One of the questions we hear often from birth mothers is whether or not the birth father has to be involved in the adoption process. The answer is yes and no. Legally, the birth father must consent to the adoption in order for it to proceed. “A birth father has a Constitutional right to be notified that he might be the father of a child who is being put up for adoption,” says Kourosh Akhbari, LegalMatch Legal Writer. However, once the birth father consent, he does not need to be involved after that.
You Are Legally Obligated to Inform the Birth Father
Maryland law stipulates that the birth father must be notified before an adoption can occur. This is true even if you are unsure who the birth father is. “A birth father has a Constitutional right to be notified that he might be the father of a child who is being put up for adoption,” says Kourosh Akhbari, LegalMatch Legal Writer.
What if the Birth Father Does Not Consent?
In the state of Maryland, both parents must consent to adoption. However, “If you and the birth father are unable to come to an agreement, it is still possible to procure a successful adoption for your child,” explains the Adoption Network Law Center. You can take the matter to court, at which point a judge will assess whether or not the birth father has “followed appropriate measures as outlined by associated state laws, and demonstrated appropriate demeanor during the birth mother’s pregnancy.” Then, the judge will determine whether or not the adoption can continue.
What if I Do Not Know the Birth Father’s Identity?
In cases where the birth father’s identity is uncertain, your adoption agency is legally obligated to search diligently for him and report the results of these efforts to the court. “Many states require that some sort of notice be published in the legal advertising section of the newspaper, informing all persons claiming to be the biological father of the pending adoption,” says Akhbari.
If the birth father still cannot be located or fails to respond, the court can terminate his parental rights and allow the adoption to move forward.
What if the Birth Father Ignores Contact?
If the birth father ignores any attempt to contract him, a judge can terminate his parental rights and the adoption can move forward.
What if the Birth Father Denies Paternity?
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.
Adoption Make Family Can Help
Sometimes involving a third party to mediate can be a tremendous help. 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.
Adoption Makes Family is here to help! We are a non-profit (501-C3) licensed adoption agency based in Maryland. Adoption Makes Family works with birth mothers and fathers in all types of situations and will devote the time to getting to know you individually to determine the best way to move forward while respecting the wishes of both parents. Our staff is here to listen – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for your convenience.
24-Hour Hotline 410-683-2100
If you have any questions, you can contact us by phone at 410-683-2100, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or use our online contact form.