When to start considering adoption may be one of your most pressing concerns if you’re a prospective birth mother.

You may have a feeling that adoption is the right choice for you, but you’re worried that you’re jumping the gun before considering all of your unplanned pregnancy options. If you’re at the hospital, you might be staring at the clock, wondering if you’re running out of time. And, if you’re already at home with your child, you might start to think that you’re a bad parent for even considering adoption in the first place — which is completely untrue.

So, when can you give a child up for adoption?

The answer is when you feel comfortable making an adoption plan and when you know it’s the right time for yourself and your child. This is a decision that only you can make — and only when you’re ready.

In the meantime, here are some things to know when “giving a baby up” for adoption and deciding whether it is the right unplanned pregnancy path for you.

Is Adoption Right for You?

Every adoption is unique, as are the situations that lead women to make this choice. The most important thing that you should remember is that it’s okay to take your time and explore all of your options. Adoption will change both your and your baby’s lives forever. That’s why there may not be an obvious “perfect” time to place your child for adoption. As a woman considering adoption, you are only person that can, and should, make this difficult decision. You are also the only one who can answer the question, “When is the right time to give babies up for adoption?” and decide when it is right for you.

If you are a prospective birth mother, here are some questions that you’ll need to ask yourself when getting started:

Of course, there will be more questions that you think of throughout your pregnancy and as you wonder, “When can I give my baby up for adoption?” The best place to start finding answers is by contacting an adoption specialist, wherever you are in your pregnancy.

Before Your Child is Born

You don’t have to wait to make an adoption plan, even if you are early you are in your pregnancy. It is never too late for adoption — and, if you’re pregnant, never too early, either.

If you’re asking, “When can a child be given up for adoption?” know that making an adoption plan early on has plenty of benefits. You’ll have more time to find an adoptive family that meets your needs and get to know them before your baby is born. You’ll also have more time to carefully consider each aspect of your adoption and hospital plan to create the future that you’ve always wanted. You’ll also be able to receive more financial assistance throughout your pregnancy if you make an early adoption plan.

If you don’t know a ton of adoption‐related information at this point in your pregnancy, you can always request more from your adoption specialist as you start your journey.

At the Hospital

Not every woman knows that adoption is the right choice for her as soon as she gets the results from her pregnancy test. Many prospective birth mothers can only know if adoption is right for them after their baby is born and they hold him or her in their arms for the first time. The reality of seeing their baby in their arms can sometimes motivate women to make the hard decision to give their child a better chance — with a different family.

Always remember that it’s never too late to choose adoption for your baby. “Pop‐up,” also known as last‐minute, adoptions are very common in the adoption world. You will have the same rights as a mother choosing adoption early in her pregnancy; you can still choose an adoptive family and the relationship you want to have with your child after placement.

If you’re at the hospital and you’d like to learn more about your options for a last-minute adoption, or if you have any questions about when is the right time to “give babies up,” you can contact an adoption specialist at any time for more information.

After Bringing Your Child Home

Thinking about whether (or when) you can put a baby up for adoption at your home can be a stressful experience.

In this instance, it’s heartbreaking to imagine parting ways with your child, even if you know deep in your heart that it might just be the best option for both of you. Considering adoption can feel like a last resort to a struggling parent with nowhere to turn to. You might start to think: Am I bad mother? Will my child think I’m turning my back on them? What if they never want to see me again?

Even in this difficult situation, when you should give a child up for adoption is still completely up to you. Depending on the age of your child — whether they’re an infant, toddler, or an older child — you’ll experience unique challenges during your adoption. But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t consider adoption for them.

The best option in this situation is to contact an adoption specialist. They will work with you to understand your needs and determine if adoption is a possibility for your older child.

To start making an adoption plan, or to find out more about when can you “give a baby up” for adoption, you can contact one of the following national adoption agencies: