Personal Relationships & the Law


Birth Parent Rights During the Adoption Process

  • You may place your child for adoption through an agency or through a private adoption, and you can do that even if you are not 18 years old yet.
  • You can decide which couple will adopt your baby. You can know their names, learn some personal information about them, and maybe meet them, if you want to. The people who adopt your baby will be called the adoptive parents.
  • Children’s Services will study the adoptive parents’ home to see if it is a good place for a baby. You can see the report of the home study if you want to.
  • You can make a written open adoption agreement that will allow you to receive pictures or have personal and/or written contact with the child after the adoption.
    • This is not an agreement that Tennessee courts will enforce. It is up to the birth parents and adoptive parents to be mature enough to live with this kind of agreement successfully.
    • You can name your child on the first birth certificate. The adoptive parents might change the name of the child. A second birth certificate is issued after the adoption is final. This one will include the baby’s new name, and new parents names.
    • You can have your own attorney, and the adoptive parents will pay for it. You also have the right to work through the adoption process without an attorney.
    • You have the right to get counseling for a total of 12 months, and the adoptive parents must pay, or you can turn down counseling.
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