When Can You “Give a Child Up” for Adoption?

Placing an Older Child for Adoption [How-To Guide]

If you are faced with the realization that you might not be able to give your child the best life possible, you might be considering placing them for adoption.

Whether this is due to financial stress or just feeling like you aren’t ready for the responsibility of parenting, adoption is a beautiful and selfless choice. Deciding to place your child for adoption is an incredibly difficult decision, and it does not make you bad parent. You are making a loving decision to give your child the life they deserve.

Placing a child for adoption is already an emotionally difficult choice, and will likely be even harder after you have raised them for a few months or even years. While this is true, there are options available to you if you are considering placing your older child for adoption.

Can You “Give an Older Child Up” for Adoption?

If you’re not sure if you are able to continue parenting your child, you might be asking yourself “Can I give my older child up for adoption?” The answer to this question varies depending on the age or child. If your child is still an infant, the answer is yes. Infant adoption is always an option that is available if you feel you cannot provide for your baby. Adoption is an option for toddlers as well, though it can be a bit more difficult finding a n adoption agency who specializes in toddler placement.

If you’re wondering if you can give an older child up for adoption and your child is 4 and up, adoption may become more difficult. Most adoption agencies specialize in infant adoptions. There are also more logistics involved in the information you will need to provide when placing an older child for adoption such as the birth certificate, medical records, documentation of everywhere the child has lived, any proof of financial support provided by any father, etc. It is also more emotionally difficult to cope with the adoption transition. You have developed and attachment to your child and they view you as their caregiver.

To get more information on whether you can you can give an older child up for adoption, contact an adoption professional to learn more about what this might look like and what options are available to you.

What You Should Know About Placing an Older Child for Adoption

If you have decided to put your older kid up for adoption, you are doing so because you want the best for them. While adoption is always a selfless choice, it will be a bit more difficult with an older child. Here are some factors to consider when placing an older child for adoption:

  • Many private domestic adoption agencies work primarily with infant and newborn adoption. If your child is over the age of 4, you might consider placing them with a relative rather than with a private adoption agency. There are more logistics involved when putting older kids up for adoption, which can complicate the adoption process. Such factors include the child’s health and behavior, those who have had custody of the child, how involved the father is, and who has been involved in raising the child. When placing an older child for adoption, you will need to be completely transparent about these factors.
  • “Giving an older child up” for adoption can be a very difficult transition. You have already established a bond with your child, and they have likely developed an attachment to you. Before placing your older child for adoption, you should take the time to educate yourself on the process, and look into seeing a counselor who can help you navigate the difficult emotions of this process.

While there are a number of factors that make “giving up” an older child for adoption more difficult, if you feel this is the right choice for you and your child, do not be discouraged. Adoption is wonderful way to give your child the best life possible.

How to Give an Older Child Up for Adoption

If you are certain that placing your older child for adoption is the right choice for you, you have options. Those options and the process will vary depending on your child’s age; if you are looking to place an older infant or toddler for adoption, you can contact a private agency to walk you through the process. If, on the other hand, you are wondering how to “give your older child up” for adoption past the age of 4 or so, you should reach out to a local attorney for more information on the options available in your specific situation.

You should always keep the wellbeing and safety of your child at the forefront of your priorities when moving forward with your decision to place them for adoption.

Keep in mind:

  • Never abandon your child. Most states have Safe Haven laws for children up to a certain age. If you leave your child without meeting all of the requirements of these laws, it could be considered abandonment and you could face legal consequences.
  • Do not find an adoptive family online. If you are under a lot of stress and are desperate to find an adoptive family for your child, do not use online discussion boards to do so. Not only is this extremely dangerous, but it could be considered child trafficking. Always work with a licensed, regulated adoption agency or attorney when placing your older child for adoption. This is will ensure that the placement is safe and legitimate, and that you have access to all the resources you need.
  • Report any and all abuse. If you are considering adoption for your older child because you fear for their safety or your own, contact emergency services immediately. A child welfare professional can provide you with the help and services you need.

Alternatives to Placing an Older Child for Adoption

As wonderful as adoption is, you might find placing an older child for adoption is more difficult than you can handle. Many private adoption agencies do not specialize in the placement of older child, and state-run foster care does not often have the resources to handle voluntary relinquishments.

Here are some other options for placing an older kid for adoption:

  • Temporary legal guardianship. If you feel you need some time to work on your situation so that you can properly raise a child, this might be the right choice for you. Temporary legal guardianship allows you to place your child in the care of a guardian for a specific amount of time. Many parents choose a family member or close friend to be the guardian, provided they are willing and able to assume this responsibility.
  • Reach out to social services. There are many state-run programs available to parents that can help them in their difficult situation. Whether you are in need of a job, healthcare, affordable housing, or other assistance, social services may be able to help you.
  • Look into independent adoption. While a private adoption agency may not be able to help you with putting an older child up for adoption, an adoption attorney may be able to assist you. If you have a relative or close friend who would be willing to adopt your child, an independent adoption could be a good choice for you.

    Independent adoptions can be tricky, so it is important that you contact a licensed child-placing agency who can perform a home study for the adoptive family to ensure that the placement is safe and successful.

  • Take a break. Being a parent can be overwhelming. You may just need some time to destress and clear your head. Consider reaching out to a friend or relative that you trust who would be willing to take care of your child for a day or two so that you can take some time to reset.

Choosing adoption for your child is always a difficult decision. If you feel that adoption is the right choice for you and your child, it’s important that you go through the correct channels to ensure that your child receives the love and safety they deserve. Contact an adoption professional to learn more about the options available to you.

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