My Children Were Adopted While I Was in Prison. Can I Get Them Back?

Note: The DearEsq free 'ask a lawyer' site is offered as a free informational service to the public and is not intended as legal advice. Laws vary from state-to-state, and in addition every situation is unique, and relevant facts may not be known. The answer to the question posed below may not apply to in your state or to your situation. For legal advice in your state and your situation you should consult with an attorney in your state who is familiar with the rules and laws in your state.

‘In 2005, I lost my children. Child services took them the day I was incarcerated. I was in prison for three years and was sent a letter telling me that there was going to be a trial and asking if I would
terminate my parental rights and I said no. The mother of the children had lost custody of them to me prior to my prison sentence. So, the kids were sent to foster care and adopted out. My questions are: could they take them without my permission? Even if so, how can I find out where they are? I have been clean and free since 2008 and want to know if I can get them back or at least find them and communicate with them. Please help.’

Question: This will likely turn on whether you were able to attend the trial and whether there was another person close to you available to care for your children while you were incarcerated. If there was no way that you were able to attend the trial AND you let the court know about that situation, then you need to contact an attorney in order to deal with that issue. If there was no one else to care for the children, then the state had a duty to care for them while you could not, however that typically would look like foster care, not adoption. If they truly terminated your parental rights and let someone else adopt them, and particularly without your being represented, then you would quite possibly have a claim for not being provided with what is known as ‘due process’. You really need to consult with an attorney familiar with family law and the juvenile system.