January 1, 2010, Newsletter Issue #172: Birthparent Rights

Tip of the Week

Whether or not a birthmother has planned adoption for a child, she is the legal parent of the child until she signs the termination of parental rights. Therefore, she has the right to make all the decisions regarding her child including choosing the name that is printed on the child's original birth certificate.

As open adoption becomes more common, so does adoptive parent interaction in the hospital. It is important for the birth mother to remember that her time in the hospital is her time with her child, and she should feel free to request some alone time. Birthmothers also have the right to take home hospital bracelets, first photographs, and other hospital items that they choose.

It is advised that a birthmother be direct with her adoption agency as well as write in her birth plan the hospital items that she would like to keep. Creating a birth plan will help outline the birth mother's wishes for how things are done in the hospital. The birth plan is only for the medical staff working with the birth mother, and they are required by law not to disclose any of the information.

Once a birth plan is created, it is not set in stone. The birthmother may feel differently once she is in the hospital and she has a right to change parts of her birth plan. She should also expect to be emotional and have second thoughts. She is still the legal parent until she signs the termination of parental rights, and she can decide when and where she wants to complete those forms.

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