Being pregnant in jail or prison isn't that uncommon. However, if you’re pregnant and in jail, you might not know what your options are. What happens when you have your baby while in jail? Is prison adoption possible?
If you’re pregnant in prison, your options are placing your baby with family or a friend, allowing the state to take custody of your child, or creating an adoption plan. Whatever you decide to do, it’s important that you're fully informed on all of your options. That way, you'll know which is the right choice for you and your baby.
How Does a Jail Adoption Work?
You can create an adoption plan if you’re pregnant in jail. 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 to help you create an adoption plan that fits your situation. Here are the steps you'll take with a prison adoption:
1. Choose an Adoptive Family
You can still select the adoptive parents for your baby if you’re pregnant in jail. But, you may not be able to email them or speak with them before you give birth. Once you decide what you're looking for in an adoptive family, Lifetime can send you adoptive family profiles to read.
2. Create an Open Adoption With the Adoptive Parents
You still have the right to share contact with your baby's adoptive family, even if you’re pregnant and in jail. The contact you have with them could be through letters, photos, or phone calls. The adoptive couple can also send you updates on your child as he or she grows up.
3. Give Birth
If you're pregnant in jail, you'll probably be transported to a nearby hospital to give birth. Depending on your situation, you might be able to interact with the adoptive family at the hospital. Some birth mothers choose to have the adoptive mother present for the birth. They do this so that the adoptive couple can start bonding with their baby right away.
4. Sign Adoption Paperwork
You'll probably sign your adoption consent paperwork during your hospital stay. An adoption lawyer can explain exactly what you are signing and how it affects your legal rights. When you can sign the paperwork depends on which state you live in: each state has different adoption laws. You have the right to wait until you're ready to sign the paperwork. However, waiting too long may put your child into the custody of the state.
Decide What’s Right for You
At the end of the day, you're the only one who can decide what’s best for you and your baby. We're available to give you all of the information and resources that you need about prison adoption to make this decision. It’s important to find a solution that will provide both you and your child the best opportunities — for you when you’re released from jail, and for your baby to grow up in a stable environment.