The adoptive family closed the adoption. Can I get my kids back?

I’m a birth mother and desperately want to get my kids back. I’m in a bad situation involving my two daughters. I was backed into a corner by my ex-husband’s family. They said if I agreed to do an adoption, they would let me see my kids every single weekend. It’s been over a year since I’ve seen them. My ex-husband’s aunt adopted them, and she won’t let me see them at all. Is there a way to get my kids back after an adoption is finalized?  K.

Dear K.,

This is heartbreaking to hear. You obviously trusted your ex-husband’s family to do the right thing by you and they betrayed you. I can only imagine your pain, frustration, and sadness. Your children have a right to know their biological mother, and assuming you are clean and sober, there’s no good reason why the aunt should keep the girls from you. I can understand why you would hope and pray that you can get your kids back.

Why some adoptive parents close adoptions

You haven’t specified why your ex-husband’s family closed the adoption. It’s not clear why they are refusing contact. However, I can speculate. Some adoptive parents, in these situations, are afraid that the adopted child will be confused about who the “real” parent is. Maybe they want time to help the adoptee adjust to a new family unit. On the other hand, some adoptive parents are afraid that the adoptee will be emotionally traumatized by seeing their biological parent. This trauma can create issues in their own families. Obviously, I’m speculating here, and there could be any number of things going on.

You have a limited time to sue to get kids back after adoption

The reality, unfortunately, is that once an adoption is finalized, it can only be undone if there was fraud, duress, or coercion. This is true in California and in most states. Additionally, there’s a timeframe by which you need to file your lawsuit to undo it. In California, this is six months. If your girls’ adoptions were completed at least six months ago, or more, then it’s unlikely you can undo the adoption and get the kids back. You should definitely check with an attorney, though, in your home state to find out for sure.

Can I get my kids back after adoption?

If you can’t get your kids back, I’m wondering if there’s anything you can do to repair your relationship with your daughters’ adoptive parents. Hopefully they appreciate the importance of their relationship with you. Maybe there’s a way to work something out with them so you can have some contact.

Work on your relationship with the adoptive parents

The goals here is to open the door to communication so you can start developing contact. Consider writing them a letter letting them know how you are doing and why it would be in the girls’ interest to have contact with you. Reassure them that you respect them as the girls’ legal parents and that you don’t want to disturb that. Let them know that you just want updates on how they are doing and what’s new in their lives. Tell them you would like to share something about yourself and your life with the girls. Explain that you think they would benefit from knowing you are well and happy. Reassure them that you will always speak respectfully of them to the girls.

Don’t give up!

Start small and see how that goes. If you are able to establish healthy contact this way, some visits might follow. Remember that one of these days soon the girls will be 18 years old and can have the relationship they want with you. Your job today should be to try to open that door.

try to have contact if can't get my kids back

I realize that this may not be what you want to hear. If I was you, I would be so angry and ready to beat down someone’s door. The problem is that they are in the driver’s seat, so to speak, and you need to get them on your side. Don’t give up! If they don’t respond to a letter, keep sending them. Stay positive and respectful, if you can, and with some luck, things could change. I’ll be thinking of you and sending you good thoughts for strength and perseverance as you work toward reunification.

All my best,

Megan

Read my story here