Birth Parents Blog

Birth Father’s Legal Rights in Adoption

Posted by Lifetime Adoption on March 4, 2016

birth_father_birth_mother.jpgThe father of the baby says he won’t agree to the adoption. I don’t want to raise this baby and he wants me to give it to his mother.  I don’t want to that either. What can I do?

First off, understand that you are not alone.  Many women have been right where you are.  And we are here for you 24/7 if you want to talk about your unique situation or need to speak with an attorney privately about your specific situation.

One approach to a situation like this is to understand that as parents, the best path may be for you to come together and make the best choice for your child.  This can be difficult, especially if your relationship is already broken.  Here are somethings that may help you:

Understand His Pride

Part of every man is a sense of pride, and often men resist agreeing to an adoption plan based that pride. They believe that no one can or should parent their child but them, even if they are not in a position finically or emotionally to be a dad.  It can be a hard thing for a man to admit he cannot or should not parent his own child.  You may need to have a heart to heart talk with him and share your hopes and dreams for your child, and see what his are as well. If he can see that there is no way you both can provide that life, then adoption becomes a more realistic possibility.

Open Adoption For Him Too

He may not understand that he can play a role in adoption, including helping to choose the family and having contact after the adoption.  Even if the two of you are no longer together, you can both have a relationship with the child and adoptive parents.  Men usually don’t know this because the modern TV shows and movies about adoption (like Juno and Teen Mom) are geared toward women.  Once he realizes that adoption is not goodbye forever, it may change is reaction to it.

Family Pressure

He may be getting pressure from friends or family members, especially his mother, to “step up” and be a man.  Or, if his mother is saying she will raise the baby, what type of relationship will that create with you both?  It will be awkward and difficult for sure!  This is a decision that the two of you need to find a way to make together, free from outside influence and pressure.  And it need to result in a plan that is the best for the baby, providing the life that you both want for your son or daughter.

Custody and Child Support

Many men believe that if the mother wants adoption, and the father doesn’t, that the father automatically gets custody. This is not true.  If the father objects to adoption, the adoption process stops, and the baby goes home with the mother.  The mother will immediately file for and receive an order for monthly child support.  If the father wants shared or full custody, he will have to hire an attorney and fight for it.  Objecting to adoption does not mean he is a better parent or he should have the baby, it simply stops the adoption process.  By stopping the process, he is asserting that he is the father and ready to support his child financially.  This has come as quite a surprise to many men.

Brett learned this lesson the hard way.  He was 19 years old and living with his mother after splitting up from his girlfriend Tia. Tia had made an adoption plan for her baby but Brett and his mother had refused to it and had filed the proper papers to stop it in their state.  Brett’s mom was excited to think she would be helping Brett raise a baby so started creating a nursery, buying diapers and clothes, and getting everything ready.  Tia was very upset with Brett’s adoption refusal. She had the baby but did not call him and had changed her number so he couldn’t reach her.  Within a week or two, he was served with papers ordering him to begin paying $400 child support immediately or it would be withheld from his paycheck.  By the time Brett saw his baby for the first time, she was three months old and had outgrown all the things his mom had purchased.  Brett was feeling like an ATM, sending out cash and getting little time with his daughter.  This wasn’t what he had in mind when he stopped the adoption.

Fathers have legal rights in adoption, but open communication about expectations and parenting plans will go a long way in coming to an agreement about what the best choices are for your baby.

If you are pregnant and have questions about the father’s rights, call Lifetime at 1-800-923-6784 and we can help direct you to the right answers.

If you are a father and have questions about your rights, Lifetime can help you too on our 24 hour adoption answer line at 1-800-923-6784.

Learn more about the rights of birth fathers in adoption

Topics: Baby's father, father of my baby