The adoption process is often said to involve a triad. The three corners of it are the child who is being adopted, the parents who are adopting him or her, and the birth mother. These three all work together to create a new life for the child, something that can be beneficial to all three parties.
Sounds great, doesn’t it? That’s why this imagery is so often used when looking at adoptions. However, it does leave out a very important person: the child’s biological father.
Sometimes, the father just doesn’t have much of a say in the process. Other times, the birth mother does not even tell the birth father that she’s pregnant, so everything happens without his knowledge.
Though it’s still a problem today, things are trending in the right direction. Back in the 1970s, the law didn’t even recognize all biological fathers as parents if they weren’t married. Sometimes, their names weren’t on very important documents, like birth certificates.
In the modern era, fathers have more status than that, but it’s still been a fight for them to see their roles increased. For one thing, the birth father often has to prove paternity, usually by submitting his DNA.
If the father has an objection to the adoption, it can slow the adoption process down considerably. Since fathers have to fight so hard for their parental rights to be recognized, they may eventually win custody of their child, but only after that child has grown significantly, which contributes to a heart-wrenching process in some circumstances.
It’s important for fathers to know the struggles they may face so that they can take legal action to ensure their rights are respected in Massachusetts.
Source: Knoxville News Sentinel, “Baby steps: Birth dads still fighting for bigger role in adoption process,” Leslie Mann, Jan. 08, 2016