AB370 Sought to make adoptions immediately irrevocable!
AB370 seeks to make the following changes:
- Makes it so Adoption Service Providers must witness the signing of a "Waiver of Right to Revoke Consent" to an adoption. Previously the signing of such a form had to be witnessed by a judge or someone from the State Department of Health and Human Services, independent entities with no financial interest in the outcome. Apparently this is too much trouble so adopters want an agent who is paid by them to get the signature.
- Requires that the "Waiver of Right to Revoke Consent" is signed at the same time as the parent signs a consent to adoption. To the unwitting parent who signs this, they give up the right to change their mind for 30 days as provided by law. It eviscerates the provision of a cooling off period when a parent who might have been coerced into signing a consent to adoption and later thinks differently about their decision discovers they were also coerced into giving up the right to change their mind.
AB370 must be stopped.
The law recognizes that sometimes people hastily enter into contracts. They may be emotionally charged at the time, or have been misled or misinformed. After having some time to think about the decision, the law allows rescission of many important kinds of contracts, including purchasing a car or home or signing loan documents.
Deciding to place a child for adoption is no comparison to these types of situations. It is far more emotional, far more subject to the pressure and coercion of others, and it has a lasting impact on the lives of the parent(s), child, and extended family members. The law currently provides a period of thirty (30) days for the birth parent to reconsider this very important decision. This time period was hotly debated and settled upon when SB104 (2001) was passed.
AB370 is dangerous
The Adoption Service Provider is not an independent party who is looking out for the birth parent. Her function is defined as helping the adoption occur. She should not be the one to witness the execution of a document that forever makes the consent irrevocable. She has an inherent conflict of interest.
AB370 is deceptive
The birth parent may be misled to believe that they are required to sign the waiver. A birth parent signs many documents at the same time in the presence of the Adoption Service Provider, including documents that authorize the release of information to the State Department of Health and Human Services. It would be too easy to dismiss the importance of this document and fool the birth parent into thinking it is required.
Worse yet, if conditions led the birth parent to be coerced into signing the consent, it is likely they will also be coerced into signing the waiver. If this birth parent later reconsiders his/her choice, they are out of luck. The waiver made their consent to the adoption permanently and immediately irrevocable.
AB370 is unnecessary
If a birth parent signs a consent but does not sign a waiver, their consent to adoption becomes irrevocable after 30 days. Why should it become irrevocable sooner? Adoptions generally can't happen faster than 6 months in California anyway. Home studies need to be completed. A criminal background check must be completed on the adoptive parents. The parental rights of the other parent must be terminated, and in most cases this requires court action which does not happen in less than 30 days. Creating a circumstance where a child is left without a legal parent before an adoption is confirmed is not in a child's best interest. It simply gives would-be adoptive parents warm fuzzy feelings at the expense of the birth parents' rights.