Should I Place My Baby for Adoption with a Family Member?
Placing a child for adoption is an incredibly difficult decision to make. We know that, as a prospective birth mother, you only want the best for your child. After all, that’s why you’re considering this path over your other unplanned pregnancy options. And many women believe that it would be best to keep their baby within their family or to place them with a close friend. They ask, “Can a family member adopt my child?” “Can you ‘give your baby up’ for adoption to someone you know?” and “Can my sister adopt my baby?”
The answer to all of these important questions is yes. It is not uncommon for a woman to experience an unplanned pregnancy and wonder if she can give the child to a family member for adoption. When you want to give your child to a family member, this is known as a type of “kinship adoption,” and it can work well for some prospective birth mothers.
Similarly, you might be wondering, “Can a friend adopt my child?” The answer to this question is also yes. Many women decide that an independent or an identified adoption with a friend is right for them. Whatever stage of your pregnancy you are in, this is always an option for you. You can let a family member, friend, or someone you know adopt your baby after delivery or even later on if you believe it’s the best choice for you and your child.
However, there are also some challenges of placing a baby for adoption with a friend, family member or someone you know. In this article, we’ll cover some of the pros and cons to consider as you make this important choice.
FIVE QUESTIONS TO HELP YOU DECIDE IF KINSHIP ADOPTION IS RIGHT FOR YOU
A kinship or an identified adoption is a viable option for many women, but there are five important questions you should ask yourself to determine if it’s the best option for you:
Do I Want to Know My Child’s Parents?
All adoptive families go through an extensive screening process to ensure that they are ready to adopt a child. Regardless, you may not be comfortable placing your child with parents you know little about. A kinship adoption allows you to place your child with people you intimately know and trust, but of course this too comes with inherent challenges.
Because you already know them so well, it might be hard to get used to the idea of seeing them raise your child after “giving a baby up” for adoption to a close friend or a family member. As the birth mother, you’ll need to be ready to respect their parenting style, even if you don’t agree with it. In addition, placing your child with a relative or someone you know will inevitably change the way your current family dynamics operate. While it may be comforting to place your child for adoption with someone you trust, it might not be right for everyone.
Another great alternative to consider is to choose an adoptive family through an agency. If you pick this route, you’ll still have the opportunity to get to know your child’s family before the adoption and deepen your relationship with them after placement. This might be a better option if you’re uncomfortable with the idea of seeing your child and your relatives in their new family dynamic.
How Much Do I Want to See My Baby?
As you learn more about “giving your child” up for adoption to a family member, you might be wondering how much contact you can have with them after the adoption. One of the greatest potential advantages to a kinship adoption or placing your child with a friend is that you can have an especially close relationship with your baby, possibly even seeing him or her every day. If you’re placing your child with a family member, then it’s safe to assume that you’ll see them pretty often. And if you’re really close with your friend, you’ll likely see them after placement, too. Of course, how often you see your baby will be up to you and the adoptive parents.
On the other hand, it can be difficult for some women to place their child with a family member they will see frequently. The grief and loss process affects most birth parents, and it can be hard to get away and heal if you choose to place your baby with a relative. If you feel that you may need distance from the baby and the adoptive parents in order to heal, kinship adoption may not be the best option for you.
That’s not to say you’ll never see your baby if you decide not to place him or her with a friend or relative. In fact, most birth mothers who choose an adoptive family through an agency go on to have an open adoption, which can include sharing pictures and letters, phone calls, emails, and in-person visits once a year, if not more. That way, you can still build an amazing relationship with your child, even if you won’t see them as frequently at family gatherings. Whether you’re fully open to a relationship with your child and the adoptive family, or you want to keep in touch while maintaining your privacy, your adoption specialist can help you make it happen.
I Want My Aunt to Adopt My Baby, But Have We Talked about Parental Roles and Boundaries?
Like any other relationship, adoption relationships require communication and effort from everyone involved. They also have the potential to change over time. Especially if you are planning on maintaining regular levels of contact, it is important to discuss the roles and responsibilities of everyone involved. You should not assume that your role as your baby’s parent will be the same just because you’re thinking of placing your child with your friend or a family member; there is a very big difference between being your child’s parent and being his or her birth parent. In addition, having such a close relationship with your child’s adoptive parents may sometimes create a confusion of boundaries. Take the time to talk about how you expect your relationship to look in the future, as well as what you are and aren’t comfortable with.
If a Relative is Adopting My Baby, How Will I Talk to My Child about My Decision?
As with all adoptions, it is recommended that you be open and honest with your child about your adoption decision. You and your child’s parents should discuss how to talk about your child’s adoption and what it means. Additionally, if you have other children in the future, they may have questions about why their sibling lives in a different house. They may also need to be reassured as they grow and understand the situation.
Do I Want to Parent My Child Later?
Many women want to know, “Is it possible to give my baby up for adoption to a family member for a short term?”
Many women, when they think of placing their baby with a family member, assume this means that they’ll still be able to take on a parenting role at a later date, when they’re ready. But this really isn’t the case. Just like with an ordinary adoption, once you decide to “give a baby up” for adoption to a friend or family member and terminate your parental rights, you won’t be able to make any parenting decisions. From that point on, your relative will become your child’s permanent, legal parent.
In some cases, you may be able to grant temporary guardianship to a family member until you are ready to parent your child. In these cases, no legal action may be necessary (but it is always recommended that you speak to an attorney to make sure you fully understand the arrangement and each party’s legal rights). On the other hand, if you want to place your child with the new parents permanently, you will need to terminate your parental rights — a decision which can only be reversed in very rare circumstances.
This means that, before deciding to permanently place your baby for adoption with your friend or relative, you’ll need to ask yourself some important questions, such as:
- Am I ready for our relationship to change?
- Can I handle seeing my friend as much once they become my child’s legal parent?
- Will I have to limit contact if it becomes too emotionally difficult to see my child being raised by my relative?
- What kind of boundaries will I need to put in place?
- How will we explain each family member’s role and relationship to the child? (For example, if your child is adopted by your parents, will you consider your child to be your sibling?)
Answering these questions will help put you on the right path. Whatever you ultimately decide to do, you should communicate with your relatives openly and honestly from the beginning. Being on the same page is crucial to preventing the confusion of parental roles.
Other Important Questions
The adoption process can be confusing, even in a kindship or independent adoption. To help you out, we’ve provided some information on how to “give your child up” for adoption to a friend or family member.
How Can a Family Member Adopt My Child?
So, you know that an adoption is possible in your situation, but you’re probably still wondering, “How can I have my friend legally adopt my baby?” “If my grandma wants to adopt my baby, how can she do so?” and “What can my brother do to adopt my child?”
Figuring out how to get started may be the toughest part of any adoption. But in many ways, a kinship or a relative adoption is very similar to any other type of adoption. A good place to start is by talking to an adoption professional. They’ll help you decide if this is what you really want as they walk you through the adoption process. Working with an adoption professional also means that you’ll be able to receive the adoption services that all birth parents are entitled to. From there, you’ll create an adoption and hospital plan and then prepare for placement. Once the adoption is finalized, your child will become a permanent member of their new family.
What is Required to Give a Child Up for Adoption to Someone Who Knows and Wants Him?
As the prospective birth mother, you are in charge of the adoption plan. This means that you get to decide who you want to adopt your child, which professionals you want to work with, and more. While the adoptive parents you choose will need to meet certain requirements and undergo a screening process to ensure they’re eligible to adopt, there are no requirements to place your child for adoption if you know that’s what’s best for you. You can choose adoption regardless of your circumstances.
Is Giving Your Child Up for Adoption to a Friend a Bad Idea?
You are the only one who can decide whether placing a child up for adoption with a friend is a good or a bad idea. As with any adoption, every case is different. Some women find that placing a child for adoption with their friend is a great idea that has worked out for everyone, while other women decide against “giving a baby up” for adoption to a family member or friend. No matter what you decide to do, there are no right or wrong answers in an adoption. While we have given you some important questions to consider to help you determine if this option is right for you, “giving a baby up” for adoption to a friend is a very personal decision and it’s up to you to make that call.
If you need someone to talk to about your unplanned pregnancy options and would like to learn more about placing your baby with a friend vs. choosing an adoptive family through an agency, you can always contact us to be connected with a helpful adoption professional, for free and with no obligation.
I’m Letting My Parent Adopt My Child. Is that the Right Thing to Do?
Again, it’s entirely up to you.
A lot of prospective birth mothers have asked, “Can my mom adopt my baby?” The answer to that is yes, as long as she meets the requirements to adopt. However, you should ask yourself if this is what you want and not what your parents are telling you to do. If your parents are unsupportive of adoption, do you feel like they’re pressuring you into placing your child with them or another unplanned pregnancy option? If so, then it may be time to reconsider. Adoption is hard enough on its own. But you shouldn’t feel like you have to place your child with your parents just because you’ve been told that it’s a better option. If you’re considering adoption, you should do so because it’s best for you and your baby, not because you’re being guilt tripped by your parents or your siblings.
If You Are Giving Your Baby Up for Adoption to a Relative, Who Takes Home the Baby at Discharge Time?
Once you sign away your parental rights, your child will become a permanent member of their new family. If you haven’t delivered yet, you still have time to make a hospital plan with the help of an adoption professional. After discharge, your baby will go home with your relative.
While you’re making your hospital plan, you can still decide how much time you want to spend with your baby and your family members or friend. You can also decide if you’d like to take pictures with everyone, if you want to nurse your baby, and more. Whatever you decide to do is completely up to you.
As you consider adoption for your baby, you will undoubtedly give thought to what kind of life you want for him or her. While placing your child for adoption with a friend or a family member can be the right decision, it’s also worth looking at other adoptive families, too. Only you can decide on the right parents for your baby. While many birth mothers have found the perfect family among their own relatives or network of friends, many others have decided that another adoptive family may be better equipped to meet their and their child’s needs. Whether the family for your baby is halfway across the country or under your own roof, you will be able to give your child the best life you can imagine.