You’re pregnant, you’re worried, and you’re thinking of giving your baby up for adoption*. You probably have a lot of questions. If you’re not a legal adult, can you still decide that adoption is right for you and make an adoption plan?
Who is an Adult?
In 47 states, the age of legal adulthood is 18. This is called the age of majority, and it’s the age that has been established after which you can make the choices that adults make. These adult rights include the right to vote. However, they do not include the right to drink: this occurs at age 21. A few states like Colorado and Alabama set the age of majority at 19. What happens if you are not a legal adult but you are pregnant and want to make an adoption plan? Can you still choose adoption?
Who Can Give a Baby Up for Adoption?
The baby’s parents decide whether adoption is the right choice for them and for their child. As the birth mother, you become the first parent of your child. You have the rights and responsibilities of parenthood. Your child’s father also has the right to have input into the adoption process. As you pursue adoption, talk to an adoption law firm or agency to get support as you navigate the adoption process. These organizations can help you understand your rights as a birth parent.
Can My Parents Decide Whether I Choose Adoption?
If you are a teenager who is under the age of 18, you are still your child’s parent and you still have the right to choose whether you’d like to put your child up for adoption. Your parents may have opinions about adoption, but they are your parents, not your child’s parents. Your parents can have input into your housing, educational choices, and care. They will likely have opinions about how you can keep yourself healthy, but it is you who needs to decide whether you would like to make an adoption plan.
Choosing the Adoptive Parents
Even if you’re not an adult, you still have the right to choose your child’s adoptive parents. You probably have an idea of who you’d like to parent your child. What kind of parents would they be? Where would they live? Would your child have siblings? Get the help of your adoption agency or law firm to assist you as you look for adoptive parents and create an adoption plan.
Whatever you choose, getting help from a trusted adult can make your experience of pregnancy, childbirth, and adoption easier. This adult may be one of your parents, or it could be another family member, a friend, or someone from an adoption agency or law firm. Seek counseling as well, so that you can talk through your feelings about adoption with someone who has experience working with birth mothers.
I am available to talk with you and answer your questions whether you have decided on open adoption or not. I am an attorney and a birth mother and have been in your shoes. Feel free to contact me anytime.
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*“Giving baby up for adoption” is no longer how we describe adoption. Today we call it “making an adoption plan.” Browse this website to learn more.