Bill of Rights

 For Tennessee Birth Mothers

Bill of Rights

  • You have a right to place your child for adoption through an adoption agency or through a private adoption.
  • You have a right to choose the parents who will adopt your child, know their names, religion and other similar information and meet them, if desired.
  • You have a right to review the adoptive parents’ home study.
  • You have a right to make a written open adoption agreement to permit you pictures, letters or personal contact with the child after placement. The agreement is a moral agreement and will not be legally enforced by the Tennessee Courts.
  • You have a right to name your child on his or her first birth certificate. The adoptive parents have a right to name the child on the second birth certificate which will be issued after the adoption is final.
  • You have the right to your own attorney at the expense of the adoptive parents. In most cases, you also have the right to decline counsel.
  • You have the right to receive counseling from the counselor of your choice for a total of 12 months at the expense of the adoptive parents. You also have the right to decline counseling.
  • You have the right to have the adoptive parents pay for your birth related medical expenses.
  • If you are placing a newborn child for adoption, you have the right to financial assistance with your reasonable and actual housing, utilities, maternity clothes, food and transportation during the last 90 days of your pregnancy and for 45 days after the surrender of a newborn. You may also decline financial assistance.
  • You have the right to see or not see your child before you place him or her for adoption.
  • You have the right to change your mind about the adoption at any time before you sign a surrender form in front of a judge and for 3 days after you sign the surrender form. The three day period includes weekends and holidays, but if the third day is a weekend or holiday the last day to revoke is the next business day following the third day. There is no right to revoke beyond the 3 day period. You cannot sign a surrender before the child is four days old unless the judge says there is good reason to make an exception to this rule.
  • You have a right to receive a copy of the surrender form and any other forms you sign.
  • Your child is allowed to have his or her adoption records, including papers that disclose your identity, when he or she is 21 years old. You have the right to consent to or prevent contact from your adult child.


This fact sheet is intended for general information purposes only and not as a substitute for counsel.

For answers to your particular legal questions, contact an attorney.

Prepared by:
Dawn Coppock
Attorney At Law
P. O. Box 388
Strawberry Plains, TN 37871


Reprinted from Coppock on Tennessee Adoption Law With Forms & Statues, 6th Edition. Lexis Nexis Publishers, 2011.




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