Adopting a child is an emotional process, and many adoptive parents have fears about getting their hopes up with a particular child, and then being let down if the birth mother changes her mind and decides to keep the baby. This is a completely normal fear and is a concern of many prospective adoptive parents, but it shouldn’t prevent prospective parents from moving forward with the adoption process. According to Stephen Ravel, a seasoned adoption attorney, the birth mother almost never changes her mind at the hospital. He estimates that the number of birth mothers who change their mind is less than 5%. So although it is a completely rational fear, and something to consider throughout the process, the odds are good that the birth mother will not back out on the agreement. Further, Ravel states that once the child has been placed with the adoptive family, he has not witnessed the birth mother changing her mind ever, in over 15 years of working in this area.
Ravel explains that although the birth mother can verbally commit to the adoption process, no adoption paperwork or legal signatures can be done until the baby is born. It is very common for an adoptive family to pay for some medical bills of the birth mother, including doctor’s visits, hospital fees, etc. It is important that the adoptive parents recognize that this money is given freely and cannot be recovered in the event the birth mother changes her mind about the adoption and decides to keep the baby. Laws vary by state, but in California, the money given to the birth mother is seen as a gift and cannot be reclaimed.
There are many fears that go along with the adoption process, and prospective adoptive parents will often worry that all their work and waiting will be for nothing if the birth mother suddenly changes her mind at the last minute. Although this does happen, it is an uncommon occurrence. These fears should not stop prospective adoptive parents from pursuing their dream of adopting a child. Birth mothers who have developed a bond and relationship with the adoptive family very rarely change their mind, because the mother is in the momentum of the adoption and has personally invested in the process of the adoption.