One of the things that sticks in your throat as an adoptive parent is that period of time during with birthparents can change their minds and reclaim the child you’ve already started bonding with. It’s different from one state to another. In some it’s a matter of weeks, and in others it’s a matter of months. Pennsylvania, the state where my son was born, just changed its adoption laws to shorten that waiting period.
Richard and Donna Liberto’s wait to find out whether they had really expanded their family with the adoption of a 3-month-old girl was, in their words, “a long three months.”
That’s because they worried her birth mother would change her mind – an agonizing reality they faced the last time they tried to adopt.
But the waiting game is changing in Pennsylvania, where Gov. Ed Rendell on Wednesday signed a measure giving birth parents 30 days to withdraw their consent to an adoption. It will take effect near the end of May and apply to all adoptions initiated on or after the effective day.
Pennsylvania does not currently impose a uniform deadline for revoking a birth parent’s consent. State law allows birth parents to change their minds at any time before a court either terminates their parental rights or issues an adoption decree.