An important part of the adoption process is knowing how to tell the father of your child that you want to look at adoption. Choosing adoption is a tough choice to make in and of itself, whether you do it alone or with the birth father. Talking to the father of your child about adoption can be difficult as well. Every story is different, and every father has different needs. Here are some common circumstances that expectant parents find themselves in and some tips on how to handle each of them.
If you are in a relationship with him
Sometimes, birth parents are together in healthy relationships, and the timing for a child isn’t right. In situations like this, the birth father deserves equal input. I spoke with a few birth mothers who made the decision without their significant others. Many of the birth fathers agreed that adoption was the right choice but were still hurt that they were not included in the process. If you are amicable with the birth father, go to him and simply tell him you are thinking of adoption. Calmly list your reasons and ask for his input. This is a decision that should be made together.
If you don’t know him well
Even if you don’t know the birth father well, he still deserves to know he has a child on the way. Let him know that you are pregnant and have made an adoption plan. If you don’t feel comfortable being in contact with him, give him the information for the agency.
If he is a danger to you or your child
If you feel telling the father that you are pregnant or thinking of adoption will put you or the baby in physical danger, there are a few steps you can take. Legally, the father of the child needs to be notified of the adoption and given the chance to contest. However, if you don’t think it’s safe to contact him, your agency or lawyer will put a notice in the paper in most states. Doing this fulfills the legal requirement that he be given the opportunity to come forward.
For all potential birth fathers
Regardless of whether you believe adoption is the right thing for your child, the father has the right to disagree. He is just as much a prospective parent as you, and if he wishes to step up and parent, that is within his rights. If at all possible, come to an agreement about this decision for the benefit of your child.
As long as it is safe, conversations this serious in nature should be done in person. Stating that you are thinking of adoption simply and calmly is the best way to go about it. When you explain why you think adoption is best, try not to sound accusatory. For example, instead of saying “I think you would be a bad father,” say “I think that we might not be prepared to take on the responsibility of a child right now.”
Sometimes a father might be angry that you are making this choice. He may contest it. But he may also be kind and supportive. Regardless of your situation with the birth father, if you can both keep in mind that you are choosing what is best for the child, things usually turn out for the better.
Annaleece Merrill is a birth mother to the cutest little girl on earth. She loves being an advocate for open adoption by writing, mentoring, and speaking at adoption panels. She currently attends Utah State University in Logan, Utah.