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When Can You “Give a Child Up” for Adoption? [Is it too Late?]

If you’re asking yourself “When can I put my baby up for adoption?” you can rest assured that it is never too late to begin this journey.

It’s important to research the answers to every question you have. Ultimately, the adoption decision lies with you and you alone, and the best thing you can do for both yourself and your child is to be well-informed. For this particular article, we’re going to focus on the last question we mentioned above: When can you give a child up for adoption?

First, let’s address a very common misnomer in adoption language: “giving a baby up” for adoption is not at all giving up on or “giving away” your child. Some find this terminology offensive and it’s understandable. Know that if you choose to place your child for adoption — no matter when you make this decision — you are doing so as a sacrifice to give your child the life he or she deserves. In no way is this “giving up.”


When it comes to wondering when you can put a child up for adoption, it’s important to know that you can do so at any time. So if you’re asking yourself, “When is the right time to give babies up for adoption?” Know that it is an option for you in any of the following scenarios:

Adoption for unborn babies:

Many women that work with adoption professionals to pursue adoption plans for their babies begin before their children are even born. So, in this case, the answer to “When can I start putting my baby up for adoption?” would be as soon as you discover your pregnancy. Why is it important to contact an adoption agency as soon as possible? Because it gives you more time to be certain of your decision, to take your time choosing adoptive parents, and to receive helpful counseling and support services. But, that’s not to say you can’t choose adoption last minute.

Last-minute adoption:

If you are close to your due date, it might seem like it’s too late to choose adoption for your child. This is not at all the case. Whether you have a week left in your pregnancy or you’re going into labor as you make the decision, adoption is always an option for you. Adoption professionals can even help you to arrange a same-day adoption for your child, if you want to complete the process as quickly as possible. Contact an adoption agency right now to get started.

Hospital adoption:

You might assume that when it comes to giving your baby up for adoption, when to decide would’ve been prior to entering the hospital to have your baby. This is not at all the case. If you determine that you aren’t ready to parent at any point while you’re in the hospital, an adoption professional can help you to make an adoption plan, choose an adoptive family, and consent to placing your child for adoption all while you’re in the hospital.

Adoption after you bring your baby home:

Some women assume the window for when you can put a child up for adoption closes after you leave the hospital with your child, but this is not at all the case. Even after you bring your child home with you, you can still work with an adoption professional to choose adoption for your baby.

Toddler adoption:

If you’ve already been parenting your baby and are wondering, “When can a child be given up for adoption?” know that giving a toddler up for adoption is very often an option. If you feel that you cannot care for your child properly, or you worry that you might do something that puts him or her at risk, contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline.

Older child adoption:

Just as in the above scenario, it is never too late to choose adoption for your older child. The real answer to “When can a child be given up for adoption?” is anytime you feel that it is in the child’s best interests. Again, we encourage you to reach out to the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline if you feel your child is in any danger of being harmed or neglected. If not, you can reach out to social services to learn your next steps.

Temporary adoption:

Some women will wonder when you can give a baby up for adoption, and will also wonder if it’s a possibility to place their child in a temporary adoption situation. It’s important to know that any time you place your child for adoption, it is permanent — no matter who you place with. Giving a baby up for adoption and then getting them back is not a possibility, as this will be a permanent adoption, but you can absolutely consider a temporary guardianship.

Women place their children for adoption for many, many different reasons. And while you may have believed originally that you were prepared to parent, things happen and circumstances change. When giving a baby up for adoption, please know that you can choose to do so at any time when you realize it’s best for your children. As with any other adoption situation, there is absolutely no shame in making this sacrifice so that your child can have all of the opportunities he or she deserves. It is never too late for adoption.


When it comes to adoption, nothing is set in stone until you give consent to your child’s adoption. So if you’re asking, “When can I give my baby up for adoption officially?” the answer will depend on which state you live in. Each state has different laws regarding consent, but until you consent to your child’s adoption by your state’s guidelines, your adoption decision is not final until consent has been given and any mandatory waiting period has passed.


If you’re wondering when you should give a child up for adoption, know that there is no right or wrong time to start the adoption process. When you start considering adoption, you can begin the process with your adoption professional whenever you feel you are ready. You can choose adoption at any time, but we encourage you to reach out to a professional to begin the process as soon as you feel ready. This will maximize the time you have to feel confident in your decision and choose your adoption preferences. If you’re considering adoption for your child, reach out to an adoption professional today to get more information.