Can you de-adopt someone?

Sound like a stupid question but what if you get a kid and don’t like him? Can you give him back?

IIRC there was an LA Law episode about this about 10+ years ago where a family with some kids already, adopted a little boy that turned out to have some anger based psychological problems because (it was implied) a drunk/druggie mom in an abusive environment that they were not told about.

At the time they were trying to dump him they had had him for a few years and the kid was around 8 and was getting more out of control with fits of anger and violent tantrums.

I forget what side the LA law team was on but in the end the Judge decided to let the parents rescind the adoption and give him back to the state becase the state had dealt in bad faith by covering up his past.

The end scene where the kid is pleading fo them not to leave him and that he’ll be good is one of the most heart wrenching I’ve ever seen on TV.

I think this was based on a real case that was in the news at the time (as many of the shows were). I don’t remember what the outcome of the actual case was.


I don’t know about all places but it seems to me that the answer would be no.

The reason I think this and this is going off my own experience as an adoptee and having seen many things in the news about adoptees and troubled genetics…so this is more an opinion than legal talk here.

I would gather that rather than relinquishment by the adoptive parents, the parents would simply have to go through a lot of legal issues to change their status of legal parents to giving guardianship to the state (foster care.) I think once the state declares a woman, man or couple a parent legally it can’t be reversed unless some stipulation in the adoption papers in regards to the birthmother. Unless the child is emmancipated (sp) I believe that in most all states that even if the parent(s) turn over guardianship they are required to pay child support to the state as well.

BTW, most parent’s wouldn’t see too many issues with “like or dislike” until the child has lived in the home for several years if adopted as a baby, hard to say about an older child. I would gather a parent would have to go through hell and back with a child before considering turning over the duties of parenthood to the state. I watched my best friend go through that with her youngest birth son. He was worse than hell for a single mom trying to make ends meet.

Well, that’s my opinion and I am sure someone with more legal knowledge than me will come along to set me straight. :wink:

I used to work in family law, and I recall reading an article in one of the journals we got at the office about the conditions under, and procedures by, which adoptive parents could relinquish paternal rights. So it obviously is possible at least in some circumstances (which vary by jurisdiction). I can’t really be any more specific than this because it was a few years ago, but I believe there generally had to be major issues involved - i.e. the parents couldn’t just decide “I’m sick of this kid” and send him back, just like that.

Of course the adoption process is pretty much designed to weed out parents who might want to do that anyway.

Only if you’ve kept the receipt.

It does happen. We have friends who adopted three kids. One turned out to be a complete sociopath: set fires in the house, beat up smaller kids, etc. After a couple years, she was placed in an institution and the adoption was rescinded. This happened 10-15 years ago.

I don’t know whether adoptive parents can undo an adoption, but in my state, they can surrender the child for adoption,just as the birth parents did.

Just to add to the comments above, I believe that many states do in fact give adoptive parents a “return period,” so to speak. Although it sounds creepy, the thought is that it will encourage parents to adopt older children, like 5-year olds and 8 year olds.

But only within the first 90 days.

After that, there’s a 20% restocking fee.

It really depends on what the kid does, and what enviornment would be the best for him, if the child is violent, and potentially dangerous growing up with you, you should contact a family lawyer and the place from which you adopted him.

Yes, in rare circumstances, it does happen. The first response describing the L.A. law episode sounds fairly close to a case I’m familiar with in Illinois.

It’s a lot easier if you get the kid as a newborn. Correct me if I’m wrong, but they have a little area on the top of their heads where there’s no bone, because the bone doesn’t grow in till a few years later. That spot remains sensitive.

As I understand it from Dr Katz, if you can push it in, it means your baby’s been tampered with. You’re to take it back and the store will replace it free of charge.

I heard about a family who didn’t return their child, and it turned out her brains had been replaced with guacamole. Seventy years and four Thatcherite governments later, we’re still recovering.