Giving Your Child up for Adoption

Updated on September 20, 2011
I.S. asks from Marblehead, MA
29 answers

Has anyone ever felt that their child would be better off living with a family who can provide them with all they deserve? I love my three year old daughter more than anything in this world but I've had such a hard time finding work. I'm hoping to very soon be hired as an EMT by an ambulance company in the Boston area but if I don't I'm really scared because we will be totally broke. I don't want to expose my child to having to live in a shelter or an area that is surrounded by sex offenders, criminals, flying gunshots and live in a cockroach infested, lead painted apartment. I just won't expose my child to that life, she deserves better. I suppose it's best to have faith that I will get the job with the ambulance company. If worst comes to worst her godparents are willing to adopt her and I'd still be able to see her but I don't know if I could live myself knowing that I gave her up and it would be so tramatic on her. I'm scared and feel lost. I'm also so scared of being judged for even considering the idea of adoption. What would you do? Would you expose your child or children to living in a shelter or an area that is surrounded by sex offenders, criminals, flying gunshots and live in a cockroach infested, lead painted apartment? I know that there is aid out there, I've looked into it. In MA we can only get $80.00 per month for a two person family, food stamps for $75.00 a month and Mass Health, the Mass Health is great gift that MA provides but the aid isn't enough to live on even along with small amount of child support her father pays but otherwise doesn't care for her. I'm not at a point where I have to give her up but it sits in the back of mind and frightens me. I'm open to any ideas any of you single mothers out there may have for us.
Thank you so much.

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answers from Tulsa on

Wow. I was in your situation before, but not with a child. I never went to a shelter because I was too scared of all the things you wrote. I would NOT give your child up for adoption, though I think that shows love.

Do you have family? If you have medical skills, you might be able to live in with an elderly person or couple and help them live independently. Some hate kids while others would love to have a child around. Of course, you would have to check them out and they you, but it would be a blessing to you both.

13 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Adoption should be a choice of last resort. Your daughter is bonded with you. Breaking that bond at this age could permanently damage her more than any of the other things you're afraid might happen.

I've known many families in your situation. Times always get better. And......even without money you do not have to expose your daughter to "sex offenders, criminals, flying gunshots or living in cockroach infested, lead painted apartment." It's all about using available resources and making good decision.

Have you looked into getting housing assistance? My daughter lived in an "affordable housing" apartment. It is a nice complex without the problems you cite. Her rent was based on her income. Yes, you do have to have an income to get in but you will find a job. My daughter was getting public assistance. She needed a bit more money to qualify and I gave her that amount. Perhaps the godparents would help you with that.

I'm familiar with shelters. They can be a very good thing. They provide counseling, a warm secure place to live, as well as an opportunity to be around other women in similar circumstances. I would go to one in a minute if I were in your shoes.

I urge you to find emotional support for yourself. I suggest Mass Health will provide mental health services. You would also qualify for county mental health. If you don't attend church, I suggest that doing so could provide you with both physical and emotional support.

Please do not place your daughter for adoption. She needs you!!!!!! You are her mother! To be abandoned by you will cause her great lifelong distress. Your emotional involvement with her is ever bit as important as food.

Now, if you don't love her, are unable to be close, are physically or emotionally abusive then adoption could be an option but from your description I believe that you are her best choice as a caretaker.

13 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I have no easy solution for you, but I will pray for you and your family.

Also, I have a paramedic friend that works for a company in the Springfield area. Let me know if you are interested and I'll see if I can put you both in touch.

God bless you. Clearly you are a caring, loving Mama!

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Adoption and doing everything without help aren't the only two options. If her godparents would be willing to adopt her, what about letting the TWO of you live there? You could pay them reasonable rent for room and board, they could help you with childcare etc.

They are obviously close friends of yours or you wouldn't have chosen them as her godparents. ASK FOR HELP.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

The first thing I think I would do in that situation is get the heck out of dodge. Take the last bit of money you can scrape together and move to the midwest. There are communities where the cost of living is less. Then find a shelter for woman and children that will not be in a horrible neighborhood. In our area we have a program that will help get people on their feet. There is sometimes a waiting list. But there are decent shelters here and when you stay in a shelter you are put at the top of the list for section 8 housing that's not cockroach infested. Not to say that most is or isn't. I'm just saying that I've lived in this area for 20+ years and many of my daycare moms have been in your shoes but have been able to get up and out of poverty.

Since you have skills and are an EMT, you could also look for a job anyplace around the country. You need to pray and act before things get worse.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Oh my, this is tough. I cannot imagine giving up my daughter for adoption. Children don't need things, they need you to love them, make them feel secure, do your best to provide for them. Talk to a social worker to see what ALL your options are. Do you have family to stay with? Do the God-parents have to adopt her? If they love her, and you, why not just let her (or even both of you) stay with them for a until you get on your feet. Have you asked? I know it would be tough to have another family staying with us indefinitely, but I would do it in a heartbeat if necessary. Please try to find some help and don't doubt yourself as a mommy. YOU are what's best for her. Can you talk to a counselor about this? There are services to provide free counseling to help you get through this tough time. I am so sorry. You need a hug! Praying for you and your situation. I just cannot imagine how you're feeling right now.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Des Moines on

I'm sorry you find yourself in this position. If you are this concerned about being able to provide an environment suitable for her, can't you ask her godparents or others for help? Maybe not give you money, but can't your daughter maybe just stay with them or something for awhile? Why make it PERMANENT with adoption? I'm sorry, I cannot imagine doing that. I can't judge and say I know what I would do if faced with the problems you are facing, but adoption is a permanent thing and if you can provide your daughter with love and guidance and stability than you are the best thing to be in her life. She will feel abandoned. I have worked as a state social worker/case worker for years and have seen countless parents raise wonderful and happy children despite severe financial setbacks/strains. The apartment may be in terrible repair, neighbors doing drugs etc. but the child knows they are loved and fed and played with and all these things that you CAN do for your daughter. And yes, I have seen very happy and well off young children staying in shelters with their parents.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Joplin on

For me personally I do not think once a child had been in my care for 3 years that I could give him or her up without having done everything in my power to keep him or her.
Is there family you can turn to? Have you looked into a church for some assistance? Have you turned to the Salvation Army and asked for assistance?
Have you gone and donated blood?
I am so sorry you are having these struggles, but I would suggest getting some counselling before you made any major decisions. The only thing that would change my opinion about putting the 3 year old up for adoption is if you yourself were not a good role model and you had an alcohol or drug addiction or if you were abusive ( mentally or physically)

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Albany on

Another vote for don't give up. You CAN do this Mom, you must!

Since you have health coverage (right?) for yourself, I'd also suggest you talk to a doctor you know and trust about depression. You need to take care of yourself so you can take care of your girl.

Sending you strength of a thousand determined moms, and no small amount of luck as well!


8 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I live with in a reasonable distance from you, please message me if you ever need support, need help finding resources, or just need to vent!! Your daughter is bonded with you and I dont feel giving her up would be the best thing. People who have absolutely nothing when they have their family that is everything! Seriously if you need help I can find you phone numbers or support groups best to my ability! Stay strong!

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I'm not a young single mother, but I feel compelled to respond.

Are you getting ANY child support from your daughter's father? You certainly should be. I would file for that yesterday!

I know you are scared and I understand you have fears, but I honestly think that I would feel that my child is better off with me, regardless of our circumstances.

The amount of aid you quote seems really, really low.
There are food banks, churches, TANF,

Links for MA:
TAFDC (Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children), ESP (Employment Services Program), TANF | 1-800-249-2007

Have you spoken to a counselor at a women's shelter?

I hope you get the job you're looking for. God bless.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

In general, children are best off with people who love them. I've seen children go from a fairly well-tended foster home back to their chaotic, filthy, overwhelmed house with their father. (Mom was genuinely not safe and removed from the picture.) At their dad's house, they were dirty, exposed to inappropriate movies, and sometimes not eating well. And they were happier. The desperate fear that no one loved them left their eyes. The children might have been dirty, but their confidence blossomed and their responsiveness to discipline improved. Love makes up for a lot.

That said, I can think of many situations under which I would consider leaving my child in the care of another responsible adult for an extended time period. An inability to provide marginally safe housing is one such situation. An inability to provide medical care would be another such situation.

It is ideal to get yourself and your child into a safe situation together. We live in a shared house and it works well. Can you and your daughter both move in with her godparents? Or someone else you could live well with? Check out the book "Radical Homemakers". If you have the skills to be a Radical Homemaker, you could get a "job" in almost any overwhelmed household and save everyone a whole lot of money and stress. Rethink your skills. Find people who need the skills you can offer and can offer safe room and board in return. A "sandwich generation" family (medically frail parents and young children) might be ecstatic to have a trained medical person around to take care of grandma. You are very employable. You might just have to re-think your definition of a job.

If you decide you do need to leave your child with her godparents for a while, consider it an extended childcare arrangement, not an adoption. Or better yet, consider them your new co-parents. You may have to sign a few legal papers so they can make emergency medical decisions and such, but you do not have to sign away all your parental rights. At most, you could grant them *temporary* guardianship while you get settled into a better place.

Think of it this way. Two parents get an amicable divorce. Since the schools are better in Dad's neighborhood, they decide that the kids will be with him every weekday. Mom does stuff with the kids on weekends. Does this make her less of a parent? Of course not! It just means she's making decisions that are in the best interests of her children. She's still present and very, very involved.

Is this traumatic for the kids? Depends on the kid and the definition of trauma. Some kids sail easily through every transition, no matter how large. Some kids get hysterical if you rearrange the furniture. As long as all the adults are working well together for the best interests of the children, most kids manage just fine.

Hopefully you will get that job. But if not, you still have many, many options. You will find something that works for you. It might not be your first choice, but you will find something that works.

Blessings and good luck.

I.'s reaction is both perfectly normal and extremely healthy. It's the reaction of an incredibly devoted mother, a mother who values her child's well-being above her personal feelings. I know people who have put their children in extended care of others for a variety of reasons. It's usually an incredibly painful sacrifice, done only when all other healthy alternatives have been exhausted. The closest possible comparison I can think of is donating a kidney to your child. She is considering ALL options as she ponders what is in her child's best interests....and asking us to help her come up with some more options.

In World War II, many British parents sent their children to be fostered in the US, where they would be safe from the bombing raids. Would you call their reaction an unhealthy abandonment of their kids? I wouldn't. There are times when the most loving action is to evacuate your children....even if you can't go with them. Dying by the side of your children is love. Keeping your children by you so they can die by your side is selfish.

I don't think I. is in that situation yet, and she doesn't think so either. But she's close enough to be able to imagine it and that's scary as hell. If there's only one spot on a lifeboat, I will give it to my child. Obviously, so would I.. As long as there are two spots on the lifeboat, though, it's pretty clear to me that I. will be by her child's side. As would I.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

If i were your childs godparents and willing to take your child, id be willing to take you as well, for a few months. Its just a thought. You could save and get a leg up. Ive helped out countless people in my life live for free to get ahead in life. People do, do that. Dont be scared to ask. But in answer to your question, no i couldnt give my kids up without a better reason. You can be poor and happy. Its just the way in which you do it.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I'm so sorry u are having such a hard time sweetie. For some reason I just get a feeling that it won't come to that for you. I believe you will get the job and do whatever it takes to say with your daughter. Pray for God to guide you and to bless you financially. I will too. May God bless you and your daughter in every way :)

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Get room mates to off set costs or move in with relatives. While waiting to hear back about this job, apply for a whole bunch of others, even a couple of part-time jobs and do what you can so you don't get in too deep. With your skills, couldn't you find work as a home health aide or assistant at an elderly care home, or as a house helper for a family needing someone with medical skills? Have you applied for similar work in other cities or states? Why do you have to stay in Mass?

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I will tell you that you MUST keep your daughter unless you do not want her. She has bonded with you already & you will do permanent damage to her by leaving her at this stage in her life.

My mom was a young single woman who did not have the means to support me. We bounced around a lot, we slept at shelters on park benches, 'friends' homes, etc. To this day rats & roaches make me literally sick. But I would rather have been with my mom over someone else's warm comforting home. At age 11 I ended up in a foster home because my mom just couldn't handle the burden of me anymore, although I did see her on weekends.

I am sure that the Godparents or anyone else you have a relationship with (friends/family) would take you in to help you get on your feet. Heck if you lived near me, we would take you in.

Don't give up, keep fighting & things will work out. You have a lot of great advice given to you but most of all you have prayers from all of us.

Go apply for help & get on your feet. You are worth it & so is your daughter.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

do you have family to help you? I know you mentioned your godparents would adopt, but what about just living with them?

would a smaller population locale offer more opportunity for you?

I wish you Peace & will offer up prayers. Stay strong.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Oh sweet lady,

We currently raise our (now four year old) niece. She was just shy of three when we first started caring for her. She's my sister's daughter, and my sister is drug addicted and mentally unstable. My sister made a great act of love by allowing for her to come to us. It was not easy for her to let go - it's still not - but to keep my niece with her during her break (and since then) would have been far more detrimental.

My sister was not a stable mother. In many ways, she neglected my niece's needs. Still, they had a deep bond and my sister showed up for her child in many ways. My niece was devastated when she "lost" her mother. I can not tell you how hard those first months were, nursing a toddler back to health (emotional/physical/spiritual) after she lost her innate trust in the world. Loosing my sister, for her, was...deeply affecting. Necessary, yes. Necessary and tragic and traumatic.

My niece walked around like a broken shell for a long time. She was angry and upset and confused. She hurt in her deepest core. I would not wish that pain on my worst enemy, yet I am so grateful that my sister made the loving decision to let her go. Does that make sense?

So yes, sometimes it is necessary to give our children up. Sometimes, it is THE greatest act of love we can give them. I do not believe living in poverty is reason enough. If a parent's relationship to their child is damaging, that is something different.

Poverty is hard. It isn't your fault, and it isn't always within our control. We need not feel shame and guilt about it, rather we simply need to try to network, to be resilient, and to find options. This is not always easy, and I shouldn't pretend it is. Often, though, we will find ways to survive and even to flourish.

It's very late here and I have to go to bed, but I'll write about resources, budgets, and ways to get by tomorrow. Take heart, there are so many happy not-wealthy children out there. The MOST important thing is love. If you are providing active love to your child, then you are doing just fine. It's hard, this world, but even still our children can still grow strong and deeply content with the gift we can give: Love, love, love.

Until tomorrow, hugs.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Is there any way you can move to a safer area and get a job there? Perhaps rent a room or stay with family or close friends for a while? I know cost of living is very high in the east coast.

Do you have the option of returning to school? You can get student loans, grants and daycare subsidies, plus it will give you an option of being able to afford a better life in the long term.

Continue to job search, go every single day and don't wait to hear back about this job. My church offers some assistance and free career counseling, about how to find a job, how/where to network, resume and interviewing advice.... It may be able to help you:

job search tips:

find a location near you:

If you truly feel you need to give her up, I did have a friend who gave her 2 year old up for adoption. It was an open adoption so she could still see her. There is also the option of legal guardianship if the godparents take her, it doesn't have to be permanent either like adoption would be. It would be very tough, I believe on both of you for a permanent adoption, but your heart is in the right place in wanting a good future for your dear child. Regardless, my church also offers free adoption counseling. They can offer you resources and assistance, they don't push for adoption, but they can help educate you on your options:

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

You've shown great courage to post your question here and you've received some excellent responses by the moms here. Personally, I would rather die myself than give up my child for adoption. I would never recover from that and I doubt she would, either. Your daughter doesn't deserve "things" she deserves your love. I know that there are answers out there, many moms have posted ideas. Use your love of your daughter to find a workable solution. The state that you live in is just that, a state. Start doing some research immediately to figure out a better and more affordable state to live in. I hate to say this, because I'm not turning this into a political post, but pay particular attention to states that are drastically cutting services for the poor and needy and steer the heck away from those states. I'm praying for your strength to get through this difficult time. We women are made of tough stuff when it comes to taking care of our families and children. Draw on that innate toughness and tell yourself that you can do this. Because you CAN ... and you must. Big hugs to you.

UPDATE: Just saw your other post on your daughter's father. Is he paying child support? Have you established paternity? If not, this should be your first step. Who cares if he wasn't thrilled to have a child. He is a father now, like it or not, and he needs to man up. Very best of luck.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Barbara on

No, I have never felt she would be better off with anybody else. I adopted my daughter (my sister's child) and took her out of a horrible situation with no gas, electricity or the desire from my sister to be a mother when she was ten days old.

At three and a half your daughter is totally and completely bonded with you! This would have been something to consider four years ago. How are you making it work financially now? Do you look for a job (apply, follow up, interview, networking and using every resource available) every single day of the week full time? Job hunting should be your two full time jobs. Are you putting all of your eggs in one basket for this EMT job, it sounds like you are. I would do everything in the world to provide for my daughter, millions of women do it every day without help.

Pull it together for your daughter and succeed, she needs you. She does deserve better than living in a terrible neighborhood and that should be provided by you. As suggested earlier to give your child up for adoption and then re-adopt her back...this is a child, a human, not a puppy in a shelter. So sad to read that awful suggestion.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Do not give up your child. And I say this as an adoptive parent so you know I have no problem with adoption. Just remember, as hard as things are right now, they are only temporary. Giving your daughter up will be permanent. You daughter does not need things, she needs her mommy. I wish I could offer more advice on your current living situation, but again, remember it's only temporary. Others have offered great advice, including leaving the area. Good luck to you and your daughter.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Why do you have to consider adoption? Can't someone, godparents or other, just keep her until you get on your feet? Maybe that's not possible but I would be willing to do that for someone and would think they might too. When you get on your feet then you could take her and until then you could visit her.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Hon, I have no words of wisdom.
I will pray for you and your daughter. Do not despair.
God will provide. I truly believe that.

May God Bless you in your time of need.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Appleton on

I know where you are coming from I was homeless many years ago.

If you have no family ties to Marblehead, move. I don't know if you have checked other parts of the country for work but the last time I looked North Dakota had a 3.2% unemployment situation and were looking for people to move there to take jobs. Get online and look in other areas for a job.

In the meantime contact the Salvation Army for help. They have resourses and contacts for a lot of help that is available. They may even know of a way to help you move to another state for work, it doesn't hurt to ask.

Good luck sweetie, hang in there. Things will get better.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Cincinnati on

I use to live in MA, are you sure about the food stamp amounts. I knew alot of single moms and they got more then that in food stamps. You should look in the woman and childrens shelters. They are generally alot safer then you seem to be thinking. but no I could never give my 3 yr old up. I might be able to give up a newborn if i knew in advnace I would have to, but i think i would even struggle with that

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I would do anything and everything to keep my child! Call everyone you know. Someone will help you. Pray for what's best for you and your child. I have a 3 year old and cannot IMAGINE letting her go for anything!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

First, don't give up hope, but, you do what you have to do. You didn't mention a church. Are you involved in a church? They often have food banks to assist with. If you have to and the Godparents can assist with your child's care and they will give her a better life, that wouldn't be a bad option. The adoption will allow them to claim her on their insurance and taxes. I know people who have done this when the parents live in a Country that doesn't offer as much opportunity.

Keep weighing your options and keep looking for work. If you have to give her up for adoption, stay in her life, and then undo the adoption (or whatever is best) once you are able to offer stability.

Best wishes.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

have you thought of relocating? like to another state?

i know MA and its one of the most expensive states to live in and the taxes are out of this world ridiculous.

try researching some of the cheapest states to live in. i know some are texas, florida and ohio.

I know it'd be scary moving to a new place and not knowing anyone, but it's an option for a better life. i know that other states have better aid programs. so consider that and see if you could begin sending resumes or applying in other states... and possibly get some bites.

i live in austin, tx and know that when i moved to washington, dc my rent doubled (and i went from a nice neighborhood in austin to a crappy and dangerous one in DC) and i could barely afford to feed myself... and i had no children and a good job!

it can make all the difference.

2 moms found this helpful
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