Can you give back a child you adopted? (Yes & No)

In this article, we are going to debate whether you can give back a child you adopted. We speak about the reasons why someone may want to give back an adopted child and what does the law state regarding this matter.

Can you give back a child you adopted?

Legally speaking, you cannot give back a child you adopted, if the adoption process was finalized. At this point, there is no difference between a biological child and an adopted child. Especially if we are talking about international adoption, the child can’t return to his country of origin. 

In practice, if the adoption process has not been completed yet, some parents may give back the adopted child who will try for a “second-chance adoption”.

Adopting is for some, a journey of heartache, bureaucracy and time. Parents believe that the day they meet their child, they will feel love at first sight, but that is where the true journey from the adapter to parent begins, a process of emotional bonding that sometimes never comes. 

It never comes because the feeling of love must have been born before, with all those longings to have your child, thinking what could be happening without you right now, wanting so much to have him as soon as possible to erase all the wounds that the past could leave him in the soul and the body, without caring if they will get along; if there will be chemistry; if it will be beautiful or ugly, good or bad behaviour. 

But that is erased with love, and if you did not have it before and you do not receive your child with love, then the real problems begin.

A child cannot be “returned” because the adoption must be irrevocable to protect the minor. Children “returned” are placed under the guardianship of the social services and can be re-adopted, which is very difficult, because they are older and the stigma of having been rejected weighs on them.

Rejections are often motivated by frustration of parental expectations and children’s behaviour problems. When a child is a little taciturn and depressed, their difficulties do not arouse alarm, but when they are expressed outwardly, with hyperactivity, violence or a mismatch in social relationships, parents feel overwhelmed.

Some children arrive so injured that they do not respond to affection, they act as if they were a block of ice and the parents cannot bear it. Parents who reject their adopted children often blame everything on the institutions of the country of origin, because they have not given them the type of child they asked for or have been deceived. 

Parents suffer, but for a child who is emotionally wounded, to be abandoned again is to reopen a wound that has never been closed.

Truncated adoptions are the tip of the iceberg of failures. Experts believe that there is a hidden percentage of pseudo breakups, where legally everything works, but the adopters have admitted the children to boarding schools or institutions, far from home

Some families live under the same roof but have not managed to forge a real emotional bond. In these cases, the problems flare up in adolescence and lead to final separation in adulthood.

Situations like these can occur many times due to the prolonged time of institutionalization of the child and that can alter the family functioning or the rejection of these to the parents since we remember that their rights have been violated and there is a certain fear that bad experiences may happen again. 

Emotional damage would also play a role in being able to engage healthily with new parents. That is why various aspects are addressed with them so that they are not overwhelmed by these situations.

The age of the child often matters

But the “rejection” can not only occur when a child is already adopted, but it is a reality before the process of connecting with a family. Age often is an obstacle when it comes to having a home.

According to statistics, infants are the most valued when it comes to making an adoption. The reason? It is because babies do not have institutionalization damage, unlike a child who has lived for approximately 6 years in a centre.

The other “advantage” is that they have no memories or developed feelings of attachment to the biological family. People seek to raise them from a young age and give them a new environment where they can easily adapt.

A child is already considered “big” for this process at approximately five years of age, that is why preference is given to foreigners, who also seek diverse profiles.

In this sense, and intending to respond to the desire and right to live as a family, The US is related to various countries through their agencies to intervene in the adoption program, such as Belgium, France, Norway, Italy, Germany and New Zealand.

For this reason, the minors who are sought to go abroad are:

  • Over 5 years of age.
  •  Groups of two, three, four and up to 5 siblings.
  • Children under 5 years of age with a physical health problem or member of a group of siblings.
  • Victims of serious rights violations.
  • Victims of progressive abandonment and long institutionalization time (minimum 2 years).
  • Children with disorders in the behavioural, socio-affective field (with or without drug treatment) and with attachment disorders.
  • With morbid family history, such as parents with intellectual limitations, psychiatric or personality disorders, with problematic drug and/or alcohol consumption, among others.

What does the law say about giving back a child you adopted?

What happens when there is an adoptive failure? Who protects minors when they are “returned” by families? The US Adoption Act only empowers the adoptee to request the nullity of the process if it has been obtained illegally or fraudulently, but the adoption is irrevocable.

If the family gives up the idea of the bond before the adoption sentence is passed, there are no major inconveniences from the legal point of view, but rather everything becomes a setback and the multidisciplinary team must once again look for a stable home to the younger. In turn, this couple that gave up a child could return to look for a new child even though the process would become somewhat more complex.

If justice rules in favour of the adoption and that the people repent before the registration of the child, at which point all the effects of the “new life and family” are realized, the court must be informed so that said diligence is not carried out.

Meanwhile, if the failure occurs after all the legal procedures and when the couple has already been with the minor for a while, it is possible to resort to voluntary transfer, an instance where the parents make known their intention to deliver the child in adoption. 

If this measure is not contemplated, new reports are then worked on to declare the child as susceptible to adoption with the idea of quickly finding another family.

Despite this, if the idea of “return” is manifested, there is the intervention of social workers and psychologists, who follow the family process for a time. The idea is to turn to these professionals to overcome eventual conflicts.

It should be noted that at the time of failure, the adoptee will no longer be able to stay in said house, therefore a protection measure must be requested so that he can enter a foster home.

After this, a “work with the affected child” begins to be developed. Despite this, a minor is not well in a home due to its negative effects in the psychological area. The idea is to create a bond with a family as soon as possible.

According to the latest figures, in the USA more than 100,000 children are waiting to be adopted. Children who have been abused many times, who have survived the harshness of facing a life alone and who, beyond great luxuries, only hope to be able to access the fundamental right of any person: to be loved and have a safe home.


In this article, we discussed whether you can give back a child you adopted. We spoke about the reasons why someone may want to give back an adopted child and what does the law state regarding this matter.

To summarize, if the adoption process was finalized, giving back a child you adopted is no different than putting your biological child up for adoption. If this is the case, we recommend you speak with a family attorney.

If you have any questions or comments on the content, please let us know!

FAQ on Can you give back a child you adopted?

Can you return an adopted kid?

You cannot just return an adopted kid. Legally, there is no difference in between an adopted child and your biological child. You will have to put the child up for adoption again and give him the chance to be adopted by a family who wants him. 

How do you dissolve an adoption?

You can dissolve an adoption by filing a Petition to Dissolve the Parent-Child Relationship. A legal process will follow in order for the child to be returned to state foster care.

What is considered a failed adoption?

A failed adoption is considered any adoption process that does not go through for one reason or another. 

Can a closed adoption be reversed?

Yes, a closed adoption can be reversed by the birth parents, adoptive parents and the child being adopted. A legal process will follow where a judge must be convinced that the adoption must be reversed.

Will I regret giving my baby up for adoption?

You might regret giving your baby up for adoption. However, many mothers believe that they did the best that they could by giving up the baby because this way they offered them a better chance at life.

Why do people put children up for adoption?

There are many reasons why people put children up for adoption. Among the main reasons is low income which generates poor living conditions. Many people give up their baby with the hope that the child will be able to receive nutritious food, good education and support.


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