Should I place my baby with a family member?

Should I place my baby with a family member?  My sister, for instance? Here are some things to think about.

Dear Megan,

I need an adoptee perspective.  I’m 25 years old and due in September.  I’m a mother of two beautiful girls and this pregnancy was a complete accident.  I was contemplating giving my unborn child to my sister.  Her son passed away a few years ago when he was a newborn due to a genetic disorder.  I’m honestly not sure what I’m going to do or not.  I’d be completely happy to keep the baby.  But I also know pregnancy was really hard on her, and I don’t know if she’ll ever be able to have another child.  Sorry to bother you but I just wanted another perspective.  Thank you.  -C



Hi there,

I think you are an amazing sister to want to do this for her.  She is so very lucky to have you!  And I’m really glad you reached out for another perspective.  It’s so important to think about the adoptee in this situation.  I do a lot of adoption work and I am a birth mother myself, and so I have some insight which I hope you’ll find helpful. Here’s my thoughts on your question “should I place my baby with a family member.”

What is the best interest of the child?

should I place my baby with a family memberI believe that what’s best for the child is the most important consideration when thinking about adoption.  Being an adoptee will be part of your child’s identify forever, and she will almost certainly have questions as to why she wasn’t raised by her biological mom.  Most adoptees, even in the best of circumstances, feel a sense of abandonment by their bio parents.  Some thrive and some do not, and it’s impossible to know ahead of time how things will turn out.

Explaining your story to the adoptee

Adoptees want to understand their story, their bio parents’ story, and why they made an adoption plan.  Frequently, women choose adoption because they are living in crisis, sometimes homeless, sometimes with drug addiction.  Some domestic violence victims are afraid of their baby’s father and want him out of their lives.  Some are very young and not ready to parent.  Finally, though not so common, some women just don’t want to have children.   Many adoptees find comfort and a sense of self when they understand why their parents made an adoption plan in these challenging situations.  Some don’t blame their parents and understand why it was such a difficult decision but made out of love and in the best interest of the child.

Abandonment and the replacement child

Your situation is different in that you want to give the greatest, most generous gift of all.  I guess I just wonder if your child will feel the same.  Will she will ever feel like the “replacement” child to the one that was lost.  I also wonder about your daughters and how they will feel.  They will almost certainly have questions about why their sibling was raised by their aunt and not by you.   Of course, I don’t know the details of how raising this child will look, and she will always be a member of your family.  Your child might never feel a sense of abandonment.  But I think these are also important considerations.  I’m only speculating based on my own experiences so you can take that perspective into consideration as you think this through.

Is surrogacy an option?

Finally, I understand your sister had a difficult pregnancy.  Could you be a surrogate for her after this baby is born?  This would be one way to help your sister have a child.  She would be part of the process and the child would be hers genetically, if that’s important.  She might really appreciate knowing you’d even consider doing this for her.

Whatever you decide, I think you are a wonderfully generous and kind person.  Your sister must be pretty amazing too.  I wish you all the best, and I hope you have found this helpful.