Adoption vs. Safe Haven Laws: What You Should Know

pregnant woman wearing white shirt cradling her belly

Adoption vs. Safe Haven Laws: The Important Differences

In the 1990s, there was a surge in the number of babies being abandoned by their birth parents. Because they were left in unsafe places, many of them died. If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed by pregnancy or parenthood, it’s easy to imagine how these parents felt when they left their babies alone: frightened, uncertain, and desperate.

In response to these deaths, many states enacted what are known as Safe Haven Laws. Safe Haven Laws allow parents to leave an infant at a designated location – usually a hospital, police station, or fire station – and as long as the baby has not been harmed, the parent will not be punished for leaving them. Proponents of the laws hoped that they would encourage birth parents who felt they couldn’t care for their children to leave them in a place where the baby could be found and cared for, instead of abandoning them unsafely where they might not be found.

The well-being of children is our top priority at Adoptions Together. We believe that Safe Haven laws work well when they keep babies from being harmed. However, we feel that it is crucial for birth parents to know that Safe Haven is very different from choosing adoption for your baby through a non-profit agency.

If you are pregnant or a new parent and feel like you need someone else to take custody of your baby, take a moment to learn about the differences between using Safe Haven laws and choosing adoption.

Difference #1: Adoption gives you time to be certain about your decision.

Everyone feels overwhelmed at times. Some problems seem too hard to solve. But most of the time help is available, even if it seems difficult to find. An ethical adoption agency will help you access resources that can help you decide whether parenting is the right choice for you.  And adoption agency’s job is to help support you and help make a plan that’s right for your family. Safe Haven placements are designed to be anonymous- you don’t get that type of support, and you can’t just change your mind once you’re feeling better; you’ve already given up custody of your child. Plus, if you decide one day that you want to know how your child is doing, you won’t necessarily have the right to get in touch the way you would if you arranged for an open adoption through an agency.

Difference #2: With adoption, you are in control.

Ethical adoption agencies like Adoptions Together put you in control of your baby’s adoption process. This means that you can choose the adoptive family you want to raise your child and that you can determine what kind of adoption relationship you’d like to have with your child’s family, whether that means yearly letter-and-picture updates, in-person meetings, or other arrangements. If you give up custody of your baby under a Safe Haven law, the baby will go into the social services foster care system and their future will be determined from there. Not only can this take up to a year – which is a long time for a baby not to have a permanent family – but you don’t have any control over who eventually adopts your baby. Nor can you specify what type of contact you’d like to have with them and with your child in the future.

Ultimately, we all want children to be safe. If leaving your child at a Safe Haven location is the best way for you to keep them out of harm’s way, then we trust you to make that choice. But we also want you to stay safe, both physically and emotionally, and we don’t want you to give up your right to be a part of your child’s life if there might be another way. If you’re in crisis and worried about caring for your baby, we hope you’ll call us or another licensed agency so we can figure out a plan – together.

7 Responses to “Adoption vs. Safe Haven Laws: What You Should Know”

  1. Giving parents the time to be certain about their decision to give their child up for adoption is really big! Going with a licensed adoption agency seems like it would be better because they give you time and they give you resources to deal with the emotions that parents feel after giving up a child. I’m sure the safe haven is good too but if I was in this situation I’d go with the agency. What are the benefits of using the safe haven option?

  2. The benefits of safe haven are for teenagers or women who may have hid their pregnancy or for non citizens who can’t reach out to medical services who didn’t plan the pregnancy, and for those who may have been raped or in denial or perhaps used drugs during pregnancy. Once the baby is born they can’t deny what happened and may still not want to deal with it. Safe haven keeps the baby safe and the birth mothers name off paper and her pregnancy out of sight out of mind.

  3. I have been through the adoption and im a teen right know. it at least make me realize that holy shit moment where my parents had sex and had 2 kids close together and gave both of them up but 4 years later you think you finna be able to handle another one if u couldn’t handle 2 how you going to handle another one. and I have a younger brother he doesnt understand anything he has so many different thoughts n his head. he knows some but not all. it is just mind blowing to me that you could just give up your kids and when I ask my parents why they did it they really dont give me a responds or they tell me bull shit lies that just pisses me off bc now im in my teens I think I can understand anything wild ass thing that comes out of their mouth now. but I just hope you all think about what u are doing before u do it. and think would have I wanted my parents to do that to me so ima not do that to my kid/kids but I understand in some situations it is hard but just try your best to push thru. 🙂

  4. It’s good to know that adoption gives you time to be certain about such an important decision. My sister is pregnant but unsure if she will be able to take care of the baby. I’ll pass this information along to her so that she can make an informed decision about what to do with her child.

  5. Looking for help. My daughter hid her pregnancy then when in labor went to the hospital. She was scared traumatized and has pain meds from delivery in her system when asked what her plan was , she expressed maybe adoption but wasn’t sure, she wasn’t explain anything and the next morning was released from hospital thinking her baby was going to be up for adoption. Instead the hospital social worker said she safe haven led the baby. She had her rights taken and we haven been fight to get him back. Safe haven is awesome to prevent abuse or abandonment but should be something a hospital social worker can decide for a mother. She receive no counseling no crisis info hotline nothing. The hospital has all her info as well as family contact they never attempted to contact us. I my family is devastated over this , any advice Will be appreciated. Please keep us in your prayers

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>