If you are pregnant, and are not yet 18-years-old, you may wonder what rights you legally have. In most cases, a teenager can't enter into a legally binding contract, which may make you question whether you are able to give your child up for adoption or decide upon adoptive parents. Here are a few of the questions you may have if you find yourself pregnant as a teenager.
Can a Teenager Enter Into a Contract to Give Their Child Up For Adoption?
While you typically must be 18 or older to enter into a legally binding contract, teenagers under 18 can enter into a contract to give their baby up for adoption as long as they have the mental capacity to do so and do so under their own free will. You do not need parental consent to enter into this contract, nor do you need legal counsel. However, as long as you are not emancipated from your parents, the courts do have to notify your parents or legal guardians about any legal hearings in regards to the adoption. This means that you can't secretly give your child up.
Can the Parents of the Teenager Stop the Adoption If They Don't Agree With It?
If your parents do not want you to give your child up for adoption, you may be wondering if they can stop you. As long as you have the mental capacity required to enter into an adoption agreement, they cannot prevent you from doing so. However, your parents may be able to petition the court to attempt to gain custody of your child or ask the courts to allow them to adopt your baby. If your baby is already born and has already established a relationship with you and your parents, the courts may feel it is best to keep the baby with relatives, unless you can prove that it will be detrimental to the child. However, this varies based on grandparents' rights in the state you reside.
Can a Teenager Select the Adoptive Parents and Type of Adoption They Want?
As a pregnant teenager, you may wonder if you are able to select the adoptive parents and decide what type of adoption you would like. In some states, you cannot enter into a contract to give your child up for adoption until the child is born and/or a waiting period has passed. In other states, you can enter into the contract before the baby is born.
If you live in a state that doesn't allow you to enter into a contract until the child is born, you may be required to have parental consent to begin working with an adoption agency as a minor. While you always have the right to give your child up for adoption, this right does not begin until the child is born in some states, which is why parental consent may be needed to start the process before the child is born.
While you can't enter into the contract until the child is born, if you have parental consent to begin the process, you can begin to find an adoptive family and decide whether you want an open, closed or semi-open adoption. If your parents do not consent, you may be unable to select the adoptive parents and type of adoption you want until the child is actually born. Alternatively, you always have the option of placing your child with an adoption agency and having them find a loving home for your child without you having any say in who adopts the baby.
What Options are Available to Teens Who Want to Keep Their Babies But Don't Have Supportive Parents?
Adoption is a great option for teenagers who know that they don't want to or can't care for their babies. However, if you think you may be able to care for your child, but your family isn't supportive, you may be wondering if adoption is the only option for you. There are different options available to you to help you keep your child if you want. There are different county, state and federal government programs that can provide you with temporary financial support until you are able to get a job and support a child on your own. The department of health and human services in your county can assist you with applying for these types of programs.
Deciding to give your child up for adoption is a tough decision. However, getting answers to the questions you have will help you better to understand what your rights are and what you can expect. If you ever have any questions, an adoption counselor or family lawyer can meet with you and give you detailed information given the specifics of your situation. This can help you to decide whether adoption is right for you and what rights you have if you move forward with this process. For more information on adoption, consider websites like http://www.achildsdream.org.