Prospective birth mothers come from all kinds of backgrounds when they are considering adoption for their unborn children. Here at Adoption Choices, we are committed to helping every woman thinking about adoption, including those who are considering putting a child up for adoption without U.S. citizenship.
If you are an undocumented expectant mother, know that you have just as much right to place your child for adoption in the United States as any other mother. As long as your child is born within the U.S., they can be placed with a loving, supportive adoptive family, regardless of your own citizenship status.
So, can you give a child up for adoption even if you are an immigrant or illegal immigrant? YES!
Your Citizenship Status Does Not Matter
About 12 million unauthorized immigrants currently live in the United States. Just like any U.S. citizen, an undocumented woman can find herself facing an unplanned pregnancy at any time in her life. While she has the same options as any other woman facing an unplanned pregnancy, her unauthorized status can make things a bit more complicated.
Know that a lack of U.S. citizenship will never impact your ability to place a child for adoption with our agency. Putting a child up for adoption without U.S. citizenship is a safe and secure process. Every aspect of your adoption and your adoption paperwork is always confidential; your information will never be released to immigration or government authorities without your consent. There will be no public record of your adoption process.
Whether you are undocumented or have a visa to live in the United States, your child born in the U.S. can be placed for adoption with an American family. Your citizenship status will not affect the number of families willing to adopt your child, and you will have just as much right to a post-adoption contact relationship with them and your child as any documented immigrant or American citizen.
While your adoption specialist will ask for your citizenship status as part of your social and medical history, that information will never be released outside of our agency and it will never disqualify you from the adoption process.
Why Adoption May Be Right for You
Placing your child for adoption is not “giving away” your baby. Instead, it’s choosing to give your child a life with loving adoptive parents who are fully prepared to support him or her; something you may not be able to provide yourself. They will grow up with a positive appreciation for you as their birth mother, and their parents will celebrate their adoption history in a positive and welcoming way.
But adoption can also offer benefits to you as a prospective birth mother, as well. In addition to open adoption communication, free counseling and support services, and case management throughout your adoption, there are few advantages specific to putting a child up for adoption without U.S. citizenship.
In addition to free translation services, Adoption Choices also offers financial assistance for your pregnancy and adoption-related expenses. If you are an undocumented immigrant, you cannot apply for federal Medicaid assistance before your delivery but that doesn’t mean that prenatal care and other medical care will cost you money if you choose adoption. When you work with us, we will cover the cost of your medical services; you will never have to pay out-of-pocket. If you are concerned about the costs of your unplanned pregnancy, adoption may be a good option for you and your unborn baby. Again, all of your medical paperwork regarding your hospital stay will be confidential and sealed, protecting your identity as an undocumented immigrant.
When your child is born within the United States, they will be an automatic U.S. citizen with a birth certificate and a social security number. If you choose to place them for adoption with American citizens, you may provide your child with a security that you could not currently offer yourself. As an undocumented immigrant, you may be subject to deportation if you do not legalize your immigration. If you place your child for adoption, they will always have a safe home and parents to take care of them which would not be the case if you were ever deported without your child.
Sometimes, women looking for people that want to adopt undocumented kids ask if adoption is an option with our agency. Unfortunately, like many American adoption agencies, our professionals can only complete adoptions of children born within the United States. If your baby has not yet been born, or was born in the United States, we can assist you with your adoption.
What kind of stigma is related to undocumented birth mothers and their children?
Because giving birth to a child in the United States automatically grants that child full citizenship, the stigma of moving to the U.S. to have a child runs rampant with stereotypes about that family. Many may assume that undocumented birth mothers or families will have children in the U.S. simply for the citizenship. However, that is not always the case.
Many immigrants come to the United States seeking escape from violence, tyrannical government, or otherwise harmful conditions they face in their native country. Because the process of gaining full citizenship in America is extensive and may take anywhere from 10-13 years to attain, remaining undocumented may seem like the only attainable solution. Especially in the current worldly political climate, many birth moms seek refuge from the dangers they face back home.
What are some other challenges undocumented birth mothers face?
As represented in the statistics in the Census Bureau’s survey, nearly half of the undocumented births were to families in poverty. Poverty levels could be due to a wide number of things, including lack of available resources, traveling expenses, unemployment/income levels, and lack of government help. Whatever the reason, almost half of most populations of birth mothers in the U.S. support not only themselves, but their children, in a state of poverty.
What are ways in which we can be supportive of undocumented birth moms?
It is easy to say we want to change the way things are; the hard thing is deciding how to go about that change. Obviously, more legislation and laws supporting undocumented birth mothers and families are imperative, but that can be a daunting solution to tackle. Calling your representatives and discussing these issues with them could be a helpful first start; fighting for a shorter citizenship granting process could be beneficial as well.
There are also little things you can do to help birth moms and their children. If you know an undocumented birth mom, try reaching out to her to see if she needs a babysitter on Tuesday, or if she’d like help with meal prepping for the week.
Because some undocumented birth moms may speak another language, it could also be very helpful to try to learn their native language. Language barriers exist in so many spheres; we shouldn’t let this be one! These women have enough barriers against them to begin with, and language should be used as a tool to connect, communicate, and coordinate not discriminate or isolate.
Overall, advocating for undocumented birth moms and families could start very important conversations, advances, and changes for the better.