For Birth Mothers.

  • When can the mother of the baby start the adoption process? As soon as she knows she is pregnant.
  • Can the birth mother change her mind before signing the legal consents to the adoption? Yes.
  • Can the birth mother see and hold the baby after birth? Yes.
  • Can a minor mother independently sign legal documents placing the child for adoption? Yes.
  • Can the birth mother communicate with the adoptive parents and child after the adoption? If allowed by the adoptive parents.
  • What happens if the birth parents do not agree that adoption should be the plan? If the birth father is married to the birth mother he may essentially veto any adoption plan. If the birth father was not married to the birth mother and the child is placed before it is six months old and the birth father lived with the birth mother a continuous period of six months immediately preceding the placement and held himself out to be the father during the six month period or paid a fair and reasonable sum, based on his ability, for the support of the child or expenses incurred in connection with the pregnancy or with the birth of the child then his consent will be required and he may essentially veto the adoption plan. If the birth father was not married to the birth mother and the child is more than six months old at placement, the birth father’s consent is necessary but only if he has maintained substantial and continuous contact or repeated contact with the child as demonstrated by payment of support of a fair and reasonable sum based on his financial ability and visits at least monthly when he is able to do so and not prevented from doing so by the person or agency having lawful custody of the child or regular communication by the father with the child or with the person or agency having custody of the child when the father is financially or physically unable to visit the child or when the father is prevented from visiting the child by the person or agency having lawful custody of the child. See S. C. Code Ann. § 63-9-310 (Cum. Supp. 1992).
  • Can the birth mother choose the adoptive parents? Yes.
  • Can the birth mother change her mind after signing the legal consents to the adoption? She can only withdraw her consent with the Court’s permission. She would have to prove coercion or duress and that it would be in the best interest of the child for the Court to allow the consent to be withdrawn. The Court is to consider the totality of the circumstances including emotional stressors in determining whether or not the signing of any consent to adoption was involuntary or pursuant to duress or coercion. See McCann v. Doe, Opinion #26468, filed April 7, 2008. The burden is on the person seeking to revoke the consent to show the consent was obtained involuntarily. Phillips v. Baker, 284 SC 134, 137, 325 SE2d 533, 535 (1985). See S. C. Code Ann. §63-9-350 (Cum. Supp. 1992).
  • What expenses can the adoptive parents pay to or on behalf of the birth mother and child?
    • Reimbursement for necessary, actual medical and reasonable living expenses
    • Fees for obtaining certain investigations and reports required by statute
    • Fees of individuals required to take consents
    • Fees of the guardian ad litem
    • Reasonable attorney fees and costs for services actually provided
    • Reasonable fees to child-placing agencies
    • Reasonable fees to sending agencies as defined in the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children
  • When does the birth mother actually sign the legal documents required for the adoption? Typically, the birth mother signs the day after the delivery or thereafter. Her medical chart should be checked to make sure she is not under the influence of any pain killer that might impair her judgment. The consent and relinquishment must be explained by an attorney or person certified by the Department of Social Services who does not represent the adoptive couple. The document must be notarized.
  • Can a birth mother anonymously surrender a newborn child? Yes, See S. C. Code Ann. §63-7-40 (Cum. Supp. 1992).
  • Will the birth mother be asked to file an affidavit in her adoption papers regarding future contact or the release of identifying information to the adoptee or adoptive parents? No.