Your Family and Friends

50 Questions You Have About “Giving a Baby Up” for Adoption to a Friend or Family Member


The first, and most important, thing you should know is that you have the right to choose whomever you feel is best when it comes to finding adoptive parents for your child. For some women, that means placing their baby with a trusted friend or family member. For others, the right placement is found with a pre-screened waiting adoptive family whom they didn’t know previously.

When your baby is adopted by a family member, it’s called a “kinship” or “relative adoption.” When you choose a friend or someone you know to adopt your child, it’s called an “identified” or “independent adoption.”

Whoever you choose as your baby’s future family, it’s important that you know in your gut that they are the right choice. But, before we start answering the questions you have about kinship or identified adoption, it’s important to understand these three facts:

With these three facts in mind, decide if you’re ready to learn more about kinship or identified adoption. If you are, you probably have a lot of questions about this type of adoption, how it works and what it means for you and your child. Below, we’ll answer 50 common questions about kinship and identified adoption, starting with number one:

The First Big Question

Question Number One: “Should my friend, family member, or someone I know adopt my baby?”

The question you need to ask yourself isn’t, “Can they,” it’s, Should they?” This question rarely has an easy answer.

There are plenty of pros and cons to placing your child with a friend or family member, and those considerations will be unique to your relationship with your loved one. Some of those considerations will include:

Placing Your Baby with a Sibling

The bond that you have with your sibling may lead you to wonder, “Can my sibling adopt my child?”

When you already know, love and trust your sibling, it makes sense that you would consider trusting them with one of the most important tasks you could give them: Becoming your child’s parent. So, if you’re considering choosing a sibling as your baby’s future parent, these frequently asked questions may help you understand this option.

Questions about placing your baby with a sister:

“Can my sister adopt my baby?”

If you feel that she is the best future parent for your baby, then yes. You can choose your sister to be your baby’s future mother.

“How can my sister adopt my baby?”

You’ll need to contact a licensed and experienced adoption attorney. They’ll walk you through the process.

“I want my sister to adopt my baby, but she’s not sure. Now what?”

It’s important for your sister to be 100% on board with this decision. It can be hurtful if she’s unsure or if she says “no,” but remember that this is a major decision and she has a right to not be ready. Just like you, she wants the best for you, your child and for her own family.

“My sister wants to adopt my baby, but how do I say ‘no’?”

It’s equally important for you to feel 100% on board with this decision. If you have a gut instinct that placing your baby with your sister is not the right fit, then you have every right to say “no.” It can be hard to explain this to your sister, but she should always respect and support your decisions regarding the future of your baby.

Questions about placing your baby with a brother:

“Can my brother adopt my child?”

If you feel that he is the best future parent for your baby, then yes. You can choose your brother to be your baby’s future father.

“Can my brother be the adoptive father to my child, but not in a permanent, legal way?”

In many families, aunts and uncles act as a kind of extra parental figure for their nieces and nephews. So, yes, he could always step in as a male role model for your child. Another option would be to grant him legal guardianship of your child, which is often a temporary situation.

Placing Your Baby with Parents

When facing an unplanned pregnancy, many women consider placing their baby with their own parents. This means that your parents would be the permanent and legal parents of your child, and you would become your child’s sibling. This can be complicated for many families, so you may have some questions about this path.

Questions about placing your baby with your parents:

“Can my parents adopt my child?”

If you feel that they are the best future parents for your baby, then yes. You can choose your parents to be your baby’s future mother and father.

“I’m letting my parents adopt my child — do I still get a say in how my child is raised?”

No. Any time you place your child for adoption, even if that’s with your parents, you legally and emotionally relinquish your role as a parent. Your parents would be in charge of all future decisions.

“If my parents adopted my child, can I still claim my child as a dependent on my taxes?”

No. Your parents would be able to claim them, but you’re no longer your child’s legal parent, so you would not be able to claim them as a dependent.

“Can my kids stay with me after my parents adopted them?”

They could, but this is generally discouraged for a number of reasons. Emotionally, these blurred roles can be confusing for everyone involved, but especially your child. And legally, they are your parents’ children (and your siblings), so you would need your parents’ permission for them to temporarily stay with you.

“If my parents adopted my son, can I live in the same home and get Medicaid?”

If your parents adopted your son, you would no longer be able to claim him as your legal child, even if you live within the same household. This may or may not affect your Medicaid eligibility.

“If my parents adopt my child, does that cut off any visitation with the other grandparents?”

That is entirely up to your parents and your child’s other grandparents. Adoption is not like a custody settlement. The purpose of open adoption, and in particular, family placements, is to be able to maintain biological connections. It’s encouraged for your child to have the option to stay in touch with relatives, as greater openness has been shown to benefit adoptees.

“My parents want to adopt my baby, but how do I say ‘no?’”

It’s important for you to feel 100% on board with this decision. If you have a gut instinct that placing your baby with your parents is not the right fit you have every right to say “no.” It can be hard to explain this to your parents, but they should always respect and support your decisions regarding the future of your baby.

Questions about placing your baby with your mom:

“Can my mom adopt my baby?”

If you feel that she is the best future parent for your baby, then yes. You can choose your mother to be your baby’s future mother.

“How can I give my baby up for adoption to my mother?”

You’ll need to contact a licensed and experienced adoption attorney. They’ll walk you through the process.

“I don’t want my baby. Can I give it to my mom?”

Feelings or thoughts of not wanting your baby anymore can be difficult to explore, but it can be helpful to take some time to try to understand why you feel this way before you decide to move toward permanently placing your baby with your mom.

“If my mother adopted my child, can she still live with me?”

She could, but this is generally discouraged for a number of reasons. Emotionally, these blurred roles can be confusing for everyone involved, but especially your child. And legally, she is your mother’s child (and your sister), so you would need your mother’s permission for her to temporarily stay with you.

“My mom wants to adopt my baby, but how do I say ‘no?’”

If you have a gut instinct that placing your baby with your mom is not the right fit, you have every right to say “no.” It can be hard to explain this to your mom, but she should always respect and support your decisions regarding the future of your baby.

Questions about placing your baby with your dad:

“Can my dad adopt my child?”

If you feel that he is the best future parent for your baby, then yes. You can choose your dad to be your baby’s future father.

“Can my father adopt my child, even if my child is older?”

Yes. However, placing an older child for adoption can be complicated for a number of reasons. In addition to talking to an experienced adoption attorney, you’ll also want to talk to a counselor before moving forward with your adoption decision.

Questions about placing your baby with your significant other’s parents:

“My baby’s grandfather wants to adopt her. Is that an option?”

If you feel that he is the best future parent for your baby, then yes. You and the father of your baby can choose his dad to be your baby’s future father.

“Can we use my boyfriend’s parents to adopt our child?”

Yes. First, you’ll need to contact a licensed and experienced adoption attorney. They’ll walk you through the process.

Placing Your Baby with Extended Family

For you, placing your baby with a member of your immediate family might not be the right fit. So, you might be considering placing your baby with a member of your extended family, like an aunt, a cousin or a grandparent. Although the process and considerations are largely the same as placing your child with an immediate family member, you may still have some questions about this path, including:

“Can a family member adopt my child?”

If you feel that this family member is the best future parent for your baby, then yes. You can choose them to be your child’s permanent and legal parent.

“Can I let a family member adopt my baby after delivery?”

Yes. You can choose adoption any time, including after your baby is born.

“Is giving your child up for adoption to a family member an option?”

It’s always an option, yes. You have the right to place your child with whomever you choose, whether that’s a family member or a pre-screened waiting adoptive family.

“If I want to give my baby up for adoption to family members, what do I do?”

You’ll need to contact a licensed and experienced adoption attorney. They’ll walk you through the process.

“Where can I find information on how to give your child up for adoption to a family member?”

Contact an adoption professional now. They’ll be able to answer any questions you may have, provide you with free information and help you complete the process.

“Is giving baby up for adoption to a family member short-term possible?”

Sort of. A short-term situation like this is possible, and it’s called “legal guardianship.” Adoption is different — unlike a guardianship, it’s permanent and is not a short-term situation. Contact an attorney to learn more about legal guardianship.

“Can my cousin adopt my baby?”

If you feel that this cousin is the best future parent for your baby, then yes. You can choose them to be your child’s permanent and legal parent.

“Can my grandma adopt my baby since the father is trying to take it?”

Your grandma can adopt your baby, yes. However, if the father of your baby does not agree with the adoption, this is a very serious and complicated situation, so you’ll need to contact an adoption attorney immediately to learn what is or isn’t legally possible in your circumstances.

“If my grandma wants to adopt my baby, can she do so?”

If you feel that your grandma is the best future parent for your baby, then yes. You can choose her to be your child’s permanent and legal mother.

Questions about placing your baby with an aunt and/or uncle:

“Can my aunt adopt my baby?”

If you feel that your aunt is the best future parent for your baby, then yes. You can choose her to be your child’s permanent and legal mother.

“I want my aunt to adopt my baby, but she’s not sure. Now what?”

It’s important for your aunt to be 100% on board with this decision. It can be hurtful if she’s unsure or if she says “no,” but remember that this is a major decision and she has a right to not be ready. Just like you, she wants the best for you, your child and for her own family.

“If I’m placing my baby for adoption with an aunt, are my cousins now my baby’s siblings?”

Yes. This can be a little confusing, which is why you should always think carefully before placing your child with a member of your own family. In this situation, your cousin would be your child’s siblings, and your aunt would be your child’s mother. You would legally be your baby’s cousin.

“I want my uncle to adopt my baby. What are the requirements that he’d need to meet?”

You’ll need to contact a licensed and experienced adoption professional. They’ll walk you through the process and the requirements that your uncle would need to meet.

“Can my uncle adopt my child as the father?”

If you feel that your uncle is the best future parent for your baby, then yes. You can choose him to be your child’s permanent and legal father. He would not be listed on your baby’s original birth certificate, however — the name of your baby’s biological father would be listed. Your uncle would be listed as the father (and you would be removed) on the amended birth certificate after the adoption is complete.

Placing Your Baby with a Friend

For many people, friends are as close as (or even closer than) family. So, you may have a friend that wants to adopt your baby, and whom you feel you can trust with becoming your child’s parent forever. But you may have some questions about this option, including:

“Can a friend adopt my baby?”

If you feel that your friend is the best future parent for your baby, then yes. You can choose them to be your child’s permanent and legal parent.

“Can I choose a friend to adopt my baby?”

You always have a right to choose your baby’s future parents, whether that’s with a friend or with a pre-screened and waiting adoptive family. You also have the right to get to know your baby’s future parents before, during and after the adoption through an open adoption.

“Can my friend adopt my baby even after I’ve given birth?”

Yes. You can choose adoption any time, including after your baby is born.

“I’m giving a baby up for adoption to a friend. What do we need to do to move forward with the placement?”

You’ll need to contact a licensed and experienced adoption attorney. They’ll walk you through the process.

“Can my friend adopt my child if they’re unmarried?”

Yes. As long as you feel that your friend is the right fit as your baby’s future parent, and that they’re ready for single parenthood, then it’s always within your right to choose them.

“Can I let my friend adopt my baby without involving an adoption attorney?”

No. This adoption would not be legal or permanent. Some people try to create an informal arrangement where a child is under the care of a friend, but if that child is not legally tied to the friend then complications can arise. Contact an adoption attorney.

“Is temporarily giving your child up for adoption to a friend an option?”

Sort of. A temporary situation like this is possible, and it’s called “legal guardianship.” Adoption is different — unlike a guardianship, it’s permanent and is not a short-term situation. Contact an attorney to learn more about legal guardianship.

“Does my friend adopting my baby mean that my child won’t know that I’m his or her biological parent?”

Although no one can make your friend make any decisions as your child’s legal parent, lying to a child or withholding information related to his or her adoption is strongly and expressly discouraged. Work with your friend and with your adoption professional to discuss the importance of honesty in your child’s life, and discuss how you all plan on talking with your child about his or her adoption from day one.

Placing Your Baby with a Family You Already Know

Perhaps you know a family who is interested in adopting. You may know them from work, your church, or through another friend or family member. Here are some questions you may have about this type of adoption situation:

“Can you give your baby up for adoption to someone you know?”

Yes, but you should always ask yourself some important questions. Are these people the absolute best future parents for your baby? Do you know what their relationship is like? Do you know if they’re truly financially stable? If you’re uncertain, you may want to consider choosing a thoroughly-screened adoptive family. However, if you feel that those people are the right fit as your baby’s future parents, then yes. You can choose that family to be your child’s permanent and legal parents. This is what’s known as an “identified adoption.”

“I want a specific family to adopt my child. How do I move forward?”

You’ll need to contact a licensed and experienced adoption attorney. They’ll walk you through the process.

“How can a person I know adopt my unborn baby?”

Your state’s laws will determine at what point you can issue your formal and legal consent to adoption. Generally, that final step won’t happen until after your baby is born. However, throughout your pregnancy, you and the adoptive parent(s) can work with an adoption professional to complete all the necessary steps that lead up to that point, so contact a professional now.

“Someone I know wants to adopt my baby, but how do I say ‘no?’”

You need to be certain that someone is going to be the right family for your baby. If you don’t feel that this person can provide the future you want for your child, then you’ll need to pick someone else. It can be hard to explain this, but this person should always respect and support your decisions regarding the future of your baby.

What to Do If You’re Unsure About Placing Your Baby with Someone You Know

At first, the idea of a stranger adopting your baby seems scary. Wouldn’t your child be better off with someone you already know and trust? Not necessarily. Here’s why:

If you think placing your child with someone outside of your circle of friends and family might be best in your situation, you can start searching through online adoption profiles of pre-screened waiting adoptive families here. If you don’t see “The Ones” you’ve been searching for in that database, reach out to an adoption agency now — they’ll be able to help you connect with the family you’re envisioning for your baby.


Ready to get started? Contact an adoption agency now to get free information.

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