Adopting Teenage Daughter's Baby
Anyone have any advice / comments? 16 yr old daughter to have baby - father choosing to be out of the picture. As grandparents, do we adopt, request guardianship or do nothing at all? Goals are to make sure the baby is covered by reliable health insurance and to guaranty that father will remain out of the picture. If we adopt, what happens when daughter is done with college and has good job and wishes child to come and live with her and her new husband? If we do guardianship does child have to be covered under state insurance and how do we avoid the father being contacted by the state for reimbursement? We feel if father is required to pay anything he may wish to see child at any time and we don't feel it is fair for him to all of the sudden come forward and want visitation. Live in Michgan.
what does your daughter think? It is her baby, and she should have the say as to what course of action is decided upon.

I'd say talk it over with her, come to a decision, and then seek advice from an adoption lawyer or a counselor who is knowledgable about the situation.
Is the father a teen or very young as well? If so, it is not suprising that he is not ready to be a father/husband right now. I imagine you don't think much of this boy who got your little girl in trouble but I am wondering is it so important to keep the father out of the baby's life? If he is not interested now what is the threat? Do you think he will want to come back and be a part of the child's life and is that such a terrible thing? It sounds like both Mom and Dad have plans for their future that don't include being a parent right now.

Adoption means that you become legally responsible for this child until he/she is 18 -- not just until your daughter is old enough to be a responsible parent. I don't know how realistic it is to hope that your daughter is going to have a baby, finish high school, go to college, get a good job, get married to someone she really loves -- then come back and be a parent to her baby that has been living with grandma for 6+ years. I've just never heard of this sort of thing happening -- but maybe it does. I think if you intend to support and adopt your grandchild then you should do so with OPEN eyes.

What does your daughter want? Have you discussed all the options and really listened to her? Have you told her you will support any decision?

My heart goes out to you. As a parent I know how difficult this must be.

i do know that you cannot adopt the baby and then give it back to her. you may just have to be guardians, but that would not keep bfather out of the picture. the only way to keep him out of the picture is if youlet someone else adopt the baby.
No matter whether you adopt this child or someone outside your family adopts him or her, the birthfather will have to sign the relinquishment papers too. All states require voluntary, informed consent of BOTH parents nowadays, not just the birthmother.

It sounds like you're being supportive of your daughter in whatever she chooses. She's going to require counseling with a non-biased adoption counselor, so she can explore her feelings about relinquishment. Please be aware that relinquishing a child for adoption does have lifelong ramifications for both mother and child. It is not a decision to be made lightly, or without a lot of emotional preparation.

Have you discussed all the options with your daughter? And have you considered having both mom and child live in your home while she finishes school? It won't be easy for her to raise a child while going to school and/or work. But it is possible, especially if you're there for her and the baby.
There is no way to keep the baby's father out of the picture unless he consents to the termination of his parental rights (signs TPR for adoption).

In this case he has no legal standing with the child, and you would be the parents, 100% resposible for the child. Your daughter would not legally be able to parent the child when she is "ready" to do so.

This is a huge decision to make, and is something that you should include her in, and hopefully an unbiased third party (counselor, etc.)
Im with Ravensong here. Why adopt the child...why not support them both...this would help strengthen family bonds...not risk severing them
The only way to guarantee that the father stay out of the picture is to have his rights terminated by the court. You said that you didn't think it was fair for the father to come forward later and want to be involved - the baby is not even born yet. This man has not even had the chance to be a father yet. Is he dangerous? There would be no other reason to keep a parent from their child, IMO.
You cannot adopt this child without your daughter's and the father's consent. If that is the route you choose, it will be permanent - the child will then be yours. If you wish to help your daughter parent this child while continuing her schooling, etc.., custody or guardianship would be options. You would then be able to insure the child.
This is your daughter's child. While it may not have been your "plan" for her, it is her plan now. Please do not force her to do anything she does not wish to. Support her, help her, love her.
We are living proof that a TPR is no guarentee anyone will stay out of anyone's life. The child may even initiate contact at some point, regardless of how much you would rather keep the bdad away.

I have a former friend who adopted her granddaughter. They are 'Mom and Dad' to the child, not grandma and grandpa. They cannot legally name either birthparent as legal guardians in case something happens and they can't raise her. In that case, the bmom tested positive for drugs at baby's birth, so that may be a factor in that regulation.

Also please keep in mind the grandparents on this baby's father's side. Even if their son is not ready to be a parent, the g-parents might want to be involved. We have been cut off from our grandchildren because of our akids' estrangement from us, and I can tell you that's a pain that will never go away. You need to meet with the bdad's parents and find out what they want to happen and what they are willing to contribute financially and emotionally. I realize you're angry and upset at this situation. Any parent would be. Use a mediator if needed, but if they're decent people at all, try to keep communication open.

We've learned through bitter experience there isn't any real way to keep b-family out of a kid's life, even from halfway around the world, even when the bfamily in question are really bad people. If your daughter wants to keep the baby, it's going to be extremely difficult for her to watch someone else raising it, even with the best of intentions on everyone's part. I have to agree with others in that, unless the bdad is dangerous, you may be better off trying to solve this some other way. I'm assuming he lives nearby. Are you planning to move away and not tell anyone where you're going? Otherwise, you have to make some peace with them because they know where you live and you may even run into them around town sometimes.

Check your health insurance. The child may be covered as long as he/she lives in your household and you are claiming him or her as a dependent on you income taxes.

This is a complex situation and my heart goes out to you and your daughter. I hope you can find a resolution that works for everyone and keeps your daughter and the baby safe and happy. Important, life-impacting decisions have to be made, and I don't see any way you can avoid talking to an objective third party and/or a lawyer. If you're church-goers, I suggest starting with a counseling session with clergy and go from there. But definitely talk to a lawyer as soon as possible because legal things seem to take forever and you're on a deadline.

Good luck.
Adoption would sever your daughters legal rights as a legal parent. She and her baby would be "legal strangers".

Why do you need guardianship or adoption at all? Health insurence isin't really a good enough reason to force your daughter to loose her child forever. Health insurence is readily avaliable for teen moms through medicade. Just take her to a local WIC office, they should have information about those programs.

I also assumed that sence your daughter is a minor - if your medical insurence is covering her - it would also automatically cover the baby - until she reaches the age of adulthood - or 25 depending on if she is in school or not. It should atleast cover pre-natal care and birth exc. My 21 year old cousin who is in college just had a little boy - who is fully covered by her fathers medical plan.

I would also suggest that you get your daughter enrolled in a parenting course - they have courses specifically for young parents - to learn essentials.

Oh and in most states you - the grandparent - have ZERO say in the outcome of your daughters pregnancy. Pregnant teens are medically emancipated. They can make all decisions - free of your knowledge or consent or approval - about thier pregnancy and parenting plans. YOU specifically have no say in what her plans are - weather they be parenting or adoption or abortion.

If I were you - I would support your daughter - and help her raise her baby like any decent parent would do. In a few VERY SHORT years she will be an adult woman who is capable of being a responsible parent. She will be 17 when the baby is born - and almost college graduate aged by the time the baby goes to school. She has time to GROW into a proper parent - she might just need a bit of help and support - that doesn't include severing her role as mother to her own child - to get there.
[FONT=Verdana]Well, first - congratulations! There is nothing like a new baby in the family! I admire you for supporting your daughter during this difficult time in your lives. I was in the state of shock for about 3 days when my single daughter told me that she was pregnant and the father dumped her because she wouldn't have an abortion.[/FONT]

[FONT=Verdana]Your daughter is very young but I think that you should ask her what she wants to do. Regardless of what your family's final decision is about your grandchild, she is going to be a mother. I suspect that she is desperate for someone to help her come to terms with her feelings about carrying a child, giving birth, and her future relationship with her child. Eventually it will come down to whether or not she wants to sever her parental relationship with her child. I highly recommend that you let her make that decision AFTER she gives birth and understands the reality of her child. My daughter was very ambivalent about being a mother until after she first laid eyes on her son. She lost her heart completely to her son and totally embraced being a mother. (Note tho' that she was older - college age.) Her son is now 2 years old and they both are thriving.[/FONT]

[FONT=Verdana]If you think that your daughter has the qualities that make a good mother, please tell her that. Everyone else is probably telling her that she is a screw-up and has ruined everyone's lives. Also, let her know that your love for her is unconditional regardless of her decision. As a family, I think that you need to look into the future if you adopt her child. As your daughter reaches maturity and becomes independent, she may want to reassert her parental relationship with her child. That has happened to a family member and a friend. Fortunately, they never lied about the biological relationships in the family so the children (both around 8 yo) were not totally confused. Both families gradually transitioned the children to the care of the (biological) parent.[/FONT]

[FONT=Verdana]On the practical side, it is sad that in the US families have to look to adoption as a means to provide medical insurance for their grandchildren. My employer covers my grandson under my dependent policy. The only requirement was that I sign a form declaring that my grandson and daughter live with me and my husband and that we have a "Kinship Care" agreement with our daughter. Millions of grandparents provide for their grandchildren under Kinship Care agreements. The advantage is that it provides for services for low income families or, in my case, allows for health insurance coverage, without severing the parent-child relationship. The disadvantage is that, for children whose parents are irresponsible and/or have drug dependencies, it may put the child in a bad environment if the parents decide to assert their legal rights. It really depends on your particular situation and whether or not it will provide for a secure situation for your grandchild.[/FONT]

[FONT=Verdana]I donݒt have any advice about the father of your grandchild. We hope that our grandsons father will eventually want a relationship with him. We are not forcing it and our daughter has chosen not to seek support. Fortunately, she does not need the money.[/FONT]

[FONT=Verdana]Again, bless you for doing some research on how to best provide for your grandchild. If your daughter decides to parent, I have tons of advice but I will spare everyone that right now![/FONT]

Happy G'Ma
You will not be able to keep the birth father out of the picture unless he wishes to be out of it. Paternity will have to be tested before the child could be placed for adoption, and the birth father would have a chance to step up then. He might wish to sign his rights off, in which case that part of the picture would be answered. You could ask for joint custody with your daughter, I think...or guardianship...guardianship can be changed down the road if daughter grows up and proves herself able to parent this child adequately. Guardianship would also allow you to put the child on your insurance. To me guardianship would be a good option if you want to support your daughter and help her mature and learn to care for the child. If she doesn't do that and things get worse down the road, you could petition then to TPR and adopt if needed. Just my thoughts though, for what they are worth. She needs to discuss the pregnancy with the father though, and he with his parents, and make the best decision for this child, not based on anger at him having gotten your daughter it always takes 2 to tango and unfortunately your daughter picked him to be the father by taking the risk. (Just thought I would throw that out there...don't know your circumstances or why the intense desire to keep the father away)
Happygmom: What a GREAT post.

I just wanted to say that I would check the laws of your State regarding bfather's involvement. You may have more options than your know. From recent experience, I know that bfathers do not have to sign the TPR in the state we were working in HOWEVER certain criteria needed to be met (i.e. no financial support during the pregnancy, not named on birth certificate, etc.). Yes, he could have contested and no body wanted that BUT my understanding was that he needed to do a number of thing prior to the birth - which he didn't do. And no, he did not sign the TPR -

HOWEVER he did know about the pregnancy and birth.

So, my advice would be to check out your States laws with an attorney.

And I of course agree that this would be your daughters choice and but you probably knew that already. Let her come to her own decision and love her through the journey...

Sounds like your doing that...

Good luck!
It's so hard to go through the feelings and emotions you're going through, and I personally want to commend you for supporting your daughter, rather than wanting to "adopt the child away" and "solve all her problems".

I encourage ALL women at least get an opportunity to parent, and then if it's too much, THEN consider adopting their child to a hopefully loving home.

I know she's 16...but she was "old enough" to have sex and conceive a new life, so even though age says she's "only a child", please empower her to do what SHE feels is best for her baby.

As for your motivation of wanting the birth father out of the picture...the only way you can have "legal rights" to say "butt out" to him is for you to adopt the child (or someone else to adopt the child) and have his rights terminated.

He either has to sign away the rights himself, or ignore notices in the area he lives in that he has a child who is fixing to be terminated from having rights to that child.

I know you may not want to hear this...but he may just be a "sperm donor" in your eyes right now (this is just an assumption)...but if he's young like she is...he may eventually wonder what happened to his child as well...unless he's hurtful to your daughter (other than abandoning her because of pregnancy)...then in the future...what harm would it be to at least allow a picture or two to him should he so desire?

If you're concerned about health coverage...if you adopt...the child can go on your insurance.

In my state, if you have young or poor mothers, you can get state Medicaid for the children of families in this situation that covers most everything.

My children have medicaid regardless of our income because they were foster I don't know if medicaid goes to children through private adoption or not. It may vary state to state.

We do not have them on our health insurance because it causes huge issues on getting our insurance to pay then medicaid pay the balance, etc. It's a pain to have medicaid as secondary, for SURE.

Most states require a DNA test to confirm the birth father is actually the birth father of the be ready for this possibility. It's not meant to be an insult to the birth mother...but they have to know WHO the birth father is to have a legal termination of rights.

This is all I have for now...I wish you the best of luck however it goes...please keep us posted, and congrats on the new baby!
Support your daughter
I'm glad to hear that you support your daughter during this difficult time. My own mother had me at the age of 17 and without the support from my grandparents my mother and father would have struggled.

I agree with many others, that this is your daughter's decision. As an adoptive parent, I am thankful to have contact with our son's birthmom and wish that we knew his birthfater. Just because someone chooses not to parent does not mean that they shouldn't be in the child's life. Your granchild someday will ask about his/her birthfater and it would be sad to have to tell them that you didn't want that person in their life.

Please, please discuss this with your daughter. And try to all your ability to discuss with the father - he has the right to choose to parent or not.

But I also think that guardianship is better than adoption, since it doesn't seem like your daughter wants to terminate her parental rights.

Best of luck.
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