Things to Consider Before Placing a Child for Adoption with a Family Member

Women faced with the challenge of an unintended pregnancy may be presented with the option of a family member adopting the child.

While placing a child with a family member, such as a parent, an aunt or even a sibling, may at first seem beneficial for everyone involved, it does also bring with it its own unique set of challenges that must first be considered and discussed.

If you are considering a “relative” or “kinship adoption,” please review the following helpful information to better understand the pros and cons of giving a child up for adoption to a family member.


Pros of Placing Your Child for Adoption with a Family Member

First, let’s start witha few of the exciting benefits a relative adoption offers to you and your child:

Share a Relationship with Your Child – While open adoption is entirely possible with an unrelated adoptive family, it’s likely that you will interact with your child periodically throughout the year. With a relative adoption, however, you may have more opportunities to spend time with your child.

Know the People Who are Adopting Your Baby – Many steps are taken to ensure each adoptive family are prepared to raise an adopted child, but some prospective birth parents still struggle with trusting relatively complete strangers. By placing your baby for adoption with a family member, the adopting parents are hopefully people whom you love and trust, and you will have peace of mind from day one who is raising your child.


Cons of Placing Child for Adoption with a Family Member

Indeed, there are benefits of relative adoption that may initially seem very attractive to you and the prospective adopting family member. However, there are also a variety of disadvantages that may occur immediately or further into the future.

Only proceed with a kinship adoption if you understand and discuss the following potential issues:


Possible Confusing Family Dynamics – Biologically, your child will always be yours, but legally, you could be related to him or her in another way. For example, if your parents adopt your child, he or she would legally be your brother or sister; your child would be a brother or sister to your siblings; and if you have children later in life, this child would legally be an aunt or an uncle to your future son or daughter. This alone is enough for some women to look into private adoption with an unrelated family.

The Decision is Permanent– Remember, as with any type of adoption, relative adoption is permanent, both legally and socially. This means thatyou are no longer involved in disciplining your child, making decisions for your child, signing your child up for school, or receiving tax benefits from your child as a dependent. All of these events, and countless others, become the responsibilities of the adopting parent, whomever that member of your family may be.

The Dangers of Co-Parenting – A child has to know who is in charge. If both the adopting parent(s) and yourself are sharing parenting responsibilities, the child will become confused from an early age who his or her real parents actually are. Furthermore, everyone has their own parenting styles, so it is only natural that you and the adopting parent(s) would disagree on many decision in the near and distant future. None of this would be fair to the child, and it could result in a variety of emotional and attachment issues. Therefore, if you do pursue a relative adoption, very clear parental roles and boundaries must be determined.

Post-Placement Changes – If you are considering a family member adoption for your child because you want to remain a part of their lives, remember that future contact is not legally promised. As with all private adoptions, relationships may change over time, contact may become less and less frequent, and there is of course the possibility that one day your child isn’t interested in a future relationship. Therefore, it’s important to remember to not choose a relative adoption solely based on future contact, as there is just as great of a chance to share this contact with an unrelated adopting couple.

Difficulty of Moving On – Most difficult situations in life are best dealt with appropriately, processed emotionally, and then moved on from. The same is true with adoption. For some, having a child adopted to a family member is a constant reminder of this difficult point in her life. The grief and loss process may not be fully completed in a healthy manner, as the child’s presence can recall negative feelings. This is a reason why most women pursue private adoption with an unrelated family (and also why so many women choose abortion) because they want to return to a normal life as quickly as possible. A relative adoption may be an obstacle in allowing that natural grief and loss process to occur.


A Third, Temporary Option – Guardianship

Perhaps you are young and pregnant, or maybe you’ve fallen on hard times financially. Remember, it is always possible for things to change. Maybe you aren’t ready to raise your child now but will be in the future.

There is a third option called a “guardianship,” if a family member or even a friend is interested in that type of relationship. A guardianship grants another person temporary parental rights over your child, and most importantly preserves your parental rights for whenever you choose to petition the court.

A guardianship allows your child’s guardian to apply for health insurance, enroll for school, purchase an airline ticket, visit a doctor, and more, allowing you the time and space to re-assume your parental responsibilities and rights.


Final Thoughts About Kinship Adoptions

If you are wavering between choosing adoption for your baby, and whether to pursue adoption (or guardianship) with a family member, our adoption social workers can provide you additional resources and answer any of your questions.

When weighing both the positives and potential negatives, we understand the concept of adopting your child to a family member is quite challenging, Please contact us confidentially and with no obligation to learn more about adoption with a relative.

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