For any adoption to be legal, the birth parents must consent to the adoption (unless their parental rights have been legally terminated for some other reason, such as unfitness).
Most states won't let birth parents consent to an adoption until after the child is born, and some states require even more time — typically three to four days after the birth — before the parents can sign a consent form. This means that birth parents can legally change their minds about adoption at any point before the birth of the child, because they haven't yet given their consent to the adoption. Be sure to check your state's laws. States differ widely on when birth parents can consent and when the consent becomes final.
Even after the birth parents have given their consent and the child has been placed in the adoptive home, many states give birth parents a specified period of time to revoke their consent — in other words, to change their minds about the adoption. In some states this period can be as long as three months — a nerve-wracking time period for the adoptive parents who have begun to care for the child.
This is one of the reasons why birth parents in some states must undergo counseling before giving their consent — their intention to go through with the adoption is explored at an early stage, in the hopes of reducing the likelihood of a change of heart later.
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