Under Alabama’s old Adoption Code, a birth parent could withdraw their consent for any reason within the first five days. There was another window from day six to day fourteen where a birth parent could withdraw their consent. However, prior to withdrawal and return of the child, there had to be an evidentiary hearing where the natural parent showed that withdrawal was reasonable and in the child’s best interest.
The new Adoption Code, under 26-10E-13, eliminates the second window to withdraw consent (the six to fourteen day window), and keeps only the first five days:
An express consent once signed or confirmed, may be withdrawn for any reason within five business days after birth or within five business days after the signing of the express consent or relinquishment, whichever comes last.
This might not immediately sound like an improvement, but I think it will be. For years we have counseled adoption workers to discourage birth parents from relying on the second window. The reality is that it’s entirely too rare that a judge will be able to rule that the withdrawal of consent is reasonable and in the child’s best interest. The evidence rarely supports that.
The new Adoption Code makes it clear that only the first five day window will be open for natural parents to withdraw their consent.