Something that surprises some people is the idea that an adoption can fail. Adoptions can, and sometimes do, fail between the time when the child is placed in the home and the adoption is finalized. Adoptions sometimes also fail after finalization if the parents can’t handle the problems that the adoptive child is having.
If you think that you’re involved in a soon-to-fail or failing adoption, take hope. This does happen to many people, and your attorney will be on your side to support you with the legal information you need.
Are there legal consequences to a failed adoption?
Sometimes. It depends on the contracts that are in place. For example, some private infant adoptions fail due to miscarriage or stillbirth. In those cases, no one is to blame for the failed adoption and no legal consequences should come of it.
On the other hand, if an adoption agency lies to you about the conditions or problems that a child placed in your home has, and you are not equipped to deal with them, then there could be legal consequences for the agency. Parents do have a right to withdraw from an adoption if something isn’t right, but this becomes much more complicated once the adoption is finalized.
If you decide to terminate an adoption after it has been finalized, you must go to court to have your parental rights terminated. Those rights are given to the state or another adoptive parent, if there is one.
How common are adoption fails?
Statistics have shown that around fewer than 1% of infant adoptions fail. Around 30% of teen adoptions fail. Around 1 to 3% of adoptions are dissolved after finalization, and around 10% fail between the child’s placement in the home and finalization.
Is there any chance of suing an adoption agency?
There could be. If you think that the agency didn’t give you all the information about the child or their birth family prior to the placement, then that might be a situation in which legal action is necessary. In that case, you’d file a “wrongful adoption” lawsuit and explain why the agency misled you. Most cases involve fraud or misrepresentation, because had the parent known about the issues that were withheld, they may have chosen not to adopt the child in the first place.
Your attorney will support you if you are concerned about dissolving an adoption. It’s a difficult situation to be in, but there is help.