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Giving up a child: Adoption and birth parent rights

As a parent of a child, you have certain rights given to you when your child is born. For instance, you can make decisions about health care or schooling, as long as it doesn't jeopardize your child's safety and health.

Sometimes, the biological parents of a child decide they want to give a child up for adoption, and that is also their right. Before you decide to give up your parental rights, you need to understand the full implication of that decision and how it will affect you in the years to come.

There are a few different grounds for terminating parental rights, both involuntary and voluntary. If you want to give your child up for adoption, you will need to voluntarily terminate your parental rights.

Before that can happen, you must consent to the adoption. You and your spouse may both need to do this if you're a married couple, or you and your partner may do so if you're an unmarried couple. In some instances, only one parent is needed for this step. If for some reason you and the child's other parent die or lose your parental rights, then a close relative, the court, an agency in custody of the child or a guardian of the child can place him up for adoption.

If you are considering putting your child up for adoption or are concerned about losing your parental rights involuntarily, your attorney can help you understand the options you have. You need to be sure about the choices you make now, because they will affect you and your child for the long term.

Source: FindLaw, "Birth Parent Rights," accessed July 11, 2016

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