‘Giving Your Child Up’ to a Family Member

Kinship adoption, also known as identified adoption, is the process of placing your child with a family member or friend. How does this work, and is it a good idea? Find out here.

Many people don’t understand that adoption comes from a place of love. You want what is best for your baby.

This means that it matters a great deal to you that you find the right adoptive parents for your baby. Perhaps someone you already know has come to mind, because you know they can give your baby what he or she will need. So, you may be wondering what “giving your child up” for adoption to a family member is like.

Can your parents adopt your child? What about siblings — can my sister adopt my baby? Then there’s extended family to consider, as well as “giving a baby up” for adoption to a friend.

Each situation is unique. There are pros and cons to a friend or relative adopting your baby. We’ve created this guide for anyone considering adoption and thinking about “giving a baby up” for adoption to a family member. We’ll look at several different scenarios and give you some things to consider about each, as well as an overview of how this type of adoption could work, and some alternative types of adoption to consider.

‘Giving Baby Up’ for Adoption to a Family Member

Letting your parents adopt your child or having your sister adopt your baby is known as kinship adoption. You may also see it referred to as identified or independent adoption. Essentially, this is the same process as any other adoption, except that you know from the start who the adoptive parents will be, because you know the parents personally.

When you’re a prospective birth mother, there are legal requirements that your adoption process must follow. Even when “giving a baby up” for adoption to a family member, you’ll need to work with adoption professionals to make sure everything is done according to law.

If you’re new to the idea of adoption, it may help to have a basic understanding of how the process works, and how the process is different when you choose a family member to adopt your baby.

While each process is unique, these are the big steps that every adoption follows:

Step 1: Choose Adoption

You need to be absolutely sure that adoption is the right unplanned pregnancy option for you. The process can be emotional and challenging. Additionally, you’ll need to decide if kinship adoption or a more common agency-assisted adoption is best. In an agency-assisted adoption, you still have complete power to choose the adoptive parents for your baby. But, instead “giving a baby up” for adoption to a friend or family member that you already know, you’ll choose the adoptive parents from a group of family profiles that you look through. We’ll take a more in-depth look at the pros and cons of kinship vs. agency-assisted adoption below.

Step 2: Find an Agency or Attorney

Adoption agencies provide a wide range of services that make adoption easier. Even if you are choosing kinship adoption, it can be extremely helpful to work with an agency. If you have a family member or friend adopting your baby, you will at least need to find an adoption attorney to handle the legal paperwork required to finalize an adoption.

State and federal laws govern the adoption process. Any adoption — agency-assisted or identified — must follow these laws exactly. Otherwise, the placement could fail. Working with an agency is the best way to ensure that your adoption is done legally and that you have the support you need.

Step 3: Pick an Adoptive Family

If you want your sister to adopt your baby or prefer “giving a child up” for adoption to friend, then you’ve already completed this step. However, many women considering adoption are surprised to learn the level of control they have over this step of the process in a more traditional agency-assisted adoption.

Working with the agency, the prospective birth mother decides what she is looking for in an adoptive family. Then, a group of family profiles is presented to her with families that match her desires. She can look through as many profiles as she wants until she finds the right family, and she can even speak with the family before making a final choice.

Step 4: Complete Placement

You and the father of the baby must give up parental rights in order for the child to be placed with the adoptive parents. This is true for any type of adoption, including if you want to “give your baby up” for adoption to family members. If you create your adoption plan while you are pregnant, then this step typically occurs at the hospital, after birth, with the help of your attorney.

Step 5: Post-Placement Contact

Most adoptions are at least semi-open. This is one aspect of adoption that can be extremely challenging with a relative adopting your baby. You need to understand: adoption means you are no longer the parent. So, there have to be boundaries post-placement. Will you be able to maintain those when your baby is with a family member?

With agency-assisted adoption, it can be easier to build a long-lasting connection with healthy boundaries as your child grows and thrives in the loving home of their adoptive family.

While each process is unique, they all follow these big steps. However, it’s important to understand that this is the broadest outline of the process. Each step has its own rules and requirements that have to be followed exactly, which is why it is so important to work with a high-quality, fully licensed adoption professional.

Considering Different Adoption Situations

Who will be the best parent for your baby? What if your mom wants to adopt your son, or your sister wants to adopt your baby? What’s best?

This personal decision can be very challenging. Here, we’ll take a look at some of the most common kinship adoption situations, weighing the potential pros and cons of each. Ultimately, you will need to choose what is best for your child from this list, or, possibly, decide that an agency-assisted adoption could be a better route.

Letting Your Parents Adopt Your Child

Can my parents adopt my child?

Yes, letting parents adopt your child is an option. Just like any other adoption, you and the father will need to terminate your parental rights, and your child will need to legally become your parents’ child.

It’s worth considering how this may create a complicated family dynamic as your child grows up. Legally, you are no longer their parent. But, because your parents adopted your child, you can assume that you’ll have continual contact with them.

How will you navigate this confusing parental dynamic? Do you have a plan to explain the adoption to your child? Have you considered how this could impact their development?

We ask these questions because the reality of kinship adoption is that it can make the future complicated. These are the type of things you have to consider when asking, “Should I let my parents adopt my child?”

Can My Brother Adopt My Child?

The same questions are pertinent if your brother or sister wants to adopt your baby, although the relationships post-placement can take a slightly more natural form in this situation. If you plan to stay involved in the life of your sibling and your child, the birth mother will often take on the role of aunt while the sibling who adopted your baby acts as their parent.

However, this does not mean things will be easy. The same sort of confusing boundaries will need to exist. Additionally, you will still need a plan for explaining the adoption to the child.

What if My Baby’s Grandfather Wants to Adopt Her?

It’s relatively common to meet individuals who were raised by their grandparents. So, you may be thinking, “What if my baby’s grandfather wants to adopt her?”

Turning to grandparents in times of need is totally understandable. In some situations, it may be a good idea. However, if your adoption decision is driven by factors that can be rectified — lack of employment, housing situation, or other crisis — you may want to consider a less permanent solution.

Adoptions are final. Once your parental rights are terminated, you generally cannot get them back. If you need time away from parenting and your grandma wants to adopt your baby, you could instead consider something like temporary legal guardianship. This gives you the ability to find help and regain control of life while your child is in the safe, loving care of their grandparents.

‘Giving a Baby Up’ for Adoption to a Friend

Any parent considering adoption wants their child to have a wonderful life. It makes sense, then, that you thinking about “giving a baby up” for adoption to a friend.

Can a friend adopt your baby?

Yes, you can choose a friend to adopt your baby.  Similar to any other process, this means signing away your parental rights so that your child becomes fully, permanently a part of your friend’s family.

There is always the possibility that this is the right path. It’s important to consider the implications for your future relationship to your child and to your friend before having a friend adopt your baby.

How will this affect your friendship, especially if you plan to continue to see each other often? Will you feel happy in your new role as you watch your child grow in their family, or will you struggle with resentment or jealousy? How do you plan to teach your child about their adoption story?

These are all important questions to consider before “giving a baby up” for adoption to a close friend.

Pros and Cons of “Giving Your Child Up” for Adoption to a Family Member or Friend

“Should I let my parents adopt my child?”

Each prospective birth mother approaches adoption from a unique situation. That means what works for you may not work for someone else, and vice-versa. So, we can’t tell you exactly if letting your parents adopt your child is the right path, or if an agency-assisted adoption would be better.

What we can do is give you a list of pros and cons of kinship adoption to consider. If you resonate strongly with any of these, that could point you in the right direction.

Pro: You know the adoptive parents will love and cherish your child.

Con: The relationship with the adoptive parent and your child could be very challenging. The emotions of adoption are complex, and the intimate nature of “giving a baby up” to a friend or family member can actually increase that complexity.

Pro: Working with family or friends can make the process easier. You might find a sense of peace and comfort with the secure knowledge that you’re all on the same page.

Con: You may not have access to all of the same services and benefits offered during an agency-assisted adoption, like adoption financial assistance.

Pro: A close connection to your child as they grow up can be beautiful. You can see them become the person they are meant to be.

Con: When your relationship with your child is this close, confusing roles and parenting disagreements as life changes are nearly inevitable. Most agency-assisted adoptions are open, which means the same opportunity to see your child grow up exists for this type of adoption, too. However, confusing parenting roles is much less likely in an agency-assisted adoption than in a kinship adoption.

Contact a Professional

This can all be confusing and overwhelming. Many women trying to make this difficult choice find it helpful to speak directly with an adoption professional.

Would you like to be connected with an adoption professional? Contact us today.