When you choose to place your unborn baby for adoption, you’re making one of the bravest, most difficult choices you’ll ever have to make in your life. While you know this is the best choice for your baby, you may worry that your baby’s father will not — and, depending on your relationship with him, he may not have been involved in the decision-making process or even know about your pregnancy at all.
While you may wish to continue with the adoption process without his involvement, there are certain steps that North Carolina law requires for birth father consent before an adoption can place. Because your baby’s father has inherent parental rights, he will have to be informed of your adoption plan before your baby can be placed with an adoptive family.
No matter what your situation or relationship with your baby’s father, A Child’s Hope can help. We’ll make sure any potential father to your baby is properly informed of his legal rights and consent process, and we’ll make sure it’s done in a way that protects your safety. Before you speak to the father on your own, we highly encourage you to contact our adoption counselors call our Pregnancy Hotline: (919) 971-4396, or Text: Pregnant to (919) 971-4396, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how to properly address this topic with him — and how our legal team can help you.
The Rights of Birth Fathers in North Carolina
You may be wondering, “Why do I have to tell my baby’s father about my adoption plan?”
North Carolina has “notice laws” in place, which protect the right of a baby’s father to know about any adoption plan made for their baby. Just like you are provided unplanned pregnancy advice when you’re considering adoption, a baby’s father has the right to know exactly what adoption means and how adoption will affect his parental rights.
Fortunately, the professionals at A Child’s Hope can ensure that proper laws are followed in regards to a father’s legal rights in adoption. Here’s how it works:
After you have placed your baby for adoption, we will provide legal notice to the birth father. We will also attempt to contact the birth father before the delivery, if possible, to ensure that he knows of the adoption plan and the pregnancy. If you don’t know who your baby’s birth father is, we’ll usually contact all potential fathers and, once your baby is born, complete a DNA test to obtain any necessary adoption consent.
If the father does not respond within a certain timeframe of receiving the legal notice, the court will enter an order that his consent is not required for the adoption. If he does respond to the notice, the court may still determine that his consent is not required for a number of other reasons; however, this varies on a case-by-case basis.
While it is sometimes possible to proceed with adoption without consent, this depends primarily on your personal circumstances. Speak with your adoption counselor to learn more about birth father rights in North Carolina, and always be honest about your situation so we can help you make the best plan for yourself and your baby. It’s important that you always keep proof of telling the baby’s father about your pregnancy, so we can best assist you in your adoption moving forward.
How to Explain Your Adoption Decision to Your Baby’s Father
In North Carolina, your baby’s biological father is entitled to notice of your adoption plans. When you contact A Child’s Hope, your adoption counselor will ask you some questions about your baby’s birth father and discuss what you have told him about your pregnancy and your plans to place for adoption.
Many women are nervous to tell their baby’s father about their adoption decision, but you will likely need to make diligent efforts to contact him. Your adoption counselor may be able to serve your baby’s father notice on your behalf but, if you have a close relationship with him, you may want to tell him yourself. Before doing so, you’ll want to prepare with your adoption counselor for this conversation.
Here are some suggestions for talking to your baby’s birth father about your adoption plan:
- Plan what you want to say. It may be helpful to write down your thoughts or practice the conversation ahead of time. Your adoption counselor can help prepare you for what to expect and give you suggestions before you contact him.
- Remain calm. During the conversation, calmly explain why you think adoption is the best choice for you, your baby and your baby’s father. Let him know that you have spent a lot of time thinking through your adoption plan, you feel confident in your adoption decision, and you would appreciate his support throughout the adoption process.
- Listen. Give him an opportunity to respond and listen to his thoughts. Let him know that you understand and appreciate his perspective.
- Talk to him about a DNA test. Do not be upset if the birth father requests a DNA test to confirm his parentage. He has a right to know if the child is his biological child. The DNA process is simple: The birth father can give a DNA sample, after which it can be stored until the baby’s birth. Talk to your adoption counselor for more information about this process.
- Contact your counselor. If your baby’s father is unwilling to listen to you, suggest that he speak to your adoption counselor together with you or separately. Often, unsupportive birth fathers simply need more information about adoption to feel more comfortable with the process.
Telling your baby’s father about your adoption plan may seem intimidating, but know that many birth fathers will support your adoption plan, whether or not they want to personally be a part of it. Hearing your decision from you may help him feel better than if he were blindsided by a lawyer — and taking this step can help preserve any relationship you have with him.
Before you tell the baby’s birth father about your adoption plan, however, make sure that you contact an adoption counselor at A Child’s Hope to learn more about his legal rights and how you can prepare for this conversation.
Click a star near where you live on the NC map to see what counselor would be assigned to you
Adoption Counselor/Homestudy Supervisor - Triangle
As an adoptive parent I truly have a passion for adoption. There is no greater joy than helping to create a family! I love this job and I love working with adoptive parents as well as the birth parents. When it all comes together it is an awesome experience! Kelly is a graduate of NC State University where she earned a Bachelor of Social Work. She also received her Master of Social Work from the University of South Carolina. Kelly has been working with children, families, in the home and in communities for 18 years. Kelly has been working with birth mothers and adoptive parents for the last 5 years. Besides working, she has a great husband and three fabulous children, Landon, Parker and Ansley. Kelly and her husband adopted their daughter with the help of ACH and feels as though her personal experience helps her relate to other adoptive families.
Sloane completed her undergraduate degree in Human Services Counseling at Old Dominion University and holds a Master's Degree in Social Work from the University of Southern California. Sloane has been working with children, birth mothers and adopting families for more than 10 years. She loves advocating for children and helping women during pregnancy.
Lakisha completed her undergraduate degree in Sociology with a concentration in Social Welfare at Winston-Salem State University. She received her Master of Social Work from Syracuse University. Lakisha has worked with children, individuals and families for more than 12 years. Her experience includes working with at-risk youth, homeless children and families, child mental health, as well as school social work and case management. She is also a long-time basketball fan, a former player and coach. She played at Winston-Salem State University and coached women’s basketball at Elon University and Syracuse University. Lakisha and her husband reside in Alamance County, with their young son.
Jess completed her undergraduate degree in Communication at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown and earned her Master of Arts degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Messiah College. Her professional experience includes case management, education, women’s behavioral health including a focus on pregnant mothers, and working with kinship and domestic adoptive families who have experienced trauma. Jess is a native of central Pennsylvania though loves living in Asheville with her significant other. When she is not working, she is likely caring for her puppy and dog, painting, practicing yoga, camping or planning her next road trip to see family and friends or have an adventure in some new place!
Sylvia is a graduate of Western Carolina University, where she earned a Bachelor of Social Work. She also received her Master of Social Work from the University of North Carolina. Sylvia has been working with children and families for more than 19 years. She enjoys gardening, reading, hiking, and spending time with her husband and three boys. She also loves animals, especially her dog Jazzy.
Nicole completed her undergraduate studies at Chowan University in Psychology with a concentration in Alcohol & Drug Studies and a minor in Criminal Justice. Nicole has provided services to adolescents, teens, college students, the Department of Corrections, the Department of Parole and Probation, the NC Division of Motor Vehicles, the Division of Transportation, and the Department of Defense. She is a Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor and has been working in the mental health field for 15 years.
Suzanne was the primary pregnancy care manager stationed at Duke high-risk perinatal clinic for 20 years. She has a BS in Social Work at UNC Pembroke and is a licensed School Social Worker. She recently worked as a case manager in a substance abuse disorder residential program for women with young children. Suzanne is a “Durhamite” but has resided in Wake County since graduating. Her biggest accomplishment has been happily raising her 14 yo daughter and 3 poodle mixed pups.