Choosing adoption for your baby is tough decision for any mother, but it’s often even more difficult when you throw the father into the mix. When you picture the adoption process, many think of the consent of the expectant mother and the adoptive parents. Many forget the adoption triangle, which involves the birth father, birth mother, and the adoptive parents.
Legally the father of a child has the same parental rights as the mother, so ideally he is part of the process and gives consent to the adoption.
Life isn’t always simple, though: What if your husband refuses to talk or your boyfriend flat-out disappears?
Or if you’re not sure who the father is?
What if you think he’ll get violent if you tell him you’re pregnant?
In these kinds of situations, getting free assistance from an adoption coordinator, like those at Adopt Connect, makes the process easier and safer for you and your baby.
Lots of adoptions take place every year without the birth father ever being involved.
When that happens, though, there’s some legal risk to you and to the adoptive parents.
If the father decides later that he wants the child, he might be able to sue for custody and take the child away.
Taking the proper legal precautions when preparing an adoption plan is the best way to be sure everyone has as much protection from that as possible.
In this article you will learn the proper way to get the father’s consent, but first here is how you should contact the father.
Try to locate your child’s birth father: It’s best when everyone is clear on who the birth father is and he is able to give his consent to the adoption.
If the identity or the location of the father isn’t clear, an adoption professional may check a state’s putative (presumed) father registry or even publish notices for him to see.
Be safe: Many states don’t require a birth mother to inform the father or possible father about her pregnancy if she has reason to fear for her safety.
An adoption coordinator can help you find out what the options are in your state.
Adopt Connect can also provide immediate assistance with living expenses, transportation, housing, and more.
Don’t lie about being pregnant: Even if your state doesn’t require you to tell the father when you are pregnant, the law may still forbid you from lying or misleading him, especially if he asks you directly.
This applies even through online/offline contact and social media; email, text messages, facebook, twitter, etc.
If the father does ask you questions about being pregnant and you are afraid to answer, you can have an adoption coordinator or a lawyer answer for you.
If possible, inform the father: You don’t want the father to be able to say he never knew his child was being adopted.
If it’s safe to do so, tell him that you are pregnant and keep him updated about the process, even if he isn’t in favor of it.
This can be the hardest step for a pregnant mother, but working with an adoption professional can help a lot.
Depending on circumstances, you might have a lawyer speak with him for you or send him a letter through certified mail.
Original photo by Andrew Rennie. Some rights reserved.
Your options if there are two or more possible fathers: If there is a possibility that multiple people can be the father, all parties should be notified.
To do this, you would notify each party using one of the ways that will be mentioned below.
Depending on the state is how you would notify them.
If one or more party contests and wants to parent, a paternity test will likely need to be conducted.
Your options if you do not know how to contact the father: In a number of cases, the birth mother may not know where the father is located or how to get a hold of him.
In this case, many states have a Putative Father Registry.
This is where a father must go to sign up to protect his parental rights.
In some cases, this is where you can notify the father of the adoption plan.
If he does not register, the adoption may be able to continue without his consent.
Another option is an adoption profession can assist you with publishing notices in his last known location.
It’s best when the father is able and willing to consent to the adoption in writing.
A father’s permission doesn’t necessarily have to be written, though.
In many states, a man has a certain amount of time to assert his parental rights after being informed of an adoption plan.
A failure to act in that circumstance would be considered to be the same as consenting to the adoption.
Even if the father doesn’t agree to the adoption right away, you should keep working on your adoption plan; he may change his mind when he learns about the adoptive family or the kinds of adoption available (open, semi-open, semi-closed, closed).
Sometimes he just needs time to think it over.
In some cases, even if the father refuses to give up his parental rights, it may be possible to have a judge terminate them in court if the party is unfit to parent.
You will need to talk with a lawyer to see if that is a good course of action.
There’s a lot to consider when it comes to a birth father’s role in the adoption process.
Generally speaking, the father has a right to be part of the adoption process if possible, but specific laws regarding adoption change depending on where you live in the United States.
Every situation is different, so if you are thinking about adoption but having problems with the father of your child, consider contacting an adoption coordinator who can get you help tailored to your needs.