Adoption: Handling an absent or unsupportive father


According to recent census figures in the United States, there are more than 2 million adopted children in households in the country. With an increase in awareness about adoption, more and more mothers are considering it as a viable option when they feel they may be able to unable to care for their child either physically, emotionally, or financially. Unfortunately, when mothers decide on this option, there are sometimes complications when dealing with the birth father, even when they are not around.

How to pursue adoption if the father doesn’t support it

“I want to choose adoption for my baby, but the father doesn’t,” is a phrase often heard by mothers looking to pursue adoption according to a recent article by American Adoptions. According to the center, even in a case where the father does not wish to allow the adoption, there can be ways around it if the father is absent or not participating. Though adoption laws vary state by state, there are some situations in which a mother may still be able to pursue adoption even if the father is against it.

The birth father is not known or is completely out of the mother’s life

While each state’s law is different in regards to requiring parental rights and notifications, many states will allow an adoption to proceed if the mother is unsure of who the father is, or if the known father is providing no financial support for the mother or the child during the pregnancy. This can include involvement that is financial and supportive, such as attending doctor visits. In many states, there is a registry called the Putative Father Registry which allows fathers to sign up to receive notifications about their children. By registering, the father is legally taking responsibility for paternity and will often have the right to be notified by an adoption attorney before the adoption may proceed.

The birth father is incarcerated

When a father is incarcerated, depending on the length and terms of his sentence, there is a good chance that he will not be providing any type of support during pregnancy or even after birth. Because of this, an adoption agency may be able to get the adoption to proceed based on the lack of support and presence of the father. Each state will have a variety of laws regarding adoption and incarcerated parents, and an adoption attorney can help you determine which laws will apply and any specific processes that need to be followed.

The birth father has requested you get an abortion

If your child’s birth father wanted you to decide on abortion instead of adoption, he is basically stating that he does not want to take responsibility for the child, nor does he want to be the father. Sometimes this may seem to be the best solution to those who are actually distanced from the process and don’t’ have to be the one who has to go through the situation. Some mothers find this route more difficult and would rather pursue adoption, at this point you may have a case to proceed with the adoption without the father’s consent due to lack of support.

The birth father has been abusive

Sometimes pregnant women can find themselves trapped in an abusive situation and are afraid to bring their child into the same situation or are afraid that a child will tie them to the father when they try to break away. This may make adoption the best choice to create the safest situation for themselves and their child. Statistics show that abuse during pregnancy can lead to significant damage to the mother and child causing complications, preterm labor, and even death so reporting any abuse immediately when pregnant is important. An adoption agency can refer you to centers that can assist with your situation. In other cases, the pregnancy may be the result of an abusive situation. In this instance, the state will most likely treat the situation as the result of a crime and will allow the adoption to proceed unimpeded by the father.

Whether you are facing an abusive situation, an absent father or a father who is unable to participate in the care of their child, adoption may still be an option even without their consent. It is essential to contact an adoption attorney even if you are only considering the option as they may be able to rectify the situation without legal recourse by properly discussing the situation with the father so that they can fully understand the process and procedures.

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