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Can You Place Your Child for Adoption With a Family Member? [And Should You?]
When faced with an unplanned pregnancy, placing your baby for adoption with a family member or friend who is ready to take on the responsibility might seem like a no-brainer.
You already have an understanding of who they are as a person and trust them to care for your child. It would allow you to continue your life as you planned it, while getting to see your child regularly.
However tempting this option may seem, it does come with its share of complexities. In this article you’ll learn about some factors to consider before placing your child for adoption with family members, as well as how relative adoption works.
Can a Family Member Adopt Your Baby?
The short answer to this question is, yes. There are a few instances where this may be the best option for you and your baby, and it’s easy to see why this option would be appealing for the following reasons:
- It may seem like the easier option, especially if they offer. You already know them and can cut out the middleman of having an adoption agency find an adoptive family for you.
- You may have the opportunity for more post-placement contact, and perhaps even the option to parent later on when you are ready (in a temporary guardianship).
- There is already an established sense of trust and comfortability, which may help relieve the risk of potential conflict.
While all of these reasons understandably make allowing a family member to adopt your baby an appealing option, it should not be assumed that relative adoption will be completely free of conflict and complications. It should also be noted that you should never pursue placement with a family member solely because you feel it may ease tensions over your decision to choose adoption, or because they want to raise the child themselves.
Things to Consider Before Placing Your Baby for Adoption with a Family Member
As stated earlier on, it can be tempting to place your child for adoption with a family member or friend due to preexisting familiarity and accessibility. Especially if the family member has expressed interest in adopting your baby, or maybe has even tried to pressure you into placing your child with them.
If you are not familiar with the adoption process, you might not be aware of the other valuable options available to you that could help you avoid the complications that can come with relative adoption. Some things to consider before letting a friend or relative adopt your child:
- Interfamily conflict. Due to the existing familiarity with the family member you are considering placing your child with, it can be easy to forget that adoption means forfeiting your parental rights. You may not agree with the way your family member has decided to raise your child. While these feelings are valid, you will have to respect your relative’s parenting style. This could be difficult for you and could create strain between you and certain family members.
- A reminder of loss. Even though your baby being adopted by a relative might mean easy accessibility with post-placement contact, this could stir up feelings of grief as you watch someone else raise your child. Even if you know adoption was the right decision for you and your baby, consider how allowing a friend or relative to adopt your baby could affect you emotionally.
- Role Confusion. If your baby is adopted by your parents, legally your child would then be considered your sibling. Similarly, if you placed your baby with your brother or sister, they would then be technically considered your niece or nephew. This could not only be confusing for your child as to how they relate to you, but also difficult to explain to others. Overall, relative adoption can change familial roles in a way that can be hard to adjust to.
- Feelings of Resentment. Over time, you may grow to resent the family member(s) who adopted your baby, because of the constant reminder of loss, as well as feeling like you are missing out. These feelings could be especially prevalent if you feel like you were pressured into relative adoption by said family member(s).
What You Can Do If You Don’t Want a Relative to Adopt Your Child
If, after you have considered the pros and cons of placing your child for adoption with a family member, you decide that you would feel more comfortable pursuing adoption with a non-relative, that is completely valid. There are many wonderful prospective adoptive families who are eager to adopt.
If you’re not familiar with the adoption process, working with an adoption agency can be invaluable. It’s a great way to learn more about the types of adoption and other options available to you, and the many benefits of placing your baby with a pre-screened, prepared adoptive family. An can even help you decide if placing your child for adoption with a family member is the best choice for you and your baby in your current circumstances.
Even if you decide not to pursue a friend or relative adoption, an adoption specialist can help you work out an open or semi-open adoption plan that will allow you to stay connected to your baby and the adoptive family.
Important Questions About Placing Your Baby for Adoption With a Family Member
Can my parents adopt my baby if I am the father?
Yes. The adoption process is typically the same for both prospective birth parents. The birth father will of course be encouraged to work alongside the birth mother to make the adoption plan. If everyone involved in the adoption plan approves of this decision, an adoption professional can assist you in taking the next steps.
Can my sister adopt my baby?
Placing your baby for adoption with your sister is a valid option if she is ready to adopt. However, even though she is your sister, it is still encouraged that you work with an adoption professional or an adoption law attorney to make sure that everything is carried out above board, and boundaries can be set.
Can I place my baby for adoption with my aunt?
Yes, you can place your child for adoption with your aunt in the same way that you would be able to place them for adoption with your parents or any other relative. Similarly, any visitation arrangements would be between you and your aunt, and she would be the child’s mother now. This could create another potential point of confusion with familial roles.
Though you are the birth parent, the child would legally be considered your cousin. If you aren’t sure if you would be able to cope with this, using an adoption agency to get connected with a prospective adoptive family could be helpful.
Is it illegal for a friend to adopt my child?
No, it is not illegal for a friend to adopt your child, as long as you go through the proper channels. If you are certain that placing your child for adoption with a friend is what’s best for you and your child, you can reach out to an adoption specialist or an adoption attorney who can make sure the placement is safe and legal.
Just like with relative adoption, placing your child for adoption with a friend could result in conflict over parenting styles or recurring feelings of loss and grief from having such easy access to seeing your child.
How often can I see my child if I place them for adoption with my parents?
This is something that you will need to discuss with your parents. While your parents may allow for visitation, they are now the child’s parents, and they will be the ones who get to make the decisions for the child. This new role could be difficult to adjust to. Because of this, many expectant parents choose to work with an adoption agency to help them select an adoptive family whom they are not related to.
What can I do if I don’t want to place my child for adoption with my parents?
If you have decided that you may not be comfortable with your parents or other relatives adopting your child, that is perfectly okay. If you aren’t sure where to turn and are in need of guidance and support, reach out to an adoption professional to learn more about your options. These professionals can help you find loving, pre-screened, hopeful adoptive parents to raise your child.
While placing your child for adoption with a family member may seem like a comfortable and easy solution, it can complicate an already difficult process for both you and your child. If you are unsure of where to turn or if you want to place your child for adoption with someone you know, talk to your adoption professional to learn more about the options available to you.
Ready to get started? Contact an adoption agency now to get free information.