Types of Birth Fathers
Birth fathers are, without a doubt, one of the most important people in the adoption process, especially in the beginning stages. For birth mothers who are considering adoption, it’s important to note that it’s usually required to obtain the consent of a child’s birth father in order for your child to be placed for adoption. Birth fathers can have as much influence on the adoption process as you can; so, it’s vital birth fathers be informed if possible. Once a birth father has been informed, it is up to him to decide whether or not he’d like to have a say in the child’s future.
There are several types of birth fathers that are commonly seen throughout the adoption process. Knowing these types of birth fathers is not only helpful for birth mothers and adoptive families, but it’s also beneficial for the birth fathers struggling to understand their roles and responsibilities throughout the adoption process.
Key Types of Birth Fathers:
Supportive/Interested Birth Fathers:
Though it’s far more common to see a birth mother going through the adoption process by herself, we shouldn’t discount the fact that there are birth fathers who are supportive and interested in being a part of the journey as well. When the birth father shares his encouragement, this is all the more helpful to the birth mother. Going through the adoption process alone can be emotionally exhausting for a birth mother, and the pressure of making decisions alone is enormous. With a birth father there to help her make decisions and to simply be by her side throughout the process, she will likely feel more confident and comfortable with her decisions. Having the birth father there, too, may help reduce her feelings of guilt from choosing to place her child for adoption. In adoption processes involving supportive birth fathers, his voice is valued just as much as the birth mother’s and his rights are basically the same as hers.
Unsupportive/Uninterested Birth Fathers:
Even if a birth mother thinks or knows her child’s birth father will be uninterested in the adoption process, usually she must still obtain his consent to place their child for adoption. There are some cases where exceptions are made and a birth mother is allowed to move forward with the adoption process without it. Birth fathers who choose not to be a part of the adoption process, or who are unsupportive or uninterested, immediately give up their parental rights to a child. Once they do so, they also give up their ability to have any say in what happens to the child. When a birth father confirms his decision to stay out of the adoption process to the child’s birth mother, she can continue creating an adoption plan for her child.
In some cases, birth fathers are unsupportive of the adoption process because they’d prefer the birth mother to terminate her pregnancy. Of course, birth fathers are entitled to their opinions; but, ultimately, it is up to the birth mother to decide what she wants as she is the one who must carry and give birth to the child.
Fit/Unfit Birth Fathers:
There are also cases in which the birth father doesn’t support adoption or pregnancy termination because he himself wants to parent his child. In such cases, it’s important for birth fathers to do research, learn their rights and be able to prove to the courts that they are fit to be a parent, and to care and provide for their child. When the court is trying to determine whether a birth father is fit to care for his biological child or not, some of the characteristics they look for include a sense of reliability and responsibility and financial stability.
Unfit birth fathers are also commonly seen in adoption processes. Typically, unfit birth fathers include (but are not limited to): those who are financially unstable, those who are unreliable, those who engage in dangerous and/or criminal behavior, those who have a history of any type of abuse and those who are currently serving time in jail or prison. Unfit fathers can often be difficult to communicate with, and it isn’t uncommon for a birth mother to be able to move forward without the consent of a birth father who has any of these qualities or has done any of these listed things.
Unknown Birth Fathers
It’s not uncommon for birth mothers to be unsure of who their child’s biological father is. Even if this is the case, a birth father should be and must be made aware of his fatherhood, therefore it is important to determine who he is. Again there are exceptions, but birth fathers should be given the opportunity to decide whether or not he wants to be a part of the adoption process.
In cases of unknown birth fathers, as well as cases of unsupportive and/or unfit birth fathers, it can be difficult to inform them of their birth father status if they are difficult or impossible to contact. In these situations, it’s easier for birth mothers to be able to move forward with the adoption process without the birth father’s consent.
In unknown cases, especially, contact between birth parents can be tricky. If you have any questions or concerns about your specific circumstance regarding this, don’t hesitate to reach out to your adoption caseworker. She will be your greatest resource and will arrange a meeting with our legal representation if need be.
Birth Fathers and the Adoption Process
Despite that birth fathers are often excluded in discussions about adoption, it’s still important to know about the types of birth fathers out there. Remember, the more research you do about every aspect of adoption, the better off you’ll be. Even if you’re a birth mother or a family waiting to adopt, it’s important to learn about birth fathers, too, as they have rights in and a major influence on the adoption process.
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.
Key Sources I used for this Blog Post: