If you are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and you are under the age of 18, putting your baby up for adoption is still an option for you.
Not only do you have your parents, friends and school to think about, but now you have the added stress of an unintended pregnancy. This situation can be very overwhelming, but you can benefit from telling a trusted adult so that you can get the help that you need.
As an underage teenager considering adoption, you likely have many questions about the process and how to get started. This article can be your guide to answer a few common questions that minors have about giving a baby up for adoption.
You can contact an adoption professional online at any time, even if you are a pregnant minor considering placing your baby for adoption.
Can a minor place a child for adoption without their parents’ permission?
In most states, a minor has different legal rights than adults. When you become pregnant, most states recognize your right to choose what you want for you and your baby, even if you are a teen. In the U.S., 40 states, including Washington D.C., out of 50 do not require parental consent for adoption when you choose to place your child for adoption underage.
These are the five states that require minors to be represented by legal counsel during an adoption hearing:
There are four states that require parental consent for a minor giving a baby up for adoption:
- Rhode Island
Pennsylvania is the one state that requires parental notification when a minor is putting a baby up for adoption.
Do you have to be a certain age to give your baby up for adoption?
Adoption is an option for you at any age when you are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy. Most states either specifically allow minors to place a baby for adoption or the law makes no distinction between minor and adult. This means that pregnant women under the age of 18 have the same adoption rights as women who are considered adults.
How Do I Give My Baby Up for Adoption if I Am Underage?
The process of adoption for pregnant minors under 18 who are putting a baby up for adoption is the same as the process for adults. As a minor, you can benefit from telling your parents or a trusted adult about your unplanned pregnancy and your plan to choose adoption. If you are uncomfortable with telling an adult that you know, you can always contact an adoption agency. There is even a 24-hour adoption hotline that you can call for free to speak with an adoption professional.
There are five important steps in the adoption process, and these can be used as a basic guide to help you learn about adoption as a minor. Keep in mind, this process could look a little different for you if you live in one of the ten states that require adult involvement when you choose adoption as a minor. You can contact an adoption professional online and get more specific information about your personal underage adoption situation.
Step 1: Decide if Adoption is Right for You
Adoption is a big choice and can be a major event in your life. If you are underage and putting a baby up for adoption, you are most likely considering this decision because you may not believe that parenting or abortion are the best options for you and your baby.
You can be confident that adoption is a brave and selfless act made by teens and adult women experiencing an unplanned pregnancy. You can consider the benefits of adoption, and start the process when you’re ready.
Step 2: Work With an Adoption Professional
Adoption isn’t something you can do on your own. When you are underage and giving a baby up for adoption, you will need to find an adoption agency or adoption attorney to work with. You can choose between a:
As an underage teen choosing adoption, you can benefit in many ways by working with a full-service adoption agency that will be with you during every decision and the entire adoption process.
Step 3: Choose an Adoptive Family and Get to Know Them
When you place a baby for adoption, you choose the family you think will be perfect for him or her, even if you are under 18 and putting your baby up for adoption. Your adoption agency will show you adoptive family profiles, and you can pick the parents who you believe will be right for your child. With an open adoption, even as an underage teen mother, you can have a chance to get to know the parents that you choose.
If you’re not comfortable with communicating directly with your chosen adoptive family, you can choose a semi-open adoption, which means all communication will go through your adoption specialist. Most of the adoptions in the U.S. today where minors choose who adopts their baby, are open or semi-open adoptions. Getting to know the adoptive parents personally can help you feel confident in your adoption decision.
Step 4: The Hospital Stay and Adoption Placement
Before your labor and delivery, you can create a hospital plan with your adoption professional for putting your baby up for adoption as a minor. When the time comes, you can be prepared to welcome your baby into the world. Keep in mind, even if you have a hospital plan, your baby may have other plans that can change your birth situation to happen sooner or later, and that is OK. Your adoption specialist has experience with many different everything will be ready and everyone will know what to do.
Childbirth may seem scary, especially as an underage teen mother, but there will likely be medical professionals with you and your support group can be with you if you are comfortable with that. After you’ve given birth, you can consent to the adoption, and the baby will be placed with the adoptive parents.
Step 5: Post-Placement Contact and Moving Forward
The open adoption communication you may have had pre-placement can continue post-placement. Whether it’s written updates, video calls or in-person meetings, you can have an ongoing relationship with the adoptive parents and your baby in an underage adoption.
After “giving your baby up” for adoption as a minor, you can move forward with your own life. An unplanned pregnancy is disruptive, especially when you’re under 18. After your underage adoption, you can continue working toward your personal goals, knowing you did what was best for you and your baby.
Resources for Underage Teenagers Who Want to Put a Baby Up for Adoption
Whether adoption is right for you, or a different unplanned pregnancy option is better, there are resources you can turn to for help. Going through a pregnancy as a teenager under 18 “putting a baby up” for adoption isn’t easy, and it’s always okay to ask for help. You might want to look into the following agencies:
Wherever you are as a minor giving a baby up for adoption, you can find help and you can make the best of this unplanned pregnancy.