How Adoption Works
Choosing Adoption for Teenage Pregnancy: A Complete Guide
Can a teenager give a baby up for adoption? How does a teenager give a baby up for adoption? Find the answers to these questions and more here.
If you’re thinking about adoption for your teenage pregnancy, you’ve come to the right place.
We know how complicated adoption can be, especially when you have so many other things on your mind. Finding the answers to your questions can be tough, and you might feel all alone as you cope with the reality of your situation.
We understand what you’re feeling — and this article is here to help.
Below, learn all about your options for giving a child up for adoption as a teenager. There is help out there, and you can do this. We believe in you.
Can a Teenager Give a Baby Up for Adoption?
If you’re considering adoption for your unplanned teenage pregnancy, you may not know a lot about it. You may be panicking, wondering if a teen can really give a baby up for adoption. A few questions may be running through your head:
- Do you have to be a certain age to give your baby up for adoption?
- Does a minor have the right to give a baby up for adoption?
- Does a minor need parents’ permission to give a baby up for adoption?
You may be used to having your parents make big decisions for you — but, when it comes to adoption, this decision will be all your own.
In most states, a minor can give a child up for adoption without parent permission. You will be the legal parent of the child that you give birth to, which means that you will get to decide their future, not your parents. A minor can choose who adopts their baby, just like they can choose how much post-placement contact they want with the adoptive family and their child.
If adoption for your teenage pregnancy seems like the right decision, remember that you always have the legal right to move forward. This is your decision to make — nobody else’s.
Why Would a Teen Mom Put a Baby Up for Adoption?
Adoption is a big decision, and it’s not one that you can take back later in life. You should seriously consider all the pros and cons of teenage pregnancy and adoption before deciding it’s right for you.
Every woman who places a child for adoption does so for a different reason. Your situation is unique; think hard about what’s important to you when deciding between parenting, abortion and adoption in teenage pregnancy.
If you’re considering placing your child, think about these pros of “giving your child up” for adoption while a teenager:
- You can continue to focus on your education, without the 24/7 responsibility of being a parent.
- You can work toward long-term goals (like career advancement, traveling and marriage) before becoming a parent.
- You can give your child a life with parents who are prepared and excited for raising a child.
- You can be an active part of your child’s life through open adoption.
Adoption isn’t right for everyone. For many young women facing teenage pregnancy, abortion and adoption are serious possibilities.
As you consider your options, here’s what you should know about abortion:
- It’s only an option in early pregnancy (typically before 20 weeks).
- It will cost a good amount of money, especially if you don’t have insurance or the procedure isn’t covered.
- You may need parental permission for the procedure.
- State laws vary, and there may not be an abortion clinic conveniently located to you.
It’s okay to not be sure which option is right for you. This is a life-changing decision, and you should take as much time as you need to make it. Consider reaching out to an unplanned pregnancy counselor for guidance and advice.
How to Put a Baby Up for Adoption if You are a Teen
Before we get into the details of this how to give your baby up for adoption if you’re underage, there’s one thing we want to address: the phrasing “give up.”
While this is a common way to refer to adoption, it doesn’t tell the whole truth of this process. Choosing adoption is not “giving up on” or “giving away” your baby; it’s making the mature, brave choice to recognize the reality of your situation and give your child the opportunities they deserve — even if it’s with a different family. The last thing you are doing is “giving up.”
That said, you will see this website use this phrasing. It’s a way to meet people at their primary understanding of adoption, to later educate them on the reality of this journey.
And what does that journey entail?
Step 1: Contact an Adoption Professional
If you’re looking for resources for pregnant teens who are giving a baby up for adoption, look no further than adoption agencies. These full-service adoption professionals can guide you through every step of the process, for free and based on what you desire. They’ll help you create an adoption plan, find a family for your child, receive financial assistance during your pregnancy and more.
Any of the following adoption agencies for teens can answer your questions about adoption, with no obligation to move forward until you’re ready:
- American Adoptions (Its adoption hotline for teens can be accessed at 1-800-ADOPTION.)
- Bethany Christian Services
- Gladney Center for Adoption
Step 2: Create an Adoption Plan.
When you’re a pregnant teen, adoption is in your control. You decide on everything in the process, from the family for your baby to your delivery experience. All of these details will make up your adoption plan.
Your adoption professional will help you put together this document, which they will then use to guide you through the steps ahead.
Step 3: Choose an Adoptive Family.
One of the biggest parts of your adoption plan? The family you want to raise your child.
When giving your child up for adoption as a teen, you get to choose exactly who you want to raise your child, including their:
- Marital status
- Sexual orientation
- Education level
- Family makeup (older children, pets, etc.)
You also get to choose exactly how much contact you want with them before and after placement. This is part of your open adoption plan. You can share letters, emails, texts, phone calls, in-person visits and more when you choose an open adoption.
Curious about the families looking to adopt a teenager’s baby? Check some out here.
Step 4: After Birth, Give Consent for Adoption.
Putting a child up for adoption as a teenager officially happens after you deliver your baby. Your adoption professional will help you create a hospital plan, and an adoption attorney will explain your rights prior to you signing any adoption paperwork.
You may ask, “If you give your baby up for adoption as a minor, could you get them back?” The answer, in most cases, is no. Once you give your consent for your child’s adoption, you will lose parental rights, and the adoption will be final.
That’s why it’s so important to think hard about adoption before pursuing this path. Remember, you will always have the right to change your mind anytime before signing your adoption paperwork.
Step 5: Start Post-Placement Contact.
Once your child has been placed with their adoptive parents, you can still maintain contact for years to come. This contact will be based on your preferences; you can choose an open, semi-open or closed adoption. Many birth mothers find that direct communication with their child’s adoptive family helps relieve some of the grief and loss they feel after placement.
Your child will grow up knowing you made your decision out of love. If you have a post-placement relationship, they can even be a part of important milestones like your high school and college graduations and wedding!
Adoption for Teenage Pregnancy: A Year-by-Year Guide
If you’re a teen who wants to give a baby up for adoption, you’ll need to consider your circumstances first. Teen mothers who pursue adoption are at different stages in their lives, and your age may play a crucial role in whether adoption is the best choice for you.
As mentioned, consider speaking to an unplanned pregnancy counselor in addition to reading the year-by-year guide below.
Giving Your Child Up for Adoption at the Age of 14
At 14, you’re likely just starting your high school career. You’ve got years of fun ahead of you — school sports, clubs and dances (not to mention challenging education). How will a baby affect those?
It’s impossible to raise a child on your own at your age. You likely won’t be able to work, go to school and care for your child all at the same time. If you are considering parenting, speak with your own parents; will they support you through this journey?
If you’re thinking, “Please help me; I don’t want to be pregnant at 14,” please reach out to a trusted adult. Adoption and abortion are probably options you want to seriously consider.
Placing Your Baby for Adoption at 15
You’re just getting the hang of high school — and then this unplanned pregnancy came along. You’re probably asking yourself:
- Should I keep my baby? I’m only 15.
- Should I terminate my pregnancy?
- Should I place my child for adoption?
Because you’re so young, think about how each of these options may affect your future. Be realistic; where do you see yourself in five years, and how will a baby impact those personal goals?
Putting a Child Up for Adoption at 16
If you’re 16 and pregnant, adoption may be your best option. Adoption will allow you to continue your education and provide your child the kind of life you want them to have. Many 16-year-olds have chosen this path, and you can, too.
If you’re asking, “Can I give my baby up for adoption? I’m only 16,” know that this path is always an option for you. Contact an adoption professional anytime to learn more or get started.
17 and Giving Your Baby Up for Adoption
Can you give your baby up for adoption if you are 17? Of course.
An unwanted pregnancy at 17 can seem like it comes at the exact wrong time. You’re probably getting ready to graduate high school and start your freshman year in college. You’re looking forward to the future, which you didn’t imagine would include a baby.
Placing a child for adoption is not selfish, even if it’s to help you achieve your own goals. If you pursue adoption, your child will be proud of how far you come when they can truly understand your decision.
Placing Your Baby for Adoption at 18
An unplanned pregnancy at 18 is not uncommon. As you enter college, you find new freedom away from your parents. Everyone makes mistakes during their first few years out of the house; you have nothing to be ashamed of if yours happens to be an unplanned pregnancy.
But, it will be your responsibility to decide what to do from here. You’re no longer a minor; you have the right to choose whether to parent, terminate or place your child for adoption. Think about your financial situation, future goals and more when deciding which unplanned pregnancy option is right for you.
Just as you shouldn’t be ashamed of your pregnancy, there is no need to be ashamed of whichever option you choose. As long as you think your options through and know what’s right for you, you’ll be making a brave choice.
Placing Your Baby for Adoption at 19
An unplanned pregnancy at 19 can turn your life upside down. You may be settling into your first year of college, or you’re starting out your career already. Either way, a baby was certainly not in your plans.
Choosing an unplanned pregnancy option may be the hardest thing you’ve done so far in your life. Do your research and trust in your instincts; at the end of the day, you’re the one who has to live with your decision. If you’re feeling pressured one way or another, consider reaching out to an unplanned pregnancy counselor for objective, factual advice and information.