When it comes to adoption, most people think solely about the birth mother or adoptive parents regarding questions, fears, or planning. However, we’re forgetting a very important piece of this puzzle: the birth father. The birth father has the right to feel the same emotions and grief as the birth mother. He has the right to be part of the adoption plan and process.
Here are some questions that birth fathers might have during this process.
● Do I have any rights as the birth father?
YES! While the rights of the father differ depending on what state you’re in, you have the right to know an adoption plan is being created and becoming a part of that process with her. Legally, both parents must formally consent to the adoption before the baby can be placed. You also have the right to contest to the adoption if you don’t agree with it. However, if you aren’t married to the mother, you must actively claim your rights as father by establishing paternity. Knowing your rights are important, make sure you check out how to go about finding your rights for each state.
● Can I help pick out the adoptive family for my baby?
Absolutely! Many agencies encourage the birth parents to choose a family together.
● Does the mother of my child have to tell me she’s pregnant and thinking about adoption?
In almost all states, the mother must make an attempt to let the father know their child is being placed for adoption if she is aware who the father is and can be located. Some states require a notice be published in a newspaper if the father cannot be located.
● If I agree to adoption, does this mean I failed?
Just the opposite! While placing your child for adoption is a very challenging and confusing thing, in no way does that mean that you have failed as a father. If anything, this is the most selfless act you can show your child. You’re providing a wonderful life for your child and can always be as involved in the child’s life as you want with options like open adoption.
All situations are different and require different plans of action. As the father, just remember that you have rights and responsibilities. If you need help or have questions regarding your options, call us so we can help you explore these options and get you in touch with legal counsel who can help.
Cady Stokes is an NYU graduate and former intern at Writers House literary agency. She has written for numerous blogs such as Her Campus and The Odyssey. She currently lives in Chicago and can be found on LinkedIn and Twitter.