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How Giving Up a Child to the State Works [4 FAQs]

No two people are the same. We all come from different walks of life, and we all have different interests and personalities. In a similar vein, no two adoption journeys are the same. Everyone has a different reason for choosing adoption, and everyone’s adoption timelines look different, too.

Some prospective birth mothers know immediately that adoption is for them. Others don’t realize this until after they take their baby home. Some choose adoption for financial reasons. Others choose it because they need to focus on their careers. Whatever the reason may be, there are some things that you should know when it comes to giving up a child to the state.

Adoption may be the right path for you and your child, but you may still be wondering what the best option for your adoption is. You might be asking yourself questions such as:

  • Can you give up your child to the state?
  • What is working with a private adoption agency like?
  • How does the adoption process work?

Not only is adoption a choice itself, but there are also many other choices within adoption. You’ll need to educate yourself about all your options to make the decision that’s right for you. Are you considering giving your child to the state? Or, have you considered placing your baby with a family through private adoption?

Whatever path you take, remember to do what is right for your circumstances. That’s why we’ve provided four FAQs and answers that should help you create the best life possible for your child and yourself.

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

In most cases, no, child welfare likely cannot take them. Most states’ child welfare systems are overworked and understaffed as it is, and these programs often aren’t able to take voluntary placements. Instead, child welfare intervenes in cases where the state has determined that a child needs to be removed from the home for their own safety.

We understand that raising a child isn’t simple. It can be challenging, and it can be even more stressful without spousal support or if you’re going through financial difficulties. Situations such as these could lead you to wonder how to give up your child to the state or for adoption. While voluntarily placing your child in the child welfare system isn’t necessarily possible, you do have other adoption options to consider.

You may be overwhelmed at the moment, so be sure to take some deep breaths. This is a life-changing decision. Placing your child for adoption could be the right choice for you, but you must be absolutely confident before moving forward.

Once your situation changes, you may find that you no longer want to place your child with the state (or with another family). Remember that there are always adoption hotlines and other resources available for you whenever you may need them. After you’ve had the time to mull over your options, it’s time for your next steps.

2. Can You Give Up Your Child to the State?

If you’re considering giving a child up to the state, then you’re actually considering foster care for your child. There are two primary types of adoption: foster care and private adoption. Although people often conflate these two things, they are quite different from each other. In most states, birth mothers can’t voluntarily choose foster care for their child.

Generally, Child Protective Services (CPS) takes a child into the foster care system after reports of abuse or neglect. Instead of the parents choosing foster care for their child, this is usually done on court orders. Because most states’ foster care systems are already overloaded, they cannot handle voluntary placements. In other words, giving up your child to the state on your own terms is rarely possible. Although this may not be the answer you wanted to hear, you still have several options available to you.

3. What Are Some Alternatives to Giving Up a Child to the State?

If giving your child to the state isn’t possible for you, then there are some different paths that you can take instead. Each one of these options comes with pros and cons, so learning about all three of them will help you figure out which one could be best for you and your child.

You may want to pursue parenthood at some point, but you’re currently unable to parent right now. If this describes your situation, then temporary legal guardianship could be the choice for you. This gives you the time to work out finances or finish your education before you’re ready to parent.

Instead of giving a child up to the state, you can create a legal agreement with a close friend or family member in which they’ll assume parental rights and responsibilities for a set period. This can last anywhere from a couple of weeks to six months. Afterward, your child will return under your care and you can resume your role as a parent. But, it can be disruptive to a child to bounce them around, and you should choose this option only if you feel confident that you’ll be ready to resume parenting by the end of the guardianship. Be sure to think about what is best not only for yourself, but also your child.

Respite Foster Care

Although voluntarily giving your child to the state isn’t typically a possibility, you can sometimes place them with the state through respite foster care. This is like temporary legal guardianship, but you would be placing your child with the state instead of a family member or friend. But, we should mention that is considerably shorter than temporary guardianship, as it usually lasts from an afternoon to a weekend. Also, this option isn’t free, and it’s available in some, but not all, states.

Private Adoption

If you are pregnant or parenting a newborn, infant or toddler, then you can rest easy knowing that adoption is always an option. Whether you have a newborn or even an older child, you can work with a private adoption agency, and you can choose either a local or national one. Also, private adoption allows you to maintain a lifelong bond with your child and their adoptive family if you choose open adoption.

You can give your baby an amazing life by choosing adoption. By placing them with adoptive parents who have been longing for a child, you can ensure they grow up with a life of unconditional love and limitless opportunity.

“After choosing a family and exchanging emails with them, I knew that I had made the right choice,” Renee, a birth mother, said. “After meeting the adoptive couple, I was certain that my daughter will still be loved. The transition between me and the adoptive family has made me feel a lot better. I love my daughter, and I know that this decision was what was best for her.”

4. What Are the Benefits of Private Adoption?

One of the greatest benefits of adoption is that you are in full control of your adoption process from start to finish. Unlike giving up a child to the state, you get to call all the shots throughout your adoption journey, so you will be able to:

“I had such a great experience working with American Adoptions,” Tonya, a birth mother, said. “I absolutely love that they are always there and willing to help anytime if you need it. As for the family I chose, I love and cherish them very much. I am glad to say that I made them ‘whole.’”

To get more free information now about adoption vs. giving your child to the state, contact us today. We would love to help you at any time!