Facing an unplanned pregnancy or having a child when you are not ready is overwhelming. If you are struggling with this circumstance, you may be considering your options. If you are wondering if you should give your child up to the state, you should know that you are not alone. The idea of giving up your child to foster care, while quite emotional, is also quite common. Many expectant/birth mothers consider this option. There are, however, other options that may better suit your needs.
It is no secret that parenting is hard. Between the cost of raising a child – $233,610, on average – and the many other challenges parents today face, it is normal for parents to be overwhelmed when an unexpected pregnancy occurs. Nearly half of all pregnancies in the U.S. each year are unplanned.
Giving up your child for foster care is not a decision that is reached lightly. If you are considering options outside of parenting, however, it does not mean you are a bad mother. In fact, “giving up your child” is anything but giving up. Good parents recognize what is needed for their child to have the best life possible. The considerations you are making now are a great act of love, with your baby’s best interest at heart.
The good news is that there are several other options available to someone in this predicament.
- Respite foster care
- Voluntary relinquishment
- Temporary guardianship/Relative adoption
- Private infant adoption
Options for “Giving a Child Up” to the State
After much consideration and taking stock of your feelings, you should consult the many resources available to expectant/birth parents. There are support groups online and in communities, medical professionals, and adoption agencies with whom you may turn for information and support. Of course, this is a decision that only you can make. If, ultimately, you decide that parenting is not in the best interest of you or your child, you will want to know about the options available. You may have many questions, like:
How does giving up your child to foster care work?
Does child welfare come and get them, or do you need to bring them somewhere?
How can I get this process going?
It is normal to have these types of questions when considering giving up your child to the state. The process for placing a child in state custody, however, is a bit more complicated. It varies by state. What works in one state may not be the case in another. The resources and funds available can also vary state by state, so certain states may not be able to take a voluntary placement when a birth mother needs help.
If you would like to explore placing your child with state foster care, you should contact your local Department of Social Services or Department of Families and Children. These departments will be able to share the most up-to-date information within your state. The following should not be considered legal advice, but merely examples of the ways people can pursue the option of “giving up” a child to the state.
Respite Foster Care
Respite foster care is typically reserved for foster families, but some states offer this service to those who are in need. For these biological or adoptive families, respite care costs more than what a person would pay for a babysitter. This type of childcare serves as a way for parents to get temporary care for your child without terminating parental rights.
2. Voluntary Relinquishment
With Voluntary Relinquishment, also known as “Refusal to Assume Parental Responsibility,” the state has determined that a child is not safe in the parent’s home, and the child is removed. This process is quite complex and is not an option in every state.
In this scenario, a family’s situation will proceed as a Child Protective Services case. It is often presented before a judge, and your state will sue for custody of your child. This is not a simple process in which you hand your child over to the state. It must first be decided that the choice is in the best interest of the child. Expectant/birth parents should consider consulting with a family attorney. (this sounds more like an involuntary placement, where is this information from? MA does not have this.)
3. Temporary Guardianship or Relative Adoption
As you consider placing your child in foster care, you may want to consider the kind of life he or she will have in state custody. Because of the varying – and often limited – resources available within the foster care system, your child could spend years bouncing between different foster families. Your child may end up aging out of the foster care system without ever having been adopted into a permanent home.
To avoid this path, some expectant/birth parents consider a temporary guardianship or relative adoption. With this option, the child is placed with someone you know and trust – and perhaps for a short amount of time. This may give you the opportunity to better your personal and professional circumstances or take a break from current hardships. After some time has passed, you may feel better equipped to parent. During this type of arrangement, birth parents maintain parental rights.
It can be comforting knowing that a trusted family member is caring for your child. If you have someone in your life that you trust, and is willing to raise your child, you may want to consider this option. Of course, you should never go looking for someone online. This is a very dangerous approach and will not ensure the safety of your child.
4. Private Adoption
If you would like to ensure the safety of your child and know that he or she will be raised in a safe, stable, and loving environment, you may want to consider contacting a private adoption agency for information. Some adoption agencies, like Adoptions With Love, can help guide you through this process every step of the way.
With a private adoption agency like Adoptions With Love, you will be able to hand-select your child’s adoptive parents. Every hopeful adoptive family undergoes a thorough home study process to ensure they are healthy – physically, emotionally, mentally, and financially.
Additionally, every prospective adoptive family at Adoptions With Love agrees to at least a semi-open adoption, meaning you can choose the type of adoption plan you would like to have. If you want to maintain contact with your child and the adoptive family over the years, you can do so. If you would rather get updates from your adoption specialist, that is okay, too. Your adoption plan is entirely up to you.
If you would like to learn more about your options with adoption, feel free to contact Adoptions With Love. We can offer free consultations and guidance without any criticism, judgment or pressure. We are available to talk any time of day, any day of the week. Contact Adoptions With Love at 800-722-7731, text us confidentially at 617-777-0072, or contact us online.