Are Temporary Adoptions Possible? [Your Guide]

Parenthood isn’t easy, and it’s not for everyone. You may not be ready to parent at this point in your life, but it’s something you’re interested in doing later down the road. Because of this, you may be considering a temporary adoption. But, the truth is that there’s really no such thing as a “temporary adoption.” Adoption is a permanent decision.

Keep in mind, though, that you can get free adoption information now by contacting us online. Adoption, whether you place with a family member, a friend or an adoptive family that you find through an adoption agency, legally terminates a birth parent’s rights. This is always permanent. So, temporary adoptions don’t exist, at least not quite.

Below, we’ve put together a thorough guide that explains what your options are. We’ll go into detail about how you can find the path that works best for both you and your child.

I Want to Give My Child Away Temporarily [What You Can Do]

Although temporary adoptions do not exist, there is a temporary option available to parents who are struggling to care for their children. This is known as temporary guardianship. It is when one person assumes legal responsibility for another over a set period.

The reason that temporary adoption doesn’t’ exist is that adoption requires court systems and attorneys to ensure that the decision is permanent and upheld. Whether you are placing your baby with an adoptive family you don’t know or close family members, adoption is always permanent. This is in the best interests of all parties involved: the birth parents, the adoptive family and the child.

Still, adoption doesn’t have to be “goodbye.” Rather, it can be “see you later.” You can always pursue open adoption, which means that you will stay in touch with your child and their adoptive family long after the adoption takes place. As the prospective birth mother, you get to decide what form of communication you all use. This includes:

  • In-person visits
  • Text messages
  • Emails
  • Phone calls
  • Handwritten letters
  • Zoom or Skype
  • Or whatever you feel comfortable with

But, maybe you don’t want to permanently sever your parental ties to your baby. When you are considering “giving a baby up” for adoption to a family member short term, you can’t technically do that. Temporary adoption doesn’t exist, but the idea that you likely have about it does. It’s called something different.

Temporary Legal Guardianship [What You Need to Know]

Parents like you who are looking for a temporary solution might want to consider legal guardianship. This places your child in the temporary custody of a family member or close friend of your choosing. They will take care of your child’s health, education and more. From a general standpoint, guardianship is when an adult assumes responsibility for a minor who isn’t their biological child. But, guardianship for adults exists, too.

Although it is not a temporary adoption, temporary legal guardianship is a bit different. Its main purpose is for someone to care for a child over an arranged period. A temporary guardian provides for a child in a similar way that an adoptive parent does, but it is not a permanent responsibility. So, it isn’t called temporary adoption, but it may have been what you were thinking about.

Just as you would choose the right adoptive family for your baby, you can also choose the right temporary guardian for your child. When a child goes into foster care, the parent has very little choice over the details of the arrangement. You will get a lot more say and control in both adoption and temporary legal guardianship. There are many reasons to pursue temporary guardianship. Maybe you need some time to finish your education. Or, you’d like to advance your career first. You may want to find another housing option. Whatever the case may be, these reasons are all valid.

“Giving a Baby up” for Adoption to a Family Member Short-Term [for Temporary Guardianship]

If you are wondering who you can select as a temporary guardian, this choice rests entirely in your hands. You can choose a person or couple to raise your child. This includes trusted family members and close friends. Be sure to give this decision plenty of thought. It is an important choice, to say the least. Also, they will need to agree to become a legal guardian ahead of time.

We should clarify, though, that this is not a temporary adoption of a child. Although the person who you select to temporarily care for your child will be responsible for their well-being, they are not a parent. Role definitions are important because they can help prevent confusion for your child. Even though you will have a temporary legal guardian for your baby, you should also know that you will still have some responsibilities for your child. For instance, the guardian may need some financial help.

How Long Is a Temporary Legal Guardianship?

Similar to how no two people are the same, no two experiences with temporary guardianship are the same. One of the determining factors at play is what state you live in. For the most part, a temporary legal guardianship lasts up to 60 days. If you need it to last longer than 60 days, then that may be possible on a case-by-case basis. But, this is uncommon and may not be possible depending on your state’s temporary guardianship laws.

Who Can Help with a Temporary Legal Guardianship?

So, is temporary adoption possible? No, it is not. But, you can work with a trusted attorney who specializes in family matters to help you with a temporary guardianship. In adoption, you would work with a reputable adoption attorney who helps you complete your adoption in a fair, legal and ethical manner. For a temporary legal guardianship, you would also work with a credible attorney to help you complete and finalize the process.


This can be a lot to wrap your head around at once, so we understand if you have some more questions. If you’re still wondering why temporary adoptions don’t exist, then you can get more adoption information now when you contact us online.

About the Author

Lindsay Arielle has been a proud birth mother since placing her son for adoption in 2011. Her post-placement agreement has always been an open adoption. She loves the time she gets to spend with her son and his parents during visits. Lindsay truly believes that for herself and her family, adoption has been a blessing, and she enjoys writing about spiritual healing for birth mothers.

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