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

Putting a 2nd Child Up for Adoption [Or 3rd, 4th, 5th or 6th Unplanned Pregnancy]

Are you a prospective birth mother experiencing an unplanned pregnancy for the second, third or maybe fourth time? Have you previously placed a baby up for adoption? If so, you might be worried about:

  • Feeling guilty for considering another adoption
  • Worried about how your children might feel about placing you baby for adoption
  • Unsure about how to talk to your child (or children) about adoption
  • Whether or not you have the same adoption options for a second child
  • A stigma towards multiple unplanned pregnancies

Most women with unexpected pregnancies considering adoption are in their 20s and 30s, and many of them are mothers already raising other children. Most people assume younger adults or teenagers are responsible for the majority of adoptions, but in fact, people well into their adult life find out they’re pregnant and, because of a variety of circumstances or challenges in their lives, consider placing their baby for adoption.

The choice of adoption is a difficult one, and if you’re experiencing an unplanned pregnancy after having done so previously, knowing what to do and whether or not adoption is right for you can be overwhelming. Just know there are options for you, and adoption is available regardless of your circumstances. Any previous unplanned pregnancies or adoption placements do not prohibit you from choosing adoption, whether you are facing a second unplanned pregnancy, an unplanned third pregnancy, or an unplanned fourth, fifth or sixth pregnancy.


If you’re experiencing a second unwanted pregnancy, there’s no need to feel guilty. It’s very common for women, especially those in their 20s, 30s and 40s, to find out they’re unexpectedly pregnant. In many cases, pregnant women may already have a child (or children), and the prospect of having a baby seems impossible. You may not feel as though you’re in a position to raise another child for reasons such as:

  • You have a child (or children) that needs your full attention
  • Your career requires focus and attention
  • Your current financial situation isn’t conducive to providing for a second child
  • You don’t want to parent

If you’ve previously placed a child up for adoption and are considering the same for your second unplanned pregnancy but feeling like you’re “giving up” your child, it’s important to note that choosing adoption is never “giving up” on your baby. You are giving them the opportunity to go to a family that can love and care for him or her as you would, which is a difficult decision, but one filled with strength, selflessness and love. If you’ve previously placed a baby up for adoption, you might have the opportunity to place a second child with the same family, assuming they are ready to adopt again. If not, there are hundreds of families waiting for the chance to adopt a child, and they may be able to form a relationship with your previous child’s adoptive family, as well, so your children can always share that connection with each other.

When it comes to coping with a second unwanted pregnancy, understanding what your options are, what’s best for you and your family and what’s best for the baby are most important. If placing your baby for adoption is right for you, it can be helpful to sit down and talk to your child (or children) about the pregnancy and why you’re choosing adoption.  While no one can tell you how to deal with a second unplanned pregnancy, speaking to an adoption counselor can help you sort through your feelings and decide which option is best for you.

If you do decide to “give” a second child up for adoption, the process will be more or less the same as it is for any woman placing a baby for adoption. Your adoption professional will walk you through all of the steps for putting a second child up for adoption and help you find the perfect adoptive family for your baby. To get started or learn more today, contact an adoption agency for free information and support.

Later in this article, we’ll provide tips for how to talk to your family about your pregnancy and the choice of adoption.


Experiencing a third unwanted pregnancy comes with difficult emotions. At this point, you may have children at home, or you may have placed one or both of your children from previous unplanned pregnancies up for adoption. There’s probably a lot on your mind; on top of coping with an unplanned third pregnancy emotionally, you might be debating between your options: parenting, terminating an unplanned third pregnancy, or “giving” your third child up for adoption. You might also be concerned about telling your husband about a third unplanned pregnancy.

Your support system is important no matter what decision you make about your pregnancy. Being open, honest and realistic about your options after finding out you’re pregnant will help you and the father of your child, if he is involved, get on the same page about what decision is best for you and the baby. Consider this:

  • Are you at a point in life where you want to raise another child?
  • Are you concerned about an age gap between your baby and previous children?
  • Will having a baby adversely affect your career or current goals?
  • Can you financially support another child?

There are many more considerations based on your circumstances, but ask yourself some of those questions in order to ascertain whether  parenting, abortion or adoption is the right choice for you. Unexpected pregnancy for a third time isn’t uncommon. Many women are faced with the same difficult situation of deciding what to do. You shouldn’t feel guilty about considering adoption if you think it’s the best option for you and your family. It’s possible that you simply do not wish to be a parent, and you’ve chosen adoption for your previous unplanned pregnancies. You should never let anyone talk you into parenting if it’s not what you want.

In some cases, a woman is experiencing her third unwanted pregnancy in her 40s, in which case, the emotions can be significantly different. At this age, you may feel like you “should” be ready to parent this baby because of your place in life. Or, you may be overwhelmed by the thought of “starting all over” with a newborn baby after already raising your other children. The feelings of guilt and stress can be very real, and it can lead to feelings of third unplanned pregnancy depression for not wanting to parent the child, even though you know adoption is the best possible choice for both you and the baby. These difficult emotions may require an adoption counselor to help cope with a third unexpected pregnancy.


As a prospective birth mother considering adoption for a fourth unplanned pregnancy, fifth unwanted pregnancy, or sixth unexpected pregnancy, you’ve likely reached a point in your life where parenting a child is simply out of the question for any one or more of the following reasons:

  • You’re well into middle age and done raising children
  • You have other goals for your life
  • You have a family and a full household
  • Your career is too demanding
  • Financially, you’re stretched too thin or have different plans for your money
  • You have never wanted to be a parent

If you’re currently raising your other children and experiencing a fourth unplanned pregnancy, the idea of parenting a child with one or more children already can seem impossible. If your previous unplanned pregnancies have resulted in adoptions, you likely have determined you either don’t want to be a parent at this point, or you’ve realized your circumstances don’t allow for parenting a child (or children). If you are an older adult, maybe you have adult children, children at home or completed previous adoptions after unplanned pregnancies. No matter your circumstances or situation in life, adoption is always an option for you. It’s entirely possible you can work with the same family from your previously placed adoptions.


Without a doubt, one of the more common concerns for prospective birth mothers experiencing a second, third, fourth (or more) unplanned pregnancy is, how do you explain putting your baby up for adoption to the kids you’re currently raising?

Kids, particularly younger in age, may find it confusing to hear your child won’t be coming home to live with you. However, you might be surprised at how empathetic and adaptable children are. When they see you upset, they are more likely to be worried about why you’re upset rather than why the baby isn’t coming home. An open and honest conversation about adoption, where the baby is going and why it’s a good thing, will help your kids understand the importance of your decision.

Here are some pointers for talking to your kids about adoption:

  • Talk to your adoption professional – Working with an adoption professional can help develop a plan specifically geared toward your circumstances, family and how best to talk to your other children. Your specialist can also provide you with support and education for your children, so they better understand the emotions of realizing their sibling will be with another family
  • Talk about adoption early on – Explaining adoption to your children in general terms while you are pregnant gradually introduces the idea and concept. At some point after they are comfortable with what adoption means, you can begin to talk about your adoption plan.
  • Talk about your choice of adoption – At this point, you can talk about why you are choosing adoption and how it helps the baby. Using positive adoption language and avoiding terms like “giving up” will help your children understand their sibling is going somewhere for good reasons. Reinforce that your decision to place the baby for adoption is out of love
  • Involve your children in the adoption process – Once you’ve had the opportunity to talk to your children about your adoption plan, there are ways to involve them in the adoption, such as helping you select the family by going through profiles together. If you feel like it’s appropriate, consider allowing your children to get to know the adoptive family by including them on phone calls and/or in-person visits
  • Allow your children to express emotions – As this is an emotional time for everyone involved, it’s important for your children to express how they’re feeling. This can be done by writing letters, drawing pictures or using crafts to make items for the baby. Activities involving the baby and the positivity of the adoption can allow your kids to cope with adoption, as well as develop a positive emotional connection to their brother or sister. You might also read books related to adoption with your children, as there are many adoption-themed children’s books available

Each adoption situation is different. Depending on whether this is your second, third, fourth or even fifth unplanned pregnancy, your emotions can vary, which means figuring out how best to present the idea of adoption to your children can change. There is no true timeframe or guideline for how to talk about your adoption. Being open, honest and using positive adoption language while explaining why your decision is being made is the encouraged course of action.

Contact an Adoption Agency to Get Started

During this emotional time when you’re wondering what to do next after finding out about an unplanned pregnancy, you can start reaching out to adoption agencies to begin creating an adoption plan as well as view family profiles. Here are several adoption agencies to consider contacting:

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.

Ready to get started? Contact an adoption agency now to get free information.

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