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Can Biological Parents Regain Custody After Adoption?

One of the questions we hear fairly regularly from hopeful adoptive parents is, “Can biological parents regain custody after adoption?” 

Biological Parents Can Change Their Mind Prior to Adoption

“It is important to note that it is absolutely the right of a birth parent to change their mind regarding placing their child,” explains Lita Jordan, If at any point during your pregnancy, even if an adoption plan has been created, birth parents have the right to change their mind and choose to parent their child. In Maryland, “Consent to adoption is not valid unless the consent is given after the prospective adoptee is born.” Citation: Fam. Law § 5-3B-21(2)

Can Biological Parents Regain Custody After Adoption?

“When the child is adopted, the biological parent relinquishes all responsibility and legal rights,” writes Anna Paul, Metro. “Adoption is a permanent decision, so once a child is adopted, all custodial rights are transferred to their adoptive parents.”

But there is a caveat. After the baby is born, birth mothers have a determined amount of time – a revocation period – to change their mind. “Most states will typically have a revocation period of at least a few days that will allow for birth parents to reconsider if they so feel,” explains Jordan. Here in Maryland, birth parents have 30 days in which they can legally change their mind. Should a revocation occur prior to 30 days, return of child is automatic.

“A parent may revoke consent to adoption at any time within the later of: 30 days after the parent signs the consent or 30 days after the adoption petition is filed, after which consent is irrevocable.” Citation: Fam. Law §§ 5-339; 5-351

An adoption decision only becomes permanent when three (3) conditions are met:

  1. The baby is born
  2. Birth parents sign the legal paperwork consenting to the adoption, AND
  3. The legal revocation period passes

Once these conditions are met, there is no way for a birth mother to reclaim her child or her parental rights. 

Adoption Makes Family’s Cradle Care Family

If a birth parent expresses an uncertainty about the adoption plan after birth, Adoption Makes Family has a Cradle Care family who cares for the baby during the 30-day revocation period. While there is no way to completely remove the emotional pain associated with a changed adoption plan, having the baby cared for by a surrogate family for a short time is one small effort we make to help adoptive families through this difficult part of the journey.

Have Questions or Just Need to Talk?

Adoption Makes Family is here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

We can help answer those questions lingering in your mind, like “Can biological parents regain custody after adoption?” or “What happens if a birth parent changes their mind before the birth?” Our experienced professionals will listen to you, answer any questions you may have. We are a non-profit (501-C3) licensed adoption agency based in Maryland.

Call Us Now at (410) 683-2100

If you have any questions, you can contact us by phone at 410-683-2100, by e-mail at or use our online contact form.


  1. “Adoption Consent Laws by State.” Adoption Network, Adoption Network Law Center – Safer Than Adoption Agencies,
  2. “Can I Change My Mind About an Adoption?” Adoption Network, Adoption Network Law Center – Safer Than Adoption Agencies,
  3. Jordan, Lita. “Can I Change My Mind After Placing My Baby For Adoption?”,
  4. Paul, Anna. “Can Biological Parents Regain Custody of Their Child after Adoption?” Metro,, 28 Oct. 2020, 
  5. “‘What Does Adoption Mean to a Child?”.” American Adoptions – Transracial Adoption, Interracial Adoption for African American Adoption and More,
  6. “What If I Change My Mind About Placing My Baby During My Pregnancy?” Adoption Network, Adoption Network Law Center – Safer Than Adoption Agencies,
This entry was posted on Sunday, January 9th, 2022 at 10:56 am . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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