Your Legal Adoption Rights

You have rights. We respect them.

You have a lot to think about right now.  You can rely on The Cradle to take the time to help you understand the legal process and take care of all the legal details for you.

The Cradle has placed children for over 90 years. We pay close attention to the rules and regulations of adoption law and make sure that everyone involved is well-informed, respected and protected. Learn more about father's rights.

If you choose adoption:

  • Different states have different laws. We can help you understand the adoption law in your state. To learn more about birthparents’ rights and responsibilities in Illinois, click here.
  • You may change your mind at any time during the adoption process up until the legal documents are signed.
  • You have full parental rights until the legal documents are signed.
  • You may sign legal documents that designate the adoptive family for your child.
  • Once the legal documents are signed, your adoption decision is final and permanent.

If you choose to parent:

  • You will be treated with respect and dignity.
  • Your decision will be supported.
  • You will not be pressured nor coerced towards an adoption decision.
  • If you have received financial support during your pregnancy, you are under no obligation to place your child or repay the agency.

It's your decision, your time. 

You may choose adoption at any age without parental consent. While you don’t need your parents’ permission to make an adoption plan, we encourage your family to be part of your adoption experience, if possible.

We encourage you to take as much time as you need to make a decision. And we invite you to use The Cradle nursery to care for the baby until you are confident in your choice. If you do not live in Illinois, The Cradle has carefully selected other temporary care resources. Email a counselor to learn more about your options.

How does it work? Learn more about how adoption works

Cradle Counselors Describe the Legal Rights of Birth Parents

Video Transcript

Slide: Your Legal Rights

Beth: When a mom is making a plan of adoption both before and after her baby is born, she really maintains all her legal and custodial rights to the child. Even when the child is in our nursery

Liesl: Your parental rights are not terminated until you actually sign the final legal document, which you can’t do until after the baby is born and in Illinois, that’s at least 72 hours after delivery. Which means you can do a lot of planning for adoption, but none of it is really final until you sign the final surrender to adoption after 72 hours after delivery. And that could also be done later. It could be done a week later if you need some more time to make your final decision.

Beth: She may have chosen to do an open adoption with the adoptive parents. It’s a relationship that’s built over time. It is not something that is legally binding, which is important for moms to understand. It doesn’t grant them rights to visitation or it doesn’t grant them rights to information. So it’s really is why The Cradle feels that the counseling that moms receive before and after the baby is born is so critical because when they decide on adoption, it really is a permanent plan for both her and for the child.

Meghan: We want to make sure that moms know that all of their parental rights are intact if they don’t move forward with adoption. They are not expected to repay any support they’ve received from us, financial or otherwise. So really anything that they’ve done with The Cradle is all planning up until the point they’ve signed surrender. If they do decide to parent, all of that can go out the window because nothing is legally binding until she signs surrenders.