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“What does adoption mean to a child?”

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How to Put a Baby Up for Adoption [Complete Guide]

Six Steps for Putting a Child Up for Adoption

Putting your baby up for adoption can give them a loving family, a safe home and a bright future.

This is a difficult choice, and the process often feels confusing, especially when you are just starting to research adoption. It’s likely that you have quite a few questions running through your mind: 

  • How does adoption work today?

  • What is the adoption process like for expectant mothers like me?

  • How do I start the adoption process if I’m facing an unplanned pregnancy?

  • How can I give my baby up for adoption?

This article will explain how to put baby up for adoption will answer all of these questions and more. If you are an adoptive family, you can learn more about the domestic adoption process here.

But before we get started, there’s one thing you need to know: Working with a good adoption agency is the key to a successful adoption. If you want to feel safe and protected, and if you want to find the best adoptive parents for your baby, then you have to work with an agency like American Adoptions.

Now, let’s take a look at how putting a baby up for adoption works, including the ways that a good agency will support you during the process.

How to “Give a Baby Up” for Adoption

Before we explain how to “give up” your baby for adoption, please know that you can get help immediately if you’d like to speak directly with an adoption specialist. We are available 24/7, completely free, confidentially, and with no obligation via our contact form or by calling 1-800-ADOPTION.

Our adoption specialists are always available and happy to answer all of your questions about how to begin the adoption process.

Also know that, while it is common to hear and use language about the “giving a child up for adoption” process, you are not “giving up” or “giving your baby away” if you do choose to place your child for adoption. Adoption gives your baby a loving family who will always cherish them. It’s a brave thing to do.

“Adopted children will be loved beyond measure, because those families have waited such a long time to be able to give their love to a child,” Kelli Cox, an adoption specialist with American Adoptions, said. “And women like you make that possible.”

Most people say “giving up” for adoption, even though that’s not really what adoption is. We may talk about “giving up” as we explain how to put a baby up for adoption, but that’s only in an effort to be relatable and accessible. Please know that a woman who places her child for adoption is actually making one of the most difficult sacrifices possible for her child.

She is a hero.

Because we've helped thousands of women through the steps to place a baby for adoption, we understand your feelings, fears and questions during this delicate time. We will talk to you honestly about your options and will provide you with resources to help you make the best decision for your situation.

If you do indeed decide to take the next step toward adoption, here's how the adoption process works:

Step 1: How to Start the Adoption Process – Determine if Adoption is Right for You and Your Child

Before even starting the adoption process, the most important step you can take for yourself and your baby is learning about the benefits of adoption to see how it could give your baby a better life.

The benefits of adoption for your baby are things like:

  • A loving family who will always cherish them

  • The ability to stay connected with you through open adoption

  • The ability to grow up and become the person they are meant to be

Before worrying any more about the details of how to “give a child up” for adoption, ask yourself: Are these things I want for my baby, and is adoption the best way to get them? 

Every woman’s situation is different, and only you know what’s right for your baby — not the father, your parents, your sister or your best friend.

To help you decide if adoption is right for you, our adoption specialists have answered some of the most commonly asked questions about adoption:

Getting free adoption information from our specialists is available to you right now. Our team can answer your questions, explain the benefits of adoption, and help you understand the type of assistance you can receive during the process. When you are ready, our adoption specialists will help walk you through how to start the adoption process.

Step 2: Decide How to Put Your Baby Up for Adoption with an Adoption Plan

At American Adoptions, you are in charge of the adoption process. You get to decide how to go about putting your baby up for adoption in a way that you are comfortable with.

Our team has helped women through this process for the past 25 years. We know how to make sure putting your baby up for adoption is as smooth as possible.

Your adoption specialist is your partner, counselor and friend throughout this process, and she will work closely with you to understand, and most importantly, fulfill, all of your wishes for this adoption. She will ask you about your ideal adoptive family, the type of contact you wish to share with the family, the type of contact you wish to share with your child, how you envision the hospital stay, and much more.

Your answers to each of these questions will develop your “adoption plan," which will help us find the best adoption situation tailored specifically to your hopes.

Your adoption plan will guide you and your adoption specialist through the remaining steps for “giving your baby up” for adoption, so you can ensure this process goes exactly how you want it to.

Step 3: Choose the Perfect Adoptive Family for Your Child

You can find an adoptive family who will love, protect, support and cherish your child for their entire life.

We know how much you love your baby. Which is why it’s so important to us that you find the perfect adoptive family.

How do you give your child up for adoption to the perfect family?

American Adoptions has helped countless pregnant mothers through the delicate process of finding the perfect adoptive parents. Because we have hundreds of waiting adoptive families, you are sure to find the family who will provide your baby with the best life possible.

Getting immediate access to hundreds of adoptive family profiles is one of the ways we always support you.

All of the families we work with:

  • Have completed a home study and various background checks to ensure they are stable, fully prepared to adopt, and will provide a safe home full of love for an adopted child

  • Are excited to get to know you through phone calls, emails and more, so you can maintain a relationship with your child to whatever extent you’re comfortable with

  • Have an adoptive family video profile, so you can see the family “in action” and get to know them better before choosing them

  • Are fully committed to adoption, so you can feel confident that any family you choose will love your child the way you do

Because of these things, American Adoptions works with a truly amazing group of adoptive parents. Our staff — comprised of adoptees, adoptive parents and birth parents — knows better than anyone what makes a great family.

Our thorough screening and experienced staff mean that you can trust us to help you find the perfect family for your baby. The life you hope for them is possible with the right parents.

When you are ready to take the next steps to put a baby up for adoption, your adoption specialist will send you family profiles and video profiles that best match what you are looking for in an adoptive family.

Step 4: Get to Know the Adoptive Family

Over the past few decades, adoption has become increasingly open, in that you have more opportunities than ever to get to know the adoptive family prior to and after placement. 

All adoption professionals, especially American Adoptions, believe pre-placement contact is essential to a healthy adoption relationship. It helps you confirm the people you've chosen will provide the life you've always dreamed of for your child.

Because of this, and because of the way American Adoptions supports you during the entire process, you can feel confident and at peace in putting your baby up for adoption.

You may interact with the adoptive family through:

  • Conference calls

  • Email exchanges

  • Texts

  • Social media interaction

  • A meeting in your hometown

  • Interaction at the hospital

Do you feel a bit nervous, but also excited, about the idea of getting to know the adoptive family? That’s totally normal.

If this describes you, please remember that your social worker will be with you during this important step in the “giving up” baby for adoption process.

Step 5: Give Birth and Complete the Legal Steps for Adoption

Choosing adoption for your baby means your medical costs will be covered and you’ll have 24/7 professional support. When you prepare for labor and delivery, your specialist will help you create a hospital plan.

Much like your adoption plan,  you have full control over the hospital stay. You get to decide when and how to put your child up for adoption at the hospital.

For example, you may decide:

  • How much interaction you have with the adoptive parents

  • How much time you want to spend with your baby

  • Who is the first to hold your baby

  • Whether you want to leave together with the adoptive family

  • And much more

Once your baby is born, you usually must wait at least 48–72 hours before you can legally consent to the adoption, depending on your state’s laws. Your adoption specialist and an adoption attorney will help prepare you for the legal process of how to give a child up for adoption. They’ll make sure you understand your rights in adoption and that you’re comfortable with your decision before proceeding with the document-signing steps for adoption.

Step 6: Share Contact After the Adoption

Placing your child for adoption is just the beginning. Rather than “goodbye,” an adoption placement is, “We’ll talk soon.”

The steps to putting a baby up for adoption officially end when you sign your adoption consent, but that doesn’t mean your adoption journey is over. It is up to you to decide what kind of relationship you want to have with your child and the adoptive family after the adoption. Just as you get to decide how to “give up” your baby for adoption, you get to decide how you want your open adoption to look after placement.

  • Most women who choose adoption receive picture and letter updates for 18 years

  • Many also stay in contact with the adoptive family through emails, texts messages and social media updates

  • Some even plan personal visits once per year, or more

However you envision this relationship can become a reality, as long as you choose an adoptive family excited to pursue a similar relationship. The best way to do that is by working with an agency like American Adoptions. We can help you find that adoption situation — one in which you are as much of a witness or participant in your child's life as you want to be.

Putting your baby up for adoption may be the best thing you can do, but the adoption process can be confusing and challenging.  That’s why you should get the help you need immediately.

Please contact one of our adoption specialists today at 1-800-ADOPTION to help you decide which path is truly best for you and your child and learn more about how to get started with adoption.

Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. America Adoptions, Inc. provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is American Adoptions the right adoption agency choice for many birth mothers?

American Adoptions is one of the largest licensed adoption agencies in the United States. Each year, we work with thousands of women who are facing an unplanned pregnancy and offer assistance to these women. Our large, caring staff is able to assist you seven days a week and provide you with one-on-one counseling about your pregnancy and available options.

You should choose an adoption agency where you feel completely comfortable with their services and staff. With American Adoptions, you will work with an Adoption Specialist who is on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Adoption Specialist will be your advocate and will provide support and guidance as you create an adoption plan that is right for you.

How will the family tell my child about me and the adoption when my child is older?

Each family has their own style of introducing adoption to the child. When you are matched with an adoptive family, you can ask them this question. If you would like your Adoption Specialist to discuss it for you, just let her know. He or she can share your wishes or provide good ideas from other adoptive families.

You will also be able to share what you want your baby to know about you. You can complete a keepsake booklet to share hobbies, stories, photos of you and your family and a letter to your baby. The adoptive family can provide this to your child as he or she grows older. Be as creative as you like! Some birth mothers have even knitted a special blanket as a gift to their baby or given a similar symbol of their love.

The father of your baby can fill out the birth father's keepsake booklet or write a letter too. You may have other family members who would also like to share photos or a letter to the baby. This is your opportunity to pass on your and your family's love and to share your personality, history and reasons for choosing adoption. The adoptive family will treasure whatever information you provide and will share it with the baby at an appropriate age. In most adoptive homes, the word adoption is in the child's vocabulary early on, and adoption is celebrated in their lives.

Additional Resources

Teen Pregnancy - Information for Young Women

While not every woman who chooses adoption is a young mother, many are. Through adoption, many young women have found an ability to give their babies the best life possible, while finding the opportunity to realize their own dreams, as well. Call American Adoptions today at 1-800-ADOPTION.

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Adoption Glossary

Do adoption terms and phrases leave you feeling confused? Learn the meaning to key adoption words and phrases with our comprehensive adoption glossary.

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