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Can I Give My Baby Up for Adoption at the Hospital? [The Complete Guide]

Yes, you can place your baby for adoption from the hospital. If you are at the hospital with your baby and you think that adoption might be the best choice, you can call 1-800-ADOPTION now to find all of the support you need.

If you find yourself in this situation, know that you aren't alone. If you have decided adoption is the best choice for your baby, whether it’s after you go into labor, arrive at the hospital, or even after your baby has been born, you’re probably wondering, “Can you give your baby up for adoption at the hospital?”

The answer is yes, you can.

  • Hospital adoptions happen more often than you might imagine.

  • Adoption agencies have procedures in place for this type of adoption.

  • Even though the process may be completed a little faster than other domestic infant adoption, the process for “giving a baby up” for adoption at the hospital can be completed easily with the right adoption agency.

We understand thinking about placing your baby for adoption at the hospital can be overwhelming. With over 30 years of experience as one of the nation's largest domestic infant adoption agencies, American Adoptions has helped thousands of women like you find an adoptive family for their baby.

If you ever need someone to talk to, or if you have more questions about how you can choose to “give your baby up” for adoption at the hospital after giving birth, please fill out our free information form or call 1-800-ADOPTION to speak with one of our adoption professionals today. Until then, continue reading this guide on how to give a baby up for adoption at the hospital.

What is the Process for “Giving a Baby Up” for Adoption at the Hospital?

If you have just given birth and have made the brave and selfless decision that adoption is best for your baby, you likely have many questions about what to do.

  • Is it legal to give a child up for adoption at the hospital?

  • Do hospitals take babies for adoption?

  • When you want to give your baby up for adoption, what do you tell the hospital?

These may be some of the questions running through your mind, but don’t worry — it is legal to choose adoption from the hospital. While hospitals usually don’t have adoption programs in place, an adoption agency will work alongside the hospital to make your adoption happen. And when you want to place your baby for adoption, you just need to tell the hospital you want to work with American Adoptions. We are here to provide answers and help you make sense of the process.

The first thing to do is call 1-800-ADOPTION and speak to an adoption professional. It’s important to find a qualified, trustworthy adoption professional to work with. Working with the right professional is the key to a safe, responsible hospital adoption.

As a full-service, fully licensed national adoption agency, American Adoptions can be that professional for you. We have more than 30 years of experience completing all kinds of adoptions, including hospital adoptions. We also have hundreds of waiting adoptive families who will be willing to drop everything and travel to your hospital at a moment’s notice — so you won’t have to compromise on finding the perfect adoptive family, even if you’re choosing adoption from your hospital room.

The steps in a hospital adoption resemble any other adoption. The biggest difference is the speed of the process — this can happen as quickly as you are comfortable with.

How to “Give a Baby Up” for Adoption in the Hospital

Step 1: Making Sure Adoption Is Right for You

It’s important to take the time upfront to make sure adoption is the best option for you and your baby. The hospital stay can be an emotional roller coaster, and this is a life-changing decision. Only you can know what’s best for you, and it is your decision to make.

Taking the time to consider all of the factors, as well as the beneficial outcomes of choosing adoption, will help you feel confident in your choice, whatever that may be. Benefits like 24/7 counseling and support services pre-and post-placement, financial assistance with medical bills and living expenses, and the ability to remain involved in your child's life with open adoption are just a few of the many benefits of adoption.

Step 2: Creating an Adoption Plan

Once you know that adoption is right for you, you will create a hospital adoption plan. When you call 1-800-ADOPTION, you can talk to an adoption professional who can guide you through the process of “giving a baby up” for adoption at the hospital. Creating this plan involves things like:

When you “give a baby up” for adoption at the hospital, you are in charge of your adoption plan. You call the shots, and your adoption professional will ensure you’re making the best choices.

Step 3: Finding an Adoptive Family

Your adoption professional will assemble a group of adoptive family profiles for you to look at. These will be families who match the description of what you are looking for, and each family would be overjoyed at the opportunity to adopt your baby.

This is one of the most important choices in your hospital adoption. You love your baby, and you want the best life possible for them. With American Adoptions’ national network of hopeful adoptive parents, you can be sure you’ll find amazing parents for your baby. Many birth mothers say they “just knew” when they were looking at the right adoptive family profile. You will have many families to choose from to ensure you are finding the family that best matches the characteristics you are looking for.

Step 4: Placement of the Child

When you choose a family, your adoption professional will contact them to let them know about the adoption opportunity. As quickly as possible, they will travel to you. Depending on what you decided in your hospital adoption plan, you may interact with the family when they arrive, or you may decide not to meet them in person. It’s entirely up to you!

When the time comes, you can fill out the adoption paperwork, and your baby will be placed with the adoptive family. This can be a difficult time, but you can be confident that you are making a selfless decision that will give your baby an opportunity to have an amazing life. Still, it’s expected that you will feel some challenging emotions during this process. Counseling and support services will be available to you at no cost, if you would like.

Step 5: Post-Placement

When you “give a baby up” for adoption at the hospital, goodbye doesn’t have to be forever. The majority of domestic infant adoptions today have some form of openness. This means that depending on the choices you make in your hospital adoption plan, you will have the opportunity to maintain contact with the adoptive family and your baby post-placement. This contact can range from photo and letter updates to in-person visits. It all depends on what you want in your adoption.

Maintaining contact through open adoption is healthy for you, the adoptive parents, and your child. Open adoption can help a child understand that your decision came from a place of love and that you did what was best for them. This positive perspective on their adoption story can be invaluable as a child grows and begins to form a sense of identity.

For you as the mother, open adoption creates the opportunity to see your child thrive. You can move forward in your own life while knowing that your baby is being cared for and loved. This helps many birth mothers feel confident in their adoption decision.

What Else Should I Know About Adoption at the Hospital?

Starting an adoption plan at the hospital can be overwhelming. As previously mentioned, it’s likely you have questions about how to “give a baby up” for adoption at the hospital. To help answer some of them, here is our guide to everything you should know.

Is it legal to “give a child up” for adoption at the hospital?

Yes. It is safe and legal to place your child up for adoption at the hospital. If you’re thinking of making an adoption plan at the hospital, your hospital social worker or a nurse will help you get the process started. You can also call 1-800-ADOPTION at any time to make an adoption plan for your baby.

When you want to “give your baby up” for adoption, what do you tell the hospital?

If you want to place your child up for adoption, and you haven’t made an adoption plan yet, a hospital social worker can help you get started. Simply tell them that you are considering adoption for your baby and need help exploring that option. They will look up a list of nearby or national adoption agencies that will be able to help and reach out to them so that you can make an adoption plan. Once you’re connected with an adoption professional, they can walk you through the process of finding an adoptive family and creating your adoption plan.

If you prefer, you can also reach an adoption professional directly by calling 1-800-ADOPTION. Your adoption professional can take care of everything related to the adoption process and will coordinate with hospital staff to let them know about your wishes and make your adoption plan happen.

I don’t want my baby. Can my friend take it from the hospital after I give birth?

Yes, it is possible to have your friend take your baby from the hospital. You will need to work with a local adoption attorney to arrange for your friend to get custody of your child, whether that is through legal adoption, a temporary guardianship, or another option.

We know that for many women, asking a friend or family member to adopt your baby can seem like the perfect solution. After all, you already know them so well. It’s easy to see why they’d be the perfect fit. But before you do so, it might be helpful to look at a list of pros and cons.  And don’t forget — American Adoptions has hundreds of pre-screened families who could also be a good fit.

Do hospitals take babies for adoption?

In most states, the answer is yes — you can surrender your baby to an on-duty staff member at a hospital if he or she is within your state’s Safe Haven age limit. If you leave your baby with a hospital staff member, they’ll start the process to find a safe, loving home for them. This will either be through foster care or they’ll contact a private adoption agency directly. This is referred to as “Baby Safe Haven,” and it is an option for you if you don’t feel ready to parent your baby. However, this is not your only option and is not how most adoptions are done.

Instead, most prospective birth mothers contact an adoption agency like American Adoptions to create an adoption plan for their baby. This option has many benefits for you as a potential birth mother that Safe Haven options don’t offer, including:

  • The ability to choose your baby’s adoptive parents and see where he or she ends up (if you choose)

  • The opportunity to stay in touch with the adoptive parents and watch your baby grow up in an open adoption if desired

  • Access to free counseling and professional support during and after the adoption process

  • And more

If you are considering this option, just know that it’s never too late to make an adoption plan with American Adoptions. Whether you’ve just given birth or just arrived at the hospital and you're thinking about placing your baby for adoption, we’d be happy to answer all of your questions. Get the information you need now by calling 1-800-ADOPTION.

Do I pay a family to adopt my baby in the hospital?

No, you do not need to pay an adoptive family to adopt your baby in the hospital. As a woman considering an adoption plan, adoption is always 100% free for you.

Likewise, it is illegal in every state for an adoptive family to pay you in exchange for placing your baby up for adoption. Instead, you are able to receive financial assistance that will cover your hospital and medical bills and other adoption-related expenses. To learn more about what financial assistance will look like in your situation, please reach out to an adoption professional.

You may have more questions about how to “give a baby up” for adoption in the hospital, or you may be ready to begin your hospital adoption today. Either way, call 1-800-ADOPTION at any time to speak with an adoption professional for personal guidance on the next steps for your specific situation.

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.

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