Open Adoption and a Birth Father
With Father’s Day in June around the corner, you may be interested in learning more about open adoption and a birth father. There is a lot of information available about the birth mother, but not as much regarding the role of the birth father. A birth father is just as important as a birth mother, and knowing how each birth parent impacts the adoption process is essential.
Adoption Choices of Missouri is dedicating the entire month of June to celebrating and honoring birth fathers and their importance in the adoption journey. We feel they deserve the same recognition that we give birth mothers. So, this week, let’s explore how open adoption agreements affect birth fathers.
What is a Birth Father?
To begin, it’s important that we understand who a birth father is. Put simply, a birth father is the biological father of a child who has been or is in the process of being adopted. He may be married to the birth mother or divorced. In a new relationship with her or in a civil union. A birth father does not have custody of his child, nor does he pay child support of any kind. Depending on the specific circumstances and his relationship status with the birth mother, he may or may be permitted parental rights over his child.
There are generally two different types of birth fathers — known and unknown. A known birth father is one who is still in the picture; an unknown birth father is not. If the birth father is known, he will need to sign away his parental rights in order for the adoption to be legally finalized. If the birth father is unknown when the birth mother chooses to place her baby for adoption, Adoption Choices of Missouri will do our due diligence in trying to find him.
What is Open Adoption?
Open adoption is one form of adoption where birth parents and adoptive parents can establish a relationship with each other, and the birth parents can learn how their child is doing post adoption. Because open adoption keeps everyone’s best interests at heart, Adoption Choices of Missouri encourages all our birth parents and adoptive parents to consider an open adoption agreement when beginning their adoption journey. It has the potential to create a lifelong connection between all parties of the adoption triad, and redefine what a traditional family is.
Open Adoption and a Birth Father
For a birth father, open adoption can be a great option, particularly if they want to know how their child is doing post adoption. Seeing pictures, receiving letter updates and having communication with the adoptive family can help birth fathers affirm that they made the right choice. It can also help them healthfully grieve and move forward in their lives.
In an open adoption agreement, a birth father has the opportunity to be present for important milestones throughout their child’s life as he or she grows up. He can arrange to spend time with the child in person or through virtual communication and build a relationship with him or her. In doing so, he is able to answer the child’s questions about why he chose to place them for adoption and explain how much he loves them. Choosing an open adoption agreement as a birth father demonstrates immense courage and trust, both in himself and in the adopted parents.
Being a Birth Father
Being a birth father is not a shameful thing, and open adoption can help end that stereotype. The presence of a birth father in the adopted child’s life can benefit the child’s understanding of who they are and their ancestry, creating an invaluable bond. If a birth father is known and in the picture, being involved in an open adoption and their child’s life is an incredible blessing. It’s important that he respect all boundaries put into place by the adoptive parents and that he acknowledges his specific role in the open adoption agreement. He is not there to co-parent, as he relinquished his rights along with the birth mother before the adoption was finalized. Rather, he is there to provide answers to the child, support the adoptive parents and receive peace of mind that the child is growing up healthy, safe and happy.
Being a present birth father has benefits for both the child and the birth father. The active role of a birth father in an open adoption is unlike any other. A birth father can make a crucial difference in a child’s life where his presence can complete the notion of what a family is and what familial relationships are for the child. In return, a present birth father gets to know and witness that the child is thriving in his or her adopted family. As the child grows up knowing his or her birth father, they may find it easier to develop their individuality. In an open adoption, the child is not wondering where their birth father is or why the birth father is not involved. A present birth father provides a sense of wholeness for the child in an open adoption and also helps fill a gap for the adopted family in terms of answering questions the child may have about his or her birth family.
Adoption Choices of Missouri acknowledges the significance of birth fathers and aims to highlight their presence in adoption, answer questions about open adoption, and provide support through every part of the adoption journey. Adoption Choices of Missouri serves birth parents statewide and beyond, please call us or text us to learn more! Call us now at 1-877-903-4488 or Text Us (816) 527-9800 or email us.