"Relinquishment" is voluntary consent to the termination of one’s parental rights to a child. It is also called "Voluntary Termination of Parental Rights" and "Consent to Adoption."
(Consent to adoption can also be exercised by other parties - courts, guardians, etc. - when circumstances dictate, however this article deals with the voluntary signing of relinquishment papers by a child’s parents.)
What You Need to Know
Laws governing consent and relinquishment vary from state to state. It is of primary importance that both adopting and placing parents understand the law and observe it. In order to understand how different state laws can be, let’s take a look at some of the legal provisions.
Note for adopting parents: If you are adopting across state lines, the laws of both states must be taken into account and the adoption is subject to oversight by the Interstate Compact. Be sure to consult a legal professional.
Note for placing parents: There should be no undue pressure placed on you to sign relinquishment papers or any "intent to relinquish" if you aren’t ready to do so. If you have any questions about what constitutes "fraud, duress, undue influence, coercion, or misrepresentation," be sure to consult an attorney, or a proactive resource for placing parents such as Insight.
The information in this article is not a substitute for legal advice.
Credits: by Nancy S. Ashe
Note: Our authors are dedicated to honest, engaged, informed, intelligent, and open conversation about adoption. The opinions expressed here may not reflect the views of Adoption.com.