Women consider adoption for their children for many different reasons, and this thought process doesn’t always follow a strict timeline. It’s not uncommon for women to find that, after giving birth and attempting to parent their child for a period of time, it proves to feel like too much. Whether it’s finances, your relationship with your child’s father, or other personal struggles you’re going through, you aren’t alone in considering giving a toddler up for adoption.
If this is your current thought process, please know that putting a toddler up for adoption can still be a loving and beneficial choice for your child.
Can I give my toddler up for adoption?
Yes. Many adoption agencies that work to find homes for newborns and infants can also work with parents who are looking to give a toddler up for adoption. If you are looking for information about putting your toddler up for adoption, know that you will still have the same benefits as anyone placing a baby for adoption:
- You can choose your child’s adoptive parents to ensure that he or she gets the life you picture for them.
- You can continue to have contact with your child and his or her adoptive parents by choosing an open or a semi-open adoption.
- You can be eligible to receive 24/7 counseling and support to help you through the decision-making process as well as the grieving process after putting a toddler up for adoption.
- Just like any other woman considering adoption for her child, the process is entirely free for a mother looking to give up her toddler for adoption.
- You will still be in control of the entire adoption process for yourself and your child.
How to Put a Toddler Up for Adoption
If you are thinking about placing a toddler for adoption, you’ll follow the same steps that any other mother considering this choice would take:
Step 1: Choose to give your toddler up for adoption.
Especially if your child is old enough to understand what is happening, you’ll need to be firm in your adoption decision prior to beginning the process. It’s important to be absolutely sure that this is what you want. To speak with a social worker about your options, you can always call 1-800-ADOPTION for free advice.
Step 2: Work with an adoption professional to create an adoption plan.
It’s important that you craft an adoption plan specific to your individual situation, especially if you are giving up a toddler. Because your child is most likely old enough to have formed meaningful relationships and become accustomed to certain people and routines, it is not going to be a simple process to adopt him or her into a new family. It’s important to work with an adoption professional who understands the nuances of your situation and can help you create a plan to make the transition as smooth as possible for your child.
Step 3: Choose someone to adopt your toddler.
If you are considering choosing adoption for your toddler, you may already have identified prospective adoptive parents. These may be some of your family members or close friends that your child already knows and has a close relationship with. If not, your adoption professional will help you to find a family who wants to adopt a toddler.
Step 4: Give consent to your child’s adoption.
Depending on the state you live in, you’ll follow the legal procedure for terminating your parental rights and relinquishing them to the adoptive family you’ve chosen. It’s important to remember that, even if you know your child’s future adoptive family, this is a permanent decision. Once you consent to your child’s adoption, you will no longer have any legal rights to him or her.
Alternatives to Giving Your Toddler Up for Adoption
If you are struggling to parent your toddler, it’s possible that reaching out for help may be preferable to trying to give a toddler up for adoption. Prior to placing your toddler up for adoption, we recommend the following:
- Contact Social Services: There are state-provided resources that may be able to make parenting easier for you. If finances are a problem, the state has resources that can help with healthcare, jobs, affordable housing and more.
- Consider a temporary guardianship: Rather than giving up custody of your child permanently, you can establish a legal guardianship with a close family member or friend. This trusted contact can temporarily care for your child while you retain ultimate parental rights, allowing you temporary relief to get control of your situation before bringing your child back into your home.
- Reach out for temporary help. Don’t underestimate the good a day or two alone can do you. If you need some time for yourself, don’t be afraid to ask a friend or family member to babysit. You may also look into the possibility of respite care.
If you are still considering placing your toddler for adoption, know that it’s a personal decision and no one can make it for you. Always consider your child’s best interests first, and don’t hesitate to reach out to an adoption professional to ask for more information about putting a toddler up for adoption.