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Can I Put My Teenager Up for Adoption?

Options When Parenting Your Teen Seems Impossible

Parenting can be a challenge, and you know this better than anyone.

There are so many factors that can make things difficult, like financial pressure, lack of a supportive spouse, unstable housing and more. Not to mention, of course, the relationship you have with your child.

We know that, through all this, your questions come from a place of love. And we know that there is love behind the question when you ask, “Can I put my teenager up for adoption?”

More mothers than you may realize ask this question. Whether it is because it seems impossible to continue parenting or you believe your teenager has a better chance at a bright future in a new family, it’s okay to seek answers. Here, we’re going to try to provide some of those answers.

Before we get started, you should know that American Adoptions specializes in the placement of newborns and infants and is unable to provide services for placing a teenager for adoption.

However, we've done our best to answer common questions about this process below, and we've listed resources you can call at any time with no judgment or obligation. Those professionals will walk you through your options and answer your questions about giving a child up for adoption as a teen.

Can I Put My Teenager Up for Adoption?

The adoption process for teenagers can be very difficult, and there are few, if any, adoption agencies who are equipped to handle this process in an ideal way. The answer to your question isn’t necessarily, “No.” However, teenage adoption is rare, especially in a private domestic adoption.

If you are looking for people that want to adopt a 13-year-old, or maybe even a teenager who is older than that, this can be disheartening to hear. But it’s important to understand that, in these circumstances, adoption may not be the best choice possible.

There can be several different reasons for this. First, there are fewer people that want to adopt 16-year-olds, for example, than there are families looking to adopt an infant. This is unfortunate, because every child needs a loving family, regardless of age. But it is the reality of the situation.

Additionally, as a teenager, your child has developed significantly more than a younger child. There are many behavioral and health factors that could come into play, which would make looking for adoptive parents for a teenager more challenging.

There is also the issue of how adoption would affect a teenager. A disruption like transitioning into a new family could be very difficult. 

Looking for Adoptive Parents for My Teenager

Many mothers wondering how to find an adoptive family for a 13-year-old child or older teenager will consider identified adoption or kinship adoption.

In this type of adoption process, you already know the family who is going to adopt your child. They could be close friends or a family member, and everyone involved will need to agree to the adoption plan.

Kinship adoption can seem like a good idea. In fact, it could be a good option for you. However, it’s not for everyone.

You should speak to an adoption attorney before choosing to pursue this type (or any type) of adoption process.

The Importance of Sibling Groups

When you are thinking about how to put a child up for adoption that is a teen, you should understand the importance of sibling groups. In many cases, mothers looking for adoptive families for 13-year-olds or other teens are also considering adoption for their younger children.

Research has shown that it is vital for sibling groups to stay together through adoption, whenever possible. Siblings can give each other a safe person to lean on and relate to.

If you are thinking about adoption both for your teenager and your younger children, you should contact an adoption professional and be very clear that you want to maintain the sibling group in adoption.

Rights of The Child in Adoption for a Teenager

In the adoption process of a teenager, there is the added legal element of consent.

In newborn adoptions, the birth mother must give her consent to the adoption after the child is born. In the case of giving a child up for adoption as a teen, the mother and the teenager must give their consent.

In most states, a teenager is granted the opportunity by law to say whether or not they consent to the adoption. This may or may not affect the way you are thinking about giving your teenager up for adoption.

Parenting Resources

Ultimately, the adoption process for a teenager can be challenging. There are very few professionals equipped for this type of adoption, and it can be difficult for everyone involved to produce a healthy outcome.

Even though parenting may seem impossible right now, there are resources available to help. If you are looking for adoptive parents for your teenager, one of the best things you can do is find local social services or nonprofit organizations that will aid you in parenting.

The details of these resources will vary depending on where you live, but there are sure to be several options you can look into.

For the mother:

For the teenager:

Contact a Professional

Speaking to a qualified professional about your situation is a great next step. Being in a situation where you are considering how to give a teenager up for adoption is never easy, but there are plenty of people who would love to help.

For more information about your options, please contact one of the professionals listed above, or reach out to your local child welfare system for more information about your options. 

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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