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Is Temporary Adoption Possible? [Temporary Legal Guardianship]

If you’re curious about temporary adoption because you’re not ready to parent but don’t want to be permanently separated from your child, you’ve come to the right place.

Many prospective birth parents dealing with an unplanned pregnancy might have conflicting feelings about placing their baby for adoption.  You’re not alone. Many expectant mothers have felt this way before. You might not feel like you are ready for the responsibilities of parenthood, but you’re not sure if you can cope with “giving your baby up.”

You might want to place your baby for adoption temporarily or have a family member care for them until you feel you can provide for your child. These are understandable thoughts to have. You want what’s best for your baby, but you also don’t want to lose them.

It’s important to note that there is no such thing as temporary adoption, at least from a legal perspective. What you might be asking about is known as temporary legal guardianship.

I Want to Give my Child Away Temporarily [Is this an Option?]

While it might be discouraging to hear, you cannot temporarily place your baby for adoption. Adoption is always a permanent decision, to make things easier for everyone involved.

When you “give your baby up” for adoption, you sign adoption papers that consent to the adoption and terminate your parental rights. In the state of Ohio, there is no revocation period, which means you cannot change your mind once the papers are signed.  If temporary adoptions were allowed, there could be too much back and forth. This inconsistency would be hard on everyone.

However, while adoption is permanent, it doesn’t have to mean goodbye forever. We make sure all the hopeful adoptive families we work with are open to post-placement communication through open adoption. It will be up to you to propose how open you would like the adoption to be.  Through a post-placement contact arrangement with the adoptive parents, you can maintain some form of contact with your child. This could be in the form of pictures, letters, phone calls and even in-person visits. Open adoptions are typically healthier for the birth parents and the child in the long run.

What is Temporary Legal Guardianship?

Even though temporary adoption isn’t an option, temporary legal guardianship is definitely a viable option. In a legal guardianship, a family member or a close friend will assume legal custody of your child. The guardian will assume all parental roles by taking them into their home, providing for them emotionally and financially and overseeing their education.  Temporary legal guardianship is usually in place for a predetermined amount of time.  Whether you need time to become more financially stable or prepare emotionally to become a parent, temporary legal guardianship might be for you.

While this isn’t quite temporary adoption, it still allows you to give your child a safe and loving home while you work to improve your situation. Just as with adoption, you get to choose the legal guardian and what you would like the guardianship to entail.

Who Can Be My Child’s Temporary Legal Guardian?

You will always get to choose your child’s temporary legal guardian. Whoever you choose should be someone you trust and who will care for your child with love and compassion. While the temporary legal guardian is often family members or friends, it’s important that you don’t choose the guardian out of convenience or obligation. Whoever you choose to be your child’s temporary legal guardian should always be fully aware of what temporary guardianship entails, and what you expect from them.

In addition to this, it’s also important your child understand that the guardian is not their parent so that there is no confusion when you resume custody. During a temporary guardianship, you are not completely exempt from all responsibility. You may be required to provide financial assistance to your child while they are in the care of the temporary guardian.

What to Consider

While temporary legal guardianship might seem like the perfect solution to your conflicting emotions about not wanting to fully commit to adoption, it is not without its challenges. 

Placing your child in the care of a temporary legal guardianship might allow you time to get your affairs in order or prepare to care for the child further down the line. It can be difficult to see someone else raise your child, even if you know that person.

Before deciding on temporary legal guardianship, think about whether or not you can handle the following:

  • It may be difficult to see someone else raising your child.  You may feel like you are missing out on raising them.

  • You may not agree with how the guardian chooses to raise your child. This can cause discomfort for you, and put a strain on your relationship with the guardian.

  • It may be difficult for your child and the guardian when you resume custody. This is completely natural, and should not be taken personally. Your child and the guardian have likely formed a close bond.

  • You will likely have to provide some form of financial support to your child while they are in the custody of the temporary legal guardian.

If you are prepared to handle the potential difficulties that may arise with a temporary legal guardianship, then this could be a wonderful choice for you and your child.

How Long Can Temporary Legal Guardianship Last?

The length of the temporary legal guardianship will vary depending on the state you’re in. Typically a temporary legal guardianship lasts up to 60 days. However, you can attempt to get temporary legal guardianship that exceeds 60 days, if you feel that you need more time to prepare for parenthood.

Final Thoughts

So even though temporary adoption isn’t an option, there is a solution. If you’re in a situation where you aren’t prepared to be a parent, but you don’t want to lose your child, temporary legal guardianship could be the best choice you make. You will be able to take the time you need to improve your situation while your child is taken care of in a safe and stable environment. While American Adoptions does not specialize in temporary legal guardianship, our adoption specialists can point you in the right direction.  Contact us online to get more information, or call 1-800-ADOPTION.

Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. American Adoptions provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.

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