Information for Birthfathers
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 some 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 Biological Fathers in the Adoption Process
In general, an adoption requires the consent of both parents as long as they meet certain requirements that give them the right to do so.
If you are married to the baby’s mother or lived with her at some point during the pregnancy or birth, your consent will likely be required to put the baby up for adoption.
If you were never married to the baby’s mother and never lived together, most states will not need your consent. In that case, depending on the laws in your state, you might be notified of the pending adoption. At that point, you may have the right to consent to the adoption or object to it.
Objecting to the Adoption
If you want to object to your baby’s adoption, you must first establish paternity through a DNA test. Then you need to demonstrate a commitment to parenting the child. This usually 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 provide support, cannot provide support, or have drug or alcohol problems, you may be denied your 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 biological 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 to it at this point. If you learn about your child before birth and wish to object to the adoption, you might still have time. The laws and time limits vary greatly from state to state.
Most states maintain a registry where men who think they have fathered children can declare their paternity and their desire to parent the child. Through this registration, they may be notified of a 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. In this case, after the baby is born, consent is 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 meet with and choose adoptive parents, attend her doctor’s appointments, attend counseling, and provide moral support.
More Information About Adoption
To help you make the decision that is right for you, your baby’s mother, and your baby, please feel free to explore the informational resources for birthmothers available on our site. If you’d like to talk to someone right now, call us at 1-888-378-1112. Our friendly, caring adoption coordinators are available 24/7 to take calls and answer questions.
- Is Adoption the Right Choice for You?
- The Adoption Process
- Types of Adoption
- How to Choose an Adoptive Family
Please note the legal information on this page is intended as a guide only. To learn more about your rights and the laws in your state, we recommend contacting a qualified lawyer in the field of family law.