Birth Fathers: Your Roles and Responsibilities in the Adoption Process
More often than not, birth fathers choose not to take part in the adoption process alongside the birth mother. But for birth fathers who do choose to go through the process, it can be difficult to understand where you fit in in terms of your roles and responsibilities. One of the biggest things you can do as a birth father is to show the birth mother support, but it’s important to remember that you, as the birth father, also have a major impact on the adoption process.
As a birth father, if you’ve chosen to be a part of the adoption process , showing support is not the only role and responsibility you have. There are other ways you can help the birth mother, your child, and yourself throughout the adoption process. Educating yourself should not only be the birth mother’s job responsibility, it should be yours as well. This will help you to get a clearer understanding of your role as the birth father in the adoption process .
What can I do as the Birth Father?
1. Do Your Research
First and foremost, as mentioned, it’s essential that you as the birth father show support for the birth mother. It’s also wise to do as much research as possible about adoption. She will likely be doing her own research, too, but communicating with each other what you’ve learned individually is an excellent way to show support. Doing research can also show that you understand the adoption process, as well as the importance of the decision you and the birth mother are making in the best interest of your child. Remember that the more you know about the process, the more confident and at ease you’ll feel with the choice you’ve made.
As the birth father, when you’re doing research, be sure to look into your roles and responsibilities in the adoption process. Don’t be discouraged if you struggle to find information about what these are. Because birth mothers are more likely to go through the process alone, there are more resources for them. The internet is a great resource, but if you have a positive relationship with your child’s birth mother, she may be able to connect you to resources that will help you to better understand your roles and responsibilities in the adoption process. Depending on where you live, a birth father can also utilize adoption agencies, like Adoption Choices of Florida, to find information, ask questions or address any concerns you have about the adoption journey.
2. Understanding the Types of Adoption and Making an Adoption Plan
It’s important as a birth father to understand the three types of adoption: open adoption, semi-open adoption and closed adoption. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, but often comes down to what kind and how much contact you want with your child and the adoptive family.
When you and the birth mother choose to go through the adoption process together, you should also make significant decisions, like which type of adoption you want, together. Weigh the pros and cons of each type. If you agree on one type, wonderful. If your views are different, communicate with each other about what you disagree on and try to come up with a solution together. As you discuss the three levels of openness in adoption, keep in mind that your first priority should be whatever is in the best interest of your child, as well as the kind of future you want your child to have.
3. Meet and Select an Adoptive Family
If you’ve chosen to go through the adoption process and have opted for an open or semi-open adoption, then you may get to meet and help choose the adoptive family of your child. Just like choosing the type of adoption you want, choosing an adoptive family is a major decision. But, if you’ve chosen to make it together, this can help reduce her nerves and yours.
Birth mothers who select an adoptive family for their child face a tremendous amount of pressure when they go through the process alone. A birth mother can always seek advice from her adoption agency. However, when it comes to choosing an adoptive family, the decision is ultimately up to her. If you decide to go through the adoption process with her, you are going to alleviate a lot of her stress, as she won’t have to meet and choose an adoptive family all by herself.
4. Most importantly… Be Supportive and Understanding
Above all else, it’s important for birth fathers who go through the adoption process alongside birth mothers to be as supportive and caring as possible. This cannot be emphasized enough. Talk with her about what she’s experiencing. Try and see the anxiety and concern she feels from her side. Ask her questions about things you don’t understand. Then, offer advice that you feel would best comfort and encourage her. Be there for her. Even in the moments where you don’t say anything. Just being present will mean the world to her.
Your Roles and Responsibilities in the Adoption Process
The adoption process can be long and often emotional, especially for birth mothers, as they are the ones who carry and give birth to the child who is being placed for adoption. Remember, you may agree on some things and not on others, and even though you have as much influence on the adoption process as the birth mother, it is important in the moments you disagree to try and see things from her perspective.
Meet the Author: Erin is a journalist and soon-to-be esthetician with a passion for obsessing over mermaids, getting tattoos, and making Target runs! She studied journalism and criminal justice at Winona State University and esthiology at Aveda Institute Minneapolis. Her previous writing experience includes being a journalist and the copy editor for Winona State’s student-run newspaper, The Winonan.
She hopes to one day become an editor for a newspaper or magazine, travel the world, and write an article or a story worthy of a Pulitzer Prize. Erin looks forward to improving upon her writing and editing skills with her internship at Adoption Choices, as well as learning more about the adoption process.