Birthparents considering relinquishing their child for adoption must be thoroughly able to comprehend their decision and be deemed as legally competent to sign relinquishment papers.
Sometimes an issue of one’s mental state arises. Whenever it is observed or there is a known history or condition that indicates that one or more birthparent may not have the ability to understand the nature, content or consequences of the consent to adoption, a psychological evaluation of the birthparent’s competency must be completed. Factors such as a history of psychotropic medications, a lower than average intelligence or a substance abuse history can necessitate the need for a birthparent’s competency to be evaluated. The relinquishment papers can only be signed after the parent’s ability to understand is established by a licensed clinical psychologist.
Often my clinical services are called upon to determine competency. Most often I am contacted by an Adoption Service Provider (ASP) who is working with the birthparents or by an Adoption Attorney who is representing the prospective adoptive parents.
Typically competency evaluations can be competed in one to two visits. Most often they are administered in my office however for birthparents who may not have adequate transportation, I will travel to the home.