Under 18 and Putting a Baby Up for Adoption
A young woman planning to become pregnant while still a teenager is not a common situation. If you are a teenager and you are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, you are probably also experiencing confusion or anxiety over what to do next. An unplanned pregnancy at any stage in life is stressful, but when you’re under the age of 18 it may feel even more overwhelming. This article will help you understand your options as a pregnant woman under the age of 18.
Do you have to be a certain age to place a baby for adoption? Is a minor legally able to place a child for adoption? Can a minor create an adoption plan without their parent’s permission?
If you are under the age of 18, placing a baby for adoption is always an option available to you. At any age, you have the right to decide what to do about your unplanned pregnancy. You will always be able to choose adoption for your unborn baby if you feel that is what is best for that baby.
Can a Minor Place a Child for Adoption?
Yes, a birthmother who is a minor can place her baby for adoption if that is the best decision for her. Depending on your state laws, you may need to involve your parents in this decision.
Most people thing that “minor” refers to anyone under the age of 18. Many teenage birth mothers are still in high school, meaning they are at least 12 years of age. State laws regarding minors placing babies for adoption are put in place to protect the birthmothers’ rights without interference from their parents.
In most cases, the state will allow a teenage birth mother to create an adoption plan without her parents’ permission. A state may require that birth mothers under the age of 12 place their child for adoption with their parents’ permission. If you are this young, you should research your state’s adoption law to see if you need permission from your parents. If you are older than this, you should be able to proceed with an adoption without consent from your parents or legal guardian.
Every state’s adoption laws will be different. We encourage any minor to contact our office or a local attorney for more information about your state adoption laws.
How to Place Your Baby for Adoption if You are Underage
If your state does not require parental permission, a pregnant birth mother who is underage will follow the same steps as a pregnant birth mother who is an adult to create an adoption plan. You will be in charge of your adoption decision throughout the entire pregnancy, and you will always be able to change your mind at any time before you sign permanent surrender consent.
If you are a teenager living with her parents, you may be wondering if your parents will play a role in the adoption process. The short answer is no. If you choose to involve your family, they can be a part of your adoption plan, but your parents cannot force you to keep your child or to place the child for adoption. It may be a good idea to talk to your parents so that you are on the same page about your pregnancy and so that you both agree to creating an adoption plan. Because you may depend on them for financial security and for shelter, they can be an immense help during the adoption process.
If you think adoption may be the right choice for you and for your baby, and you are a minor, the first step you will need to take will be to contact an agency that specializes in adoption, like Building Blocks Adoption Services. Our adoption caseworkers can discuss your adoption preferences and goals with you to help you create your perfect adoption plan. We will provide emotional support and counseling through every step of this journey.
As you begin to work with your adoption caseworker, keep in mind some common questions and answers:
- Can you place a baby up for adoption if the father is underage? Birth father rights vary from state to state, so we suggest you contact an adoption caseworker for more information about your specific situation. In most cases, the age of the biological father will not interfere with your ability to place your child for adoption.
- Can a minor choose the family 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 caseworker will work with you to create a list of your preferences, like the age of the adoptive parent or parents, their occupations, and the level of openness you are seeking. Then we will present you with profiles that meet your preferences and help facilitate a meeting with as many families as you choose in order to make a decision you are most comfortable with.
- Can a minor see her baby again after the adoption? The majority of adoptions today are considered “open adoptions”, meaning the birth mother shares an open and communicative relationship with the adoptive family and her baby after the adoption is complete. You may choose what kind of relationship you would like to maintain after the adoption finalizes. Your plan could include anything from pictures and letters, to phone calls and even in-person visits. Make sure you are open and fully disclose all of your preferences with your adoption caseworker, so that we may find families that are the best fit for you.
- If you place your baby for adoption as a minor, can you get them back? Adoption is a permanent process. Once you give your consent to permanently surrender your parental rights and place your child for adoption (according to your state laws), you will be unable to regain custody of that child in the future. That is why you must be 100 percent confident and certain in your decision to choose adoption before moving forward.
- You do not have to be a certain age to place your baby for adoption. You may choose to give your child the best life possible with a new adoptive family no matter what age you are. To learn more about how you can proceed with creating an adoption plan if you are under the age of 18 and how the adoption process might work for you, please contact our adoption caseworkers today.