It’s not unheard of for a pregnant woman considering adoption to have already picked an adoptive family. We frequently hear questions related to this topic:

How can a person I know adopt my unborn baby?

Can my friend adopt my baby?

My friend wants to adopt my baby; is this a good idea?

If you are wondering about having a friend adopt your baby, this is called an identified adoption, also known as an independent adoption. It’s when birth parents and adoptive parents find each other without the help of an adoption professional. If your best friend wants to adopt your baby, this can seem like the perfect solution.

However, it’s important to know that giving a baby up for adoption to a friend comes with its own unique set of considerations. It can seem like a simple way to move on with your own life and goals while making sure your child is provided for, but there are some very important questions to ask yourself before “giving a child up” for adoption to a friend.

  1. Will you have access to all of the adoption services you need? Oftentimes women who pursue adoption and have already picked adoptive families do not use the assistance of an adoption agency. This is okay, but it’s also important to keep in mind that an adoption agency offers more services than just helping prospective birth parents match with adoptive parents. It may be difficult for you to get adoption financial assistance without the help of an agency, and you also may miss out on services such as counseling, adoption planning, scholarships, and more.
  2. Are you ready for your relationship with your friend to change? The dynamic of your relationship with this person is going to change drastically. Instead of just being your friend, they are going to be your child’s parents, and you will forever be connected. This may cause new tensions and boundaries instead of strengthening your friendship.
  3. How will you feel seeing your baby with your friend as his or her parent on a regular basis? Some women find that they need space after placing their child for adoption to grieve that loss. If you are having a friend adopt your baby, how often do you see that friend now? How often do you expect to see them after placement? Will they be okay with you taking some time for yourself, should you find that you need it?
  4. In what capacity do you know this friend? Are you simply acquaintances, or have you known them for years? Is the environment that you typically see them in a healthy one? If you select them independently, they will probably not have gone through a thorough screening process or background checks that most adoption agencies require. This means that your judgment of their character is the only qualifier for them to be considered safe, stable parents for your baby.
  5. Why do you want your friend to adopt your baby? Is it simply a matter of convenience, because you already know them and they live nearby? Are you willing to consider looking at other adoptive family profiles, or are you firmly convinced that your friend is the perfect choice to raise your baby?
  6. Do you understand that you will have no parental rights to your child even if you choose adoption with a friend? Sometimes people assume that they might still have a say in their baby’s life if he or she is adopted by close friends or family members, but it’s important to remember that this is not the case. Adoption is always a permanent decision, regardless of who adopts your child.

How to Adopt My Child Out to a Friend

If you’re wondering how to give your child up for adoption to a friend, you might assume that you don’t need the help of an adoption professional and can instead complete the adoption by yourself. However, by failing to work with an adoption agency, you’ll be losing out on quite a few services that can make all the difference in your adoption experience. Remember that, even if you are giving a child up for adoption to a friend, you may still want access to the following free adoption services that many adoption agencies offer:

  • Living and Medical Expenses: While laws vary from state to state, it’s likely that you are eligible for adoption financial assistance in the form of rent, transportation, groceries, utilities and more while you are pregnant. Adoptive families are allowed to cover these, but states have different rules and regulations about how this can be done and usually require an adoption professional to help arrange these payments. An adoption agency can also help to ensure that all of your pregnancy-related medical expenses are covered properly.
  • Adoption Counseling: You might assume that placing your child will be less complicated because you are giving a baby up for adoption to a friend. However, adoption is an emotional and physical journey, no matter which adoptive family you choose to raise your child. Not only will an adoption agency help with your hospital plan and work alongside hospital staff to ensure your stay goes exactly as you want it to, but a licensed adoption professional can provide counseling as you experience the grief that accompanies adoption, regardless of how well you know the adoptive family.

If you’re wondering how to put a child up for adoption if you know who you want to give the child to, we recommend talking with your support system about why you wish to have a friend adopt your baby and then reaching out to an adoption agency to learn more.