Can You Put a Baby Up for Adoption? [And Are There Requirements?]

Pregnant and Homeless, Addicted, or Incarcerated [& Other Difficult Circumstances]

Are you experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, considering adoption but worried about whether you qualify? If you are, you may be pregnant and experiencing difficulties such as:

  • Homelessness
  • Addiction
  • Incarceration
  • Unclear citizenship status
  • CPS involvement

Prospective birth mothers considering adoption with complex backgrounds may fear that any “requirements” for adoption can’t be met because of any of the aforementioned circumstances. This simply isn’t true. Any pregnant woman, no matter what difficulties she is facing, has the opportunity to place her child for adoption.

In this guide, we will cover some of the situation’s women worry will interfere with their ability to choose adoption. If you are considering adoption for your baby and need help getting started, you can get free information and the support you need here.


Are you pregnant and homeless and need help? The feeling of fear and being overwhelmed can be difficult to navigate. Not knowing what to do next can make any decisions about your pregnancy unclear and hard to know what is best for you and the baby. The lack of stability in your situation can make the idea of parenting your child seem impossible. Ultimately, there are three options for your unplanned pregnancy.

If you’re asking yourself, “Where can a homeless pregnant person go get help?,” this article will hopefully help provide you with the information you need. Please note that this information is not intended to sway you into making a decision towards adoption, rather provide you with as much information about unplanned pregnancy options so that you can make the best decision for you and your unborn child.

Let’s first break down the three options for your unplanned pregnancy.


“Am I ready to be a parent?”

That’s the first question you need to ask yourself. There’s a lot to consider in parenthood. Even those in fruitful situations can struggle to balance life and raising a child. These are a few important questions to consider:

  1. Can you afford a child? – The average cost to raise your child through the age of 18 is $233,610. This is a number that can feel overwhelming to anyone, and it may be especially challenging if you are experiencing pregnancy and homelessness. Children are expensive, and the ability to provide for them financially is as important as anything. If you want to parent your baby, there may be financial support programs or other financial help for homeless pregnant mothers in your area that can assist you.
  2. Do you have a support system? – Starting with the father of your child, do you have the support in your life to help you parent your baby? If the father isn’t in the picture or doesn’t want to be involved, do you have family that can step in and help?
  3. Do you want to be a mother? – This is ultimately the biggest question. If you don’t feel like you’re ready to be a parent or have no interest in raising a child, you can immediately move on to your other options. There is nothing wrong with deciding you do not want to be a parent or that you aren’t ready for parenthood right now.
  4. Can you provide the kind of life you want for your child? – Taking into account your current circumstances and the foreseeable future, do you feel like the life you would want for your child is obtainable?

If you feel like you are ready to parent your child, you can research local homeless shelters for pregnant women and new mothers. There are resources and support services for women in your situation; However, if you don’t feel confident in your ability or desire to parent, there are additional options for homeless pregnant women.


Parenting a child may not be a possibility or an interest for you, so as a woman experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and homeless, another option for you to consider is abortion. States have different laws when it comes to abortion. In some cases, you may be required to:

  • Get parental permission if you’re under the age of 18
  • Take part in a mandatory waiting period between your consultation with a doctor and the actual medical procedure
  • Obtain your abortion before viability. With it being illegal in most states to perform a “late-term” abortion, you will need to have the procedure done prior to 20 weeks pregnant

It’s important to research your state’s abortion laws, as they can sometimes vary significantly from state to state. With abortion being such a hot button topic, it’s recommended that you contact legitimate organizations such as Planned Parenthood to learn more about abortion and how it can work for you.


Lastly, adoption is an option for you and can be an amazing choice for a pregnant homeless woman. Here are just some of the advantages of choosing adoption:

  • Adoption is free
  • Most adoption agencies can provide you with a safe living environment during your pregnancy. You might also be eligible for financial assistance for living expenses such as rent, bills, food, clothing and transportation for medical appointments
  • With adoption, you get to choose the adoptive family and everything about them based on your own wishes. This gives you the peace of mind in knowing your child is going to a caring and loving home
  • Having an open adoption keeps you connected to the adoptive family and your child, allowing you to receive as little as occasional texts or email updates to getting together in person, depending on what is most comfortable for you

Adoption can be the perfect option for you and your baby. There are hundreds of families waiting to adopt, regardless of your circumstances, and the ability to build and maintain a relationship with them through open adoption keeps you connected without the burden of parenting. As a homeless pregnant woman needing help, the services, resources and care you receive from a trusted adoption agency can help you through this difficult period in your life, ensuring that you have a happy and healthy pregnancy.


If you’re a prospective birth mother experiencing an unplanned pregnancy while struggling with addiction, the stress, fear and feeling of uncertainty can be heightened. When considering your pregnancy options, you might be asking some of these questions:

  • I’m unexpectedly pregnant and I need help. Where can I find assistance for pregnant addicts?
  • Can I parent a child despite my addiction issues?
  • How can I provide for a child while addicted to drugs or alcohol?
  • Can I choose adoption even though I have addiction problems?
  • Does my addiction disqualify me from adoption?

No one should ever make you feel like you have to raise your child if it’s not the best choice for you. When considering your pregnancy options, if parenting your child seems impossible or you don’t want to raise your baby, there are other options. First, abortion is an option for you; however, laws concerning abortion and the procedure can vary from state to state.

Another option for women struggling with addiction needing help is adoption. If parenting isn’t an option for you, there are hundreds of waiting families ready to adopt a child from a birth mother with addiction issues. Many adoption agencies do not screen for drugs, and your adoption agency will not report your drug use or get you in trouble for being pregnant and addicted to drugs or alcohol. However, disclosing any drug or alcohol issues can only help an adoption professional guide you through the adoption process and help you live a healthy lifestyle. When you choose adoption, the initial steps you will take include:

  • Reach out to an adoption agency – Contacting a reputable adoption agency will connect you with licensed professionals ready to help you with your unplanned pregnancy. Your adoption agency will have experience working with mothers addicted to drugs while pregnant, and they will never judge you for your history of substance use.
  • Create an adoption plan – Once you’ve had a chance to begin working with an adoption professional, it’s time to create an adoption plan, which consists of everything you want, need and expect during your adoption. Pregnant mothers with addictions have the same choices in their adoption plan as any other prospective birth mother; you will still be able to choose the adoptive family and get to know them, if that’s something you want.
  • Find an adoptive family – With your adoption plan, you can begin looking through available family profiles, which include photos, background information and video profiles, allowing you to get a feel for the adoptive parents themselves and their home, interests and lifestyle.
  • Meet the adoptive family – After you’ve found the perfect family, your adoption professional will facilitate an initial email, phone call, video call or in-person meeting.

It’s important to know that adoption agencies won’t judge you for who you are or your addiction struggles. The goal of an adoption agency is to help you find the best possible family and home for your baby. You can also opt to have an “open” or “semi-open” adoption, which allows you to build a relationship with the adoptive family during the pregnancy and continue post-placement through various forms of communication including letters, pictures, email, phone calls, video chats and in-person meetings.

The amount and type of communication you have with the adoptive parents is completely up to you. Your preferences along with any other concerns will be discussed as a part of the adoption plan. If you are addicted and pregnant, free help is always available through an adoption agency. All of your adoption services will be provided at no cost to you, and your agency can assist you with finding a rehab program or other assistance for pregnant addicts, if that’s something you want.


Women experiencing an unwanted pregnancy while in jail or prison have difficult decisions to make. You might be asking, “If I have my baby in jail, do I try and parent after I get out? Can I choose an abortion, and does the prison hospital perform it? Can I place my child up for adoption while in jail?”

Determining whether you are ready to parent a child requires realistic reflection on your circumstances and whether or not you can provide emotional and financial support for your child, as well as whether or not you have any interest in being a parent to your unborn baby. Abortion is another option, but state laws apply to the procedure and vary from state to state. Researching your state’s laws and determining eligibility or restrictions is step one. Abortion is a hot button topic, and many women feel like there are better options for unplanned pregnancies. Adoption is one of those options.

You might be surprised to learn that the adoption process for a pregnant woman in jail is really no different from a non-incarcerated woman experiencing an unplanned pregnancy. Typically, these are the four steps your prison adoption will follow:

Step 1: Choosing Adoption

You’ll want to talk to your prison caseworker about your pregnancy options. Finding out what happens when you have a baby in jail and the emotions that come with it may require you to speak to a recommended counselor. If ultimately you decide your circumstances are too difficult to consider parenting and adoption is the best choice for you and your baby, you can move on to the next step.

Step 2: Contact an Adoption Agency

When it comes to choosing an adoption agency in prison and working with an adoption specialist, the only difference you may encounter is your prison caseworker acting as a go-between, depending on the rules of your facility. There is also the chance your caseworker will refer you to a specific adoption agency and attorney, as prisons tend to work with the same professionals, but as a prospective birth mother, you have the right to choose any adoption agency you feel best suits your needs. If you are looking for adoption agencies for prisoners, you can get the free information you need to start the process by clicking here.

Step 3: Find the Perfect Adoptive Family

Regardless of being pregnant and in prison, you get to choose the adoptive family for your adoption. You likely may not be able to meet the family after you’ve selected them, depending on your circumstances and facility’s policies, but when creating your adoption plan, you will have the opportunity to choose everything about the family, including:

  • Lifestyle
  • Sexual orientation
  • Location
  • Age
  • Interests and hobbies
  • And more

The rules of your prison will dictate what level of contact you can have with the family. You may be able to exchange letters or potentially conduct phone calls with them. Your adoption professional will help facilitate contact however possible, both while you’re incarcerated and after you’ve been released.

While pregnant in prison, you will receive state-paid medical care for your pregnancy. Your living expenses, including things like food, are covered by the state as well; however, you may receive a limited amount of additional financial assistance for use at your facility’s commissary. Your adoption is completely free, so you don’t need to worry about any medical or legal fees, and your adoption professional and the family you choose will do everything they can to make sure you are financially provided for.

Step 4: Consent and Adoption Finalization

If you’re asking, “What happens when you have a baby in jail?,” it largely depends on your particular facility. In most cases, you’ll likely be moved to a local hospital for labor and delivery. There might be different restrictions for an incarcerated woman when it comes to spending time with the baby, but generally you can decide how much time you want with your child and the adoptive family while in the hospital.

There is a state-mandated waiting period before you can sign your adoption consent forms. Your restrictions as an incarcerated woman may not allow you to take your time in signing your consent. Because of this, if you don’t complete the adoption paperwork after a certain period of time, your child could potentially be placed in foster care. You should work closely with your adoption agency to ensure that doesn’t happen and that the adoption is completed according to your wishes.

Your prison caseworker will handle everything related to post-adoption once you’ve been discharged from the hospital. You can also connect you with a counselor to help cope with the complicated emotions of placing your baby for adoption.


If you’re pregnant and on a travel visa or without U.S. citizenship, you might be wondering, “Can you put up a baby for adoption on a travel visa? Are there people that want to adopt undocumented kids? Can you put up a child for adoption even though you’re an immigrant?”

The answer to all of these questions is yes. As long as your child is born in the United States, your status as a non-U.S. resident does not affect your chance of choosing adoption. Unauthorized immigrant women can find themselves facing an unplanned pregnancy just as any legal U.S. resident might. When an unexpected pregnancy occurs with a non-U.S. resident woman and she is considering adoption, the fear of being turned over to the government may make her hesitate. It’s important to know that every aspect of your adoption and adoption paperwork is completely confidential. Government authorities will not be able to access your adoption information without your consent.

The choice of adoption for anyone — U.S. or non-U.S. citizen — is never “giving up” on your child. Circumstances may make parenting seem impossible, which is why adoption is a great option for prospective birth mothers wanting the very best for their unborn child. Choosing the right adoptive family can give your child a loving and caring home, and the choice of an open adoption gives you the ability to stay connected with the adoptive parents and your child, keeping you engaged in the many milestones and experiences your child will have without the burden of parenthood.

When you’re ready to reach out to an adoption agency to begin creating an adoption plan, consider which agencies will protect your privacy and help you find the right family based on your preferences. Prospective birth mothers will also receive financial support for living expenses through the pregnancy and adoption.

Agencies such as American Adoptions provide free translation services if necessary.  American adopciones ofrece servicios de traducción si los necesitas. Llame 1-800-ADOPTION ahora para hablar con un especialista en adopción en inglés o solicitar un traductor de español a inglés.


Adoption is a difficult and emotional decision under ordinary circumstances, so for a pregnant woman considering adoption but involved in a current CPS case with her family, knowing what options you have can add additional stress.

The following information will give you an overview of how you can create an adoption plan when CPS or the Department of Children and Family Services (DCF) have become involved with your family. Working with you CPS or DCF caseworker will provide you with more information based on your current situation, but legally, you have options available to you for adoption. The idea of placing your child up for adoption when dealing with the pain and stress of being separated from a child in CPS custody can be completely overwhelming. Here’s what you need to know about adoption during an ongoing CPS case:


Existing cases with CPS or a child in CPS custody do not prohibit you from placing your unborn child for adoption. Voluntarily placing your child for adoption potentially makes it easier for you to focus on the reunification with your child(ren) currently in CPS custody. A voluntary adoption also keeps all decision-making with you, whereas an involuntary adoption gives decision-making responsibility to CPS. The decisions you get to make by placing your child up for adoption include:

If you currently have a child (or children) in the custody of the state and you’re pregnant, it’s important to contact an adoption agency immediately and begin creating an adoption plan. You will then contact your CPS case worker and inform them of your intentions to place your baby for adoption with whichever agency you choose. When your baby is born, having an adoption plan in place will allow you to place him or her directly with the adoptive parents you choose. Without an adoption plan, CPS will likely take custody of your child when he or she is born, which means the baby will enter foster care and you will lose your ability to make choices like the ones listed above. In many cases, you can also positively improve your chances of regaining custody of your older child (or children) by placing your baby for adoption, because you will be able to focus on your reunification plan without the stress of caring for a newborn. The benefit of calling the shots for your adoption cannot be overstated.


Unfortunately, no. If your child was involuntarily removed from your home, you cannot contact an adoption agency to place them for adoption. The state takes over full custody and determines placement. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the case, CPS will consider reuniting them back with you, placement with a temporary foster family or permanently with a family completing a foster care adoption.

Choosing adoption is difficult, but reaching out to an adoption agency to create an adoption plan prior to CPS approaching you allows you to choose the adoptive family and the placement of your child, as opposed to CPS taking those choices away from you with an involuntary adoption. The main difference between private adoption and CPS is your ability to make the choices you want for your unborn baby compared to the state taking control and deciding where your child is placed.


No matter what complex circumstances you face while experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, adoption is always an option for you. Whether you’re pregnant and battling addiction, pregnant and in jail, pregnant and not a U.S. citizen or in an ongoing case with CPS, you have the right to not only choose adoption, but decide which family adopts your child, which adoption agency you wish to work with and how much contact you wish to have both pre- and post-placement. Adoption professionals are ready to answer your questions, regardless of your situation, and help you find the perfect family for your baby.

Here are some adoption agencies to contact for more information:

Are you ready to begin your open adoption journey? Get free information and advice from a trained specialist now. Contact us any time to be connected with a helpful adoption professional.

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