In our state, there is a 6-month placement period before the adoption is finalized. Normally, in a private domestic adoption this is not a big deal because the parental rights are typically terminated within a week or so after placement. There are events that can hang up the termination, two of which we have encountered in both adoptions. The first time we encountered this, was when the agency had to advertise for a potential birth father for Baby X. Given the circumstances, this was nothing to be worried about and we just had to wait it out. (45 days turned into 90 because of a miscommunication between the agency and the advertising newspaper) Lest you think me callous, I can only assure you that this was not a case of trying to keep a baby from his father, and that is all I can say about it.
The second time our case got hung up in the courts was with Baby Z. Everything went according to plan with his mother and father. They both signed their paperwork and the paperwork was filed. In a weird twist of "come again?" a third party had to be served termination papers as well. Fast forward several months and a DNA test later and the magistrate was able to tell said third party to hit the bricks. I have nothing but contempt and disgust for this person who dragged Baby Z's mom through a bullshit prolonged process for no reason. I also have never felt like less of a mother than when I had to take Baby Z in for a DNA test.
That being said, I realize that having more strict laws in place in our state is a good thing for birth parents and their children. Adoptions and home studies occur through licensed agencies or the department of social services. All potential parties have to be served with termination paperwork even if it is clear that one of them is not involved. Most importantly, any party wishing to have the opportunity to declare themselves the parent, is given that opportunity. In our case, it was frustrating and so obviously not a question, but the courts did what they were supposed to do. Protect a potential parent from losing their child.
Some neighboring states (ahem, that one with the big ass lake of saltwater) are so loose and fast with adoptions that all they are doing is creating havoc. It's sad really. The focus of an adoption should be to find a safe home for a child whose parents can't take care of them. It should not be to get a baby at all costs.
Thankfully, in our case, it was black and white. The hiccup did not delay our finalization date and we have one more post-placement meeting with our caseworker (for a total of 3) before we get our court date. The end of the road is in sight, and not to sound trite, but I am so looking forward to getting ourselves out of debt. We've done pretty well, but had to take on some debt to go through the process a second time. It's just one more thing to remind us that the way we had kids is vastly different than the norm.