This topic might be one of the most difficult for anyone considering adoption for their baby, but it certainly is an important one. The Adoption Officer will need to ask you to provide information about the circumstances of the child’s conception. This is to help Adoption Services gather information about the child and the adoption process.
Withholding the name of the father
While it might seem like the best or safest thing to do for you and the baby, withholding the name of the father can have implications for the child as they grow. Adult adoptees have told Adoption Services that being open about the identity and the circumstances of the birth father, regardless of the history, can be important for self-identification and healing. Another important factor is access to complete medical information. As an adopted child grows older, this can be very important particularly for inherited illnesses like heart disease, glaucoma diabetes, some cancers, stroke etc.
If you do not want personal contact with the father because of the difficulties between you, the Adoption Officer can contact him directly.
You might be anxious about including the father
There may be many reasons you may not want to disclose information about the father of your child. One could be that you are unsure who the father of your baby is or may have difficulty talking about this. If the pregnancy is linked to sexual assault or long-term abuse, you may feel this is too hard to discuss and/or you might have concerns about labelling the father. A counsellor and specialist medical professionals will be able to help you navigate these emotions.
His rights need to be considered
A child’s father has equal rights to a child and he/his family may wish to parent the child or participate in decision making about the child’s future permanent care. The law requires an Adoption Officer to identify and locate a child’s father and seek their views regarding the child’s adoption.
Even if you have chosen not to include his name in the birth registration process, if proven to be the father, he still must legally be allowed to participate in decision making about your child and consent to the child’s adoption. He must be given information about the child and the proposed adoption. He must have the opportunity to be notified of the adoption and have the chance to oppose (if he wishes) an adoption proceeding.
Remember: both parents of a child have the same legal rights and, in most situations, both parents should be involved in the adoption (an exception to this is when the Court decides adoption is in the best interest of a child). At the end of the day, it’s always highly encouraged to have him be involved in the same way as the mother—assisting with legal documents, providing social and medical information and choosing adoptive parents. The father may see the Adoption Worker with the mother or have separate meetings to explore his thoughts and feelings.
Next in the Diamond Women adoption series:
Developing an Adoption Plan