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Unplanned Pregnancy? What You Need to Know About Adoption vs. “Safe Haven”

If you’re facing an unplanned pregnancy, you’re probably wondering about alternatives for your baby.  You know about adoption as an option but may have questions about terms like “open adoption”. And maybe you’re wondering about “Safe Haven”.  What does it mean? Is this an option for you?

Read further and we’ll explain what Safe Haven laws are all about. We’ll also explain some of the differences between safe haven and adoption so you can make an informed decision.

What is “Safe Haven” for unplanned pregnancies?

Many state legislatures have passed what’s called Safe Haven laws. These laws let birth parents leave an infant at certain locations anonymously, like hospitals, fire, and police stations, if they feel unable to care for the infant. Parents who leave their newborn at these designated locations can do so without fear of criminal prosecution.  

How does Safe Haven compare to adoption?

When you’re dealing with an unplanned pregnancy, it may be difficult to believe you have choices. But you do! If you feel unable to parent an infant, there are alternatives for you in adoption and safe haven protections.  Here’s a comparison of “Safe Haven” placements and adoption to help you choose your path.

  •  Timing

The decision to leave a baby at a “Safe Haven” is often made when birth parents are under extreme pressure – the baby is born, and decisions about parenting have to be made immediately. Safe Haven laws create safety for birth parents and infants. However, keep in mind that while these placements are anonymous (confidential), they are also permanent and immediate. The decision you make in a time of extraordinary pressure will have a long-lasting impact on your life and your baby’s.

On the other hand, the decision to go with adoption for an unplanned pregnancy can be made at any point either during the pregnancy or after birth. Reputable adoption agencies will help find resources that can support you as you decide whether parenting is right for you right now. Please know that adoption consultations are completely confidential and if needed, can work quickly to put an adoption plan in place for your baby. 

It is also important to note that with a Safe Haven placement, your baby goes into the foster care system. Placement with a permanent family can take as long as 12 months in this instance. Should you choose adoption, your newborn can often be placed with a permanent family either immediately after delivery.

  • Control

Reputable agencies let you control your baby’s adoption process. You can choose the adoptive family and the kind of relationship you’d like to have with them. You can choose to remain anonymous with a closed adoption, or opt to share information and stay in contact with the adoptive family. Your adoption team will also compile a social and medical history, which will be important for your baby’s health as they grow up. 

By choosing Safe Haven, you will not have a say in who adopts your baby, and you won’t be able to specify the contact you’d like to have in the future. Also, since safe haven drop offs are completely anonymous, your child and their future parents will not know their social and medical history. 

  • Peace-of-mind

What you are going through can take a major emotional toll on you, not only now but in the future. Adoption offers mothers support and counseling at no charge – before, during, and after the adoption. Also, many adoption agencies provide access to free legal counsel. With a Safe Haven placement, you will not have access to these free services.

All of us at Friends in Adoption want babies and parents to be safe. That’s the first priority. If a Safe Haven placement is the best choice for you, we support you. But it is important to know all the options and how they will impact you and your infant’s future. Please call us at 1-800-982-3678 or text 1-518-350-4581 so we can figure out a plan. The choices are yours. We’re here 24/7 to help.

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