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Making an Adoption Plan when CPS is Involved [Is Adoption Still an Option?]

"Can you give a newborn up for adoption if you have an existing CPS case?" The answer is yes. If you need to place your baby for adoption, we can help. Call 1-800-ADOPTION now for advice based on your individual situation.

Mothers who want to make an adoption plan voluntarily often do so because they want to take control of their situation and give their baby — and often, their other children — the best life possible.

But, when there is Child Protective Services (CPS) or Department of Children and Family Services (DCF) involvement, placing a child for adoption may seem more complicated. However, the options that are legally available to you in these circumstances are usually pretty clear. The guide below will help you understand what’s possible for you in your current situation.

Remember that this article will give you an overview of how and when you can make an adoption plan when CPS has intervened within your family, but we provide private adoption services, not foster care services. So, consulting with your CPS caseworker for additional expertise is always a good idea.

If you’re already dealing with the pain of being separated from a child who is in CPS custody, it can seem overwhelming to try to deal with the idea of placing your unborn baby for adoption. But, voluntarily choosing to place a child for adoption may be the best way to help your entire family. Here’s what you need to know:

“Can You Give a Newborn Up for Adoption If You Have an Existing CPS Case?”

Yes. Having an existing CPS case open with one of your other children will not affect your ability to choose adoption for your newborn baby.

If you have an existing CPS case with one of your other children or if they are in CPS custody, and you find yourself unexpectedly pregnant again, you can still choose to place your unborn or newborn baby for adoption.

Sometimes, parents working to reunite with a child who is currently in foster care will become pregnant, and they feel that caring for a new baby isn’t an option for them at this point in their lives and may also hurt their chances of reuniting with their older child. So they decide that placing their baby for adoption is what’s best for their baby as well as the rest of their family.

Choosing to place a baby for adoption can also prevent your choices from being eliminated by CPS intervention. When you contact an adoption agency like American Adoptions and voluntarily place a baby for adoption, you make all the choices throughout the adoption process, including selecting the adoptive parents and deciding how much you’d like to stay in touch after the adoption. But when a child is involuntarily taken by CPS, you aren’t permitted to make these choices.

Conversely, American Adoptions can help you look through hundreds of adoptive family profiles until you find the right one. Choosing adoption is rarely easy, but it can be a way to choose a family for your child that you know will love them, rather than leaving it up to the state.

Many parents have asked, “What happens if you get pregnant while your other children are in foster care?” Unfortunately, in many cases, if an expectant mother already has children in CPS custody, her newborn will immediately be placed into foster care by CPS, as well. But when you contact an adoption agency like American Adoptions, you can call all the shots in the adoption process and positively affect your chances of regaining custody of your older children.

First, contact us to start making an adoption plan for your baby. Then, you must immediately notify your CPS caseworker to tell them that you’re working with an adoption agency to make a plan for your unborn child. Your CPS caseworker will then call us to verify this, so make sure that you contact us and begin making your adoption plan first.

“Do I Have the Right to Adopt My Child Out When There is a CPS Case Involved?”

Some parents have asked, “Can I adopt my child out if she has been taken by social workers?” Meaning: can they choose to place their child for adoption through an agency after he or she has been involuntarily removed from their home by CPS?

The answer is, unfortunately, no. Once your child is legally in the custody of the state, the state is now responsible for where he or she will be placed, whether that’s back with you, with a temporary foster family, or with a permanent adoptive family who is completing a foster care adoption.

Parents have also asked, “Can a parent put a baby up for adoption after CPS has intervened?” If your baby is already in CPS custody, then sadly, the answer is no. They’re already legally under the custody of the state, so once that happens, you’re no longer able to make an adoption plan for your baby.

This is why, if you’re pregnant and considering adoption for your unborn baby, it’s important to contact a private agency like American Adoptions early on. If your baby enters CPS custody when he or she is born, you will no longer have control over his or her placement with a foster or adoptive family.

Understanding the Differences Between CPS and Adoption

When CPS approaches you, it’s because they’re removing your child from your custody involuntarily. They make that choice, not you.

When you reach out to a private adoption agency like American Adoptions, it’s because you’re voluntarily choosing to place your child with a permanent adoptive family, who you will select yourself. You make that choice.

If your child is in foster care and they are permanently placed with an adoptive family through a foster care adoption, you will not be able to choose this family. Typically, you will not be able to continue to have a relationship with your child after the adoption is finalized.

But when you place a child for adoption through an agency, they are permanently placed with adoptive parents of your careful choosing. You can decide how much or how little contact you’d like to have with your child and their family after the adoption. You’re in charge of every decision that’s made in the adoption process. There is no foster care involved when you work with an adoption agency, and your baby will always be placed with a loving family who has been waiting to welcome a child.

Choosing to place your baby for adoption is a difficult decision. But it’s a loving one that can keep them from entering the foster care system, and it can help you to reunite with your older children who may currently be in CPS custody.

Contact us online or by calling 1-800-ADOPTION to get support with your current situation. We’ll discuss what options are legally available to you based on your circumstances, and together, we can work with your CPS caseworker to find a solution that’s right for you and your whole family.

Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. American Adoptions 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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