Respecting Birth Fathers and Their Decision to Parent or Place

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The stigma surrounding birth fathers, or fathers in general in the adoption community is rather harsh. Like the scoop era, a lot of men are encouraged to turn a blind eye when a woman becomes pregnant with his child, and are often supported in doing so. However, when a man steps up to parent, like in the case with Baby Veronica, we seek to find ways to demonize him- he wasn’t there during the pregnancy, he didn’t step up at the birth, etc. What we fail to realize is that often women are encouraged to find loopholes around the fathers in order to do as they wish, or rather we assume that the father has no right to decide to parent on his own if the mother does not consider this an option for herself.

As we’ve seen countless times over the course of the past year, many fathers do want the opportunity to exercise their rights as parents, and when their rights are negated by old stereotypes, we find them entrenched in legal battles that are completely unnecessary. If they had been given the proper opportunity to voice their rights, and to clearly decide whether they wanted to parent, many of these legal battles would not be occurring.

It’s important that all parties are given ample opportunity to decide what they would like to do, especially if there was a relationship at hand before the child was born. We should be careful in demonizing these men because it’s quite popular in the adoption community to swear them off by calling them lazy, or assuming that they wanted nothing to do with the pregnancy in the first place. More often than not, a woman is encouraged to strong arm her previous partner into signing parental relinquishment paperwork, or to not tell him that she is even pregnant. This should not be something that is occurring, and the only time a man’s rights to his child should be severed is in the case that he is harmful to the mother or child.

Before signing the adoption paperwork, or even perhaps before couples are matched with a mother, all due diligence should be done in order to make sure that the biological parties of the family have made up their minds and agree with the adoption plan. As a result, more babies might be parented with their biological families, but this is also not a bad thing. It would mean that children that legitimately have no home would be relinquished for adoption, and that families wishing to adopt wouldn’t have to go wonder if their situation could wind up like the Baby Veronica case.

Credits: Danielle Barnsley-Cervo

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