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Can I give my baby up for adoption if I am in jail or prison? 

Yes. If you are a woman and you are pregnant in jail or prison or you are about to go to prison knowing that you will be giving birth in prison, you may question whether a prison adoption is a possibility for you. The answer is yes.

Can someone adopt my child if I am in jail?

Yes. It is not uncommon for women in jail or going to prison (especially for a long or life sentence) to choose adoption for their children. Whether you are pregnant or the child is already born, adoption is an option and Adoption Choices of Texas can help.

How do I decide that adoption is right for me?

Choosing adoption for your baby is a difficult decision to make and, if you are pregnant in prison, it can be an even more complicated decision. However, when you are in prison, you will be assigned a prison caseworker who you can talk to about your pregnancy options. They will offer you the information you need to make the best choice for your baby and help you move forward with that pregnancy option. You can also contact an adoption specialist with Adoption Choices of Texas.

How does a jail adoption work? 

Each adoption is unique but most of adoption process in jail remains the same. You will be able to create an adoption plan, choose an adoptive family for your baby, receive financial assistance for your pregnancy-related expenses, share contact with your baby’s adoptive family (if you choose an open adoption), and you still have certain birth mother rights as a pregnant inmate. Read about the general steps you will likely take in the adoption process here.

How do I find adoptive parents for my baby while I’m pregnant in jail?

Your incarceration does not prevent you from choosing the perfect adoptive family for your baby. Once you are connected with an adoption professional at Adoption Choices of Texas, you will speak with your prison caseworker and an adoption specialist to discover what your preferences are for an adoptive family. From there, we will send you adoptive family profiles for you to review. In some cases, depending on prison regulations, you may get to meet the adoptive family, share letters, and/or phone calls.

Will I be able to have contact with my baby’s adoptive parents?

Most pregnant women in prison are able to have semi-open adoptions, which mean they receive photos and letters of their child after the adoption process is complete. Exactly how much contact you can have with the adoptive family during and after the adoption process will depend on your unique circumstances, including your security level and your sentence length. Your prison caseworker will make sure you understand exactly what your semi-open adoption will include. The adoptive family will pay for all of your contact expenses, including any phone calls you make to them and any stamps and paper you have to purchase from commissary to send them letters.

How much will my prison adoption cost me?

When you are pregnant in prison and choose adoption, the entire process will be free to you. You will receive free emotional and legal counseling with Adoption Choices of Texas throughout your adoption process, and all of your adoption fees will be covered by the adoptive parents.

How will I give birth to my baby in jail?

With Adoption Choices of Texas, you and your prison caseworker will create a hospital plan together, which will detail how the birth of your baby will proceed. You will likely be moved to a local hospital, and your prison officials will likely monitor you throughout your hospital stay.  Whether or not you can meet the adoptive family during this hospital stay will depend upon your individual situation. After you give birth to your baby, you will likely have the opportunity to spend the next 48 hours recovering with them in the hospital. It will be during this time that you will sign your adoption consent paperwork with Adoption Choices of Texas legal team.

What about my baby’s father?

Whether or not your baby’s father is supportive of your pregnancy and your adoption plan will likely impact how you proceed with your prison pregnancy. For example, if your baby’s father is supportive of your pregnancy and willing, you may wish to let him care for the baby after he or she is born. However, you should fully consider whether that would be the best environment for your baby to grow up in before choosing to let this man raise your child while you’re in prison. If you decide on a prison adoption, Adoption Choices of Texas will work with you to learn more about your situation with your baby’s father and determine what kind of consent may be necessary from him. If his consent is needed, we will take the necessary legal steps to obtain it.

Can I Keep My Baby With Me in Prison?

While this used to be an option in the 1950’s, babies born in prison would stay with their mothers for the duration of the sentence, most prisons do not have these programs available any more, and if they do, it is only for a limited time. Raising a baby in jail long term is not a good option, especially for the child.

Do Birth Mothers in Prison Have Any Hope of an Open Adoption?

Yes. Whether or not you have any contact with your baby’s adoptive family after the adoption takes place will depend on many different variables. The most important will be your situation and the conditions of your sentence. There are many birth mothers in prison who are able to have limited contact with the adoptive family. Usually this is in the form of pictures and letters you exchange with them. Again, depending on your security level, you might also be able to stay in contact through the internet if a web page has been developed by the family and potentially, visits.

What Kind of Pregnancy Health Care Will I Have While Incarcerated?

Your health and your baby’s health are crucially important. Being in prison does not change that. You are allowed and entitled to pre-natal care once you find out you are pregnant or if you enter jail pregnant. Prison officials must provide you and your baby recommended care throughout your term and it is illegal for them to withhold this from you. This includes regular doctor visits, pre-natal vitamins, and healthy foods to ensure the baby’s proper growth. Talk to your prison case worker if any of things are being withheld. You are your own advocate, even in prison.

Will there be support for me while I’m pregnant in prison?

This will depend entirely on the prison you are serving your sentence. For many women in the outside world, attending parenting and childbirth classes might seem like a luxury. However, most women who are pregnant in prison have access to childbirth education classes to help them prepare for their upcoming labor. Prisons often hold classes or group therapy sessions as well as classes to help a mom-to-be who might be struggling with addiction or domestic violence. If you choose an adoption plan with Adoption Choices of Texas, we will also be available for support and counseling throughout your pregnancy and after placement.

Where Will I Deliver my Baby if I am in prison?

You will deliver your baby in a hospital. When the time comes and you go into labor, you need to inform a prison official. They will take you to the prison medical staff and obtain transport for to you to go the nearest hospital.

Can you go to jail for giving a child up for adoption?

No. As long as your adoption is completed with the proper professionals, your adoption while in jail is completely legal. You do not need to worry about going to jail or an extended sentence for placing your child for adoption. In fact, choosing adoption will protect you from charges of child abandonment or neglect if you find care for your child in an illegal or ill-advised way. Remember: you can always legally choose an adoption, and there are many professionals out there willing to help you complete the legal and emotional process involved.

If I gave my baby up for adoption while in prison, can I get my baby back when I am released?

No. Assuming you went through a legal adoption process, you cannot get your child back once he or she is adopted by someone else. After the baby is born and you sign finalization adoption papers, you are terminating your parental rights. According to the law, the adoptive parents are now legally the child’s parents. If your prison sentence is short and you wish to retain your parental rights, adoption might not be the best option for you. In this case, consider alternative options such as temporary guardianship of your child with family or friends.

Being pregnant in jail is far from an ideal situation, but you will always have the option to choose what’s best for your baby, whether that is adoption or another path. It is important that all pregnant women in prison become their own advocate. You are the only  one who can decide what is right for you and their baby. Your prison caseworker will be able to work closely with you throughout this entire process, making sure you have the information and the resources you need. Adoption Choices of Texas will empathize with your circumstances and will never judge you for choosing adoption if you are pregnant in jail.

 

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