Birth Fathers in Adoption
Every adoption story involves an expectant mother making a plan to place her child. Much of the literature, education, and overall culture surrounding adoption reflects that, often referring to only the birth mother’s experience. Sadly, that diminishes the experience of birth fathers. Although it is true that birth fathers are not always involved in making an adoption plan, the way adoption is discussed is also not doing much to encourage birth father involvement. In an effort to bring birth fathers into the adoption conversation, we are sharing some of the stories of birth fathers we have worked with.
When Alex* and his ex-girlfriend, Emma*, found out they were expecting, they knew they were not prepared to parent. Although they were no longer in a relationship, they remained good friends. They decided to make an adoption plan together. Alex drove Emma to every doctor appointment and to visits with their adoption counselor. His company cut his work hours during that time, but he remained committed to supporting the birth mother. After one visit, their adoption counselor could see he was struggling and gave him a gift card for gas. Overwhelmed with gratitude, he shared “Oh my gosh, you don’t know how much this means to me. My tank is on empty. I wasn’t sure if I had enough gas to drive Emma home and get myself home.” His constant support to Emma allowed her to focus on herself and the baby. It also gave her the reassurance that she would not be going through this on her own.
Jason* and his wife were parenting their young son when they found out they were expecting again. This was an unplanned pregnancy and they felt they were not in a position to raise another child. They decided adoption would be the best plan. Jason was at the birth mother’s side for every visit. He was present at the hospital for the birth, and he formed a bond with the adoptive parents. He is committed to having an open adoption and wants to be part of the baby’s life as she grows up.
As we know, the adoption process can be incredibly emotional. The grief, sadness, and heartbreak can be felt by both birth mothers and birth fathers. In the stories we’ve shared today, we witnessed the birth parents supporting each other through a really difficult experience. Being able to lean on each other and go through the adoption process as a team brought these parents a lot of comfort.
This Saturday, we recognize Birth Father’s Day. Much like Birth Mother’s Day, which falls on the day before Mother’s Day, Birth Father’s Day is meant to honor the strength, love, and selflessness required by birth fathers to place their child for adoption. Although they are also celebrated on Father’s Day, it is important to have a separate day where we can acknowledge the sacrifice they made for their child and the special role they play in their child’s life as their birth father. To all birth fathers, we see your love for your child, we hear your stories, and we are grateful to have you as part of the adoption triad.
*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of our clients.