If becoming a mom wasn’t part of your life plan right now, seeing that positive pregnancy test can feel like the end of the world. You didn’t plan for this, and you might have no idea what you’re going to do next.
Many pregnant teens find that adoption is the best choice they can make. Some are just not ready to become a mom at this point in their lives and don’t believe in abortion. Others find that being a parent would make their dreams for higher education or career goals impossible.
Choosing adoption is not easy, and it comes with a lot of emotion. It also comes with a lot of questions. If you’re under 18, you might wonder if you can choose adoption without parental consent. In other words, do you need your parent’s permission to place your baby for adoption?
Adoption is Always an Option
First things first: even if you are a minor, you have the right to place your baby for adoption. Any expectant mother has the right to make an adoption plan for her child. Adoption is an option in every state. You can still choose to place your child with a loving adoptive family.
Of course, this leaves one question. How involved do your parents need to be in the process? In the United States, the laws differ from state to state. However, most states try to leave it to the minor to make the call. That means that teens in most states do not need parental permission.
In some states, you will find that this is not the case for teens below a certain age. For example, some states may require teens under the age of 13 or 14 to obtain parental consent to make an adoption plan. You can speak with an adoption attorney to understand what the court determines as your rights in your state.
Regardless of your age, it is always a good idea to speak with a professional at Lifetime Adoption about making a plan. The laws differ in each state, and you may not need any permission to choose the loving and compassionate choice of adoption.
Steps to Choosing Adoption as a Minor
If your state doesn’t require parental consent, you will follow the same adoption process and have the same rights as any other biological parent who wants to place their baby for adoption. You will be in charge of your adoption plan from beginning to end.
You can contact an adoption professional and figure out what you want for your baby’s adoption. You can select your baby’s adoptive parents. You can choose to spend time with your baby at the hospital after birth. Nothing changes there.
Just like any other expectant mother, you will always have the right to change your mind at any time before you sign your consent. If something changes, even after selecting an adoptive family, you can choose to parent. Simply because you are a minor does not mean that you’re forced to place your baby for adoption. You have the right to adjust your plan to fit your needs and the needs of your baby. Adoption professionals help you understand your rights and the choices you can make.
What About My Baby’s Father?
Facing an unplanned pregnancy and considering adoption can seem unreal to many guys. This decision is just as difficult for him as it is for you. Coming to an agreement might seem impossible, but right now, you both have to put your baby’s best interest first.
Many men who discover that their child may be placed for adoption are against it at first and won’t give permission consenting to the adoption. He might feel like the situation is out of control or does not know that he can play an active role in adoption. Many times, a birth father just needs to be acknowledged and included in the choices. Remember, it is his child too.
Once he is able to establish paternity, he becomes your baby’s legal father. Then, he can agree to the adoption, in essence giving a birth father’s consent. He also will be named on your baby’s original birth certificate.
Each state has different laws and requirements about a biological father’s legal rights and responsibilities. Please keep in mind that this article does not serve as legal advice and isn’t meant to take the place of an adoption attorney. Lifetime Adoption can help you speak with an attorney at no cost if you have questions about birth fathers and their legal rights in adoption.
How Do I Know My Baby Will Be Safe?
Anyone who adopts a child must first go through lengthy background checks and home visits. Part of this process is called a “home study.” A home study is a report that a state-certified social worker creates to gather information on a couple hoping to adopt. They screen and evaluate the hopeful adoptive parents.
The social worker will visit their home to ensure that it’s safe and has plenty of room for a child. They will check the entire house and property and interview everyone living there. Besides that, the social worker conducts background checks and in-depth screenings on the hopeful adoptive parents. They will run a background check on all adults in the home, including federal (FBI), state, and local checks. These checks will show if there have been any criminal behavior or child abuse reports ever reported.
So, home studies provide our team of adoption professionals with an effective way to ensure your baby will go to a safe and loving home.
Adoption Without Parental Consent – Next Steps
Your next step is to contact an adoption professional to learn more about building an adoption plan and providing other benefits for your baby. Support is available to get you through your pregnancy, regardless of your relationship with your parents. Lifetime Adoption is here to help you through every step of your journey. Call or text us today at 1-800-923-6784.
Information in this article is not meant to serve as legal advice but is general information only.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on February 21, 2020, and has since been updated.
As Vice President of Lifetime Adoption, Heather Featherston holds an MBA and is passionate about working with those facing adoption, pregnancy, and parenting issues. Heather has conducted training for birth parent advocates, spoken to professional groups, and has appeared on television and radio to discuss the multiple aspects of adoption. She has provided one-on-one support to women and hopeful adoptive parents working through adoption decisions.
Since 2002, she has been helping pregnant women and others in crisis to learn more about adoption. Heather also trains and speaks nationwide to pregnancy clinics to effectively meet the needs of women who want to explore adoption for their child. Today, she continues to address the concerns women have about adoption and supports the needs of women who choose adoption for their child.
As a published author of the book Called to Adoption, Featherston loves to see God’s hand at work every day as she helps children and families come together through adoption.