“Ask a Priest: May I Give My Next Baby to My Sister?”

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Q: I am a 40-something mother to four kids aged 13 to 3. Despite taking the necessary steps, I recently found out that I am pregnant again. Meanwhile, my younger sister and her husband have been trying for years for to conceive without success. What is the Catholic Church’s stand if I were to give my baby up for adoption to my sister? We are both Catholic and live near each other. So the child will be loved by both families. – M.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: While it is admirable that you want to help your sister and her husband, you might want to reconsider your plan.

This child, like your others, is entrusted first and foremost to you and your husband. “Children are really the supreme gift of marriage and contribute very substantially to the welfare of their parents,” says the Second Vatican Council’s pastoral constitution Gaudium et Spes, No. 50.

A different scenario would arise if you and your husband were incapacitated and simply couldn’t take care of a child. Many people who struggle with insurmountable problems – be it illness or poverty – have made the brave decision to put a child up for adoption and given the little one a loving home. You don’t mention any such insurmountable problems in your own household.

In any case, you might want to think about the psychological damage that could be done to the child.

What is the child to think if he later realizes that his natural parents “gave him up”? He might feel as though he was unwanted.

And what if later your sister and her husband raised the child in a way you disapprove of?

This is a moment to intensify your prayers for your sister. By all means, you can make her a close part of your family.

But keep the children God sends you. This is part of his plan.

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