A big topic in adoption reform is revocation periods--a period of time in which a parent can revoke their consent to the termination of their parental rights. Colloquially, it's sometimes called the time when "a birthmom can change her mind." Or, more crassly, "when she can 'take back' the baby." What you think needs to be done to revocation periods depends on where you fall on the reform spectrum. If you think laws need to be strengthened in favor of adoptive parents, you want them shortened or eliminated altogether. If you want more protections for placing parents, you want them to be longer. It's not quite as black and white as that, but you get the idea.
I usually fall on the side of favoring revocation periods. Some people say that they make adoption too emotionally risky for adoptive parents. You've given your heart over to this child, to the possibility of them being in your family, and then it's all gone. That is a huge, real, very painful loss. Just thinking about it possibly happening to us was gut-wrenching. Please don't think I'm discounting that. Of course we wanted finality in our kids' adoptions. We just wanted it to be a finality we could feel good about.
The state Firefly was born in has no revocation period and no minimum waiting period after the birth before consents can be signed. Neither is there a simple way for the potential adoptive parents to legally take a child home without the consents being signed first. So in a lot of private infant adoptions in the state, relinquishment forms are signed at the hospital and are final when the baby is only a couple of days old. And having our future child's relinquishment set in stone before she--or Ms B--had even left the hospital didn't feel right.
Long story short (too late!), we talked this all over with our agency, Ms B and our lawyer. We looked for ways we could do things differently either before or after Ms B signed the consents to create some breathing room. We wanted to be able to say to Firefly twenty or thirty years from now that Ms B had time to sit with her decision after she had recovered a bit from giving birth. After she was home and away from the surreal environment of the hospital. Whether or not that will be important to Firefly, we can't know. But it was important to us.
Our lawyer came up with the plan we eventually used. He pointed out that until the relinquishment forms are actually filed with the county court, the court has no idea they've been signed. So if we hung on to them for awhile, we could create the equivalent of a revocation period. If Ms B gave the word, we could tear up the papers and it would be as if she had never signed them (from a legal perspective, at least--emotionally it would still be tough). If she didn't, we'd file them and they'd become retroactively effective to the date they were signed.
There is lots more I could say about connected issues we had to think through--legal, emotional, practical. What it was like to talk this over with Ms B and make sure she had agency in the situation. The arguments one lawyer we interviewed made against it and why I didn't agree with him. But this is already long and I don't know if anyone is even interested in reading it.
One final note: this post isn't a comment on your actions or your child's adoption. I don't think all adoptions done without revocation periods are automatically unethical. Or that this made Firefly's adoption above reproach. Not at all. There's no need for us all to nitpick each other's adoption decisions. This was just something we wanted to try given all the particulars of our situation. I wanted to put it out there in case anyone else was thinking about similar issues. It would have been nice to have ideas like this in mind when we were trying to figure out what to do.