The Facts You Need to Know About Temporary Adoption
Temporary Guardianship Could Be the Help You Need
If you have recently given birth, or are facing an unplanned pregnancy, you may have found yourself in a position where life seems far too difficult to manage, and the responsibilities of parenthood only add to that. But what can you do?
You have options. You can:
- Try to parent your child
- Place your baby for adoption
- Explore temporary adoption (guardianship)
Because of the permanence of adoption and having to surrender your parental rights, you may be wondering about temporary adoptions, or “giving a baby up” for adoption to a family member short-term. This makes sense — you love your child, and you don’t want to lose them. But you also know you need help, and getting that help while also being a parent won’t work.
Temporary adoption, however, isn’t the answer. At least, it’s not quite the answer. The idea of temporary adoption for a child slightly misunderstands the adoption process. That being said, there is a solution that fits what you are looking for, and it’s called temporary legal guardianship.
American Adoptions specializes in domestic infant adoption, and we would be more than happy to discuss the life-changing benefits adoption can provide for you and your child. We also understand that you are at an overwhelming stage in your life and that reliable information on the options you have available for your situation is highly important.
You can call us at 1-800-ADOPTION to speak with a trained adoption professional anytime, 24/7, or you can get more information here. Until then, continue reading this guide on temporary adoption and the options you have available.
I Want to Give My Child Away Temporarily
Oftentimes, when discussing adoption with prospective birth mothers, we hear the comment, “I want to give my child away temporarily.” Although there are situations where this can ultimately occur, if you are asking, “Can I temporarily adopt my baby out?”, the answer is no.
Adoption requires the use of attorneys and court systems to ensure the process is being completed legally and ethically. When you place your baby or child for adoption and complete the adoption process, it is always a permanent decision. This is true regardless of whether you don’t personally know the adoptive parents or if you are giving a baby up for adoption to family members. This is a legal matter, and it is in the best interest of the birth mother, adoptive family, and child for the decision to be final when a placement is made.
In an adoption, the birth mother does not make her final adoption decision until she completes the paperwork near the end of the process. In the case of infant adoptions, a prospective birth mother cannot complete this paperwork until after her child is born. Once the adoption paperwork is signed, and any applicable revocation period has passed, parental rights are officially terminated — which is why there cannot be a temporary adoption.
This doesn’t mean the connection between the birth mother and child will be terminated. More than 90 percent of domestic infant adoptions include some form of openness. In the modern adoption process, goodbye doesn’t have to be forever. Through different forms of communication, a birth mother can stay connected with her child, even after a placement has happened in adoption.
For some women, knowing that “goodbye” isn’t forever gives them the comfort they need to proceed with a permanent adoption decision. However, for others, this could be disheartening information. Even with the possibility of open adoption, you may not want to cut parental ties to your children permanently. You know you need a break to get some things in order, but you don’t think adoption is the right answer in your circumstances. There is still good news. When you ask about temporary adoption, the idea you have in mind does most likely exist. It just goes by a different name.
What is Temporary Legal Guardianship?
Guardianship is a term that refers to the act of one individual assuming legal responsibility for another. This involves care, protection, handling of health, education, and more. Typically, guardianship involves an adult assuming responsibility for a minor who is not their biological child, although guardianship can also be given to adults.
A temporary legal guardianship is a guardianship arrangement with a specific purpose for a set length of time. The responsibilities are similar to those of an adoptive parent, but the situation is not permanent. This isn’t a temporary adoption, but it is likely what you had in mind.
Temporary guardianship can be formed voluntarily — meaning you can choose the guardian and help set the terms for the arrangement. Unlike when a child is placed into foster care, this can be your choice as the mother. There may be many different reasons to choose this route — it could give you the time you need to find a steady job, complete a rehab program or find housing. These are all acceptable reasons to seek out a temporary guardianship for your child.
Who Could Be My Child’s Temporary Legal Guardian?
You can choose the person, or couple, who you would like to be the temporary guardian of your child. Family members, friends, or close acquaintances are often selected to be temporary legal guardians. This is an important decision to make. You need to be sure that you are choosing responsible people who you can completely trust. And, of course, you will need to choose someone who has agreed to this plan.
While this is not a temporary adoption, you are choosing the people who will take care of your child, even though they will not assume the role of parent. The distinction between temporary adoption and temporary guardianship is important because the relationship roles need to be defined. A guardian is not a parent, which is important for a child to understand. It’s also important to know that you will maintain some responsibility for your child during the term of the guardianship, and you may be required to continue supporting them financially while they are in a temporary guardian’s care.
How Long Can Temporary Guardianship Last?
Each state has unique temporary guardianship laws. Which state you live in will determine how long your temporary guardianship can last. Typically, this arrangement lasts up to 60 days. If your initial hope for temporary adoption involved a longer time range than this, there is still a chance that a temporary guardianship can be established for longer than 60 days. However, it is not as common.
Who Can Help Me with Temporary Legal Guardianship?
As with any matter concerning family law, it is a good idea to contact a trustworthy attorney about your temporary guardianship plan. In order to legally establish this guardianship, there will be paperwork involved that may be difficult to understand. Having an attorney to guide you through the process will make sure everything is correct and being completed legally and ethically.
If you’re still in the process of deciding on your best option, we can provide you with more information on how choosing adoption for your baby may be the best decision you make.
No matter what the circumstances are, help is always available. If you’d like to schedule a time to speak with an adoption specialist about making a permanent adoption plan for your baby, you can always fill out our info form for free information.
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