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Birth Father Frequently Asked Questions

birth father deep in thought looking out the window full of questions about adoption for his baby

Our birth father adoption FAQ features questions that birth fathers typically have about the adoption process.

As a birth father, you may have many questions about adoption and your rights and responsibilities. Lifetime Adoption is here to help you find the answers you need. If you don’t see your question here, feel free to call or text our 24 hour adoption answer line at 1-800-923-6784. Rest assured that any information you share with us is completely private and confidential.

I just found out my girlfriend is pregnant, and my emotions are all over the place. I am embarrassed, sad, mad, and confused. Is this normal?
An unexpected pregnancy creates a lot of emotions for everyone involved. It can be embarrassing to admit you didn’t take the proper precautions. You may feel angry and fearful about what the future will hold. You probably are confused and don’t know what your choices are. These feelings are normal, and to deal with them, you need a plan of action. To create your plan, you will need to have open communication with the mother, and you will need to gather information on your choices.

Understanding the choices you have and looking at what each of those choices will require is key to moving forward and working through all of these emotions.

What choices do we have?
You and the expectant mother basically have three choices. You can parent this child, the expectant mother can choose abortion, or you and she can choose adoption. Before choosing any of these options, you and the expectant mother need to calmly sit down and have an honest discussion about what each of these options means now and into the future.

If parenting is an option you are considering, make sure you both understand what that means. Can you provide a safe, loving, and stable home for an infant? Can you afford all the necessities a child must have? Will you be able to parent this child together in a healthy and positive way? Do you have day care, access to transportation and medical care, and a solid support system to help when you can’t be there?

Abortion is another option that people often take too lightly. It can seem like an easy solution to solve a problem, but it is not. Abortion comes with emotions that can last a lifetime. There is no going back. Make sure you understand the facts. Look at an ultrasound of the baby or Google what the baby looks like at six weeks, eight weeks, and never pressure or give in to pressure from others to have an abortion if it is not what you feel is right in your heart.

Adoption tends to be the least known of the three choices. Adoption opens up a lot of choices to you. You and the birth mother can choose the adoptive family. You can decide how much contact you would like to have after the adoption. You will be given updates so that you will know your child is thriving in a healthy, loving home. You can even get together with your child once or twice a year. Be sure you understand the benefits of modern adoption before dismissing this choice based on lack of knowledge.

Take the time to really look at each of these choices. Make a list of pros and cons. Work with the expectant mother to decide what is best for you, her, and most importantly, the baby.

Is my life going to change forever?
The short answer is yes, it is. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. If you take the time to really look at your choices and you and the expectant mother come to a decision that you both feel good about, this situation can become a very positive experience in your life. It can be one of growth, and turning a situation that seemed overwhelming and negative into something good can give you a sense of pride and achievement.
When during the pregnancy do we need to make a decision about adoption?
Deciding what to do about an unexpected pregnancy can feel overwhelming, and you may feel pressured to make a decision quickly. While the earlier you make a decision, the more you can prepare and take time to find the adoptive family, there is no need to rush into a decision you are unsure of. Take your time to really consider your options. We have had women call us from the hospital. We have birth parents call us months into parenting when they realize that parenting was not the best decision for them or the baby.

Talk to someone you trust. Ask an adoption coordinator or a counselor you can speak with. You need to make the right decision for yourself, the birth mother, and the baby.

My parents want to raise the baby, and this is not what I want. How do I handle this?
Your parents love you and know they would love this baby. That doesn’t mean parenting your baby is for the best. If you are not comfortable with this, you will need to be strong and tell them how you feel in a kind way. Let them know that having them raise your child would be too hard for you. Take time to write down your reasons so you can have a calm conversation with them.

If you have chosen adoption, let them know that they can be involved in the process. We even have birth grandparents who get updates and get to visit with their grandchild. Explain that with open adoption, their grandchild is not going to disappear and never be seen by them again. You can find a family that is open to birth grandparent contact.

How involved should I be in the pregnancy and adoption plans?
This will depend on several different factors. What is your relationship with the expectant mother? How involved do you want to be after the adoption is final?

Hopefully, you and the expectant mother can work together through this time. Be supportive and ask the expectant mother how she would like for you to support her. Calm and positive communication during this time is key.

My girlfriend wants to place our baby for adoption, but I think I want to parent my child. What should I do?
When expectant parents disagree on what to do with an unexpected pregnancy, things can get complicated. If you two are not on the same page regarding parenting and you are considering parenting on your own, make sure you are going into that with wide-open eyes. Parenting is not easy, and single parenthood is even harder.

You may have friends and family who are encouraging you and offering to help, which is great but be sure that if for any reason they cannot be there for you and the baby that you can handle parenting on your own. It is you that will have to be up all night if the baby is sick and then still go to work the next day. Offers of help are great, but they don’t usually pan out to be the same as another parent to help you manage 24/7.

It will be your responsibility to provide for the baby. Not just the necessities of home, food, diapers, daycare, but the unexpected costs that arise. The new clothes and shoes they are always outgrowing. The trip to the emergency room for ear infections. Dealing with all of these issues is hard when you have a partner to lean on, so on your own, you will need to be ready for all of these circumstances.
Parenting could be the best solution for you. Just make sure you are looking at what life will be like for you and your baby realistically.

What does open adoption mean for the birth father?
Basically, open adoption means that information is shared between the birth and adoptive families. What open adoption will look like to you depends on the Post-Placement Adoption Contact Agreement that you and the adoptive family agree to. It is important to let your adoption coordinator know what kind of updates or even visits you would be interested in. Even if you and the birth mother are not together anymore, you can still participate in the adoption plan.

As an involved father, you’re able to be included in all the important, major decisions of the adoption even if you’re not still with your baby’s birth mother. You can help make this decision as smooth as possible by staying in communication. You and your baby’s mother can choose your baby’s adoptive parents, how much contact after the adoption, and what the hospital stay will be like. You can even meet with the adoptive parents before your baby is born. You can stay in touch with your baby’s adoptive parents after the placement, and get updates on your child. The contact can be through emails, photos, Facebook, and even in-person visits.

Open adoption benefits all involved. The birth parents get updates and know that their child is safe and thriving in a loving home. The adoptive parents have access to medical and genetic information, and most importantly, the child will know his history and birth family. If there are questions about why he was placed for adoption, they can be answered. If he wants to know where his blue eyes came from, he can find out. This all helps a child’s self-esteem by helping them have a sense of where they came from and knowing that they were placed with their family by their birth parents out of love.

Can I help her pick a family for our baby?
Yes, totally! Lifetime encourages birth fathers to be involved in the adoption decision and we believe that you should have a say as well. We’ll show you adoptive families from all over the country, and from different backgrounds and races. You can start browsing adoptive families today on Lifetime’s Find a Family page.
Do I have to pay for anything?
If you’re making an adoption plan, the adoptive family you’ve selected can assist with any medical expenses not covered by the birth mother’s insurance. Once the adoption is completed, you are no longer responsible for child support. The adoptive family pays for the legal aspect of the adoption.

One of the most responsible things you can do is support the birth mother’s decision and adoption plans, whether or not you’re still together. Birth mothers normally choose adoption because they know it will give their baby a better life. Adoptive parents are financially stable and ready to give a child the love, home, and opportunities every child deserves.

Can my girlfriend put my baby up for adoption without my consent?
There are many legal factors that affect custody rights, and they vary from state to state. Many states have a putative father registry. Once you register, your parental rights are protected. If the birth mother does not agree that you are the father, you can demand that a DNA test be done. If confirmed, you can then apply for custody, or you can voluntarily terminate your parental rights so the adoption proceedings can proceed.

The laws about a father’s rights depend on what state you live in. In general, however, you have the right to know she’s making an adoption plan, the right to be a part of her adoption planning process, and the right to contest to the adoption if you don’t agree with it.

If you want to parent the child and the birth mother wants to place the child for adoption, you will need to show the courts that you can properly care for the child. As the specific laws vary from state to state, we recommend you speak with a lawyer to get the information on your state’s laws.

I already have children with another woman that I can’t support. What should I do?
This would be a good time to sit down with the expectant mother and have an honest discussion about how to care for this baby. Now may not be the best time for either one of you to be trying to parent a child. Be honest with her about your current situation and the fact that you are unable to support her and this baby. If a safe, stable home environment is not going to be possible at this time, you may want to discuss the adoption option. You two can choose the adoptive parents for your child, get updates from the family, and perhaps even visits. The most important consideration here has to be the child and what is best for them now and in the future.
My girlfriend and I have addiction issues and have decided adoption is the best thing for this baby. Will the baby still be able to be adopted?
Yes, your baby will be adopted into a loving and stable home. You and the expectant mom do need to be honest with your adoption coordinator. If drugs or alcohol are being used during the pregnancy, it can affect the health of the baby. We do have families who are happy to adopt a baby that has been exposed to substance abuse. It is, of course, best to reach out for help with your addictions, and your adoption coordinator will be happy to put you in touch with resources right in your area.
My wife and I have had our other children removed from our home by CPS recently. Will they let us keep this baby?
Generally, unless some drastic changes have been made and been in place for a time, the answer will be no. Now is a good time to really think about what is best for this child. If CPS takes the baby at the hospital when born, they will be placed into the foster care system. You will have no say in where they are placed or who is raising your child. If you choose adoption, you can choose the parents for your child and even, under the right circumstances, receive updates, photos and may even share a social media page so you can see that your child is doing well.
If you do not see yourselves getting your other children back in your home, you may consider placing them with your new baby. Sibling adoption is possible, and as we do not separate siblings, they would be placed in a home together.
I don’t want anyone to know that I am placing my baby for adoption, including my parole officer. Is it possible to keep this secret?
Yes, this is your private information, and it will not be released to anyone you do not want it released to. We can help you meet a legal representative privately to terminate your parental rights, which will make the adoption process proceed. You will not need to go to court or share this information with anyone.
Will my name be on the birth certificate?
The original birth certificate issued in the hospital may have your name and the birth mother’s name on it, but it is not a requirement. Once the adoption is complete, a new birth certificate will be issued with the adoptive parents named as mother and father and the name they chose for the baby. This will then be the official birth certificate on file.

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