How to Get a Child Back After Adoption

••• Jupiter Images © 2009

Related Articles

After an adoption has been finalized, there is no way to undo the process. Nonetheless, it may be possible to get a child back after he or she has been placed with the adoptive parents but before the final adoption decree has been signed by the judge. Because adoption laws are different in each state, the specific time frames and documentation required to regain custody of a child will vary by jurisdiction.

Revoke your consent to adoption in writing. Most jurisdictions give birth parents a window of time in which they may change their minds regarding an adoption. The specific time frame allowed to you under the law will be listed in the consent that you executed. If you wish to revoke your consent within this legal window, you will need to inform the court in writing.

Show that you signed your relinquishment under duress. If a birth parent was pressured into signing a consent or did so under threats of physical harm to himself or his child, the judge may rule that the consent is invalid and allow the child to be reunited with that parent. The parent will need to file proof with the court and have his case heard before a judge.

Read More: Divorce & Adoption

Establish that you were not given proper notification. If the attorney for the adoptive parents was not able to locate a birth parent to obtain her consent, the attorney will publish a notice to that parent in a public place, such as on a bulletin board in the courthouse or in a local newspaper. If the attorney did not exercise due diligence in attempting to locate the birth parent, the court may overturn the consent by publication and return the child the parent's custody.

Legally adopt the child. If the adoption has been finalized and the child's adoptive parents are willing to relinquish their rights, a birth parent may legally adopt his biological child using the same process as the initial adoption.


  • Special authorization is required to move a child across state lines during the adoption process. Consult with an experienced adoption attorney before trying to regain custody of the child.


About the Author

Anna Green has been published in the "Journal of Counselor Education and Supervision" and has been featured regularly in "Counseling News and Notes," Keys Weekly newspapers, "Travel Host Magazine" and "Travel South." After earning degrees in political science and English, she attended law school, then earned her master's of science in mental health counseling. She is the founder of a nonprofit mental health group and personal coaching service.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiter Images © 2009