When discussing the adoption process, most conversations include the birth mother, the adoptive family, and, of course, the child. Many conversations about adoption do not include the birth father.
This omission can leave some birth mothers unprepared for the role that the baby's father may have in the process.
The role the birth father in the adoption process largely depends on the individual situations of both birth parents. In this blog, we list several common scenarios and explain how the circumstances may impact the role of the birth father.
Birth Parents Are Together and Both Support Adoption
If you are married to, in a civil union with, or cohabitating with the baby's father, you may make the decision to opt for adoption together. In this situation, you'll want to work as a team to create an adoption plan and choose an adoptive family.
Your partner is welcome to attend any legal or medical appointment you may have during the pregnancy and adoption process.
Birth Parents Are Together but the Father Is Opposed to Adoption
If you and your partner have differing opinions about adoption, you may want to visit doctors, adoption specialists, and a counselor together. This decision can be a difficult one for any expectant mother. Adding an unsupportive birth father makes the process even more complex.
With time and more information, the birth father may become supportive of your plan. If he stays opposed to adoption and your plan remains the same, he must pursue custody of the child as an individual, which we'll discuss in the next section.
Birth Parents Are Not Together and the Father Is Opposed to Adoption
If the baby's birth father is opposed to adoption, his rights and options are essentially the same regardless of whether or not he and the birth mother are still together. If he would like to take on the responsibilities of raising the child on his own, he can petition for custody.
In order to be granted custody, the birth father must demonstrate that he wants to and can provide for the child himself. If custody is granted, he'll retain his parental rights and gain custody after the child is born.
In some situations, the birth father cannot be given custody, which we'll discuss in a later section.
Birth Parents Are Together but the Father Supports Abortion
Abortion is sometimes seen as a simpler solution to an unwanted pregnancy than carrying the pregnancy to term and putting the baby up for adoption. Abortion and adoption are both deeply personal decisions that should be made after careful consideration.
Even if the baby's father supports abortion, the choice is still up to the birth mother. After all, the birth mother is the one who must bear the brunt of the physical and emotional effects of either abortion or adoption.
It may be helpful to seek advice from qualified medical and adoption professionals, both on your own and with your partner. Ideally, you and the baby's father would come to the same conclusion after receiving more information, but even if you don't see eye to eye, these appointments can help you feel more confident in your final choice.
Birth Father Is Unfit
Some individuals are considered legally unfit to raise children. Whether or not you're still with the baby's father does not have an impact on whether he qualifies as a fit parent in the eyes of a family court.
If the baby's father wants to keep the child or pursue custody himself, his parental rights and related options may vary if he:
- Cannot emotionally, physically, or financially provide for a child.
- Has a history of domestic violence.
- Has a history of sporadic or reckless behavior.
- Is an active duty military member who is currently deployed.
- Is currently incarcerated.
In these situations, a birth mother should consult with an attorney to determine the best way to proceed with the adoption with or without the birth father's consent.
It's important to note that birth fathers who are deployed or incarcerated who are supportive of adoption can still be involved in the adoption planning process.
Birth Father Is Unknown
If you are unsure who the birth father of your child is, you should notify your attorney and the adoption professionals you work with. In most cases, you must make an effort to identify and notify the father if possible.
However, if the birth father does not support you financially during the pregnancy and does not establish paternity in any other legally binding way, his consent has no bearing on the adoption process.
Whether you are a single birth mother or a happily married woman with a supportive husband, the decision to put your child up for adoption can be a difficult one. As you assess your options, contact a birth mother specialist with A Child's Dream.
Our birth mother specialists can connect you with counselors, social workers, housing providers, and medical professionals as well as potential adoptive families. Whatever your situation, we can help.