Can you give your baby up for adoption at the hospital?
It’s never too late to make an adoption plan, so yes, you can give your baby up for adoption at the hospital. There are two ways to do this:
- Safe surrender your baby at the hospital. Ask to speak with the hospital social worker and she or he will walk you through the process. Read more about safe surrender baby law here.
- Make a private adoption placement plan for your baby. You can contact me, an attorney and a birth mother, and I will take you through the process.
Contact me today if you are considering safe surrender because you are afraid of the father. You may have options you weren’t aware of.
Can you get in trouble for safe surrendering a baby at the hospital or fire station
You will not get into legal trouble if you safe surrender your newborn at the hospital, fire station, or other approved safe haven location. The reason states have enacted safe surrender laws, is to encourage women who might otherwise abandon their babies in an unsafe place. If you choose safe surrender, you give your baby a chance at life and to be adopted.
Some women choose to leave their baby in a bathroom or, unfortunately, in a dumpster after birth. It is illegal to leave a baby in any public or private space without making arrangements for its care. The California Safe Haven Baby Law is designed specifically to protect women from being arrested and prosecuted for child endangerment and abandonment. Every state has some version of this law, and some even have safe drop baby boxes where you can safely surrender a newborn.
What is the difference between private adoption and safe surrender?
When you choose private adoption, you, the mother, will choose the family that will adopt your baby. You can meet them if you want but you don’t have to. If you want an open adoption, you can have an open adoption. This means that you will learn how your baby is doing throughout its life. Some women want photos and updates and others want the opportunity to see the baby again. You don’t have to choose open adoption to do a private adoption. Basically, you are in control of what happens to your baby.
When you choose safe surrender, the hospital social worker will contact a state agency like child protective services, or department of child and family services. You may or may not provide information about yourself to this agency. When your baby is ready to be discharged from the hospital, the agency will take custody of the baby. It will then place the baby in a foster home, and will start looking for a foster family to adopt the baby. In this situation, the state agency is in control of what happens to your baby.
Why do women choose safe surrender vs private adoption for their baby?
When you safe surrender your baby at the hospital, you don’t have to provide any information about the father. The hospital social worker and agency do not require this information. Some women believe this is the best option for them because they don’t want the father involved in the baby’s life. Many women don’t want the father involved because they are terrified of him.
In a private adoption, the mother provides information about the father. We need this information so that we can terminate his parental rights, if any. Adoptive parents will usually want this information in case the adoptee wants to know who her biological father is. This doesn’t mean they will have contact with him, however. If you choose private adoption, you will talk with the adoptive parents about the relationship you want them to have with the father, if any.
Women who choose to give a baby up for adoption at the hospital might have been thinking about adoption all along. Some women don’t want to commit to adoption until they have to. If you are making a last minute plan, please know that you are not alone. It is not uncommon to give your baby up for adoption at the hospital. I have worked successfully with several moms who placed a baby at the hospital.
Is safe surrender or private adoption better for your baby?
There is a lot of research out there that overwhelmingly shows that open adoption is best for the baby (after your baby is adopted, we call them the adoptee). When you hear negative stories from adoptees about adoption, frequently they are adoptees involved in a closed adoption or an adoption through the foster care system. Open adoptions where biological parents and adoptive parents have a strong bond and trusting relationship, tend to be much healthier for the adoptee.
When a child is adopted through a safe surrender, the adoptee is part of the foster care system. Many adoptees feel a stronger sense of abandonment when they have been safe surrendered. Frequently in these situations they don’t have contact with their biological family, and that can be really hard on an adoptee. Every situation is different, and how the adoptee will feel about the adoption is one consideration of many. I can help you think through your options and answer any questions or concerns you might have.
If you are on your way to the hospital or your baby is already born and you don’t know what to do, give me a call. Whatever your situation, I can help you think through your options about giving your baby up for adoption at the hospital. Contact me today!