Baptizing a foster child

My wife and I have taken a foster child (a wonderful month and a half old baby girl) into our family.
The child’s mother has officially “abandoned” her in the hospital a couple of days after birth, and the father is not known. Thus legally the child’s sole custodian is the state. We will have this child until she is adopted, which could be a matter of several months, or never (though statistically unlikely).
Given that the baby has no human custodians (and will never return to her birth mother), should we have her baptized?
Of course, it might be more prudent to wait for her adoptive parents, but what if it takes years for her to be adopted, or what if she never gets adopted?
I asked a priest I know, and he said he wasn’t sure, but that he’d back to me.
We’re yet to ask our pastor, but I wanted to know if anybody knew/had an idea what the position of the Church would be?

P.S. My question is purely spiritual, and not legal (as the state, at least in our case, cannot decide such religious matters).

Usually baptism is not conferred unless there is a hope that the child will be raised Catholic. You can’t guarantee that when the child is up for adoption so the priest may decide not to baptize her. I know that in our parish, unless it’s a case of possible death, children aren’t baptized until the adoption is final.

I’m not sure what you mean by the “position of the Church” That can be taken 2 ways. It might mean that you’re asking about canon law, and whether or not it’s licit to have the child baptised; or it could mean that you’re asking whether the Church recommends that you do have her baptised.

If you’re asking about canon law, canon 868 says that the parent(s), or the one who legitimately takes their place gives consent.

Since you are the one who legitimately takes the place of the parents in being responsible for the child, you would meet that requirement. I think it would be different if you said that your situation is that you’re being foster parents for an established time (like a month or 6 months) but since the situation is “permanent until it changes” you’re qualified to make that decision on behalf of the child.

The other canonical requirement is that the pastor have at least a “founded hope” that the child will be raised Catholic. A “founded hope” means just that.

Beyond what we already see in the canons ( ) the Church doesn’t have norms to deal with the specific situation of foster parents (as opposed to an outright adoption). Here’s my opinion: if you can reasonably say to the pastor that you expect to be responsible for this child long enough that you will raise her in the faith, then you’d be on solid ground when requesting baptism for her.

The final decision of course has to be made by your pastor–I’m only saying that you have good grounds for making the request to have her baptised.

I know in our diocese, with regard to baptizing an adopted child, all the FINAL paperwork has to be sent to the diocese and we need to receive their permission before the child can be baptized. I would think, that with regard to a foster child, the requirements would be just as stringent, or they would not allow it. I would check with the chancelors office in your diocese.

And what a wonderful blessing it is that you have been willing to be allowed by our Heavenly Father to be placed in the position where the baby can possibly be baptized at this early time of life . . . surely God cherishes and knows this tiny babe and has allowed the little one to be placed in your loving Catholic Christian care for His good purposes . . . may all God’s graces pour forth for His name’s sake in this precious baby’s life for now and the future days that lie ahead for this important little life . . . perhaps baptism is the priority reason God has *placed this child in your faithful loving hands . . . *

God tenderly bless you all . . .

[RIGHT]. . . all for Jesus+
. . . Lord . . . tenderly bless and guide+

Generally you would not be able to present the child for Baptism, unless you have adopted him/her or the courts have awarded you permanent custody, not temporary custody.

yeap that’s the reason!

This is the situation I am in. My husband and I are adopting but per parish rules, we cannot have our baby baptized until the finalization, which will be when she is 4 months old.

Andzy, I think you will be hard-pressed to demonstrate that you will have custody long enough to raise her in the faith unless you are adopting her yourself.

If we believe that baptism is necesary for salvation then how is it moral to wait on the state giving final adoption approval? What if something happens before then? That just seems wrong…

It would be wrong to baptize a child and then not give him/her formation and instruction . Some say it would be quite dangerous and the child would be very vulnerable to attack by the evil one.

Keep in mind that if she were to become seriously ill or injured, you should request the pastor Baptize her ASAP, if he may not arrive at the hospital in time then you should be prepared to Baptize her in that situation.

You’re are putting a lot of weight on the prospective God Parents. They are the ones after adoption that carry on as to the child’s faith. Have you given that some thought? I’d leave the child unto who adopts her as to what they want to do. Why do a baptismal when you have nothing to follow up? As I mentioned in my young life here, I’m new, LIMBO, for infants, if they do not get done before death, does not exist as we and our parents were taught. Get them Baptized ASAP is not the way any longer. Take your time, leave it up to the adopitive parents and get it right for the child. The Lord will understand.

In a closed adoption the Godparents might not even know where the child is. That’s the case with one family in our parish. The children they adopted were already baptized and pictures prove it but since the children were apprehended by the Court and were adopted after parents’ right were terminated there is no information available to either family about the other.

I know how it is. Godparents, real parents, Schmarents. It’s sad. Everything and tradition is throw away, don’t need it, don’t have it, and who cares? I’m just saying, God parents do or should have a place if they are truly that for that child.
I’m sure many of the “so called” Baptismal cerimonies don’t even require them to be present today or their credentials checked… Tsk…tsk…

Of course godparents truly have a place. But in the OP’s situation, if the child is baptized now and then adopted neither the foster parents nor the godparents are likely to ever have contact with her again. That has nothing to do with getting rid of tradition but everything to do with adoption laws and the reality that Baptism would obligate this child to certain things that she may never be in a position to do.

As to godparents being present at Baptism, even 50 years ago godparents didn’t have to be present but could be represented by proxies.

I know, the new age Catholicism…I’m trying to understand it all…Virtual Cyber Space God Parents…OK…OK…

Well, at least we’re talking about having God parents and how important they are as to Baptismal in our Church. I don’t think these caretakers until the girl is adopted even thought about that aspect.

Well, while we’re at it, after Baptism, would come Confirmation. How many of my nephews and nieces were Baptised, all of them, but how many never confirmed by the Bishop??? Plenty. Most don’t even the know this next after First Holy Communion, Sacrament exits…tsk…tsk… I guess we get worked about Baptismal and then there is no follow up…

50 years ago, god parents were represented by proxies? Wow. I am a God Father to many relatives about 30 and 40 years ago. Was always present when it happened. Never heard about this proxy thing back even before I was a God Father. Was this liberalism from Vatican II? How is it done, you just sign some papers or just type your name in the block and email it? Wow, it’s just too easy today. I guess we’re desperate for more newbees in the faith.

If you can get validly married by proxy I guess you can be a godparent by proxy.

Back in 1958, my baby brother’s godparents were out of town when he was born. He was baptized on his first Sunday home from the hospital (the norm in my parish back then) and they were represented by proxies. It was done then, it’s done today. As long as they still fulfill their obligations afterward, what difference does it make?

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