It’s normal to feel overwhelmed by parenting. All around the country, thousands of women are thinking the same thing — parenting is impossible. Some moms feel like they can’t give their child all the attention and resources he or she needs to thrive. Faced with a situation like this, you might be wondering about temporary adoption.
It’s understandable to feel this way. You love your child and don’t want to lose custody, but just need a little help to get things back on track. Right now, you might be thinking, “I want to give my baby up for adoption temporarily.”
A temporary adoption might sound appealing to you, but there’s actually no such thing. When people use the term “temporary adoption,” they’re actually talking about a temporary legal guardianship.
What is a Temporary Legal Guardianship?
Temporary legal guardianship allows another adult to serve as a short-term caregiver for your baby or child. With a temporary legal guardianship, you need to choose your child’s guardian and determine the terms for the arrangement.
By placing your child in legal guardianship, he or she can get the care that you might not be able to provide right now. However, it’s important to keep your child’s best interests in mind if you’re considering a temporary legal guardianship. It can be very confusing and distressing for a child to be shuffled from house to house, never knowing where they’ll go. It can even lead your child to develop an insecure attachment.
Understanding Trust and Attachment in Babies
The first two years of your baby’s life are so important for developing an attachment to his or her caregivers. When your baby trusts you and can count on you to meet his basic needs for food, stimulation, and affection, the attachment grows stronger. Plus, he or she is learning to trust you and the world around him or her. To develop a secure attachment, your baby must have his cues answered, and needs to be met.
Understanding your baby’s requests for food or attention, attempting to respond to those requests, and meeting the needs of your baby creates a secure attachment. This leads to a relationship of trust in their parents. Studies have proven that children who develop trust early in life have higher self-esteem. Plus, they’re usually more successful in school and in their careers. When you’re thinking about a temporary legal guardianship, these are important child development facts to keep in mind.
Can I Temporarily Adopt Out My Baby?
If you choose adoption for your baby or child, it’s a permanent decision. You won’t be able to recover parental rights to your child after giving your consent to the adoption. This is true if you don’t know the adoptive parents or if you’re placing your baby for adoption to your family members.
With adoption, you don’t give your final consent to the adoption until near the end of the process. If you make an adoption plan when you’re pregnant, you can’t give legal consent until after your baby is born. Once you give your consent to the adoption, and the revocation period has passed, parental rights are officially ended. This means that there can’t be a “temporary adoption.”
Will I ever see my child again if I choose adoption?
Adoption doesn’t mean that your connection to your child will end. In fact, more than 90% of adoptions in America are at least semi-open.
Even though a temporary adoption isn’t possible, goodbye doesn’t have to be forever. In today’s open adoptions, birth mothers stay connected to their child through various forms of communication, even after placement.
Many women have said that knowing that “goodbye” isn’t forever gives them the comfort they need to go forward with their adoption decision.
Kasey chose to make an adoption plan for her daughter when she was 18. About open adoption, she says, “I knew I wanted to have visits…The adoptive couple knew that they were going to raise their daughter to know that she was adopted and to know the blessing of adoption. It’s great for a child to know! I didn’t want there to be any awkwardness as she got older and was asking “where’s my birth mom?” She’s growing up knowing who I am, so she won’t have those questions.”
And Hannah shares, “The first four months after placement were hard. I was asking myself if I did the right thing. Then, I would see them together as a family in one of the video updates they sent me. I knew then that they were meant to be. We called each other, texted, and Face-timed frequently and they posted updates to a private Facebook account. [The adoptive parents] Matt and Jessica make an effort to make sure that I know almost everything that is going on in her life. I was there for the adoption finalization, her first Christmas, and her first birthday. I don’t want Olivia to have to wonder about me, why I did adoption, or if I love her.
Matt and Jessica are so fantastic. Whenever I visit, they make sure I’m comfortable and honor me. I appreciate them for allowing my daughter and I to have the relationship that we have. Matt and Jessica love Olivia so much that I have never regretted my decision to place her with this adoptive couple.”
What’s Right for Me? Adoption or Temporary Legal Guardianship?
Now that you know the essential differences between adoption and legal guardianship, how will you decide what’s the best option for your baby? Before deciding between the two, ask yourself these questions:
- Can you provide proper care and support for your child in the near future? Are you sure you can fully commit to that obligation?
- Would you like to have a relationship with your child in the future? If so, what kind? (Remember, open adoption means that you will stay in communication with your child.)
- Are you able to pay child support and provide financial help for your child while he or she is in legal guardianship?
- Are you OK with your child living with someone who they know is not their parent? Or would you like them to feel secure with loving adoptive parents in a legal parental relationship?
Do you have questions about adoption? You can reach out to a caring professional who can go over the options you may have in your situation. No matter what your circumstances are, help is always available.
If you’d like to schedule a time to speak with an Adoption Coordinator about making an adoption plan for your baby, you can call or text Lifetime Adoption at 1-800-923-6784 anytime.
Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P., is nationally recognized as an expert on open adoption. A Certiﬁed Open Adoption Practitioner (C.O.A.P.), Caldwell is the founder of Lifetime Adoption Center, established in 1986. She has assisted in over 2,000 successful adoptions and was one of the ﬁrst adoption professionals on the Internet.
Caldwell’s life work is dedicated to educating and helping birth parents find the right adoptive parents for their child. She spreads the word about modern adoption through speaking appearances, webinars, online resources, and as a podcast show host.
She has written several award-winning books, including So I Was Thinking About Adoption, the first book of its kind. There are many reasons women choose adoption, and this short book is a comprehensive resource to make the best plan for you and your baby. Caldwell wrote So I Was Thinking About Adoption as a handy guide to the details of the adoption process.
Caldwell has made over 150 media appearances, including ABC News, CBS News, Larry King Live, CNN Headline News, NBC’s The Today Show, CNN’s The Campbell Brown Show, NBC News, KGO Newstalk Radio, CNN’s Black in America II, MSNBC, Fox, PBS, BBC, and Dr. Laura.