Adoption is often a complicated decision for the women considering it, and it doesn’t always happen on a neat timeline. There are many reasons why a woman might wonder about the age requirements for giving your child up for adoption. Whether your circumstances have changed since giving birth to your baby or you are feeling overwhelmed with parenting for other reasons, it’s completely okay to be wondering, “Can you give up a child for adoption at any age? How old is too old to give your child up for adoption?”
If this is a question that is running through your head, you probably have many questions about the maximum age to give a child up for adoption or the age requirements for giving your child up for adoption.
If this describes your situation, it’s reasonable to assume you’re under a good deal of stress. We’d like to first reassure you that everything will be okay. There is nothing wrong with wondering at what age can you give a child up for adoption. Whether or not it is a possibility in your specific situation will depend largely on your exact circumstances. In some cases, you may be able to place an older child for adoption. In others, there may be a maximum age to put a child up for adoption.
It’s also important to know that choosing adoption is never “giving up” on your child, no matter how old he or she is. Plenty of mothers have parented their children for weeks, months or even years before wondering how old a child can be given up for adoption. This doesn’t make these women bad mothers; in fact, adoption is an incredibly brave and selfless decision to make for your child, and wondering about the oldest age to “give a child up” for adoption means you want to make sure you are exploring all of your options to give your son or daughter the best life possible.
Below, we’ll work through some potential scenarios for you in order to answer as many of your questions as possible about the age limit for giving a child up for adoption. Please know that these following situations do not contain one-size-fits-all advice, but that there are many resources for women struggling with parenting if adoption is not an option available to you. For specific questions about the age limit to put a child up for adoption in your circumstances, contact an adoption professional today.
At What Age Can You Put Your Child Up for Adoption?
Because different adoption professionals often specify a maximum age to put a child up for adoption, your child’s age does matter in this instance. Continue reading to understand what your options may be based on your child’s age.
If your child is between ages 1 and 4:
When it comes to placing babies and toddlers for adoption, even after they’ve already left the hospital, this is a fairly common practice and will absolutely be an option for you. Most adoption professionals work with birth mothers to complete infant adoptions, and many hopeful adoptive parents would be grateful for the opportunity to adopt a child in this age range.
However, a child develops quite a bit by age 4. As they begin to grow and form attachments, adoption can become more difficult for the child to process. Many adoption agencies can still help to place a child for adoption until age 4, but it’s important to look into resources that might help make parenting easier as well, as parenting may ultimately still be the best option for your child.
If your child is age 5 or older:
Many adoption professionals have set 4 as the maximum age to put a child up for adoption using their services. Of course, an adoption agency may still be able to help you, so it’s always recommended to speak with any given professional about your exact situation.
At age 5 or older, it may be in your child’s best interests to seek out resources that can help you to parent rather than wondering how old is too old to give your child up for adoption. There are always services out there to help mothers provide a better life for their children. In this case, we recommend reaching out to the following:
If your child is part of a sibling set:
If you have a child that is above the age limit to put a child up for adoption but are also planning on placing his or her younger siblings for adoption, this may change things. When possible, private adoption agencies and public resources alike attempt to keep sibling groups together, as it’s been shown that this is good for children.
When you contact an adoption professional to learn more about your options to place more than one child for adoption, be sure to stress how important it is to you that your children stay together. Most adoption agencies will not split up a sibling group, and may therefore work with you to place an older child for adoption even if he or she is above the maximum age to put a child up for adoption with the agency. Even if it’s not usually their common practice to do so, most professionals will make exceptions for sibling groups.
Resources if Your Child is Above the Age Limit to Give Up for Adoption
If your child is beyond the putting a child up for adoption age limit, please don’t let this keep you from asking for help. You are not alone, and there are many resources out there that are dedicated to helping you provide for a child. Please, please don’t hesitate to contact any of the following:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Woman, Infants and Children (WIC)
- Adolescent Health
- National Mentoring Resource Center
- Social Services
- Head Start
- Special Needs Alliance
Even if you think your child may be past the typical ages to give a baby up for adoption, it is still worth reaching out to an adoption agency to learn more about your options. You can contact an adoption professional at any time to ask, “I’m considering adoption. Is there an age cutoff with your agency?” Even if it is not possible to give a child up for adoption at any age with that professional, they may be able to refer you to another adoption agency or additional parenting resources that can help.
Remember, contacting an adoption professional to ask if there is an age limit for giving baby up for adoption does not commit you to the adoption process. You can reach many larger agencies at any time, for free and completely confidentially.