If you’re on the fence about adoption because you feel you might be ready to parent later on, you might be wondering if temporary adoption is possible.
It’s a reasonable feeling to have. You love your child, and you don’t want to lose permanent custody, but you feel that you need a little help to get everything back on track. This may lead you to think, “I want to give my child away temporarily.”
The idea of a temporary adoption may sound appealing, but it’s not actually a possibility — at least not technically. The term “temporary adoption” is a bit of a misnomer; instead, what you may want to consider in this scenario is a temporary legal guardianship.
I WANT TO GIVE MY CHILD AWAY TEMPORARILY. CAN I PURSUE A TEMPORARY ADOPTION?
Again, a “temporary adoption” is a misnomer. An adoption, in its very nature, is always permanent, as it involves a new family assuming legal guardianship of a child. If you place your baby or child for adoption, it will always be a permanent decision. You will not be able to regain parental rights to your child after choosing adoption.
This does not mean that you won’t ever be able to see or contact your child again if you choose adoption. We always like to recommend at least some degree of openness and communication in an adoption. If a child’s birth parents and adoptive parents choose an open adoption, they will exchange identifying information and remain in contact throughout the rest of their lives. This might mean interacting through phone calls, emails, in-person visits and more.
It’s also a possibility to pursue a semi-open adoption, which means that you’ll still receive updates on your child, but that you won’t have the adoptive family’s contact information or be able to directly contact them. In this case, an adoption professional would mediate contact between the two parties.
Like in any adoption, an open or semi-open adoption still means that you would be permanently terminating your legal parental rights. It is not temporary.
If you feel that you aren’t equipped to parent but aren’t willing to say goodbye to your child forever, an open or semi-open adoption may be an option for you. However, if you don’t to permanently terminate your rights to your child and you would like to parent him or her again one day, the idea of a “temporary adoption” you have in your head does exist; it’s just referred to as a temporary legal guardianship.
WHAT IS A TEMPORARY LEGAL GUARDIANSHIP?
A temporary legal guardianship allows another adult to serve as a temporary caregiver for a child. By placing your child in a temporary legal guardianship, you ensure he or she gets the care that you might not be able to provide at the moment, but that you plan to resume at some point. You may even be able to give someone legal guardianship of your child until he or she is 18, but you will retain all legal parental rights throughout this time.
This means that, in a temporary legal guardianship, you can regain custody of your child as soon as you feel you are ready to resume parenting. So, if you are considering giving the baby up for adoption to a family member short-term, what you would actually want to do is name that family member a temporary legal guardian.
With a temporary legal guardianship, you can choose your child’s guardian and help determine the terms for the arrangement, unlike when a child is placed into foster care. In fact, you may even be able to set up a temporary guardianship for your child to help him or her avoid entering foster care. Selecting someone you trust as a temporary legal guardian for your child can give you the time you need to get your own affairs in order while knowing your child is well cared for.
If you know you can’t currently provide the environment your child needs and are worried about Child Protective Services intervening, you might be wondering, “Can I temporarily adopt my baby out without the state getting involved?” In this case, a temporary legal guardianship may be exactly the solution you’re looking for.
WHO CAN HELP ME TO ARRANGE A TEMPORARY LEGAL GUARDIANSHIP?
If you are seeking a temporary adoption — or, as it’s more accurately called, a temporary legal guardianship — it’s always best practice to contact a respected attorney who practices family law. Failing to correctly complete the legal processes of temporary guardianship could jeopardize the legitimacy of your decision, meaning CPS could step in. You will need to fill out paperwork to make the temporary guardianship legitimate and legal, and it’s always important to have a trusted attorney involved in any sort of custody arrangement involving your child.
If you are debating between a temporary legal guardianship for your child or a permanent adoption, know that there is no right answer — and no one can make this decision for you. It’s important to thoroughly research your options and think about what will be best for you and your child in your own individual situation. If you have questions or need access to more state-specific information, reach out to an adoption attorney near you or contact an adoption professional to get more information.