Father of the Baby
Fathers that “Give a Child Up” for Adoption: How to Be Involved
The adoption process is often focused on the pregnant woman — her thoughts, feelings and experiences. But the father of the baby can play an equally important role in the adoption process.
We know that facing an unplanned pregnancy when you feel unready is a lot to handle. And, if you don’t know much about adoption, it can all seem a little foreign and complex. But we’re here to help.
You probably have some questions about placing this baby for adoption — is it an option for you, is it the right choice in your situation, what are your responsibilities as the birth father and where do you start? Remember that you can always contact an adoption agency to ask questions — it’s free, confidential and available 24/7, and talking to an agency does not mean that you have to commit to adoption.
For now, we’ll answer some of the questions you might have as an expectant father considering adoption:
Why Do You Never Hear About Fathers Placing a Baby for Adoption?
There is still a lot of stigma about men and unplanned pregnancy. There is also some stigma about men who choose adoption for their babies.
Placing a child for adoption is a normal thing. And, while choosing adoption for your child is never emotionally easy, it may be the best thing you can do for your baby at this point in time. Despite adoption being a loving and responsible choice when faced with unexpected pregnancy, there are many men who harbor misconceptions about adoption, like:
“If I place my baby for adoption, I’m not ‘stepping up’ as the provider for my child.”
Men often feel it’s their responsibility as a man and a father to provide. But, if you’re not currently in a position to provide the life you want for your child — physically, emotionally or financially — then adoption is the best way to provide your child with a loving family who is ready. It takes a lot of courage to recognize you’re not able to provide the life you want for your child at this point in time, and to place your baby with someone who is ready and able.
“This isn’t my responsibility. I’ll just let the mother figure this out.”
While a pregnant woman is the one who decides what’s best for her, she shouldn’t have to face this alone. After all, she didn’t get pregnant on her own! One of the best ways a man can assume responsibility is to support the pregnant woman in her decision — that often means offering your emotional support and assistance as she creates an adoption plan for the baby.
“Babies should be raised by the biological mother.”
It’s unfair and unrealistic to want and expect the baby’s mother to raise your baby if you’re not willing or able to do at least half of the parenting. So, if the baby’s mother does not want to raise this child, you’ll either need to assume full parental responsibilities or you’ll need to support her adoption decision.
“People will think I’m taking ‘the easy way out’ if I place my baby for adoption.”
This is a concern for many expectant fathers and mothers. But, adoption isn’t emotionally easy. It’s an incredibly difficult choice, even though it’s one made out of love for the child. Choosing adoption for your child is not the easy choice, but it may be the right choice for you and your child.
Can a Father Put a Child Up for Adoption?
Absolutely. Birth fathers can (and often do) join the birth mother in creating an adoption plan for their child together. We’ll walk you through that process below.
Many fathers feel that adoption is what is best for their child and is the most responsible choice in a tough situation.
Regardless of whether or not you and the baby’s mother are in a relationship, you can choose adoption for your child together. Having one another’s support and encouragement throughout the emotions and choices of the adoption process can benefit you, the birth mother and one day, your child.
Your child will always know that you chose adoption because you love him or her, and because you wanted them to have the best life possible.
What Is the Adoption Process Like for an Expectant Father?
Expectant fathers who are creating an adoption plan for their child will work with the baby’s mother to:
- Learn about the adoption process by talking to a licensed adoption agency.
- Review adoption profiles of waiting families to choose their baby’s future parents together.
- Get to know the adoptive family leading up to the baby’s birth.
- Support the birth mother through labor and delivery.
- Issue their legal consent to the adoption in accordance with their state’s laws. (Every state is different, so the adoption agency will provide you with free legal representation to walk you through this.)
- Keep in touch with their child through an open adoption.
Some expectant fathers (and mothers) are nervous about choosing open adoption, while others immediately like the idea of being able to get to know their biological child through the years. We encourage you to learn about what open adoption is, what it isn’t and the ways in which it can benefit birth parents and the adopted child.
If you and the baby’s mother choose open adoption, you would never be called upon to fill a parental role or its responsibilities. Open adoption simply means that you would be able to see your child growing up happy and loved by their adoptive parents, and your child can get in touch with you if they ever have questions! Contact an agency now to learn more about the adoption process and about open adoption.
Why Would a Father Put a Child Up for Adoption?
Adoption is not ‘giving up’ or ‘giving away.’ It’s one of the hardest decisions a parent can make, and it’s one that is made after a great deal of thought, love and effort. People who don’t understand fathers that ‘give up’ a child for adoption don’t understand the incredibly difficult situation that you’re currently facing.
Birth fathers, just like birth mothers, choose adoption for many reasons. Everyone has their own reasons for choosing adoption. Your reasons might include:
- You feel unable or unwilling to be a parent at this point in time.
- You don’t ever want to be a parent.
- You aren’t emotionally, physically or financially ready for this baby.
- You and the birth mother have a complicated relationship.
- You and the birth mother aren’t in a relationship.
- You and the birth mother are in a relationship, but you aren’t ready to be parents.
- You already have children, and now isn’t the right time to add another baby to your family.
- You don’t feel able to provide your child with the life you want for him or her.
- You want to provide your child with a loving, two-parent home.
- Your living situation is unstable.
- You don’t feel ready for this child, but you want to help a couple who desperately want to be parents.
Is Adoption without the Mother’s Consent Possible?
As a father, you want to do what you feel is best for your child. But, what if you think that adoption is what’s best for your child and the baby’s mother disagrees?
Fathers have asked themselves this question, and similar questions, like, “Can the father ‘put a baby up for adoption’ without permission of the mother, or without her knowledge?” Or, “Can a father ‘put a baby up for adoption’ — even if the mother says ‘no?’”
You may be asking these questions because you’re in a situation where:
- You and the baby’s mother are not in a relationship, or you have an unhealthy relationship.
- You feel unwilling or unable to raise a child with this woman.
- The baby’s mother is incarcerated, and you would be raising the child on your own.
- The baby’s mother doesn’t know much about adoption, or has negative misconceptions about adoption.
- You simply feel that placing your child with a loving adoptive family would provide him or her with the best possible life.
All of these are valid reasons to choose adoption. However, in the vast majority of situations, fathers are not able to choose adoption without the birth mother’s consent. So, what are your options? We recommend:
- Having an honest and open conversation with your baby’s mother about adoption, and why you feel it’s the right path.
- Talking to an adoption professional. They’ll be able to provide you with information that you can pass on to the baby’s mother. She may find this information enlightening and helpful, and she can talk to the adoption professional if she has any questions or concerns.
- Talking to an adoption attorney if you believe that the baby’s mother has permanently abandoned you and her child. They’ll be able to talk to you about what is and isn’t an option based on your individual circumstances.
Adoption without the consent of the birth mother may be possible in some extreme cases (like abandonment). Typically, you’ll need the baby’s mother to consent to placing the child for adoption. Talk to a licensed adoption professional if you have more questions about this.
Think about placing your baby for adoption? Have some more questions about the process? Want to know how you can be a supportive presence for the baby’s mother as she creates an adoption plan? Contact an adoption agency now.
Ready to get started? Contact an adoption agency now to get free information.