Birth Fathers and Adoption
The father of every baby, the birth father, has legal rights that are important to know and understand. It is important to understand that each state has different laws and requirements about birth father adoption legal rights and responsibilities. Lifetime Adoption can help you speak with an attorney at no cost if you have questions about birth fathers and their adoption legal rights.
Many birth fathers state that they are opposed to adoption because of their pride. They believe that ‘no child of mine’ should be placed for adoption simply because they are too proud to admit that it may be the best solution. It actually takes a strong man to realize that he is not in a place to provide a child with an ideal life and agree to the adoption. Many birth fathers who have played an active role in adoption have shared that they are so happy they put their child’s needs above their own.
Manny, a steelworker in Pennsylvania found himself in a similar situation. His ex-girlfriend Raina texted him that she was pregnant and looking into adoption for the baby because she did not want another child. This was Manny’s first baby and he was insisting that he wanted to be a dad to this child. They fought, but finally got together late one night at a restaurant to try to hash out what this was all going to look like.
Raina showed him the pictures of the Ohio family she had chosen for the baby. She had been talking to them and told him that they would be happy to talk to him and include him with annual visits. Manny thought he had it all worked out – if Raina didn’t want to be a mom, the kid could stay with his mom during the week while he worked and then come to his house on weekends.
As he looked at the photos of the couple’s home and family, even the nursery they had ready for a baby, he started to realize and understand that these people were ready to be parents every day and night to his baby. And he simply wasn’t in a place where he could. He left the restaurant feeling like a failure but agreed to talk to these people with Raina next week.
When Manny spoke to the adoptive parents that Raina had chosen, they were so kind and thankful to talk to him. They told him they understood this was a hard decision for him but however it worked out, they were grateful for the chance to be considered. They reassured him they wanted him to be a part of the child’s life and they talked about what that could look like.
After the call ended, Manny felt better about adoption. It was still a difficult place to be, but he started to see things from his child’s perspective, and decided that a committed, two parent family might have more to offer than he and Raina, especially when Raina didn’t even want another kid.
The adoption moved forward, with Manny participating every step of the way. Today, Manny has a great bond with the adoptive parents and is proud to see his son play in his little league games when the team travels near him. They have a very open relationship and he stays in touch with them more than Raina.
As you try to learn more about the father’s rights in adoption, there are some key questions you may need to answer:
Has the birth father expressed interest in parenting? Is he capable of supporting a family?
Being a dad is more than simply being listed on a birth certificate and showing up for birthdays and weekends. Children need a consistent father figure in their lives. If he has shown interest in parenting, speak with him about what that looks like, financially, emotionally, and from a commitment standpoint. Sometimes being a great dad is understanding that you cannot provide everything you want for your child and letting someone else do it through adoption.
Can the birth father be identified? Can he be located?
If there is more than one potential father of the baby, that is an issue that will need to be addressed. Similarly, if he cannot be physically located, an attorney will need to follow the particular state’s laws to terminate the rights. State laws also address terminating the rights of an unknown birth father in the case where a woman does not know the possible identity of the father, in a case such as a one-night stand or rape. These may sound like complicated situations but Lifetime can help you find the answers you need in an easy and private way.
Will the father consent to an adoption?
This is an important question. If he will not, it may be because he feels like the situation is out of control or does not know that he can play an active role in adoption. Many times, like the story with Manny, a father just needs to be acknowledged and included in the choices. Remember it is his child too. If the situation is a violent or dangerous one, it may not be advisable to speak directly with him. Lifetime can help by providing an attorney who can speak with him directly.
Is he getting pressure from family members or friends?
Often a birth father’s mother will pressure him to “step up” and be a man by objecting to an adoption placement. Usually, the only people who have parental rights are the mother and the father of the baby. Working together for the best interest of the baby is the job of the child’s mother and father. Ultimately, grandparents, friends, aunts, and others are not going to be the ones who are there every day as parents. The two of you need to come to the best decision for the baby, completely free from outside influences. Especially because often the grandmothers of the baby or others offer a lot of help in parenting, but they are not able to follow through 24 hours a day, 7 days a week like children need.
Does he deny paternity?
Married men who fathered a baby with someone other than their wives may just deny that the baby is theirs. They don’t want their marriages disrupted. An attorney will handle this privately and confidentiality, whether or not he is willing to sign the papers.
There are many questions in regards to birth fathers and their adoption legal rights. Lifetime Adoption is here to help you find the answers you need as you consider adoption. The best way to get answers is by calling our 24 hour adoption answer line at 1-800-923-6784.
You may also start your adoption plan now by filling out basic information or just send us an email with your adoption question.
Remember, we are here to help you and any information you share with us is completely private and confidential.
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