If you’re pregnant and in prison, you have a tough decision to make. Should you deliver your baby and try to parent once you’re released? Do you request an abortion from the medical provider at your prison? Or do you choose to place your baby for adoption?
Adoption allows you to choose your baby’s parents. They have put together profiles, participated in parent education, and completed a home study. This means they have been thoroughly background-checked, interviewed by a social worker, and completed all the necessary steps to qualify to adopt a child. You can choose an open, semi-open, or closed adoption. The choice is yours.
The Adoption Process If You’re Pregnant and in Prison
Lifetime will work with you to help you make your own individualized adoption plan that’s right for you.
Your prison caseworker will work closely with Lifetime as you create an adoption plan that fits your situation. Here are the steps to expect in the prison adoption process:
Step 1: Select Your Baby’s Adoptive Parents
Expectant inmates have the right to choose the parents for their baby that they feel are best. You may not able to meet the couple before the adoption or speak to them directly because of prison visitor restrictions. However, Lifetime will work with your caseworker to make sure that you’re able to find a waiting adoptive family who meets what you’re looking for in ideal parents for your baby.
Whether you’re looking for an adoptive couple in a certain state, a family that you can communicate through open adoption with after you’re released, or one who follows a particular faith, Lifetime can send you profiles of families that best match what you’re looking for.
Depending on the regulations of the prison you’re incarcerated in, you may be able to exchange letters and talk on the phone with the adoptive family while you’re serving time. We’ll help in contact between you and the adoptive family however we can, both while you’re in prison and after you’ve been released.
Step 2: Deliver Your Baby
When you’re pregnant and in prison, you’ll usually be moved to a nearby hospital once you go into labor. Depending on the restrictions of the hospital and your prison, you should be able to meet the adoptive family and decide how much time you spend with your baby.
Step 3: Sign Your Adoption Consent
At the hospital, there will be a waiting period before you can sign your adoption consent paperwork. This waiting period is mandated by the state you live in. An adoption lawyer can explain exactly what you are signing and how it affects your legal rights.
After the adoption consent paperwork has been signed and you’ve been discharged from the hospital, you’ll work on a post-placement adoption contact plan. You can also receive counseling as you process the complicated emotions that women often face after placing a baby for adoption.
Adoption is Legal If You’re Pregnant and in Prison
Some women worry that their sentence will be extended if they place their baby for adoption. It’s always legal and safe for you to choose adoption when it’s done through a licensed agency like Lifetime Adoption. By making an adoption plan with a licensed agency, you won’t need to worry about possible legal consequences like child endangerment, abandonment, or neglect. These charges are ones that women face if they’re unable to care for their child.
It’s never too late to legally choose adoption. Adoption is always an option for pregnant women in prison. If you’ve just begun serving your sentence while pregnant, you might wonder, “What happens to babies born in jail?” The answer may be that they can grow up happy and loved with adoptive parents who were carefully chosen by you.
Contact Lifetime online or by texting or calling us at 1-800-923-6784. We can send you free information if you’re pregnant and would like to learn more about placing your baby for adoption.
As the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Lifetime Adoption, Heather Featherston holds an MBA and is passionate about working with those facing adoption, pregnancy, and parenting issues. Heather has conducted training for birth parent advocates, spoken to professional groups, and has appeared on television and radio to discuss the multiple aspects of adoption. She has provided one-on-one support to women and hopeful adoptive parents working through adoption decisions.
Since 2002, she has been helping pregnant women and others in crisis to learn more about adoption. Heather also trains and speaks nationwide to pregnancy clinics to effectively meet the needs of women who want to explore adoption for their child. Today, she continues to address the concerns women have about adoption and supports the needs of women who choose adoption for their child.
As a published author of the book Called to Adoption, Featherston loves to see God’s hand at work every day as she helps children and families come together through adoption.