What to Do When Your Baby’s Birth Father Doesn’t Support Your Adoption Decision

While infant adoption places a lot of emphasis on the pregnant woman involved, the baby’s birth father is just as important in the adoption process. Because his consent may or may not be necessary for the adoption to be completed, it’s important to consider him in any discussion you have about adoption, whether you’re a pregnant woman considering adoption, a prospective adoptive family or the birth father himself.

Whether you’re wondering how to adopt without the father’s consent in North Carolina or you’re simply interested in birth father rights in adoption, A Child’s Hope can help you understand the legalities involved. As some of the most experienced adoption lawyers in the state, we’ve worked with many different cases regarding birth fathers in adoption — and we can help with whatever your adoption situation entails.

For immediate help, please call us for free at 890-877-4673, text PREGNANT to 919-971-4396 or email ach@achildshope.com. In the meantime, here is some important information you should know about adoption without parental consent in North Carolina.

Does the Birth Father Have to Agree to Adoption?

Every potential father has the right to receive notice that a child that he may have fathered is going to be placed for adoption. Notice means just that: He is provided notice that he has been named as a possible father and that the mother intends to place or has placed the child for adoption.

In general, if a man is married to a pregnant woman at the time of either conception or birth or between conception and birth, his name will be entered on the birth certificate as the child’s father — and his consent to the adoption will likely be needed.

Unlike a husband or legal father, however, an unwed biological father’s right to receive notice does not mean that his consent is required in order for the adoption to proceed. A man who fathers a child out of wedlock must take affirmative steps to show his commitment to establishing a parent-child relationship before the law recognizes his right to prevent an adoption by withholding his consent.

After he is served with notice of adoption proceedings, a father will have to assert a claim of paternity within a certain timeframe. If he fails to respond, the court will most likely enter an order that his consent is not required for adoption. If he does respond, his consent may still not be needed — but this is on a case-by-case basis dependent upon your own situation. An attorney working with a woman in an adoption situation will need a lot of information about what the biological father has done since she became pregnant.

What if the Mother Wants to Give a Baby Up for Adoption But the Birth Father Does Not?

There are several reasons that a pregnant woman may want to pursue a baby adoption without the father’s consent. Usually, these reasons can fall into three categories: the birth father is unknown, uninterested or unsupportive.

Remember, the consent required in each case may vary based on the individual situation. It’s best to consult with A Child’s Hope to find out if the birth father will have to give consent for your adoption proceedings, as birth father adoption laws in North Carolina can be complicated.

  • When the birth father is unknown: If a prospective birth mother does not know the identity of the baby’s father, a court may be able to proceed with an adoption without him. However, we will likely have to work with an investigator or provide notice by publication in a newspaper to help identify him before we can proceed with an unknown father adoption — as North Carolina law requires that he be notified of any adoption proceedings.
  • When the birth father is uninterested: Sometimes, when a pregnant woman notifies her baby’s father of her pregnancy, he leaves the decision up to her and prefers to stay out of the adoption proceedings. Whether or not he will have to give his consent will vary based on the individual situation, but if a birth father in uninterested in his baby’s future adoption (and does not respond to the adoption notice), it may be possible to terminate his parental rights without his consent.
  • When a birth father is unsupportive: Other times, a father will make it clear that he does not agree with an adoption plan — and may try to stop the adoption process. In these cases, experienced legal counsel is incredibly important. Whether it’s a prospective birth father or mother coming to us with questions about adoption consent, we can help them understand their own legal rights in North Carolina and what steps they may need to take.

Often, a father may not agree with an adoption decision because he’s unaware of the modern realities of adoption and how it may be the best choice for his child.  A father also may not understand that by asserting his parental rights, he will be responsible for typical parental duties, including the possibility of paying child support. At Parker Herring Law Group, PLLC, we can help explain this to him by educating him about the adoption process and letting him know that he can be involved in the process and stay informed about the child over the years through an open adoption.

If need be, it may be possible to proceed with an adoption without a father or with limited contact from him. If you’re a pregnant woman feeling threatened by an unsupportive father, we recommend you call us right away. We can direct you to local resources that can help you escape your abusive situation. Domestic violence is never acceptable.

When the Birth Father Wants to Be Involved

As many cases as there are regarding adoption without the parental consent of the father, there are also many cases in which the birth father supports the adoption decision and wants to be involved in the process. At A Child’s Hope, we can help both him and the pregnant mother understand the adoption process and how to best transfer their parental rights to the adoptive parents when the time comes. We may even help form arrangements for post-adoption contact between them and the adoptive parents. It’s definitely possible that when a woman is not able to parent, there are families that can parent the child in a way that will keep both birth parents connected to their child.

We can meet with your baby’s father to explain the adoption process, help him understand your adoption decision and provide the support he needs to get on board with your adoption plan. If he is still opposed to the adoption after meeting with your counselor, we can provide legal assistance to identify your options for moving forward without his consent.Birth Father Relinquishment Papers

While the birth father’s consent may not be required to complete your adoption, he is entitled to notice of the adoption under North Carolina law. In adoption when the father is unknown, our agency may need to work with an investigator or provide notice by publication in a newspaper to help identify the birth father.

It is important that you give your adoption counselor as much information as possible about the birth father so we can locate him, give him notice of the adoption, and help you complete the adoption process safely and legally. If the biological father knows that you are pregnant and has not supported you during the pregnancy, his consent may not be necessary.

What You Should Do

If you think you’ll need an adoption without parental consent, as mentioned above, contact a counselor at A Child’s Hope right away. We encourage you to speak to us and learn more before you approach your baby’s birth father and tell him about your adoption, as we may determine that it would be best for us to provide him notice of your adoption plan instead.

At this point in your pregnancy and adoption plan, your first priority should be you and your child. Make sure that you are in a safe place, and if you feel like disagreement from your baby’s birth father could put you in danger, contact us or the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence hotline for immediate help.

Remember, adoption is a decision that only you can make; a birth father should not pressure you into a decision that you don’t think is right, no matter what your relationship is like. While unsupportive birth fathers can create difficulties in your adoption plan, keep in mind that many who originally don’t support adoption do so because they lack accurate information about the adoption process. After you’ve talked to your adoption counselor, you may feel comfortable telling him more about the realities of adoption and how he can be involved in his baby’s future. Sometimes, understanding why adoption is best for you, him and your baby will make him realize that he wants to support and be involved in your adoption process.

Whether your baby’s father is supportive, unsupportive, uninvolved or unknown, your adoption counselor can provide the information and guidance you need to understand your options for moving forward with the adoption process.

To learn more about the role and rights of your baby’s father in the adoption process, even if he doesn’t support your adoption decision, contact A Child’s Hope for free, no-obligation adoption information.

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