When it comes to placing a baby for adoption, what are the birth father rights? What many do not realize is that expectant/birth fathers can – and sometimes do – play a role in the adoption process. Many do not know about biological father rights after adoption. It can be hard to understand the ins and outs of adoption laws, especially because adoption laws vary by state.
Whether you are an expectant/birth father, an expectant/birth mother, or looking to adopt a baby, read on. In this guide, we will share a brief overview of birth father rights.
If you are an expectant/birth mother, and you wish to keep your child’s birth father in the loop, you can. If you do not wish to – or cannot – have your child’s birth father in your life, remember that you are not alone. You have options, and you can turn to a supportive adoption agency for help. With a full-service adoption agency like Adoptions With Love, you can avoid direct contact with your child’s birth father, if you wish. Your health, safety, and comfort take priority. You can get the support you deserve during this challenging time.
Every state has its own laws governing birth father rights in adoption, so it is important to contact an adoption professional for the most accurate and up-to-date information. This guide can help give you information of biological father rights in an adoption and how they can impact the adoption process.
Before diving in, it is important to gain an understanding of the definition of “father.” This distinction makes a significant difference in the role someone will play in an adoption.
What is a Birth Father?
You may have heard the term “birth father” and wondered what it means. A birth father is a term used to describe a biological father of an adopted child.
If you are considered a birth father, you:
- Are a biological father of a child or children
- May or may not have parental rights. This is determined on a state-by-state basis.
- May or may not have signed consent to an adoption
- May or may not need to go to court to have your parental rights acknowledged.
Adoption laws vary by state. In some U.S. states, adoption attorneys are required to try to find and contact the birth father so that he is made aware of the adoption plans. Not every state has this requirement. Often, the adoption goes through with or without the birth father’s consent.
In most states, if a married couple make an adoption plan, the male spouse is automatically considered the child’s legal father. This person has the same rights as the birth mother. Some states have a Putative Father Registry. A putative father is someone whose legal relationship to a child has not yet been established but acknowledges paternity. There are legal steps that can be taken to be added to a Putative Father Registry. Anyone interested in learning more about this should contact an adoption attorney. A private adoption agency, such as Adoptions With Love, can help you navigate this process.
It is not uncommon for birth fathers to find out about their child’s adoption after it has happened. The expectant/birth mother is typically the one to work with an adoption agency and choose the adoptive parents. It does not always have to be this way. If the birth father wants to be involved in the adoption process, he can offer support and take part in making the adoption plans.
Benefits of Making an Adoption Plan
Adoption has come a long way in the past several years. It is not a secretive, taboo topic like it was decades ago. Most adoptions today are open adoptions. This can look different for each family, but, put simply, it means there is ongoing communication between birth and adoptive families after the adoption is complete.
There are many benefits to making an adoption plan today. Birth parents can choose their child’s adoptive family. They can also choose to speak with – and/or meet with – the adoptive family before making their decision. They can also determine the form and frequency of ongoing contact. Whether they would like to communicate over the phone, via text messaging, emailing, or in-person visits – these details can all be worked out with the help of an adoption specialist. Thanks to the openness of these plans, adoption no longer means “goodbye forever.” It is, in fact, only the beginning of lifelong relationships that will strengthen over time, due to the shared love of the adopted child.
If a birth father is involved in the adoption process, he can serve as a positive partner. Adoptions With Love has worked with supportive birth fathers in the past. They can help determine the adoption plan. Together, with the help of an adoption specialist, they can work with an expectant/birth mother to create a plan that will best meet everyone’s needs. The birth father can also help the expectant/birth mother choose the adoptive family for the baby.
Another benefit in choosing open adoption with a supportive birth father is access to information. Adoptive families often benefit from open adoption plans as much as the birth parents themselves. With an open adoption plan, adoptive parents have access to medical history and background information. This helps with ongoing, age-appropriate conversations with the adopted child as he/she grows.
Learn More About Birth Father Rights
Adoption is a lifelong journey. An experienced, reputable adoption agency, such as Adoptions With Love, can help you every step of the way. Whether you are an expectant/birth mother, expectant/birth father, or you are adopting a child of your own, we can help. Call Adoptions With Love any time of day, any day of the week at 800-722-7731, text us at 617-777-0072, or contact us online.