Conversations around an adoptee’s search for their birth parents usually begin, and sometimes end, with the birth mother. However, a person’s father is a person’s father, whether he is good or bad. You cannot undo biology and you cannot undo the truth. Even if one must deny the father the child, denying a child the truth about their birth father is wrong. Here are 7 reasons why we shouldn’t forget about every adoptee’s birth father.
1. He is half the story. While medical technology is continuing to drive new ways to bring life into this world in unconventional ways, people today are still procreating the traditional way: with a man and a woman.
2. Half a child’s DNA is from him. When an adopted child wonders about the origin of their personality or appearance, about half of those qualities originated with their father. Other quandaries might include their father’s health history, including predispositions to drug addiction or alcoholism, for example. Knowledge is not to be withheld and handed out based on protection or best intentions. Adoptees are likely to have questions at some point.
3. Connection is not limited to women. Whether by birth or adoption, it is widely held in the parenting world that women are the more instinctive, attached, and thus primary parent. However, not every man walked away from their child willingly. Some birth fathers are never told that they are fathers to unknown children at all. These men might really want to be clued into the adoption process, or at least have a relationship with their birth child. Taking into consideration the child’s input, there ought to be an opportunity to foster such a relationship.
4. Exclusion has consequences. Most research on the impact of separation and adoption focuses on the adoptee and sometimes on the birth mother. The missing piece here is the the third essential person: the birth father. Not every person desires to meet and know their birth father, which is their prerogative. Alternatively, I was very happy to meet with mine last summer. We don’t connect as often as I do with my birth mother, but I am happy to know him and about him – and through my relationship with him, I have come to know myself in a much more thorough way.
5. There may be lies. The events leading up to an adoption are as case-specific and varied as anything could possibly be. Romantic and otherwise sexual relationships can get complicated and, as we all know, lead to harsh feelings and resentment. If a birth mother or adoptive parents are hesitant to introduce a birth father, they might invent a cover-up story to explain his absence. Although I don’t believe we have the right to withhold another person’s truth, knowledge is nevertheless withheld at times, based on protection or intentions.
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6. He might not know. Not every woman tells their child’s birth father that they are, in fact, a father. There is a world of reasons why a man might not know about a biological child of theirs. Although one cannot predict how the man might respond to the news, keep in mind that he may be unaware. My Russian birth father, for example, did not know that I was alive until I contacted him as a 25-year-old American last year.
7. Some men are eager parents. No matter where life takes you, some things don’t change. Men have a reputation for being the less qualified birth parent. However, there are plenty of birth fathers who are willing and able to be an involved and caring parent.
Are you considering placing a child for adoption? Not sure what to do next? First, know that you are not alone. Visit Adoption.org or call 1-800-ADOPT-98 to speak to one of our Options Counselors to get compassionate, nonjudgmental support. We are here to assist you in any way we can.