the ending of these rights only after the passage of  a specific number of days.  Again, every state is different.

As the biological mother of the baby the birth mother has the right to control her body and to determine how the baby is to be cared for. Even after the baby has been placed for adoption the birth mother still has all her parental rights until these rights are ended legally.  For information regarding the ending of the biological father's parental rights visit the link birth father rights.

You may want to check the laws under the heading of "termination of parental rights" of the state in which the birth mother resides.  This can be done at Adoption Laws.  You may also want to read the Child Welfare Information Gateway article "Grounds for Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights".

All of the rights of all parties involved should be carefully reviewed with you by your adoption agency or adoption attorney. That is one of the reasons that your choice of proceeding with an agency agency adoption or private adoption and selecting an adoption agency is so important.  For a list of agencies visit the links domestic child adoption agencies and international child adoption agencies.

Help for Adopting Families by State

 Alabama  Montana
 Alaska  Nebraska
 Arizona  Nevada
 Arkansas  New Hampshire
 California  New Jersey
 Colorado  New Mexico
 Connecticut  New York
 Delaware  North Carolina
 Florida  North Dakota
 Georgia  Ohio
 Hawaii  Oklahoma
 Idaho  Oregon
 Illinois  Pennsylvania
 Indiana  Rhode Island
 Iowa  South Carolina
 Kansas  South Dakota
 Kentucky  Tennessee
 Louisiana  Texas
 Maine  Utah
 Maryland  Vermont
 Massachusetts  Virginia
 Michigan  Washington
 Minnesota  West Virginia
 Mississippi  Wisconsin
 Missouri  Wyoming
 More Adoption Help
 Pregnancy  Placing a child for adoption
 Parenting  Adopting a child

Birth Mother RightsBirth Mother Rights