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Are There Requirements to Put a Baby Up for Adoption?

What is required to give a baby up for adoption?

It’s a common question from expectant mothers considering adoption for their baby.  Making the choice to pursue adoption is a big one, and every woman considering this path should learn as much as she can about adoption before starting — including any requirements to put a baby up for adoption.

In general, the requirements for putting a child up for adoption will often depend upon individual state laws. That’s why it’s important that every woman considering adoption speak with an adoption professional or adoption attorney to learn more about the legalities of “giving a baby up” for adoption where she lives. These laws could be integral in shaping your personal adoption journey.

However, there are also a few overarching “requirements” for giving your child up for adoption. Often, these are determined by the adoption professional you work with, who will have created these guidelines in your best interest as a prospective birth mother. Therefore, we encourage you to contact an adoption professional to learn more about what your adoption process may look like.

While these professionals will likely set requirements for prospective parents interested in adopting a child (such as age, health and financial requirements), there are no similar requirements for pregnant women considering adoption. The majority of adoption professionals will never turn away a woman wishing to place her child for adoption, no matter her circumstances. Most professionals will not drug test a prospective birth mother, and they will work with an expectant mother no matter how early or late in her pregnancy she is (or even after she has given birth).

Below, find the general “rules” of giving your child up for adoption that you may consider.

1. Knowing that it’s Right for You

One of the most important “qualifications” to put a child up for adoption is determining that it is indeed the right choice for you. Placing a child for adoption is a difficult, emotional decision, so it’s important that you do extensive research and fully understand all of your unplanned pregnancy options before pursuing adoption.

One of the best ways to learn about adoption is by receiving adoption counseling. Many adoption professionals will provide free, no-obligation counseling to expectant mothers considering adoption. They will answer your questions and address any concerns you may have to help you decide whether adoption is right for you and your baby.

Adoption is a permanent decision; you cannot “get your baby back” after adoption. So, before you can place a child for adoption, you will need to be 100 percent confident in your decision.

2. Creating an Adoption Plan

Whether you choose to work with an adoption attorney or agency, one of the requirements for giving your child up for adoption is creating a personalized plan for your adoption. As a prospective birth mother, you are in charge of every aspect of your adoption. You will have the right to choose an adoptive family, determine what kind of post-adoption contact you have with them, and more. However involved you want to be in your adoption process, you will still need to talk to your professional to create a plan moving forward.

Only after you have an adoption plan in place will your professional understand how to best proceed according to your adoption goals and preferences.

3. Understanding of Your Local Adoption Laws

The rules of giving a child up for adoption will be determined by the legalities of “giving a baby up” for adoption according to your state laws. However, each state’s adoption laws differ, which is why an adoption attorney is so important in your journey.

There are a few state laws that will determine the legal qualifications to put a child up for adoption. These are known as “consent laws,” and they regulate when and how a mother can officially and legally place her child for adoption. A woman cannot officially choose adoption for her baby until after he or she is born, and some states require a waiting period before she signs her adoption consent. There are also laws regarding the adoption financial assistance you may receive and the way that an adoption professional helps you find an adoptive family.

Again, we encourage you to speak with a local adoption attorney for more information on the legal rules for giving a baby up for adoption in your state.

4. Signing Your Adoption Consent

As mentioned, one of the important legalities of giving a baby up for adoption is signing your adoption consent. An expectant mother in the middle of an adoption process always has the right to change her mind up until this final step.

When it comes time to sign your adoption consent (after your baby is born and after any required waiting period has expired), your adoption attorney will explain your rights as a prospective birth mother and what your signing of this document will mean for you and your baby. Remember, before this point, you will have already chosen an adoptive family and determined what kind of open adoption communication you will have with them moving forward.

You will never be forced to sign your adoption consent until you are 100 percent confident in your decision, but this is the final (and, legally, most important) requirement for giving your child up for adoption. Once this is signed, your adoption is complete — and your post-adoption contact with the adoptive parents will begin.

Remember, if you ever have any questions about your specific “giving child up for adoption” requirements, contact an adoption professional to learn more. Every woman’s adoption journey is slightly different, and yours will be, too, according to your adoption goals and desires.