Putting Children Up for Adoption Together
Keeping Sibling Connections Strong
If you’re reading this, you’ve found yourself in a serious enough situation that you’ve caught yourself wondering, “I don’t want my children,” or, “I want to give my kids up for adoption. How do you put children up for adoption and make sure that they’ll stay together in their new home?”
Wondering how to “give up” your children for adoption or having thoughts like, “I don’t want my children — what do I do,” don’t mean that you’re a bad parent. In fact, if you recognize that your current situation is difficult enough that you think your children might be safer somewhere else, this makes you an amazing, selfless parent. But that doesn’t mean that “giving kids up” for adoption is ever easy for a parent, or for the children.
It is only as an absolute last resort that you should place multiple children for adoption. You should only learn about the process for placing children for adoption if you have already explored and exhausted all other options. That being said, if you’ve reached a point where you know you can no longer care for your children, it’s possible that adoption could be the answer you need to provide your children with the most amazing life possible.
Below, we’ll outline some of the steps you can take to try to prevent “giving up” kids for adoption, as well as explain how to “give your children up” for adoption safely, and in a way that will increase their likelihood of staying together.
First, a couple important notes:
A legal disclaimer: This article is merely a source of basic information about putting children up for adoption with the hope that they will remain together permanently. None of the following is legal advice.
If you’re considering “giving up” children for adoption, you should contact an adoption attorney immediately for legal counsel based on your individual situation.
A note on the language used within this article: You’ll see us use phrases like “put up for adoption” or “give up” children. These are not the preferred terms, because this type of language makes adoption sound like a shameful choice. The preferred term is always “placing” children for adoption, because choosing adoption for your child is a painful choice that you make with a great deal of love, thought, sacrifice and consideration.
However, in this article, we’ll use phrases like “how to give your children away for adoption,” simply because these are the most commonly used phrases parents search when looking for information. We encourage everyone to learn about positive adoption terminology, and to use it whenever talking about adoption.
With all of this in mind, here’s what you need to know about how to “give up” children for adoption:
Sorting Through Feelings of “I Don’t Want My Children Anymore”
Before you dive further into learning how to put children up for adoption, take some time to reflect on how you’re feeling. Many parents still want to continue raising their children, but they feel unable to at this point.
Others, however, may find themselves having thoughts like, “I don't want my children. Is this postpartum depression?” Or, “I’m not interested in being a parent. I want to put my children up for adoption.”
Parenting is one of the hardest things that a person can do, but feelings of not wanting your children can make you feel guilty. It’s important to understand where these feelings are coming from, and to understand whether or not they might go away. Could your thoughts of not wanting your children be temporary? These feelings could be caused by:
- Depression (postpartum or otherwise)
- Instability within your life
Consult a doctor, and see if you can rule out some of these stressors in your life. For most parents, the feelings of not wanting your children are temporary. If, however, you continue to have these feelings and you believe that exploring how to “give up” your kids for adoption may be the best option for your children and for yourself, keep reading.
What Are Your Options for Putting Your Kids Up for Adoption?
If you’re in a tough situation and feel that putting your children up for adoption is what’s in their best interests, you’ll need to talk to an adoption expert to understand what’s possible in your specific circumstances. Mostly, the options that are legally available to you will depend on the ages of your children.
Are your children under the age of 4?
Then you may be able to put your kids up for adoption safely through a private adoption agency. Private agencies are almost always able to keep siblings in the same home, but in most cases, these professionals are only able to place infants (and occasionally toddlers).
If the children you’re placing for adoption are younger, remember that adoption means relinquishing your parental rights. This can’t be undone. They would be permanently adopted by an adoptive family (whom you would be able to choose, get to know and maintain contact with).
If your oldest child is 4 or older, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to work with an adoption agency. However, it doesn’t hurt to contact an adoption agency and ask some questions. They may be able to refer you to a professional who can help.
Are your children 4 years old or older?
Then “giving your kids up” for adoption through a private agency probably isn’t an option. If you need to learn how to “give your kids up” for adoption when they’re older, you still have a few options:
- Consider a kinship adoption. In this type of adoption, you would terminate your legal parental rights and permanently place your children with a trusted friend or family member. Please note: You would no longer be a parental role in your children’s lives, even if you maintain contact.
- Consider a temporary legal guardianship. Here, you would place your children in the temporary custody of a trusted friend or family member. You would have the option to resume parenting your children whenever you’re ready and able to do so.
- Reach out to local resources. There are often local or state organizations that can help you continue to parent your children, so that you can avoid putting kids up for adoption. They may be able to offer financial help, access to food and necessities, health insurance for your kids, childcare while you work or even respite care.
- Contact your local child welfare agency. You typically can’t put your children up for adoption through foster care voluntarily. Understand that Child Protective Services may not be able to help in your situation.
However, if your children are not safe at home, they may be able to provide them with temporary care. The state always tries to keep siblings together, but there’s never a guarantee. Contact your local Child Protective Services department to learn more — they may be able to direct you to resources that can help you continue to parent your kids.
A Legal Note About How to “Give Children Up” for Adoption
It’s rare, but it happens: A parent becomes desperate enough that they try to place their children for adoption on their own, usually online, without an adoption agency or attorney. Placing your child for adoption without an attorney and the correct legal steps is often considered human trafficking and is illegal. Even advertising that you’re willing to place your child for adoption is illegal in most states.
It is also illegal to abandon your child, unless you have surrendered them in accordance with Safe Haven laws, which have very specific requirements.
The Importance of Keeping Siblings Together
In the case of siblings, placing children for adoption together is incredibly important. A person’s relationships with his or her siblings are an important part of who they are. The removal of a child from his or her biological parents is always a traumatic event, but removing the child from his or her siblings increases that trauma. So, whenever possible, siblings should be adopted together.
Knowing this, many parents who have asked, “how to give my children up for adoption,” also worry, “If a couple wants to adopt a child but doesn't want the sibling, will they get separated?”
The answer: Adoption professionals will always try to place siblings together in an effort to maintain sibling relationships whenever possible. Some private adoption agencies are able to promise that siblings will never be separated. However, it’s not always a guarantee.
Unfortunately, groups of siblings generally wait longer to be adopted than individual children. Few adoptive families have the time, space or resources for multiple new children at once.
The best way to keep siblings together is to continue raising them within the original family unit. If that’s no longer possible, finding an extended family member or close friend who is able to temporarily care for or permanently adopt all of the children is usually the next best solution. Unfortunately, the chances that siblings will be able to stay together decrease if they are taken into state custody, despite the best efforts of foster care professionals who always try to keep them together.
Reaching out for help and using all available resources to continue parenting is always your first line of defense. But, if you feel that adoption is the only solution left and you’re still wondering, “How do I put my children up for adoption,” contacting an adoption attorney to discuss what’s possible in your situation should be your next course of action.