What if I do not know who the father of the baby is, or there is more than one possible father?
You are not alone. Many birthmothers do not know exactly who the father of their baby is or how to locate him and that is okay. We will explain the process of how an unknown birthfather will be handled in your specific state. The most important thing is for you to be as honest and open about the birthfather(s) as possible, so the adoption is secure.
Do I have to include the birthfather in the adoption plan?
If the birthfather is not supportive or chooses not to participate in the adoption, that is okay. In most states, the birthfather will be notified of the adoption, however, we can still proceed if he chooses not to sign a consent to adoption or be involved in any way. If he is supportive and willing to be involved, then we have background information and legal papers for him to sign.
Under what circumstances might the birth father have rights to our child?
The birth father's rights depend upon how he acts during your pregnancy. For example, if he called you following intercourse and said he wanted a relationship, or if, when he found out you were pregnant, he asked you to marry him, or he has given you financial and emotional support throughout your pregnancy; then we need his consent for the adoption. If, on the other hand, he has not called or shown any interest, and it's been a month since the child was born, then the birth father's rights are automatically terminated. However, most of the time, the father's actions fall somewhere between those two scenarios, so determining whether he has rights can be tricky.
What is the Putative Father Registry, and how might it affect me as the baby's mother?
A "putative father" is a man who may be the father of a child, but who either is not married to the child's mother by the time the child is born or has not established his paternity through a court or administrative proceeding or by completing an acknowledgment of paternity affidavit before an adoption petition for the child is filed. The Registry was established to determine the identity and location of a putative father so that the putative father can be notified before an adoption petition is filed. If a man does not register with the Putative Father Registry before the child's birth or no later than 30 days after the child's birth, the child could be permanently adopted without the putative father's knowledge or consent.
Can the baby's father keep me from placing the baby for adoption?
Yes, but only if he has established the right to be consulted about the adoption. If he has been sufficiently involved and shown enough concern during your pregnancy, then you must have his consent before you can place your baby for adoption. If he refuses to give his consent, he can prevent the adoption from taking place. He cannot, however, eliminate your parental rights. Also, he cannot force you to consent to having him or his parent(s) adopt the baby. If he were to refuse to consent to the adoption, you and he would share parenting time and duties.
What if I'm not entirely sure which of two men (or more) the father of my baby is? Who has parental rights in this case?
You do and the birth father, whoever he may be, if he steps forward and emotionally and financially supports you throughout your pregnancy. If neither man steps forward to emotionally and financially support you during your pregnancy, then neither has any rights and you do not need the consent of either to place your baby for adoption. If both men have supported you emotionally and financially, you can have DNA testing done to determine which is the father. Once the baby's parentage is determined, the father can be asked if he will agree to an adoption, or if he wants to take parental responsibility.
What if the father asked me to marry him, but I told him to get out of my life? Does he have rights anyway?
Yes, he does. If his intentions are to emotionally and financially support you, and he tries to but you prevent him from doing so, then the law considers that he has fulfilled his duty and you would need his consent in order to place your baby for adoption.
What if I love him and want to keep his baby? Would he have to pay child support?
Most likely he would. If you decide to keep your baby rather than to place the baby for adoption, but he does not want to be involved in rearing the child, you would probably want to file a paternity action with the court. The court would order that he be given a DNA test to confirm that he is the father. If he is proven to be the father, then the court would order him to pay child support.
What if I have other questions about the father?
We are available 24/7 to help answer any questions you might have about adoption or the adoption process. Please call us at 1-888-398-6660.