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Is Leaving a Baby at the Hospital After Birth Possible?

3 of the Most Common Questions Answered

If you are thinking about leaving your baby at the hospital, you should call 1-800-ADOPTION. You may not realize it now, but the adoption process is actually a better way to move forward.

  • If you don’t want your baby,
  • Your due date is almost here,
  • Or you have already delivered your baby, you're probably wondering if delivering a baby and leaving it in the hospital is an option. 

If you are experiencing this situation, you should know that adoption can give you the support and resources you need, and it can give your baby a wonderful future with a loving family.

  • Many women face an unplanned pregnancy in a crisis, and it may seem like leaving a baby at the hospital after birth is the best solution to this problem.
  • You might be in a position where you’re not ready to parent, or you don’t have the tools to care for a newborn.
  • You could also be worried about paying for your baby’s medical care, or unsure of who else to turn to for help.

With so much of that stress weighing on you, it can be hard to think past doing what’s best right now.    

If you are a woman wondering, Can I leave my baby at the hospital, this guide will explore the options you have available.

If you are looking for immediate answers or help, please call 1-800-ADOPTION or fill out our free information form to get in contact with an adoption professional. They will be able to answer any questions you may have, and help guide you in the right direction of what's best for you and your baby.  

Until then, continue reading this guide for more information about leaving a baby at the hospital and the options you have available.  

Can You Leave Your Baby at the Hospital if I Don’t Want it?   

The answer to this question depends on a few different factors. In every state, women who decide to surrender their babies are protected by Safe Haven laws. To answer the question, "Is it legal to leave a baby in the hospital," the answer is yes.

While the specifics of it can vary depending on where you live, the end goal is to always make sure that every struggling mother can relinquish her baby safely without having to resort to abandonment. Safe Haven laws where you can leave a baby at the hospital also protect a woman from being charged with child endangerment or neglect when their baby is surrendered unharmed.    

The answer to:

  • Who may relinquish the child,
  • Where you can hand them over,
  • And how old the baby can be when you surrender them will all vary depending on where you live.

To learn more about the possibility of leaving a baby at the hospital after birth, it’s a good idea to start becoming familiar with the Safe Haven laws in your state. You can also reach out to a hospital near you to learn more about the steps involved or speak with an adoption attorney. Although surrendering your baby is different than an adoption, they will be able to explain the legal aspects involved with this decision. 

What are other options besides leaving a baby at the hospital?   

While it is possible to safely leave your baby at the hospital, we don’t want you to feel like it’s your only option when you’re facing a crisis. No matter what situation you’re in, help is always available 

With over 30 years of experience as one of the largest national domestic adoption agencies in the United States, American Adoptions has helped birth mothers in similar situations as yours place a baby for adoption. For you, and every woman, no matter if you are pregnant, have given birth, or even brought your child home, you still have the option of making an adoption plan for your baby. 

An adoption is always an option, and an adoption professional from American Adoptions will do everything they can to make the process as easy and stress-free as possible. Because of the numerous benefits for you and your baby, you might consider this to be a better option over leaving a baby at the hospital, and here’s why. When you choose adoption with our agency you: 

  • Will be in charge every step of the way. Every detail of the adoption plan, pre-and post-placement contact with the family and your child, will all be decided by you. 

  • Are given the ability to find the right family for your baby through adoptive profiles, interviews, and more.  

  • Will have access to 24/7 counseling and other educational resources, both pre-and post-placement.   

  • In addition to adoption being cost-free to you, may be eligible for financial assistance. This aid can include living expenses, medical bills, and more.  

  • Will be assigned your own specific social worker to handle any and all of your needs during the adoption process.  

  • Have the opportunity to apply for our agency scholarship program.  

  • And so much more  

To better understand the benefits adoption can provide you and your baby, it may be helpful to hear it from the birth mother's point of view. By clicking here, you will find testimonials from birth mothers, some of which were in similar situations like yours, and stories about their experiences.  

We understand what you are going through is a very difficult and emotional time in your life. No matter what decisions you make, we are committed to helping. Call 1-800-ADOPTION to speak with an adoption professional and gain a better understanding of how adoption may just be one of the best decisions of you and your baby's life 

What Happens to Babies Abandoned at the Hospital?    

You’re likely wondering, “What happens if you leave a baby at the hospital?”

Once a mother abandons a baby in a hospital, the process of finding a safe, stable environment for them begins. At this point, your child will become a ward of the state, meaning that they’ll either be placed into foster care, or the hospital will try and contact a private adoption agency to try and find a family for them.   

Parents who change their minds after they leave their baby at the hospital have up to 60 days to claim their baby and file a petition with the circuit court. If they choose to file it, they will undergo a mandatory maternity or paternity test ordered by the court. Then, the Department of Children and Family Services will also conduct a child protective investigation and home study. If a petition was never filed after 60 days, the process of terminating the biological parental rights will begin for the legal adoption process to proceed.  

Every pregnancy and childbirth is different, as are the decisions birth mothers make to do what is best for their baby.    

An unplanned pregnancy is a lot to deal with on your own. American Adoptions makes sure you don’t have to. 

Whether you’re thinking about leaving a baby at the hospital or considering adoption for your baby, you can always call 1-800-ADOPTION at any time to speak with an adoption professional. You can also fill out our free information form to get contacted by our agency. 

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

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