If you recently discovered you are pregnant, you may be trying to decide if you’re ready to be a parent for the rest of your life. “I’m wondering about giving my baby up for adoption to a family member,” is something we hear often. And it may seem like a logical choice. This process is referred to as “kinship adoption.”
An unplanned pregnancy can be stressful, especially if you’re not ready to be a mom. If you want to place your baby for adoption, you might be wondering if having a friend or family member raise the baby is the best choice for you and the baby.
As you think about this option, understand that giving your baby to a family member to raise may work for some expectant mothers, it isn’t right for everyone. Every family has different dynamics, and while it may work for some, it often causes conflict and blurred lines. Here are some advantages and disadvantages to placing your baby for adoption by a family member:
#1: Trust and familiarity
If you have a good personal relationship with the relative that your baby will be raised with, trust has already been established. That means you will likely have fewer concerns about the life that your baby will have with them. Kinship adoption, in which one family member places their child with another family member ready to take on the role of parent, can allow for trust and familiarity from the outset.
#2: Different feelings of loss
All birth mothers who plan to do adoption will experience feelings of grief and loss. Giving your baby to a family member to raise may provide greater peace because you already know the person well.
#3: Easier ongoing contact
Having a relative adopt your baby after delivery may mean that you get more opportunities to see and interact with your child. You could have the potential for more in-person visits, holiday gatherings, phone calls, and more.
There are definitely pros and cons of building a relationship after you’ve placed a child for adoption. Do keep in mind that as a birth parent, you have legal parental rights. Adoption agencies such as Lifetime Adoption can put you in touch with adoption attorneys and others who can help you make the right decision for you.
As your child grows up and begins to form connections with people, there may be some confusion on roles. For example, if you choose to give your baby to your parents to raise, the child will be yours biologically, but it would be a brother or sister in the legal sense. Unless you and your family work hard to establish and maintain roles from the very get-go, it could be confusing for your child and everyone involved.
Even with clearly defined boundaries, some challenges will come up. Kinship adoptions can be some of the most challenging options because of the established relationships. The adoptive parents may want a little more separation than the birth mother, or they may want less. Clearly established boundaries are vital for kinship adoption success.
#3: Family dynamics will change
When you are considering letting a family member adopt your baby, ask yourself if you are ready for what that arrangement will look like. It will forever impact your family dynamic. Will it influence it in a positive and healthy way? Or will it make it difficult?
It is important to really think about what your kinship adoption will look like, not just immediately but well into the future as your child gets older and more independent. Think about future holidays, gatherings, and other family events — there will be awkward times.
Choosing adoption is a brave and selfless decision. If you’ve decided that you want to move forward with the open adoption process with a family outside of your home, our experienced team at Lifetime Adoption can help.
If you’ve asked yourself, “Should I think about giving my baby up for adoption to a family member?” you can call and speak with one of our adoption coordinators anytime. She can help you sort through the potential challenges. In addition, as you work with an expert and experienced adoption coordinator, you will get your other questions answered and any concerns resolved.
We work with birth mothers of all kinds each and every day, and we understand that you want what is best for both you and your baby. To speak with a caring adoption coordinator, contact us today.
As the Chief Operating Officer (COO) 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.