Should I Place My Child With A Family Member?

Psychologists stress the preference and benefits of keeping children within their biological families, but here are some things to consider.

Nancy J. Evans Hall September 05, 2017
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As a former foster care and adoption case manager and a Department of Family and Children Services Case Manager, I can tell you from experience that DFCS and the courts always prefer to place a child with biological family members if they must be placed outside the nuclear home.  I have also heard professionals such as psychologists stress the preference and benefits of keeping children within their biological families.  However, it is a very personal choice and a few things must be considered.

First, you must consider whether placing your child with family members is even an option.

Are they willing?  Are they fit (responsible, clean, strong and positive priorities, able to take on your child and provide a loving home)? Are they financially able to meet the family unit’s needs?  Are they willing to work around your wishes and terms?  Do their beliefs, religious or otherwise, align with yours in such a way that you would be comfortable with the placement?

If these conditions are suitable and any legalities in your state are taken into consideration and will work with your situation, then you must think about other factors.

I have experienced this kind of situation in my own family, and I can tell you from what I have learned firsthand that if the child is a baby or very young, you need to consider if you can live with the fact that the child’s adoptive parents may never tell him or her that s/he was adopted. They may raise them to believe that they are their own biological child. Would you be comfortable with that?

Would you be okay with relinquishing total control of any say in the child’s life? Could you, in the long-term, stand by and watch the family members who adopted your baby make decisions you disagree with? Could you handle it if they move away or already live quite a distance from you? Could any of these things possibly cause a family rift that could cost you important relationships?

Placing a child with relatives is perhaps the most important decision you will ever make. Therefore, it is important for you to seriously consider all of these factors before making such a vital decision – for both you and your child.

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Nancy J. Evans Hall

Nancy Hall is married to the love of her life and has a wonderful teenage daughter. She earned a B.A. in English and an M.A.T. in Humane Education. She had the privilege of studying at Oxford Univerisity in England for a while and eventually moved overseas for nearly 4 years. She enjoys traveling, writing, yoga and Pilates, rock music and festivals, and all things animal-related -- she has several rescued pets. She currently works as an academic advisor at a state college.

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