Talking to the Birthfather about Adoption
There are so many complicated reasons why a woman may decide to create an adoption plan for her child. It could be that she is young and single and doesn’t feel equipped to care for this child on her own. Perhaps she has other plans for the future and fears that having a child would keep from those goals. In some cases, it may be that she never saw herself as becoming a mother at all, or that she doesn’t feel as though she is in a healthy and stable place to do it now. But whatever the reason, choosing adoption is a life-changing decision, and one that often carries implications and strong emotions for years to come.
For a lot of women, this is a decision they come to on their own – outside the confines of the relationship that led to this pregnancy in the first place. Most women who walk through the doors of an adoption agency are usually there just to gather information at first, and many times, haven’t yet told the father of the childÂ at all. Once you choose adoption, however, you are confronted with the question of what, and how, you should talk to the birth father about the adoption plan.Â
Telling your friends and family that you are pregnant and have decided to create an adoption plan is an event in and of itself. But telling the birth father ofÂ your plans can be the one of the most difficult things to do. We offer adoption counseling services to help you through these tough situations, and can help you talk to the birthfather, giving tips and advice along the way.
“Do I Have to Tell Him?”
As painful of a conversation as this can be, it is important for you to know that you will have to eventually tell the father of your child if you want to place that child for adoption. During the adoption process, the birthfather has to relinquish his parental rights before the adoption can continue. Some states and agencies may encourage ways around this, but it is never an advisable situation and doesn’t prove to be in the best interest of anyone involved. Should you try to circumnavigate informing the biological father, and he found out at some point down the line about the baby, he could fight for his own parental rights. And in most cases, even if years have passed since the adoption was complete, he would likely win. Obviously, that would be an extremely painful outcome for all involved, including your child, who would be ripped away from the only family they had ever known. Avoiding such a traumatic situation is exactly why it is important to make sure your child’s father is on board with the adoption plan prior to moving forward.
Keep in mind that the father may have some useful advice and could provide great support throughout the adoption, especially if you are still together. Many of our birthmothers find that the birthfather is there throughout the adoption providing loving support wherever needed.
In some cases, there may be more than one potential birth father, making it difficult to know who to tell. There are also plenty of times when a woman gets pregnant from a one night stand and doesn’t know how to get in touch with the father. Other times, a woman may have gotten pregnant as a result of rape, making such a conversation seem terrifying and impossible. If you fall into any of these categories, please talk to our adoption counselors. They will guide you in your legal rights and responsibilities and help you to figure out how to best track down, inform, and receive consent from the biological father. In instances of rape, for instance, this entire process can be handled through legal representatives without you ever having to confront your attacker.
How to Tell the Birthfather
Once you make the decision to place, we recommend telling the birth father as soon as possible. Choosing the right time to tell the birthfather can be difficult, but there are some things you can do to make it easier.
- Choose a Quiet Place: If you decide to tell him in person, and you feel relatively safe around him, choose a location that will allow you to have this emotional conversation in private. Do not allow him to make a scene in an attempt to grab support from any friends nearby. If you are afraid of telling him in person, it may be better to tell him over the phone.
- Choose your Wording Carefully: You should tell him the reasoning behind your choice and ask him for support. Many men take offense when you tell them they “can’t” do something, so it’s best to choose your wording carefully. An instinct of many birthmothers is to say “I can’t raise the child and neither can you,” but that could potentially lead to an argument. Instead, outline your personal reasons for wanting to create an adoption plan and your hopes for this child’s future with a potential adoptive family. If you have found a family already, let him know what you like about the family and what they can offer the child.
- Keep Calm and Avoid Arguments: It isn’t uncommon for birthfathers to react with anger if the conversation takes an emotional turn. It’s best not to be aggressive in your tone or wording, which includes being passive aggressive. Try to stay as calm and clear-headed as possible as you explain the situation. It can be difficult for birthfathers, as well as birthmothers, to accept that they can’t raise their child. Be understanding of that as you explain why you feel this is the best option.
Birth fathers have the same rights as birth mothers when it comes to future connections.Â If the birth father chooses to maintain contact with the adoptive family, that is his choice and he would work that out with the adoption counselor and the adoptive family.Â Just as an open adoption with you tends to be the best possible scenario for your child, maintaining some form of connection with their father can also be beneficial – assuming he is a safe individual to be around. So if he is open to having such a connection, think carefully about any decision that would block him from being a part of an open adoption.
If you are considering adoption, please be aware that we have 24/7 adoption counseling services available for your convenience. If you are concerned about your adoption or the birthfather’s role, please contact us at 410-683-2100 and we can explain it in-depth to you.