In most states a birth mother does not relinquish parental rights until after the child is born. A father may often relinquish his rights long before birth, but the birth mother does not.

Relinquishment is a tender, difficult time for a birth mother. It is important for the social worker and/or attorney to have conversations with the birth mother before time of delivery to answer questions and discuss a timeline. Thus, when the time comes to relinquish her rights and for the child to placed in an adoptive home, it may not be quite so traumatic. It is important for the birth parents to know that relinquishment is voluntary and that they are taking this action in the best interest of the child. There should never be pressure, just education about relinquishment.