Why the Birth Father Shouldn’t Be Ignored During the Adoption Process

It's too common for people to want to sidestep the rights of birth fathers.

Stacey Stark October 20, 2017
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My phone chimes with his response.

It had taken a bit of digging, but I had finally obtained an updated phone number for our 5-year-old daughter’s birth father. My previous text had gone unanswered, so I felt relief knowing I could try again.

I had held my breath while hitting “send.”

Our relationship with him is a positive one, though contact is sporadic. His name and face are familiar to our daughter, also his daughter, as she regularly flips through her baby photos and points him out. At five, she has questions, and her mind is putting the pieces together. Despite the intermittent contact, he remains a part of our daughter, one half of her family of origin.

And we love our daughter, which means we love all of her.

Our toddler son is daring yet affectionate, barreling through life with a wild passion.

I watch him play, seeing his blonde hair and adorable dimples, and search his face for a resemblance to someone I have never met yet hope to know one day. The other half of his genetic history is largely a mystery to me.

In the meantime, we collect any information we have and leave the door open for whatever the future might hold.

Biological fathers are too often looked over during the domestic infant adoption process.

A cursory Google search on birth father rights in adoption produces related searches like, “Does the birth father have to agree to adoption?” “Adoption without knowing the father”, and “Can a child be adopted without the father’s consent?”

The often times intended message is clear: biological fathers are simply a legal hiccup to get around or avoid altogether.

But here are a few reasons why biological fathers shouldn’t be ignored:

1. It can be illegal.
No adoptive parent wishes to jeopardize their adoption process, but that just might happen if the rights of a biological father are not handled properly. An ethical attorney familiar with adoption should be able to navigate the proper channels of either obtaining a father’s consent to the adoption, or in justifiably terminating a father’s parental rights. Don’t cut corners – it isn’t worth it.

2. It can be unethical.
Just because something is legal doesn’t mean it is right. Every potential adoption situation is unique, but barring any unsafe circumstances, a biological parent should be allowed to parent their child if they wish to do so. Fathers should be notified of the adoption plan and of what steps need to be taken if they wish to intervene.

When we received the phone call from our social worker that we had been chosen by an expectant mom, one of my first questions was, “What about the baby’s father?” Adoptive parents will need to decide what they are and are not comfortable pursuing in this regard.

3. Our children have a right to information about their biological father.
In the end, when we ignore the existence of our child’s biological father in the adoption process, our children miss out. One day they will likely search for information on their family of origin, and any information we have will be helpful in that.

Are you ready to pursue a domestic infant adoption? Click here to connect with a compassionate, experienced adoption professional who can help get you started on the journey of a lifetime.

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Stacey Stark

Stacey lives in Kansas City, Missouri, and is mom to two young kiddos via local, open, domestic infant adoption (did you catch all that?). She works part-time as a nonprofit bookkeeper, and spends the rest of her time going on adventures with her family, reading, and drinking lots of coffee. She is passionate about openness in adoption, and you can connect with her further on Facebook or Instagram.


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