Can a Friend or Someone I Already Know Adopt My Baby?
How American Adoptions Can Help with an Independent Adoption
While most women who contact our agency are in the very early stages of the adoption process, some women we work with have already found an adoptive family for their baby. These women often ask us, “Can my friend adopt my baby? Can you give your baby up for adoption to someone you know?”
The answer is yes. Whether they plan on “giving a baby up” for adoption to a friend, family member, or someone they’ve met through their own networking efforts, these arrangements are known as independent, or identified, adoptions.
If this describes your situation, American Adoptions can offer the same services to you that we offer to all other prospective birth mothers. Here, learn more about identified adoption, how to “give your child up” for adoption to a friend and the ways American Adoptions can help.
5 Things to Consider When “Giving Your Child Up” for Adoption to a Friend
It seems like a perfect scenario: “I want my friend to adopt my baby, and my friend wants to adopt my baby. What could go wrong?” But before having a friend adopt your baby, it is important to consider whether this is truly the best possible outcome for yourself and your child. Consider the following questions:
How well do you know the potential adoptive parents? Many expectant mothers initially feel more comfortable with identified adoption because they already know and trust the adoptive family. But how well do you really know them? Are they truly close friends, or someone you met through mutual friends or acquaintances? Keep in mind that these hopeful parents likely have not completed the thorough screening process all of American Adoptions’ families go through.
What makes you think these people are the perfect family for your child? Finding the perfect adoptive parents is key to a positive, successful adoption experience. Make sure you are not just choosing your baby’s adoptive family because it is convenient, because you already know them or because they live nearby. Really think about the qualities you want in an adoptive family, and ensure the parents you choose possess those.
Are you being pressured to let a friend adopt your baby? There’s a big difference between saying “My friend wants to adopt my baby” and “I want my friend to adopt my baby.” Before you begin researching how to let a friend adopt your baby, make sure you are making this decision for the right reasons. You should only adopt your baby to a friend if you feel it is truly the best possible decision for you and your child.
Are you prepared to respect your friend’s parenting style and decisions? Just like in non-identified adoption, when you sign the legal papers “giving a child up” for adoption to a friend (and your revocation period has passed, if applicable), you will no longer have parental rights for him or her and the decision is final. You may not always agree with the way your friends choose to parent, and it can be difficult to let go of control and respect their decisions.
Are you prepared for your relationship with your friend to change? While before you were just friends, you will now forever be connected as your baby’s birth mother and adoptive parent. This is a very different, unique type of relationship, and it is important to understand that there may be new boundaries and other shifts in your friendship.
Will you be comfortable seeing your child and the adoptive parents on a regular basis? Depending on the type of relationship you have with your baby’s adoptive family, you may see them often after placement. For some birth parents, this frequent contact can be a difficult reminder of their loss, and can make it difficult for them to find closure.
Will you be getting the services you need? As a woman considering adoption, you are entitled to many free services as well as financial assistance during your pregnancy. If you choose to place your baby directly with a friend rather than working with an agency, you may find it difficult to ask for financial assistance to cover your adoption and pregnancy-related living expenses. You may also be missing out on the other benefits offered by an agency, like emotional counseling and support, adoption planning, scholarship opportunities, and more.
If you are pregnant and considering adoption, it is because you truly want to do what is best for your child. That’s not to say that “giving your child up” for adoption to a friend is a bad idea, but before letting a friend adopt your baby, make sure they are truly the perfect family for him or her. If not, American Adoptions works with hundreds of waiting families from many different backgrounds, and we provide all of the services you need to find your perfect match.
How to Give Your Child Up for Adoption to a Friend
Many women are interested in what is required to “give a child up” for adoption to someone you know, and how this adoption process would work. Here’s how to put a child up for adoption if you know who you want to give the child to:
Step 1: Contact an adoption professional
You and the person you’d like to adopt your child will need to contact an adoption professional and ask them about the process for adoption if you know who you want to adopt your unborn baby. This adoption professional will walk you through the legal processes required for this type of adoption and can also ensure that everyone involved is mentally, emotionally and physically prepared for an identified adoption.
Step 2: Create an adoption plan
When you reach out to an adoption professional about “giving baby up” for adoption to a close friend or acquaintance, they will help you to create an adoption plan outlining your goals and preferences for your adoption experience. You can decide what type of financial support you need during your pregnancy, what kind of relationship you want to have with your child after the adoption and more. Your adoption specialist can also walk you through all your options to determine that this is truly the best path for you and, if needed, help mediate any potentially challenging conversations with the friend you choose to adopt your baby.
It’s important to remember that you are always in control of your adoption plan — and that includes choosing your baby’s adoptive parents. If at any point you change your mind about having a friend adopt your baby, that’s completely okay — and your adoption specialist can help you find the adoptive family that is the perfect fit for your adoption plan.
Step 3: Complete placement at the hospital
After you deliver your baby in the hospital, you’ll need to wait a minimum time period, which is determined by your state adoption consent laws. Once that waiting period has passed, you may sign your adoption consent forms. These forms terminate your legal parental rights and place the child with your friend (or the adoptive family you choose).
Step 4: Continue your post-adoption relationship with your child and your friend
When your friend adopts your baby, your relationship with your friend and with your child are both permanently changed. You’ll no longer have a parental role with your biological child. Your relationship with your friend will be different, and you’ll need to be careful to respect their role as your biological child’s parent. Not everyone is comfortable being so close to their adoption situation, so most women prefer to choose a waiting adoptive family that they didn’t previously have a relationship with. Your adoption specialist can help prepare you for how your relationship with your friend will change if you choose to place your child with them.
How Can an Agency Help with Adoption if I Have Already Picked an Adoptive Family?
It’s a question we hear often: “My best friend wants to adopt my baby; do I still need to work with an adoption professional?”
Yes. If you choose to proceed with an identified adoption, you may think that an adoption agency’s services are unnecessary. However, by completing the adoption independently, you could be missing out on a number of valuable services, resources and support.
Even if you have already chosen adoptive parents for your baby, an agency like American Adoptions can provide many other valuable services you and the adoptive family will need to complete the adoption process. Remember, this is still your adoption plan, and you are still entitled to receive the following free adoption services:
Living Expenses: Each state allows the adoptive family to cover a certain amount of your pregnancy-related expenses, including rent, transportation, utilities, groceries and more. An adoption specialist can talk to you more about the types of living expenses you may be eligible to receive based on your circumstances, what the court will allow, and how to receive them from the adoptive family. When you are “giving a baby up” for adoption to a close friend, conversations about money can be uncomfortable. This is where it can be so helpful to have an adoption specialist to mediate these discussions.
Medical Expenses: American Adoptions works with a third-party company to assist with Medicaid coverage for you and your baby — something the adoptive family probably wouldn’t know how to do without an agency. This ensures that you aren’t left with medical bills once the adoption is completed. Please keep in mind that regardless of whether you have insurance or not, or whether you are on Medicaid, we will be able to assist you.
Adoption Counseling and Education: Even though you’ve already located an adoptive family, it is still important that you have a qualified social worker to talk to throughout the adoption process and your pregnancy. We provide unlimited counseling and ongoing support to all of our birth mothers. In addition, we assist with your hospital plan, communicate and work alongside hospital staff to ensure all policies and procedures are followed. Our adoption specialists are available 24/7 to answer any of your concerns or to simply be there whenever you need them most.
Legal Services: We will make sure you have your own legal counsel to represent you and your best interests during the legal adoption process. These legal services are provided at no charge to you. The adoptive family will have a different adoption attorney, so there will be no conflict of interest in your adoption plan and your legal rights will be protected.
Scholarship: Every year, American Adoptions awards thousands of dollars in scholarships to help women who have chosen adoption begin or continue their college careers.
American Adoptions will do everything we can to assist your chosen adoptive family with the paperwork process and getting approved for adoption. However, if unforeseen challenges occur with the adoptive family (for example, not passing the necessary background checks and clearances), American Adoptions has hundreds of legally adoption-ready families who’ve already passed all of their background checks. Additionally, our adoptive families are prepared to assist you with living, medical and legal expenses.
Whether you choose identified adoption or pick from our waiting families, remember that this is your adoption, and you are always in control of your adoption plan. Contact one of our adoption specialists today at 1-800-ADOPTION to learn more about how we can help with an independent adoption if you are wondering how to adopt your child out to a friend.
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