help with adoption

3 Reasons to Be Honest About Drugs and Alcohol Use In Adoption

quote about giving up a baby for adoptionWhen you’re making an adoption plan for your baby, it’s really important to be honest about drugs and alcohol use.  Here are three reasons why honesty is the best policy:

  • You want to choose the right family to adopt your baby
  • Honesty will help protect you and your baby
  • Get medical help to treat addiction

Choose the right family to adopt your baby

You should be honest about drugs and alcohol use because this will help you choose the right family to adopt your baby. 

Most adoptive couples are educated on the effects of drugs and alcohol during pregnancy.  All have different levels of comfort with drugs and alcohol use.  This is based on how much education they have about the effects of drugs and alcohol.  It’s also based on their own personal experience with this. 

Be honest about drug and alcohol and only consider families who are prepared to parent a child who has been exposed to these substances.  It can be devastating for everyone if the baby has unexpected medical issues related to drugs or alcohol exposure.  If you aren’t honest now, and it comes up later, this could have a huge impact on your relationship with the adoptive parents.   You also put yourself at risk of having the adoptive family decide not to move forward with the adoption.  Be honest up front, and find the right family for you from the beginning.

choose the right family to adopt your baby

Protect yourself and your baby

It’s important to disclose drugs and alcohol use during pregnancy in order to protect yourself and your baby.  If you use drugs during your pregnancy, there is a risk that Child Protective Services (CPS) will be contacted. 

Hospitals routinely drug test babies immediately after delivery if a birth mother hasn’t received prenatal care.  They also may test the baby if it is born early or has any medical issues. This test is called a toxicology screen, and it will pick up any use of marijuana, street drugs (meth, heroin, speed), and opioids (prescription medications like Norco, vicodin, or methadone).  

If you or your baby tests positive for drugs, the hospital is usually required to make a report to CPS.  When you make an adoption plan for your baby, the CPS case will usually be an open and shut case.  When your baby is placed with adoptive parents, the case is closed.  It’s important that the adoption attorney knows ahead of time if there’s a risk of a positive drug test.  Then she can plan for it and better protect you and your baby from CPS involvement.

Treatment options for drugs and alcohol

Maybe it’s time to face your struggle with addiction.  Probably the most important reason to be honest about drug and alcohol use during pregnancy is to get help.  There are many resources available and lots of options.  Even if you’ve tried treatment and haven’t been successful, keep trying!  Adoptive parents can help with the cost of treatment, and some women find treatment successful when they have a team of support, like the adoptive parents or other birth mothers who have been through the experience.

Contact Us

Are you pregnant and thinking about adoption for your baby? I can help. You can send me your questions about adoption or ask me to send you more information. Your communication with me is always confidential, and you’re never under any obligation to do an adoption. I’m here to help, not to pressure you or tell you what to do.


Megan Cohen, Birth Attorney

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