What to Know About Adoption When You’re Under 18
If you’re under 18, the last thing you’re thinking about is becoming a mother. But even if you’ve decided that adoption is the best choice for you and your unborn baby, you may be unsure of whether this option is even available to you and what rights you’ll have as a minor in this process. An unexpected pregnancy can make you ask:
- Can a minor place a child for adoption?
- Does a minor need parental permission to “give a baby up” for adoption?
- Can a minor choose who adopts their baby?
- Do you have to be a certain age to “give your baby up” for adoption?
- Can a minor give a baby up for adoption?
You might also be thinking, “I’m pregnant; can I adopt my child if underage?” Like every expectant mother considering her options, you have the option to choose adoption whenever you feel ready. You also have the freedom to change your mind about adoption at any point in the process. Even if you’re underage, adoption will always be your choice.
In order to make that choice, you’ll need to know how the process works. That’s why we’ve created this guide to how to “give your baby up” for adoption if you are underage. We’re going to look at how the process works, some of the pros and cons of teenage pregnancy and adoption, and the places where you can find help.
If you have questions at any point while reading, you can reach out to be connected with an adoption agency.
How Does a Teenage Mom Put a Baby Up for Adoption?
It’s not uncommon for a teenager who’s just found out she’s pregnant to start thinking about adoption. Overall, there’s not much difference between a minor and an older person “giving up their baby” for adoption.
While each process is unique based on the circumstances of the people involved, every process will follow the same big steps. If you’re considering adoption, it can be helpful to understand how this process works. This way, you can get a sense of whether or not this journey is right for you.
Here’s how to put a baby up for adoption if you are a teen:
- Step 1: Choose whether or not adoption is right for you.
- Step 2: Find an agency and create your adoption plan.
- Step 3: Pick the adoptive parents you think will be best for your baby.
- Step 4: Take care of yourself during pregnancy and prepare for labor and delivery.
- Step 5: Complete the adoption placement after delivery.
- Step 6: Stay in touch through open adoption communication.
How Age Can Affect the Adoption Process
Is there a difference between choosing adoption at 13 and 18? In many ways, the process will be the same. However, teenage pregnancy and adoption can be affected by your age, as well as by the laws of your state.
To give you a better sense of how being a teenager and “giving a baby up” for adoption could go for you, we’re going to look at adoption at several different ages:
“Giving your Child Up” for Adoption at the Age of 14
Unplanned pregnancy for a 14-year-old can be extremely challenging. The first and most important step is to contact a doctor and take care of your body. Once you have done what’s necessary to keep yourself safe and healthy, you can begin to consider unplanned pregnancy options.
The adoption process is mostly the same when you are “giving your child up” for adoption at the age of 14 as it is for any other age. One major difference may be that your parents will also need to legally consent to the adoption, depending on your state’s laws.
Choosing Adoption at 15 Years Old
“Should I keep my baby? I’m 15.”
Knowing whether to parent your baby or choose adoption at the age of 15 can be a very difficult decision. Ultimately, you should do what is best for your life. Ask yourself:
- Am I ready to be a parent?
- Will I be able to finish my education?
- Are there other personal goals in my life that will be impossible once I’m a parent?
- Do I have support around me to help me take care of the child?
Adoption can be a way to give your baby a great life while also giving yourself a chance to accomplish your dreams. You may want to be a parent someday, but that doesn’t have to be today. Adoption is always a possible option when you are 15 years old.
Can I “Give My Baby Up” for Adoption if I’m Only 16?
“I’m 16 and I don’t want to be pregnant. What can I do?
Putting a child up for adoption at 16 could be the best response to your unplanned pregnancy. Your other options — parenting and abortion — are also possible, depending on your situation. You should research all of your unplanned pregnancy choices and speak with trusted adults in your life.
Can you put a baby up for adoption as a 16-year-old? Yes, you can. But this is a big decision, and it can be difficult to go through this process without the support of the adults in your life. This means speaking openly and honestly with them about your situation. If you are pregnant at 16 and asking, “What do I do?” then you may want to speak with an adoption agency.
When you are 16 and pregnant, adoption agencies are your most important resource during this challenging time. They can provide the support and services you need when “giving your baby up” for adoption at the age of 16.
When You Are 17 and “Giving Your Baby Up” for Adoption“Can you ‘give your baby up’ for adoption if you are 17?”
Yes, you can. Adoption is always a possible option when you are dealing with an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy. At 17 years old, many states consider you legally an adult. This means that, depending on where you live, you can choose adoption without involving your parents or any other legal guardians.
If you think adoption is the best choice for you, then you should contact an adoption agency. They can teach you about the process and help you create a plan. A good agency is the most important part of choosing adoption at 17.
Choosing Adoption at 18 Years Old
“I’m 18. Should I keep my baby?”
You probably weren’t expecting to have to answer this question. At 18 years old, your mind was probably on a million different things before experiencing an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy. If you are feeling pressure to raise the baby, you might be wondering, “Why should I keep my baby when I’m 18 years old?”
Becoming a parent at 18 can be seriously challenging. That’s not to say it’s impossible. However, you have a lot of life left to live. There are education and career goals to consider, not to mention living your 20s without the responsibilities of parenthood.
If parenting the baby doesn’t make sense to you, then you could create an adoption plan. You can do this without involving your parents, since you are a legal adult at the age of 18. To get started, you should contact an adoption agency.
When You Are 19 Years Old and Considering Adoption
“I’m 19. Should I keep my baby?”
There are women who choose to become parents at 19 years old, but that doesn’t mean becoming a parent when you are still a teenager is right for your life. You have several unplanned pregnancy options, and adoption is one of them.
When you choose adoption at 19, you are in charge of the process. You choose the adoptive parents you think will be best, and you pick the level of openness you’d like to have with the adoptive family. You can also receive adoption financial assistance during the process. Contact an adoption agency to learn more.
Teenage Pregnancy Adoption: Pros and Cons
You now understand how adoption works, and how different ages could change the way your process goes. But, all this technical information is useless without a clear answer to the most important question: Is adoption right for you?
There are several unplanned pregnancy options for any woman. How can you know, as a teenager considering putting a baby up for adoption, if this is the best path for your life?
While we can’t tell you exactly what to do in your unique situation, we do want to help you come to the right choice by laying out a few pros and cons of teenage pregnancy adoption.
Pros of “Giving Your Child Up” for Adoption While a Teenager
- Creates a bright future for yourself and your baby.
- You get to help fulfill the dreams of adoptive parents.
- Adoption financial assistance can remove the cost of pregnancy from your family.
- Open adoption allows you to have an ongoing connection with your child.
- Adoption can be an empowering experience.
- The support during the process can make teenage pregnancy more manageable.
Cons of Choosing Adoption as a Teenager
- You will have to carry the pregnancy to term.
- The emotions of adoption can be challenging.
- Your adoption story will become an important part of your life, and it can be challenging to explain to future romantic partners, friends and children.
Speaking directly with an adoption professional is one of the most helpful things you can do while trying to make this difficult decision. If you’d like to be connected with an adoption agency, please reach out to us today.
Common Questions About Teenage Adoption
We’ve covered how the process works, how your age impacts your choice and the pros and cons of teenage pregnancy adoption. That’s a lot of information. Remember, you can always reach out to us to be connected with an adoption professional.
To wrap things up, we want to answer a few more of the most common questions we hear from teenagers considering putting a baby up for adoption.
Can a pregnant teenager “give a baby up” for adoption without consent?
We often get asked, “Can a teen “give a baby up” for adoption without her parents’ consent?” Generally, the answer is yes. Most states allow a teenager or a minor to make an adoption plan without her parents’ consent.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, 10 states require an adult to be involved in the adoption process; however, these laws may only apply to very young teenagers, so it’s always best to talk to an adoption attorney to understand exactly what your rights are. Because each state has its own adoption laws, we highly encourage you to talk to an adoption specialist or an adoption attorney for more information.
It’s scary to tell your family that you’ve just found out that you’re unexpectedly pregnant, especially if you’re a teenager or a minor and you still live at home with your parents or a relative. You may be asking, “How do you give a baby up for adoption if you’re a minor without your parents’ permission?”
We know that it’s hard, but the best thing you can do in this situation is talk to your parents, even if you don’t need their legal consent to make an adoption plan. It may take some time for them to accept your decision, but they may just be the support system you need to get through this difficult time. If you feel unsafe talking to your parents about your adoption plan, or if you know that there’s no way that they’ll support your decision, an adoption specialist or an adoption attorney is always available if you need them.
Why should teens “give their baby up” for adoption?
There’s not a “right” or “wrong” way to respond to unplanned pregnancy as a teenager. Many teens who put a baby up for adoption decide that there’s too much ahead for their life to become a parent. The emotional and financial responsibilities of parenthood can be major disruption. If you’re not ready to become a parent yet, then adoption could be right for you.
If I’m underage and “giving baby up” for adoption, can I pick the adoptive family?
Many minor and teenage birth mothers ask us, “Can a minor choose who adopts their baby?” You absolutely can. Even when you’re a minor, you’ll be able to decide where your child grows up and what kind of life you envision for them.
Your adoption specialist will give you a list of preferences that you can choose from when considering adoptive families for your baby. You can start thinking about their age, gender, occupation, and more. Whatever attributes you believe will create the best future for your baby, you get to pick.
Can you put a baby up for adoption if a father is underage, and do you have to tell the father about it?
If you’re a minor or underage woman, you may be wondering, “Can you put a baby up for adoption if a father is underage?” Typically, the birth father’s age won’t affect the adoption process. If you know who the birth father is, you may have to tell him about your adoption plan. You can tell him through an email or a letter, but it’s usually best to tell him in person. However, before contacting the birth father, it may be a good idea to talk to your adoption specialist for more information on birth father laws in your state.
When you are a minor “giving a baby up” for adoption, could you get them back?
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to get your baby back after the adoption is complete. Adoption is a legally binding process. So, once you have terminated your parental rights and any applicable revocation period has passed, your adoption decision will be final. If you’re thinking about adoption as a minor, you need to be 100 percent certain in your choice. If you need help making this difficult choice, adoption specialists are available 24/7.
How do you “give your baby up” for adoption underage?
There is plenty of help available if you’re wondering how to “give your baby up” for adoption underage. The best place to start is by talking to an adoption specialist about what resources are available for your adoption. Your adoption specialist will have plenty of experience helping women that are underage with their adoption. If you’re ready to start making an adoption plan if you’re underage or a minor, don’t be afraid to reach out to us for help.
You’ll start by calling an adoption specialist at a local or national adoption agency. From there, you’ll make an adoption plan that’s specifically curated to you. If you have any questions at all during the adoption process, you can choose an agency where your specialist will be available to answer them 24/7.
You can choose adoption at any point in your pregnancy, no matter how old you are or what state you live in. If you’re ready to make an adoption plan, you can contact us whenever you need to.