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Can a Minor Give a Baby Up for Adoption?

Under 18 and Putting a Baby Up for Adoption

It’s rarely part of the plan for a teenager to become pregnant. If you’re in this situation, you’re probably facing many confusing emotions and trying to organize your thoughts, wondering what to do next. An unplanned pregnancy is a stressful time in your life and, when you’re under 18, you may be unsure of what unplanned pregnancy options are available to you.

You may be thinking: Do you have to be a certain age to give your baby up for adoption? Does a minor have the right to give a baby up for adoption? Can someone under 18 give a baby up for adoption without parent permission?

If you are underage, “giving up a baby” for adoption is always an option for you. Just like an expectant mother of any age, you always have the right to decide what to do about your unplanned pregnancy, and you will always be able to choose adoption for your unborn baby if you believe that is what’s best.

In many ways, the differences between a minor and an older person giving up for adoption are small. To learn more about this process, you can always call our adoption specialists for free at 1-800-ADOPTION. Below, you’ll find some more important things to know about how to give your baby up for adoption when underage.

Can a Minor Place a Child for Adoption?                                      

Yes, an expectant mother who is a minor may place her child for adoption if it is the best decision for her. In many cases, the laws are the same as an adult placing a child for adoption. However, depending on your circumstances and your state laws, you may need to involve your parents in this decision.

When most people ask, “Can a minor give a baby up for adoption?” they are thinking about anyone under the age of 18 years old. Most teenage birth mothers are in high school, meaning they are least 15 years old. Most state laws regarding minors placing babies for adoption protect these expectant mothers’ rights without interference from their parents.

So, specifically, does a minor need parents’ permission to give a baby up for adoption?

In most cases, the answer is no; many states will allow a teenager to make an adoption plan without her parents’ permission. For states that do require a minor to give up a child for adoption with parent permission, “minor” usually applies only to any expectant mother under the age of 13 or 14. If you are this young, you may need parental permission to place your child for adoption. However, if you are older, you should be able to pursue adoption without legal consent from your parents or guardians.

Because every state’s adoption laws differ, we encourage any minor considering adoption to contact an adoption professional like American Adoptions or a local adoption attorney for more information about laws in their area.

How to Give Your Baby Up for Adoption if You are Underage

Barring any state requirements for parental permission, an expectant mother who is underage giving up a baby for adoption will follow the same steps as an expectant mother who is a legal adult. She will be in charge of her adoption decision and plan from beginning to end, and she will always retain the right to change her mind at any time before she signs her adoption consent.

Because many teenagers and minors live with their parents, it’s normal to wonder whether the baby’s grandparents will play a role in the adoption process. The answer is no — not unless the prospective birth mother wants them to. Your parents cannot force you into a certain unplanned pregnancy option. However, it may be a good idea for you and your parents to be on the same page about your pregnancy and the path you choose. Because you likely depend upon them for financial security and safety (not to mention emotional stability), they can be an immense help during your adoption process. Likewise, if you are considering parenting your child and your parents are not on board with your decision, there are a lot of important questions you’ll need to ask yourself should you choose to go this path alone.

If you think adoption may be the right choice, you are probably wondering, “How do you give a baby up for adoption if you are a minor?”

First, you will need to contact an adoption professional like American Adoptions. Our specialists can discuss your adoption preferences and goals with you to create a perfect adoption plan for you and your baby. Our specialists will provide emotional support and counseling through every step of this process.

As you are considering adoption as a teenager, you may have a few other questions, too:

  • Can you put a baby up for adoption if the father is underage? Birth father rights vary from state to state, so we encourage you to contact an adoption specialist for more information about the legalities of your situation. In most cases, the age of the father will not impact your ability to place your child for adoption.
  • Can a minor choose who adopts their baby? Yes! Every prospective birth mother has the right to choose the adoptive family she wants to adopt her baby. Your adoption specialist will work with you to create a list of preferences — including age, marital status, location, occupations, post-placement contact and more — for adoptive parents. Then, you will be presented with profiles of waiting families and be able to meet them before deciding they are right for your baby.
  • Will a minor see her baby again after the adoption? The majority of adoptions today include open adoption relationships, meaning that birth mothers share a relationship with the adoptive family and her baby after the adoption is complete. You get to choose what kind of relationship you want after your adoption. It can be anything from pictures and letters, to phone calls and emails to even in-person visits.
  • If you give your baby up for adoption as a minor, could you get them back? Adoption is a permanent process. Once you give your consent to place your child for adoption (according to your state laws), you relinquish your parental rights. You will be unable to “get your baby back,” which means you should be 100 percent confident in your adoption choice before moving forward.

You do not have to be a certain age to give your baby up for adoption; you can choose to give your child the best life possible with a new adoptive family no matter how old you are. To learn more about how you can give a child up for adoption if you are under 18 and how the adoption process might work for you, please contact our adoption specialists today.

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