June 11, 2024

Birth Fathers in the Adoption Process


It can be easy to get caught up on all of the ‘what if’s’ along your adoption journey. Especially on a day such as today, Father’s Day, you might think on the possible ‘what if’s’ surrounding your future child’s birth father in the adoption process.

“What if he doesn’t want to sign his own consents?” “What if the un-named birth father shows up during our adoption process?” “What if the birth father wants to have openness in baby’s life?”

All of these are important questions to process, discuss with our Domestic adoption team, and think through as you continue during your waiting season, but it is also important to not let yourselves stumble over the negative what ifs as you navigate this.

Your child’s birth father, whether known or unknown, named or un-named, will be a part of your future child’s story. How you communicate the limited knowledge of their birth father and talk through their heritage will be an important part of their identity throughout their life. If you get stuck stumbling through the anxieties of who the birth father may be or what he may want if he finds out about his paternity one day will have a vital impact on how your child sees you navigating their adoption story, and more so any openness they may have with other birth family members.

It can be a lot to contemplate an alleged birth father showing up suddenly, wanting to explore his possible paternity. Although your team will do their best to advise you of all possible legal risks, this is a factor that we can prepare you for, but not control. In the midst of these times, something we would want to encourage you on is to focus of the blessing that this birth father can be in baby’ life.

If he may be fully capable of parenting and loving his baby and would like to explore parenting, baby can be raised in a home in which they intimately know their heritage, and they have genetic family roots supporting them as they grow. This is a major identity piece to consider for every child as they age and begin to look for these nature/nurture commonalities.

If the birth father may not be interested or able to explore parenting, what a blessing the option of openness in adoption can be, for all parties involved. Just as we explore the adoption triad with our adoptive families, to learn the benefits of openness with birth mother, child, and adoptive parents, so to it can hold with birth fathers. If this is an option able to be explored, it is yet another way to celebrate your child’s adoption story, openly embracing their heritage, their current experiences, and their future.

This can be a beautiful thing for your child to look at the way you embraced every part of what makes them into the beautiful person they are, supporting their connections through the unknown and the ‘what if’s’ as well.

There are many sources of education available for furthering your understanding of the benefits of open adoption, and what this can mean in your adoptee’s life. Reading and learning through these topics can better prepare you for all the possible ‘what-if’s’ you may encounter.

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