You and the young girl you are seeing are now expecting a baby. You are both young and do not have plans to get married. She has decided to put the baby up for adoption. You are not feeling very good about this choice. You would like to keep the baby and raise it. But you feel trapped with everyone telling you that adoption is the way to go and that it is the mother’s choice. Well read on because adoption laws protect you. You do have RIGHTS to this baby.
Every U.S. state and territory has a statue providing for the termination of the birth father’s rights. These rights have to be terminated for the child to legally be free for adoption. Check with the state in which you reside to get a full understanding of the termination of your rights.
The U.S Supreme Court has affirmed the constitutional protection of the birth father’s parental rights when a substantial relationship has been established between him and his child. The U.S. Supreme Court defines a substantial relationship as the existence of a biological link between the father and the child. So if you are the biological father you have already established this substantial relationship with the child.
Most states do not require your consent before placing your child up for adoption. But you are required to be given notice of the intent to put the child up for adoption. If you do not challenge this consent then the court will terminate your rights. You have the right to challenge the adoption and have a hearing held to determine whether the adoption should be allowed or not. Under these proceeding you may be given custody of your child if you can prove that you are the biological father and that you can care for the child yourself.
If you have legally given consent to the adoption at any time you are going to have a hard time revoking your consent. The law varies from state to state but even the most favorable to revocation states only allow it for up to 21 days. So if you are unsure about wanting to keep the baby or not or if you are being pressured to consent do not give your consent. Consenting to terminate your rights is a permanent thing. You cannot come back later when you have made up your mind or when you have realized you made a mistake and get your child back. There are laws to protect you so that you do not have to give up your child if you are not wanting to.
If you do decide to go ahead and consent to allowing the child to be placed for adoption and terminate your rights to the child you still have some input. Most adoption agencies welcome the biological father’s help with the adoption process. Things that you can help with include what type of adoption would be good for your child, helping the birthmother choose an adoptive family for the child and you can be there to help the mother through the pregnancy.
Here are the different types of adoptions you can help the mother in choosing:
Confidential adoption-The birthparents and the adoptive parents will not know each other. They will never meet or talk with each other. All the arrangements will occur through the adoption agency. This is the traditional closed adoption.
Semi-open adoption- this type of adoption is where the birthparents and the adoptive parents will usually meet once or twice and are on a first name only basis. Sometime adoptive parents will send pictures and letters to the birthparents if all parties agree to this.
Open adoption- in an open adoption the birth parents and the adoptive parents know the full names of each other. They may agree to exchange letters and pictures directly with out the help of the adoption agency.
Just remember that you have rights to this child and whether you want to keep the child and raise it yourself or allow the adoption to through. This is a decision only you can make no one can make it for you, not even the birthmother. Either way you go check the laws of your state and contact an attorney, don’t try to do this with out some legal representation.