Birth Fathers and Open Adoption
When searching for resources on adoption, the most prevalent ones are resources for the adoptive parents and the birth mother. But, as we head into June and towards Father’s Day, it begs the question: what about the birth father?
If you look up resources for birth fathers, many will discuss the potential legal rights he can have in the adoption process, and the amount of involvement he can have if he’s in the picture. If you have any questions or concerns about this, please be sure to consult with one of our in-house adoption lawyers.
But that’s not what this blog post is about. There is still something missing here. How are birth fathers affected by adoption? More specifically, an open adoption agreement. Are there support options for birth fathers and open adoption? Adoption Choices of New York is here to help!
How are Birth Fathers affected by Adoption?
Mary Martin Mason wrote Out of the Shadows: Birthfather’s Stories in 1995. It is still referenced today in blog posts from just a few years ago as a key work describing the experiences of birth fathers. In Out of the Shadows, Mary Martin Mason discusses how birth fathers and their experiences tend to stay “under wraps” and that many people don’t know how to respond to a birth father because they are largely unaware of what birth fathers go through.
However, the interviews and stories share that despite not being talked about as much as birth mothers or adoptive parents, the birth father still has a deep emotional impact from adoption.
What about with an Open Adoption?
There are a few different types of adoptions: closed, semi-open, and open adoptions, but we’ll just be focusing on open adoptions here.
In an open adoption, the birth father has the opportunity to take on an active role in the adoptee’s life, and can build a relationship with the adoptive parents as well.There are several benefits to open adoptions for all parties in the adoption triad. Due to these positive impacts of open adoption, Adoption Choices of New York encourages all of our birth parents to consider this option when making a plan for adoption. An open adoption allows you to place your child with a loving family who is able to take care of him or her, cherish them and also allow you to have a part in your child’s life. To grow with them, get to know them and vice versa.
It is especially important that birth fathers not get left out of this process. For the same reasons an adoptee might want to know their birth mother, they may also want to know their birth father. It’s not uncommon for adoptees, when learning their adoption story, to ask questions like “who are my birth parents?” and “where do I come from?” Wanting to know more about their medical and health history is another natural curiosity they may have.With only a birth mother’s health and medical history, adoptees and adoptive parents only have half of the record. When birth fathers are involved in the adoption process — especially in an open adoption agreement — those deep questions and needs can be known.
Is there Support Available for Birth Fathers?
Yes, absolutely! Adoption Choices of New York offers counseling and legal representation at no cost to any and all birth fathers who walk through our doors. These same services extend to the birth mother and any other family members or children who want it.
Outside of our agency, there is a national organization — CUB — dedicated to supporting birth parents and the overall adoption triad. Social media pages, such as Facebook and MeetUp, now have support groups for birth parents as well, which can be a great way for birth parents to connect and share stories throughout their adoption journeys.
Birth Fathers and Open Adoption
As a whole, open adoptions can help birth fathers manage feelings of grief, worry and regret after placement. This, in turn, can help you healthfully move forward with their lives post adoption. If you are a birth father considering an adoption adoption agreement, know that Adoption Choices of New York is here for you. We hope that you’ve found this resource on birth fathers and open adoption helpful. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or concerns regarding your specific circumstances. We would love to hear from you!