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Can My Mom, Sister, or Aunt Adopt My Baby?

How (and When) to Allow Family to Adopt Your Baby

“Can my mom adopt my baby?” “Can my sister adopt my child?” “What about my brother?” “Can my aunt adopt my baby?” “How can my cousin adopt my baby?” “My grandma wants to adopt my baby. Can she do so?”

These types of questions are common for women considering adoption, and the answer is the same for all of them: Generally, yes. Your family member — whether that’s a parent, sibling, cousin, grandparent or relative, can adopt your child if you feel that’s what’s best for you and your baby. If you’ve recently wondered, “Can my mother adopt my child?” or, “Can my sister adopt my baby after I give birth?” the following guide may help you learn more about how a relative adoption works, so you can decide if this type of adoption is right for you.

How Can My Parents Adopt My Child?

It’s a common situation, especially for young women facing an unplanned pregnancy: “My mom wants to adopt my baby. How do I have my parents adopt my unborn child?”

In many ways, the process of adoption when having your parents (or any family member) adopt your child is the same as a standard adoption. While the steps of your adoption process may vary, here’s a general overview of how to “give a child up” for adoption to your parents:

Step 1: Make sure this is what you really want

Before you place your child with a family member, it’s important to explore all of your options. This includes considering all of your unplanned pregnancy options, but it also means considering whether a relative adoption is truly the best path for you and your baby.

There’s a big difference between saying, “My sister wants to adopt my baby” and “I want my sister to adopt my baby.” Ultimately, you are the only person who knows what’s best for you and your child, so make sure you are choosing adoption for the right reasons and that you aren’t being pressured into this decision.

Step 2: Contact a professional

You’ll contact an adoption professional to walk you through the adoption process and to make sure you have access to all the services you need. Some of the services that American Adoptions can offer will include legal representation, hospital planning, counseling and more. You adoption specialist will work with you every step of the way to make sure you have the services you need for your adoption.

Step 3: Create an adoption plan to let your parents adopt your child.

Your adoption professional will help you create an adoption plan that you’re comfortable with, which includes choosing how your time in the hospital will go and what your life after the adoption will look like.

Step 4: Prepare for the hospital stay and placement.

When you deliver the baby, you’ll wait a state-mandated minimum time period before you may sign any adoption consent forms. If you consent to an adoption, you’re terminating your legal parental rights. Your family member would become the legal parent of your child, and you would no longer have a parental role in your child’s life.

Step 5: Continue your post-adoption relationship.

After the adoption, your relationship with your relative will change. Your relationship with your biological child will also change. Your adoption professional will work with everyone involved to help make this process as smooth as possible.

There are a few key differences between having a family member adopt your child and choosing a waiting adoptive family, which we’ll outline below.

Pros and Cons of a Family Member Adopting Your Child

“What would be the benefits or drawbacks if my sister adopted my baby? Pros and cons?” “I’m considering letting my parents adopt my child. Is this a good idea?”

There are a number of pros and cons to consider when you’re thinking about placing your baby with a parent, sibling or other family member. Here are few of the positive and negative points of this type of adoption:

Pros:

Cons:

  • Your relationship with this family member would change forever

  • Your legal and emotional relationship to your child would change forever

  • Seeing your child more frequently may be painful for you (and your child)

  • You and your relative may struggle to establish healthy boundaries, which could potentially lead to conflict

  • You may feel that your relationship with your child after the adoption is judged or scrutinized by other family members

  • If you feel pressured to place your child with a family member instead of searching for adoptive families on your own, this can lead to feelings of resentment later on

  • If you have other children, or have more children in the future, their relationships to their biological siblings (who are family members, but not legal siblings) may feel confusing to them

Other Questions About Relative Adoption

There is often some confusion when women are considering having a family member adopt their child. We receive many questions from pregnant women who are thinking about this type of adoption. Here are a few of the common questions that we’ve received:

“I don’t want my baby. Can I give it to my mom?” “I don’t want my baby anymore; can I give her to my sister?”

Generally, yes — if you are having thoughts of not wanting your baby, placing your child for adoption with your mom, sister, another relative or a waiting adoptive family can be a great option to give your child a chance at a happy life. However, you should always talk to an attorney or an adoption professional to make sure you are completing this process in a safe and legal way. It’s not quite as simple as just “giving” your baby to a family member.

“How can my parents adopt my child if I am the father?”

The adoption process will generally be the same for prospective birth parents who want to place their baby with relatives of the father. A birth father can work alongside the prospective birth mother to support her in her adoption plan and process.

“Can my kids stay with me after my parents adopted them?”

That’s up to your parents. If your parents have legally adopted your biological children, then they are your parents’ children. You have no legal parental rights to them. While your parents may permit visits, any decisions made for the child remain with them, as they are the child’s parents.

Some women find this new social role in their biological child’s life confusing or emotionally complicated, so for this reason, many women prefer to select an adoptive family that they are not related to.

“If my parents adopt my child, does that cut off any visitation with other grandparents?”

Again, your parents are no longer legally the grandparents of your children; they’re the parents. So that would be up to them. Visitation is something that happens in a divorce where custody of a child is shared, but adoption is different, and it’s permanent. An open adoption does involve contact with your child and may involve visits with you, the birth father and his family members.

“Can my grandma adopt my baby since the father is trying to take it?”

Depending on your individual situation, you may or may not be able to place your baby for adoption without the father’s support. You’ll likely need to consult with an adoption attorney about how birth father rights may affect your individual situation, as everyone’s circumstances are different.

“How can I give my baby up for adoption to my mother temporarily? Can your parents adopt your child and then give them back later?

No, you cannot place your baby for adoption temporarily, even with a family member. This is a common misconception. Adoption is permanent, whether you place your baby with a relative or with a family through an agency.

If you need a temporary solution for your child until you are ready to resume parenting, you could consider a legal guardianship with a parent or other relative. 

“I want my sister to adopt my baby because she can’t have kids. Is that illegal?”

No. Choosing adoption for your baby is not illegal.

However, if the only reason you’re placing your baby for adoption is because your sister is unable to become pregnant, or because you feel as if your sister or other family members are pressuring you to “help” your sister, then you should reevaluate your motivations to choose adoption. If you’re choosing adoption because you feel that it’s what’s best for you and your child, then placing your baby with your sister (or with any properly screened waiting adoptive parent) is an excellent option. Just be sure that you’re doing this for you and your child — not because someone else is pressuring you or because you feel guilty.

“What if I’m not sure that I want my parents to adopt my baby?”

After considering all the pros and cons of letting a relative adopt your baby, you may decide that you’re not as comfortable with the idea as you first thought. If you are questioning your decision and need free support, you can always contact an adoption specialist to learn more about your options. If you decide you want to move forward with adoption, but not with a relative adoption, know that there are hundreds of loving, pre-screened families out there who have been waiting and longing for a child to adopt.

Ultimately, only you can decide if adoption is right for you and your child, and who you feel is right to raise your baby — whether that’s your parents, your sibling, or a waiting couple.  If you’re not sure which type of adoption is right for you, or you’d like more information about placing your child with a family member or unrelated adoptive family, contact us online or contact an adoption attorney near you. If you’re considering placing an older child for adoption with a family member, you can also learn more about kinship adoptions here. Our adoption specialists are always here to talk to you about your options and walk you through the process of placing a baby for adoption with your parents, sibling, or any family member or screened waiting adoptive couple.

Disclaimer
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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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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