7. Birth parents: your rights

For another couple (or person) to adopt your child, you normally have to agree to it.

Once your child’s adopted, you no longer have parental responsibility for them.

Depending on the child’s situation, you may be able to stay in contact with them. This is often done using letters and photographs (and sometimes meetings) through the agency responsible for arranging the adoption.

Fathers’ rights

As the child’s father you’ll be asked to agree to the adoption - but only if you have parental responsibility.

If you were never married to the child’s mother or named on the birth certificate, you can apply to the court for a Parental Responsibility Order to get parental responsibility.

Trying to stop the adoption process

If the adoption process has started, you should get legal advice from a solicitor or Citizens Advice.

To make an adoption legal, a court has to grant a court order.

The agency arranging the adoption must let you know what your rights are - and also at what point the adoption can’t be stopped.

If you don’t want your child to be adopted, a court will give you the chance to say why. A social worker, independent of the adoption agency, will visit you and:

  • record the reasons you don’t want your child adopted
  • let the court know these reasons - you can go to court to explain them

An adoption order can’t be made unless the court thinks it’s in your child’s best interests.

Adoption without your consent

A court can decide the adoption can go ahead without your consent if:

  • it thinks the child would be put at risk if they weren’t adopted - it will send you the evidence they have been given, eg from social services
  • you’re incapable of giving consent - eg due to a mental disability

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