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Can You Give Up Your Child to the State?

Mothers in many different walks of life consider adoption for their children. There are expectant mothers experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, mothers of newborns who know that parenting is impossible and mothers of older children who realize that raising their child is much more difficult than expected.

Whatever the reason may be, there are some things you should know about giving your child up to the state. Adoption could be the best option for your child, but what is the best option for your adoption? Can you give up your child to the state? What about working with a private adoption agency? How does the adoption process work?

Adoption is full of choices because there are many ways to do it. In order for you to make the best decision, you’ll need to be informed on those different options. The more you know, the better decision you’ll make. In this challenging time, as you consider giving your child to the state or to a family through private adoption, you can make a choice that creates a better life for yourself and for your child.

I Don’t Want My Child Anymore. Can Child Welfare Come and Get Them?

Raising a child can be hard. This is true across the board, but it can be especially difficult if you lack spousal support or are experiencing financial troubles. These situations and many others could be leading you to ask how to give up your child to the state.

It’s important to take a breath in this moment. This decision is life-changing. It could be the right thing to do, but it’s vital that you take the time to be completely certain before moving forward. Sometimes those feelings of not wanting your child can be momentary, and they pass once life begins to improve. There are adoption hotlines and other resources to help you make this choice.

Once you’ve consider your options and come to the certain conclusion that adoption will be best, it’s time to move forward.

Can You Give Up Your Child to the State?

When you’re thinking about giving a child up to the state for adoption, what you’re actually thinking of is the foster care system. The two processes — foster care and private adoption — are actually very different things, which is a common misunderstanding. In most states, foster care is not something a mother can voluntarily choose for her child.

A child may be taken into the foster care system by Child Protective Services (CPS) after reports of abuse or neglect. This is almost always done on court orders, not by the choice of the parents. Most states’ foster care systems are overwhelmed as is and cannot handle voluntary placements. This means giving up a child to the state on your own volition is rarely a possibility.

This may not be the information you wanted to find, but there are still options for you.

What Can You Do Instead of Giving Your Child Up to the State?

Instead of giving up your child to the state, there are several different paths forward. Each of these processes has unique benefits, and only you can know which one will be the best solution for your situation.

Temporary Legal Guardianship

If life seems too crazy to continue parenting, temporary legal guardianship is a way to remove that responsibility from your life while you get things straightened out. Rather than giving a child up to the state, you will create a legal agreement, usually with a family member or close friend, to assume legal responsibility for your child for a set period of time. Usually temporary guardianship lasts anywhere from a couple of weeks to half a year. At the end of this time, your child will come back to your care and you can continue being a parent.

Respite Foster Care

One instance when you can give up a child to the state is respite foster care. This program is similar to temporary legal guardianship, except the state assumes guardianship of the child for the set period of time. However, this service is not free, and it is only provided by some states.

Working with a Private Adoption Agency

If you are pregnant, have a newborn or even have an older child, you can consider working with a private adoption agency. There are local and national adoption agencies that would be happy to work with you. Choosing a private adoption instead of giving up a child to the state has many benefits for biological mothers — so many that those benefits need their own section.

Benefits of an Adoption Agency

When you choose adoption and work with an adoption agency, you are in control of the process. Unlike a case where CPS becomes involved, you get to make all of the decision in a private adoption. This means that you will be able to:

  • Choose the adoptive family you think is best
  • Create an open adoption plan to maintain contact with your child
  • Create a hospital plan if you are pregnant and considering adoption
  • Potentially receive adoption financial assistance during the process
  • Gain access to counseling and other services
  • And more

The private adoption process is geared toward biological mothers, because adoption agencies and hopeful adoptive families realize that you are making a brave decision. Choosing adoption isn’t easy, which is why the adoption process gives you control and respect. Your initial impulse may be to try to give up a child to the state, but working with an adoption agency gives you more control and allows you to do what is best for your child.