If you or someone you know is pregnant in jail or prison, you may be wondering what options are available to individuals who are expecting a baby while incarcerated. It is important to explore all your options in this situation.
Options for Pregnant Women Who Are or Will Be Incarcerated
If you are pregnant in prison or facing jail time, your options are:
- Permanently or temporarily placing your child with a family member or a friend.
- Make an adoption plan with an adoption agency consultant, lawyer or facilitator to place your baby with a family of your choice.
- Check if your facility has a program that allows you to keep your baby in prison with you for a specific amount of time.
If you do not or cannot select one of the above options, the baby will be placed in the foster-care system. It is a difficult decision to make, so you must read more information about what you can do.
If you are an expecting mother in Florida and are aware that you will be pregnant in jail or prison, you should speak with a prison official or a caseworker about your options before your intake. If you are getting ready to enter the jail and have time before being processed and are considering adoption, we recommend contacting an adoption professional to fully understand your choices. It is important to keep in mind that you are your best advocate when pursuing any of your options.
Placing a Baby for Adoption From Prison in Florida
In many cases, women will ask themselves, “Can I give my baby up for adoption in prison?” To be clear, the term “giving up” a baby or child for adoption is misused and does not accurately describe the courage of a birth mother. Placing a baby for adoption is not “giving up,” but rather the birth mother selects a family to nurture and provide for her baby. There is nothing wrong with placing a child for adoption; it is a loving choice to make for your child in the case that you cannot raise him or her yourself.
Expectant mothers can make an adoption plan while in jail or prison. However, you should note that all correctional facilities have unique processes and policies. As a soon-to-be mother, you will either need to work with your attorney, designated prison officials, and/or a caseworker who can help you access the right resources. Another option is having a friend or family member who is willing to help you research your options and act as the contact person between you and an adoption professional while you are incarcerated.
By making an adoption plan, you can find a carefully screened family of your choice for your baby. Our adoption professionals are available to help you create an adoption plan and support you through the stressful process. Your adoption professional will work with you to create a custom adoption plan that is most suitable for your circumstances. If you have not yet been processed for intake, you can begin working with an adoption professional immediately. On the other hand, once you are already in jail or prison, you will need to ask who you should speak with to connect with an adoption professional. In some cases, your best chance will be contacting a designated prison official, a caseworker or even your criminal attorney. If you are having difficulty contacting any useful resources regarding adoption, you should try obtaining help from a family member or friend who would be capable of doing research for you or contacting an adoption professional on your behalf. One of the previously mentioned resources will become the mediator between you and your chosen adoption professional. The amount of contact you will have with your adoption professional ultimately depends on the policies at your facility.
Circumstances and adoption plans will vary from case to case. However, these are some of the general steps to place your baby for adoption while you are incarcerated in Florida:
1. Find an Adoptive Family for Your Baby
You may not be allowed to communicate with an adoptive family before birth, but you will be able to choose them based on your personal preferences. Your designated adoption professional will remain in close communication with the adoptive family throughout the adoption process and your mediator (caseworker, attorney, prison official or family/friends) should be capable of answering your questions. Once you have determined your preferences for an adoptive family, your adoption professional can send you potential adoptive family profiles. These profiles describe the family and include photos so you can learn more about them.
2. Financial Support
The prison administration will make sure that you are receiving the vital, state-paid medical and prenatal care for your baby while you are pregnant. However, while you are incarcerated, you will not receive funds for living expenses such as food, medical bills or rent, as they are covered by the facility. You could receive some amount of monetary support to make commissary purchases during your pregnancy. For example, you may be given financial assistance for purchasing food or to purchase stamps for letters to the adoptive parents.
It is important to keep in mind that if you choose adoption, adoption services are completely free of cost to you, and you will not be required to pay any expenses for legal or adoption professionals.
3. Contacting the Adoptive Parents
Your options to share contact with the adoptive parents may be limited, but even if you are an expectant or birth mother in jail, you still have the right to contact the adoptive family. In general, your best method of sharing contact with them is through postcards and letters (depending on the prison or jail’s policies). In some situations, you may be able to talk on the phone with the adoptive family. Your mediator can help determine the best means of contact throughout the adoption process.
Once your baby is placed in the care of your adoptive family, if you still have time left to serve, your mediator will continue to be your point of contact for receiving pictures and letters from the adoptive family. After you are released from prison or jail, you will need to work with your adoption professional to decide on the best way to receive your letters and photos from the adoptive family.
The rest of the adoption process, such as birth and signing the adoption consent, will be fully explained to you by your adoption specialist and attorney.
Contact us today for assistance at 727-202-8966.
Author: Destiny Adoption Services
Destiny Adoption Services is proud to support and guide birth parents and adoptive families on the journey of adoption. We’re a state licensed nonprofit adoption agency with four decades of adoption experience, and our professional team of experts includes moms, adoptive moms and birth mothers who provide compassion combined with trusted resources and skills.