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The forgotten part of domestic adoption: Birthfathers

As adoptive parents, we need to remember these guys are still fathers to our children.

 

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by Tim Elder in Archives, Birthfathers

Domestic infant adoption always involves a birthmother, adoptive parents, and of course – the baby. There are times when an important member of the adoption story is forgotten. Birthfathers (also known as first fathers) can get overlooked or left out. 

In today’s adoption world (at least in the United States), most domestic infant adoptions are considered “open adoptions” – meaning there is some level of continuing contact between birthparents and adoptive parents.

Quick adoption terminology check: the fathers should be referred to as expectant fathers before parental rights are relinquished or terminated. They are only considered birthfathers after they relinquish rights.

father and childs hands

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

So why are the fathers often left out of the adoption picture?

It could be a number of reasons. Maybe it is by his choice. Maybe the expectant mother or birthmother knows where he is but doesn’t want him involved for whatever reason.

As one birthfather wrote on his blog, “maybe it’s because many birthfathers are afraid to try to stay in the lives of their children placed for adoption, convinced by society that the “best” thing for them to do is forget about that child. Some of them might find the effort required to stay a part of their children’s lives is too hard. Others may feel the stigma of being written off as nothing more than a sperm donor.”

What I want to bring to light is something not often thought about. There are situations when the expectant father (or birthfather) wants to be involved, he wants to know who will be parenting his child, and he wants to know his child is loved and cared for. 

I realize not every birthfather is or wants to be involved, but still he should be honored and respected. These men often do not know what open adoption can look like. They may not know how much communication they want with their child or the adoptive parents.

As adoptive parents, we need to remember that these guys are still fathers to our children. Holidays, birthdays, and other special occasions give us a chance to celebrate our connection.

This Father’s Day, I wonder about all the birthfathers who aren’t given a place within their own families. They don’t stop being fathers when they place their children with adoptive families. We should try our best to honor and respect him – especially for our children’s sake.

One thing I know for sure – my family’s adoption story will always be about the connections we share with our kids’ birthparents and the love we have for each other. 

Some first fathers are blessed to be a part of an open adoption so they can have some sort of relationship with their child and their child’s adoptive parents. Others don’t have that ability. No matter how he is involved, we all should do our best to include the birthfather – showing our children he has our honor, love and respect.

Don’t just take my opinion about this. Read the words written by birthfathers. Here are a few blogs and articles: 

Honest thoughts from a birthfather  

Benjaminsbabydarling.blogspot.com

What do you think? Are birthfathers included in your domestic infant adoption? Leave your comment below.

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