Facing an unplanned pregnancy? As the baby’s biological father, you have the right to make an informed decision about your baby. If you and your baby’s mother are considering adoption, you may have questions about the process and the rights you have. We can help you and your baby’s mother decide what is best for all of you.
The Role of Birthfathers in the Adoption Process
Depending on the state, an adoption may consent from both biological parents. If you are married to the baby’s mother, your consent may be required to place the baby for adoption. If you were never married to the baby’s mother, many states will not need your consent. Depending on the laws in your state, you may be notified of the adoption plan, at which point, you may have the right to consent or object. The process and your specific rights depend heavily on the laws in your state.
Objecting to the Adoption
If you object to the adoption of your baby, you must be able to establish paternity through a DNA test. Then you will need to demonstrate your commitment to parenting the child. Often, this includes helping with pregnancy-related expenses, medical bills, and child support. It also includes a commitment to establishing the best possible relationship with the child. If you do not or cannot provide support or you have any sort of substance abuse problems, you may be denied the right to object to the adoption.
Some states do not require the mother to inform the biological father about the baby. In those states, it is the responsibility of the father to find out whether he fathered a child. If you were unaware of your child and the adoption has already happened, you might not be able to object at that point. If you learn about your child before it is born and want to object to the adoption, you might still have time. The laws vary greatly from state to state.
Most states maintain a birthfather registry where men who believe they have fathered children can declare their paternity and their desire to parent the child in question. Through this registration, they will be notified of any pending adoption and then can oppose it if they wish.
Consenting to an Adoption
Most states allow biological fathers to consent to an adoption before the baby is born. After the baby is born, consent is usually needed only from the birthmother. If you consent to the adoption before the baby is born, there are many ways you can help the birthmother through the difficult and stressful adoption process. You may be able to help her choose and meet with the adoptive parents, go with her to doctor’s appointments, participate in her counseling sessions, and provide moral support.