The Facts You Need to Know About Temporary Adoption
Temporary Guardianship Could Be the Help You Need
What you’re feeling is normal. There are thousands of women around the country who think the same thing — parenting is impossible for me. You may have found yourself in a position where life seems far too difficult to manage, and the responsibilities of parenthood only add to that. What can you do?
Faced with this situation, you could be wondering about temporary adoption, or giving a baby up for adoption to family member short-term. This makes sense — you love your child, and you don’t want to lose them. But you also know you need help, and getting that help while also being a parent won’t work.
Temporary adoption, however, isn’t the answer. At least, it’s not quite the answer. The idea of temporary adoption for a child slightly misunderstands the adoption process. That being said, there is a solution that fits what you are looking for, and it’s called temporary legal guardianship.
Can I Temporarily Adopt My Baby to Other Parents?
When you place your baby or child for adoption, it is always a permanent decision. This is true regardless of if you don’t personally know the adoptive parents or if you are giving a baby up for adoption to family members. This is a legal matter, and it is in the best interest of the birth mother, adoptive family and child for the decision to be final when a placement is made.
In an adoption, the birth mother does not give her final consent to adoption until near the end of the process. In the case of infant adoptions, a birth mother cannot give consent until after the child is born. Once consent to the adoption is given, and any applicable revocation period has passed, parental rights are officially terminated, meaning there cannot be a temporary adoption.
This doesn’t mean the connection between mother and child will be terminated. More than 90 percent of domestic infant adoptions are at least semi-open. In the modern adoption process, goodbye doesn’t have to be forever, even though temporary adoption cannot happen. Through different forms of communication, a mother can stay connected with her child, even after a placement has happened in adoption.
For some women, knowing that “goodbye” isn’t forever gives them the comfort they need to proceed with a permanent adoption decision. However, for others, this could be disheartening information. Even with the possibility of an open adoption, you may not want to cut parental ties to your children permanently. You know you need a break to get some things in order, but you don’t think adoption is the right answer in your circumstances. There is still good news. When you ask about temporary adoption, the idea you have in mind does most likely exist. It just goes by a different name.
What is Temporary Legal Guardianship?
Guardianship is a term that refers to the act of one individual assuming legal responsibility for another. This involves care, protection, handling of health, education and more. Typically, a guardianship involves an adult assuming responsibility for a minor who is not their biological child, although guardianship can also be given for adults.
A temporary legal guardianship is a guardianship arrangement with a specific purpose for a set length of time. The guardianship responsibilities are the same, but the situation is not permanent. This isn’t a temporary adoption, but it is likely what you had in mind with the idea of temporary adoption.
Temporary guardianship can be formed voluntarily — meaning you can choose the guardian and help set the terms for the arrangement. Unlike when a child is placed into foster care, this can be your choice as the mother. There may be many different reasons to choose this route — it could give you the time you need to find a steady job, complete a rehab program or find housing. These are all acceptable reasons to seek out a temporary guardianship for your child.
Who Could Be My Child’s Temporary Legal Guardian?
You can choose the person, or couple, who you would like to be the temporary guardian of your child. This is an important decision to make. You need to be sure that you are choosing responsible people who you can completely trust. And, of course, you will need to choose someone who has agreed to this plan.
While this is not a temporary adoption, you are choosing the people who will take care of your child, even though they will not assume the role of parent. The distinction between temporary adoption and temporary guardianship is important, because the relationship roles need to be defined. A guardian is not a parent, which is important for a child to understand. It’s also important to know that you will maintain some responsibility for your child during the term of the guardianship, and you may be required to continue supporting them financially while they are in a temporary guardian’s care.
How Long Can Temporary Guardianship Last?
Each state has unique temporary guardianship laws. Which state you live in will determine how long your temporary guardianship can last. Typically, this arrangement lasts up to 60 days. If your initial hope for temporary adoption involved a longer time range than this, there is still a chance that a temporary guardianship can be established for longer than 60 days. However, it is not as common.
Who Can Help Me With Temporary Legal Guardianship?
As with any matter concerning family law, it is a good idea to contact a trustworthy attorney about your temporary guardianship plan. In order to legally establish this guardianship, there will be paperwork involved that may be difficult to understand. Having an attorney to guide you through the process and make sure everything is correct is always a good idea.
If this information doesn’t quite answer your questions about temporary adoption, or if you have more questions about adoption and guardianship, you can call 1-800-ADOPTION at any time. An adoption specialist will help you understand what options you may have in your situation.
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