When creating an adoption plan, it is always best when both birth parents are in agreement. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. So what happens when the birth father disagrees with decisions the birth mother has made? What happens if the birth father cannot be identified or located?
The Role of the Birth Father in the Adoption Plan
Does the Birth Father Need to Be Involved?
By law, the birth father must be notified of the adoption plan. If you do not know who the father is or where he may be, the adoption agency is legally obligated to search diligently for him and report the results of these efforts to the court. If the birth father cannot be located, the court can terminate his parental rights and allow the adoption to move forward.
Don’t worry. Your adoption agency has the means to help. You are not in this alone.
What Happens if the Birth Father Fails to Respond?
If the birth mother and adoption agency make every attempt to notify the birth father of the adoption plan and he refuses to respond, the court can terminate his parental rights after the child is born and allow the adoption to happen.
What Happens if the Birth Father Does Not Consent?
Both parents must consent to adoption before a child is legally placed with an adoptive family. In the state of Maryland, consent can be given any time after the child is born. If the birth father refuses to consent, however, you have a couple options.
- Sit down with the birth father and a third party to talk about the situation and try to resolves any issues to do what is best for the child.
- In the event that the alleged birth father is denying paternity, the adoption agency can get him to sign a consent as “alleged.” It takes a bit of counseling to help him understand the process, but it is certainly not impossible.
- If the father still refuses to consent, the matter may go to court. The father will be given notice of the proceeding by being served with a “show cause” order. If he does not respond to the court order, his parental rights will be terminated and the adoption will move forward.
Know Where to Turn for Help
You are not alone. Adoption Makes Family is here to help!
Adoption Makes Family is a licensed, non-profit adoption agency monitored by the Maryland State Department of Human Resources. We are here to assist you – at no fee – in creating an adoption plan that meets your needs and the needs of your child. We operate a 24-hour pregnancy hotline, ensuring you have a confidential, safe, and non-judgmental environment in which to explore your options.