Can I Choose Adoption at any Age?

You may think that only younger women choose adoption, but that’s not true. If you are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy in your 20s, 30s or 40s, then adoption could still be an option.

Placing a Baby for Adoption in Your 20s, 30s and 40s

You may have a stereotypical image in your mind of the type of woman who puts her baby up for adoption — a young, single mother, probably lacking in resources, who drops her baby off and is never seen again.

Go ahead and erase that image. While popular movies and TV depictions of adoptions have created a powerful cultural misconception, the truth is that women from all walks of life, at all levels of society and from all ages choose adoption for their babies.

Are you a teenager, or in your 20s, 30s, or 40s, and considering adoption? This guide is for you. Placing a baby for adoption in your 20s may be a bit different than putting a baby up for adoption at 40. But, adoption is still an equally viable unplanned pregnancy option for a woman of any age.

Let’s take a look at how the process works, how age might change your experience, and who you can call for help.

How Adoption Works

Your experience with the adoption process will be different depending on your specific circumstances, including your age. However, all processes follow the same required steps.

Here’s what to expect when you choose adoption for your baby at any age:

  • Step 1: Choose Adoption
  • Step 2: Find an Agency and Create a Plan
  • Step 3: Pick the Adoptive Family
  • Step 4: Prepare for Placement
  • Step 5: Complete the Adoption Placement
  • Step 6: Connect through Open Adoption

Each step of the adoption process has its own nuances and requirements, which you can learn more about by reading our in-depth guide to how to place a baby for adoption. These six steps are required in every process.

So, what’s different depending on age? How is placing a baby for adoption in your 30s different from putting a baby up for adoption as a teenager?

To answer these questions, we’re going to move decade-to-decade looking at a handful of the most important factors for anyone considering adoption. If you have questions at any point, please feel free to reach out.

Adoption as a Teenager

Unplanned pregnancy is never easy, but it can be especially difficult as a teenager. You weren’t expecting to have to deal with something so life changing at such a young age. Parenting isn’t an option for most teens, so adoption becomes a way to respond to an unplanned pregnancy.

How is putting a baby up for adoption as a teenager different? Let’s take a look.

Considering Career: Your career hasn’t even begun. For some, that’s okay. For others, becoming a parent as a teenager would make dreams of becoming a lawyer, politician, doctor, veterinarian, or anything else very difficult to achieve.

Considering Education: Becoming a parent can derail education. While someone who is older may not have to consider this, you will need to think about how your educational goals could change because of this pregnancy, and how adoption could be a way to stay on track.

Considering Finances: For older women considering adoption, the question of finances may be much more personal. When you’re a teenager thinking about adoption, it’s really a question for the whole family, assuming you still rely on your parents for some support and, possibly, insurance. The cost of pregnancy and parenting is one reason why many women choose adoption.

Considering the Birth Father: In most cases of teen pregnancy, the father of the baby is a boyfriend or acquaintance. But, he still has parental rights. His rights will need to be terminated, either voluntarily or through court order, in order to complete an adoption placement. What is your relationship with the father, and how will you talk with him about adoption? These are things to consider if you want to place a baby for adoption as a teenager.

There are plenty of other things to think about. These categories tend to be at the front of any prospective birth mother’s mind. Putting a baby up for adoption as a teenager can be challenging, but it could be the best thing for your life.

Adoption in your 20s

Many women who experience an unplanned pregnancy in their 20s aren’t ready to become parents yet. Or, they may already be parenting other children, and they don’t feel ready to meet the needs of another baby right now. This leaves them with two options: abortion and adoption. Putting a baby up for adoption in your 20s can be a brave, loving act that creates a better future for yourself and the baby.

How is “giving a baby up” for adoption in your 20s different than it would be at other ages? Let’s take a look.

Considering Career: Your professional life has probably just begun. Most twenty-somethings are in the beginning (and most intense) part of their career. Becoming a parent can, unfortunately, be a major disruption. If achieving your career goals is really important to you, then you may want to think about adoption as a response to your unplanned pregnancy.

Considering Education: Parenting during college or post-graduate studies can be difficult. If you’re already finished with your education, then this is something you won’t need to consider, whereas it could be a deciding factor for someone who is younger or has goals of continuing their education. Putting a baby up for adoption in your 20s so that you can finish your education is one common reason for choosing adoption.

Considering Finances: The cost of pregnancy and the cost of parenting can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t have a full-time salary or spousal support. Prospective birth mothers receive adoption financial assistance to cover pregnancy-related expenses, and then the adoptive family assumes the cost of parenting. In a time when financial concerns are at an all-time high, it’s totally normal to think about finances as a reason to place a baby for adoption in your 20s.

Considering the Birth Father: Your relationship with the father of the baby is an important piece of the adoption process. One way or another, his parental rights will also need to be terminated. It is completely normal for the father to be a spouse, boyfriend or acquaintance. There are also procedures in place for when the father of the baby is unknown. In your 20s, any of these situations is possible. Speak with an adoption agency about any concerns you have about the father of the baby.

Placing a baby for adoption in your 20s could be the best thing for your life. Some things, like your career, education and other children, if you have them, may be especially important to consider at this age. The best thing to do is research all of your unplanned pregnancy options and choose the one that is best for you.

Adoption in your 30s

Women in their 30s choose adoption for many different reasons. At this point in your life, you may be established in your career and in your finances. You may be in a committed relationship, and you may already be a mother to other children.

Young, single women are not the only ones who choose adoption. Placing a baby for adoption in your 30s is a loving, responsible choice for many women in response to an unplanned pregnancy. Here are a few ways that “giving a baby up” for adoption in your 30s might be different from choosing adoption when you are younger:

Considering Career: Career paths are unique. If you are in an established position, then taking time off to become a parent may not be as daunting. For others, job security is precarious, and the idea of adding parenting to that seems impossible. Career considerations are often a bigger factor in choosing adoption in your 30s than at other ages, as many women at this age are in the middle of their professional development.

Considering Education: Education is often a bigger factor in placing a baby for adoption in your 20s than it is for putting a baby up for adoption in your 30s. But, if you are still pursuing your education, then you may want to think about how becoming a parent would change that.

Considering Finances: Financial concerns are a stressful reality at any age. The cost of pregnancy and parenting can be too much to handle. Regardless of your age, this is one of the most common reasons to consider adoption. Would the cost associated with becoming a parent or adding another child to your family be unbearable? Putting a baby up for adoption in your 30s might be right for you.

Considering the Father of the Baby: Did you know that you can be married and choose adoption? In fact, many women who choose adoption are married or in a committed relationship. Often, these women are also already mothers, but they know that their family is already complete. This situation is much more common for mothers putting a baby up for adoption in their 30s than it is for younger women. Regardless of your relationship with the father — spouse, boyfriend, friend or something else — it’s important to consider how his parental rights will come into play.

If you have questions about what it is like to put a baby up for adoption in your 30s, you can reach out to us at any time to be connected with an adoption professional.

Adoption in your 40s

When you’re in your 40s, you may wonder if there are age requirements for adoption. Do you need to be younger to put a baby up for adoption? No, you do not. Unplanned pregnancy in your 40s can be as challenging as any other age, and adoption can be the right choice for your life.

The things you consider about adoption may be different at this age than at other times in life.

Considering Career: Your job may be one of the most important parts of your life. Would becoming a parent, or adding another child to your family, be too much to handle for your career? In your 40s, you have a lot more work experience than a younger woman considering adoption, and you probably have a better idea of what you can and can’t deal with. If parenting is going to disrupt your work, and that’s not acceptable, then you may consider putting a baby up for adoption in your 40s.

Considering Education: Women of all ages are pursuing education, but for most women “giving a baby away” for adoption in their 40s, education isn’t too big of a factor. If you are in the middle of coursework, you may want to think about how a new baby would affect your academic progress.

Considering Finances: Life is expensive. Most Americans deal with financial anxiety. For many women, the cost associated with pregnancy and parenting is too much to handle. Finances are one of the main reasons women in their 40s choose adoption. Adoption financial assistance covers pregnancy-related expenses, and the cost of parenting is taken on by the adoptive family.

Considering the Father of the Baby: Whether the father is your spouse, boyfriend, acquaintance or someone who is unknown, you can choose adoption. Birth father rights can be complicated, so the best thing to do if you have questions is to speak with an adoption attorney. When putting a baby up for adoption in your 40s, it’s important to know how the father’s parental rights will be taken care of so that the placement can proceed.

While the stereotypical image of a prospective birth mother is often a young, single woman, anyone can choose adoption. Putting a baby up for adoption in your 40s could be the right decision for your life.

Finding an Adoption Agency

Choosing adoption at any age can be challenging. The best way to make sure you receive the support you need to successfully complete an adoption placement is to find the right agency.

Adoption agencies provide services like:

  • 24/7 support
  • Case management
  • Help finding the perfect adoptive parents
  • Contact mediation
  • Connection to other professionals
  • And more

Without an agency, an adoption is much more likely to fail. If you’d like to talk to an agency about placing a baby for adoption at any age, considering contacting one of the following national adoption agencies:

You can also contact us online at any time to be connected with an adoption professional. This connection is always free, and you’re never obligated to choose adoption.