Birth Father Contesting Adoption
What You Need To Know
When an open adoption is in process, a birth father is typically notified of the adoption. After that, the birth father usually has three options:
- Consent to the adoption, sign the adoption papers, and decide to go through the open adoption process with the mother.
- Do nothing. After about 30 days (depending on relevant state laws), the right to parent the child will be forfeited if the birth father takes no action.
Contest the adoption. A birth father can contest an adoption by taking certain legal steps that will stop the adoption and assert his parental rights.
- This does not mean he automatically gets custody; it simply stops the adoption proceedings.
Contesting adoptions can be very hard on everybody involved. And a contested adoption can cost lots of money. For the sake of both families, it’s important to try and begin a dialogue about open adoption with the birth father about the adoption.
How might one do this? By reminding him of the benefits that adoption offers his child. And by reminding him that in an open adoption, he and the biological mother can find common ground with the adoptive family regarding how often they want to stay in touch with the child, either separately or together.
In other words, adoption doesn’t have to mean goodbye.
When She Wants Adoption and He Doesn’t
In an ideal situation, both mother and father would decide together to do what is best for their child. However, in the real world, complications and disagreement can arise. There are still ways to hammer out an agreement.
Birth mothers with biological fathers contesting adoption should ask them to seriously think about the following:
- The birth mother wants to place the child for adoption. This means she probably can’t or doesn’t want to be a mom right now. Shouldn’t a birth father want his child to have a mom who is eager to raise a child? Remember: Just because she wants adoption doesn’t mean she doesn’t love this child. She is trying to give this child what she feels is the best opportunity for a bright future.
- What kind of father will he be? Will he attend every doctor’s appointment and provide both emotional and financial support for the baby and the baby’s mother? Will he provide these things even if he and the mother are no longer together?
- How stable is his job, home life, and income? Will he be able to afford health insurance and medical care? Does he have an extended support system from family and friends? Can he afford daycare or child support?
- Is he against the adoption because he thinks adoption makes him a failure? In fact, it’s a courageous and loving decision to place a child for adoption. It’s not easy to do, and doing the hard thing to make a better life for the child is the opposite of failure.
- Considering adoption may feel like he is a failure as a father. Maybe he is disappointed in himself and has a fear that family, friends, buddies, and co-workers will not look at him the same. Making an adoption plan takes a lot of courage and love.
As the child’s father, he can choose to play an active role in creating the adoption plan for the child. He can help choose the family and talk to them prior to the adoption. He can receive updates after the adoption is complete and participate in visits. Many times, the relationship with the adoptive parents is one that feels like an extended family, and he will be a part of it.
At Lifetime Adoption, we can help everyone learn more about adoption and can explain to him how he can participate in the adoption plan. He may have questions about choices or what open adoption looks like. He can be included as much as he wishes, and our services, including counseling, are available free of charge to him too.
After discussing the pros and cons of adoption with the biological father, they are often open to participating in the adoption plan. After further discussions, many will consent to the adoption. Truthfully, they just want to be acknowledged and included, and not feel like the decision about their child is being made without them.
A birth father who chooses to contest the adoption may have many reasons for wanting to object to the adoption. Their reasons are usually rooted in pride or family pressure. Once an honest conversation can take place, whether it is with the expectant mother, a LIfetime counselor, or a Lifetime adoption coordinator, the root of the objection can be identified and dealt with. If he just needs to be included in the choices, then he can be as involved as he wants.
If he truly wants to parent his child, then he needs to begin creating a parenting plan, which includes support for the expecting mother during her pregnancy. It should include how he plans to parent, the home he will provide, insurance, child support, daycare and more. It isn’t enough to just say “My mom will raise the baby.” Both parents need to be in agreement and have a say on what parenting will look like. Lifetime can help provide a Parenting Plan Form if you need it.
The Case For Adoption
Our focus is on what’s best for the child. Keep in mind that any disagreements can actually be a way to strengthen the case for adoption. Let’s talk about how Lifetime Adoption works to make the adoption process a positive experience for everyone involved.
The Law Regarding Adoptions and Birth Fathers
Contested adoptions from fathers aren’t that common, and state laws vary regarding birth fathers who contest an adoption. But it is important to note that the baby’s father has some legal adoption rights.
“Depending on state law,” writes FindLaw.com, “fathers who don’t consent to the adoption of their child should file an objection to the adoption in the appropriate court, or in some cases with the state health and human services department. Often, an objection to adoption must include an indication of intent to petition for custody of the child in a short period of time, 30 days, for example.”
With this in mind, Lifetime Adoption can help birth mothers who find themselves in this situation. We can set up a meeting with an adoption attorney at no cost to birth mothers. These attorneys can help answer questions about birth fathers and adoption legal rights in general.
As a nationwide domestic adoption agency, Lifetime Adoption works with people across the country — with those looking to adopt and birth families placing their child for adoption. For more than three decades, we’ve been helping these groups of people connect with one another.
That means we’ve spoken and worked with many birth fathers over the years — some of whom are hesitant to accept that adoption may be the best option for their child.
In addition to the free services provided to birth mothers, Lifetime can also arrange meetings between birth fathers and adoption attorneys.
In some situations, both the birth mom and birth dad work together on their adoption plan. Lifetime Adoption has the experience to help navigate this situation from start to finish.
You can also start the no-obligation process by looking at our contact page and choosing the best contact option for you. We can answer any questions you may have about birth father rights, contested adoption hearings, paternity tests, a father registry, family law, and more.
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