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“What does adoption mean to a child?”

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When Can You Give a Child Up for Adoption?

Most women considering adoption for their baby begin with a lot of questions.

Is adoption right for me? How does the adoption process work? What will my family think of my decision? When can I give my baby up for adoption?

These are all good questions, and it is important to ask each of them. A full understanding of adoption is vital to making the right decision for you and your baby. Here, we’re going to focus on the last question. When can you put a baby up for adoption? It depends on your unique situation.

Adoption could be the best choice for you. We know that, as a mother, you are only trying to do what is right for you and for your baby. This decision is motivated by love, which is why you really shouldn’t think of it as “giving up your baby.” If you choose adoption, you are not giving up — no matter when you make this choice. You are being brave.

So, when can you put a child up for adoption? There are a few different ways to answer that.

When You Know Adoption is Right for You

First things first, you have to know that adoption is right for you. Adoption isn’t a process you can go through half-heartedly. This is a life-changing decision, and it’s worth taking as much time as you need to determine if it’s the best option for you.

You may be wondering if your feelings about adoption are fleeting, or if this is just a difficult season in life. In instances of unplanned pregnancy, feelings like this are more common than you might think. To determine if adoption is truly right for you at this time, you can ask yourself questions like:

  • Can I support a child financially?
  • Do I have a partner or family members who will support me?
  • Do I have the time to care for a child?
  • Does my living situation make sense for a child?

There are other questions to ask, too. Additionally, you can speak with an adoption professional to get an even better understanding of when to start considering adoption.

Before Birth

Many expectant mothers know right away that they aren’t ready to parent. In these situations, you have two basic options: abortion and adoption. You have the right to choose either, and you should always do what is best for you. Each year, thousands of expectant mothers experiencing an unplanned pregnancy choose adoption to give their baby a chance at life with a loving family.

If you’re asking, “When can I start putting my baby up for adoption?” there’s no point too early in your pregnancy to contact an adoption specialist and begin your process. Even if you’re not completely sure of your adoption decision yet, you can always request more adoption information and speak with an adoption specialist for free; contacting American Adoptions never obligates you to choose adoption for your baby.

You should also know that when you choose adoption, it is always free of cost to you. In fact, you are likely eligible to receive adoption financial assistance for things like your pregnancy-related medical expenses. Beginning the adoption process early in your pregnancy can be a preferable choice, especially if you need financial assistance to keep yourself and your baby healthy throughout your pregnancy. When you call 1-800-ADOPTION, our adoption specialists will help you understand all of your options — not just when you can put a child up for adoption.

At the Hospital

It may take longer to decide if adoption is right for you and your baby. You may not know until after birth, when you realize you aren’t ready to parent, but you still have immense love for this newborn. Many mothers in this situation wonder when you can put a baby up for adoption, and if it is too late now that they have given birth.

It’s not too late. Last-minute adoptions happen more frequently than you might think. If you are in this situation and don’t know what to do, call 1-800-ADOPTION to speak with a specialist who will walk you through what needs to happen. When “giving a baby up” for adoption, it’s important to work with a qualified professional who can help you complete an adoption in a responsible, safe way.

As the Child Gets Older

You may be reading this, scrolling, and still waiting for us to describe your situation. You gave birth, and your child is home. You love your child, and you thought that parenting, even though it seemed impossible, was something you could do. But things have changed, and now you are wondering when you should “give up” a child for adoption.

Placing a child for adoption at any age can be challenging, but it can be especially difficult as they get older. Many private domestic adoption agencies, like American Adoptions, can only work with infants — and occasionally toddlers up to 4 years old. The older your child is, the harder it may be to place them for adoption.

There are also some additional requirements that the adoption would have to meet before it can proceed. If we are the best agency to make an adoption plan with, a social worker will ask for:

  • Your child’s birth certificate
  • The name of the child’s father listed on the birth certificate
  • All medical records for the child from birth to present
  • Documentation of everywhere your child has lived from birth to present
  • Information on everyone who has had custody or care of your child from birth to present
  • A list of everyone who has provided support (financial and emotional) for the child from birth to present
  • Documentation of child support provided by any father

If you have an older child — a child older than 4 or an adolescent — adoption may still be an option for your family, but American Adoptions will not be the best agency to assist with that process. Placing older children for adoption comes with unique challenges, and it will depend on the specific details of your unique situation if it is still a possibility. There are also many resources to help make parenting easier that may be available to you. Adoption may seem like the best choice for your family, and it’s wise to speak with an adoption professional about when to start considering adoption with older children. If you’re still unsure about adoption, or want to learn more before you make a decision, you can request free information at any time. Our adoption specialists would be more than happy to go over all of your options for placing an unborn baby, infant or toddler for adoption with our agency.

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

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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Adoption Glossary

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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