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Almost all adoptions require either voluntary or involuntary termination of parental rights before the adoption can be finalized or legally completed. Many parents voluntarily terminate their parental rights when their children are infants or toddlers. They do so by signing legal consent forms. The time period the parent has to revoke the signature varies depending upon the state.
When a child has been in foster care for a year or more, the caseworker may ask the parents if they would like to voluntarily terminate their parental rights so the child can be freed for adoption. In some cases, the court may terminate parental rights. This court action happens when a child has been in foster for a long time, or the circumstances necessitate it, and the caseworker has determined that the biological parents cannot re-assume parenting responsibilities.