All parent-child relationships are not happy ones. As a child, can you put yourself up for adoption at 14 if you are unhappy with your relationship with your parents? Can you do it if they are abusive or want to voluntarily give you up? Let’s find out
According to UNICEF, there are nearly 153 million orphans all over the world. Adoption is a way to make their lives better and provide all the primary needs they deserve.
Sometimes, you might have parents but still be in a situation where you want to put yourself up for adoption. So, can you put yourself for adoption at 14? Unfortunately, you cannot put yourself for adoption at age 14.
Your parents have legal rights over you till you have reached 18 years. Once you become 18 years, you can put yourself up for adoption. However, there are certain circumstances where parental rights no longer hold, in which case you can be put up for adoption before 18 years of age.
We discuss more about child adoption if you are a minor in the article below.
Can You Put Yourself Up For Adoption?
Typically as a legal adult, you are free to do almost anything, including putting yourself up for adoption. However, the scenario is very different if you are not an adult. There are only certain circumstances where you can be put up for adoption as a minor, which we will discuss in the section below.
What If You Are Above 18 Years Of Age?
The parents who want to adopt a child have to go through various legal processes like giving a detailed home study, court hearing, and others. If the judge finds everything good, he issues adoption discretion by which a new birth certificate is made where there is the adoptive families name and not biological parents.
If your age is over 18 years, then the adoptive agencies will not take any responsibility for placing you in a good and caring family. However, you can put yourself for adoption if you find someone who is ready to accept you. You need to follow these steps.
#1. Find An Adult Who Wants To Adopt You
Your first step should be to find an adult who would like to adopt you. You can look towards relatives that are a parental figure to you, or else community members who you look up to and whose family you want to be part of. You can also talk to the officials at the local social services office
#2.Research Adult Adoption Laws Of Your State
Your next step should be to research the adult adoption laws of your Sate. Some states in the United States forbid adult adoption. Other states have limitations regarding age, disabilities, and others.
For instance, in Nevada, the adoptive parents should be ten years older than the adoptee. So, the rules and regulations for adopting an adult differ from one State to another.
I will suggest first knowing the rules and regulations of the State in which you are residing. If the State forbids adoption for adults or some laws restricts you from adoption, you can move to another state.
#3. Find Forms For Case Filing
The person who wants to adopt you needs to file a petition in the court for hearings so that the case will be open in the court and the judge can decide on adoption. You may also require different other forms to fill for hearing. Most of the court forms are available online. But if you cannot find it, then it’s better to hire an Attorney. The attorney will do a draft and submit all the necessary forms required for adoption. The attorneys will charge fees for the time they will work with you.
#4. Attend Hearing In The Court
You and the person who wants to adopt you should be present in the court on the day of the hearing. The judge may ask several questions to you and the one who wants to adopt you. The judge may agree or disagree with adoption. But if the judge agrees to adopt the, you will get an adoption decree signed by the judge.
You might also like to read: Can A 19 Year Old Adopt A 17 Year Old
What If You Are Below 18 Years Of Age? Can you put yourself up for adoption at 14?
Your biological parents have certain rights over you if your age is below 18 years old. These rights need to be terminated to get eligible for adoption.
What Can Be The Reasons Behind Adoption If You Are 14?
If you are below 18 years old, then you cannot start the adoption process by yourself like adults. However, you may be eligible for adoption in some circumstances which we explain below.
When Parents Want Parental Rights To Be Voluntarily Terminated
If both of your biological parents are ready to give away their parental rights, you are eligible for adoption. The biological parents may know someone who wishes to adopt you by visiting any adoption agencies offices or friends and families.
In this case, your biological parents give up their parental rights and allow someone to adopt. During the child adoption process, your biological parent surrender all his legal rights to the adoptive parent. Depending on the state’s laws, you might then be able to make an adoption plan with your prospective adoptive parents. However, in some states an adoption plan cannot be made without parental consent.
The judge will approve the adoptive families request to take you along with them. But in some cases, the judge may disapprove mainly when your birth parents are not involved in abuse or negligence.
If your birth parents have abandoned you or left you in the local Child Welfare Office, the court may voluntarily ask your parents to give away their rights.
When Parent’s Rights Are Terminated Automatically By Child Welfare
Every state has a Child Welfare system for the protection of children. In severe cases where the child is suffering from abusive parents, the State may take an adoption attorney’s help and terminate your relationship with your biological parents in court.
If your parent’s rights are terminated, then you are eligible to be adopted by someone. Child welfare will automatically terminates the parental rights when
- Biological parents abandon you
- When biological parents knowingly put your life in danger
- When one of your parents murdered or killed another parent
- When your biological parents make you addicted to taking drugs or heavy alcohol.
- Sexual offenses
You might also like to read: Can You Adopt Your Sibling?
When your stepparent wants to adopt you
Stepparent adoption refers to adopting a child legally from his or her spouse. The other parent may be dead or willing to give up his parental rights, or the court may terminate his rights because of heavy alcoholism, drugs, or negligence. If any of these conditions hold true, then the stepparent can adopt you.
What If You’re Abused Or Neglected?
If you are abused or neglected, then you will not want to live with your biological parents. The child Welfare agency may help you remove from your home if they think your life is in danger.
Your parents may have an opportunity to clarify themselves, and you may return back to your home. So, it’s better to talk to your teacher, school counselor any adult whom you trust if you don’t feel safe and secure at your home. They may be able to involve child welfare and get your parents’ legal rights terminated.
Emancipation is an option if you cannot put yourself for child adoption like adults. You can file a petition in the court for emancipation if you are below 18 years old.
However, emancipation laws differ from one city to another. There are other States in the United States like Ohio which do not have emancipation laws, whereas, in other states, emancipation is allowed only if the child is 14 years old.
If both of your biological parents are not ready to give up their parental rights, but they don’t have a problem when you stay with someone, then guardianship is a good option.
The guardianship allows your guardian to make essential decisions like your parents. For instance, your guardian can take you to the doctor, enroll you in school, and others.
You might also like to read: How Much Does It Cost To Adopt My Grandchild?
Adoption Without Parental Consent
When new parents adopt you, then you start building a relationship with them. But before adoption, all the responsibilities and duties should be transferred from the birth parent to your adoptive parent.
Adoption with parental consent is a safeguard for both parties. It will assure your biological parents that you are safe and secure with your adoptive parent. The adoptive parent also feels assured that you are adopted with the consent of your parent.
But sometimes, adoption is possible without the consent of your parent. For instance, if your mother has given you birth, but she doesn’t know who your father is, you can be adopted without the consent of your biological father. Again if your parent is incarcerated for life without parole, you can be adopted without consent.
Adoption Without Parental Consent Where Parent Identity Cant Be Determined
If your father is not married to your mother, he should establish paternity to have the same rights as a father, but if he doesn’t establish it, your adoption will require his consent.
If someone has no legal relationship with you but still claims to be your father, he is called a putative father. You don’t require to take the putative father’s consent during adoption.
Adoption Without Parental Consent Unfit Parents
Every State in the United States has set specific fitness requirements for the parent. But if your parent does fit these criteria, then the court will terminate their parental rights. So once their parental rights are terminated, their consent is not required during adoption.
Frequently Asked Questions
#1. At what age child is best adopted?
It’s best to adopt a child below one year of age so that he will not have emotional or behavioral problems.
#2. What do you do when you don’t want your child anymore?
You can choose someone to become the guardian of your child, or your child may be adopted by any agency or your friend, or any family member.
#3. What happens if you don’t get adopted?
If you are not adopted, you will be placed in foster care and group homes until you are 18 years old.
A Few Final Words
There are many States in the United States where you cannot put yourself up for adoption till 18 years old. However, there are many other options, like you may think about emancipation or talking to your parents regarding guardianship.
You may also take help from any agency or your school counselor if you are abused or neglected by your parent. Thank you for reading the article and hope we have covered everything related to adoption as a minor that you wanted to read about. If you have further doubts, do write to us in the comments.