“I don’t want my baby.” — Perhaps you’ve experienced an unexpected pregnancy and are having feelings of depression and hopelessness after bringing baby home. If you’ve tried to parent and have found this is not possible for you at this time, there are options available to you.
You tried to parent your infant and realize this is not a possibility for you at this time. Perhaps the baby’s father or your family members did not offer the help they promised. Maybe you find the scheduling and demands of an infant too much for you to handle. You might have discovered you have no desire to be a parent. You may not have the financial means to parent. Whatever the reason, it is important to take time to think through you options carefully.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, you may be experiencing "postpartum blues." After pregnancy and delivery some women find themselves crying frequently or feeling overly sad, anxious, experiencing low energy or feeling detached from their infant. This is not a personal failure—it is a result of changes in your hormones after the birth. Before making any decisions, speak to a counselor. They can help you sort through your situation. If you need financial assistance or housing, they can refer you to local social services. If you need emotional support, they can find a therapist for you in your community. They may be able to help you work things through with the baby’s father or your family.
If you have considered all the options and still feel you want to find another home for your baby, you can place your child in temporary foster care or arrange for an adoption. You have choices and the decision is yours. However, It is important to know the baby father’s wishes as well, since if he is known, he will be asked to agree to the plan.
TEMPORARY FOSTER CARE
You can contact your local social service agency and ask for assistance. One of the options might be to place your child in temporary care while you work out a long range plan. While your child is cared for by a licensed foster care family, you will work with your social worker to obtain necessary services so you can resume parenting or make a more permanent adoption plan for your baby. During this time, you may be allowed visits with your baby.
KINSHIP CARE
Similar to a foster care arrangement, one of your family members can become a certified home to care for your child while you make a decision. They may be eligible for a monthly stipend to help care for the baby.
PRIVATE FAMILY ARRANGEMENT
Similar to Kinship care but without Social Service involvement, you can arrange for a family member (your or the baby’s father’s) to care for the baby. It is best to work out a written agreement regarding financial assistance and visitation.
ADOPTION
You can make an adoption plan for your baby. It is important to inform the baby's father (if known) and get his approval. You can place your child through foster care (as stated above) or do a private adoption through an attorney or private agency. Working with social workers and attorneys, you may have the option of selecting the individual or couple who will raise your child. You can work out any arrangement for contact the baby and the family after the adoption at this time, as well.
Depending on the age of your baby (varies state to state), you may have the option of PLACING YOUR CHILD THROUGH SAFE HAVEN.
You can hand an infant in good physical condition to a person at a Safe Haven location. You will not sign any papers and do not have to give your name. If you don’t return to the Safe Haven location in a specified period of time requesting to resume your parental responsibilities, a local court will terminate your rights and move toward the baby’s adoption through a local Social Services Agency. (The age of an infant covered by Safe Haven laws and the time to change your mind varies from state to state.)
There are people in your community who are there to help. Talk to the baby’s father, your family, his family, your friends, local Social Services, Planned Parenthood, counselors, local adoption attorneys or private adoption agencies. Think this through carefully. Take time to consider your options.