A young couple having a disagreement at home“The father of the baby says he won’t agree to the adoption. I don’t want to raise this baby and he wants me to give it to his mother. I don’t want to do that either. What can I do?”

First off, understand that you are not alone. Many women have been right where you are.

And we are here for you 24/7 if you want to talk about your unique situation or need to speak with an attorney privately about your specific situation. You can reach Lifetime 24/7 by texting or calling us at 1-800-923-6784.

One approach to a situation like this is to understand that as parents, the best path may be for you to come together and make the best choice for your child. This can be difficult, especially if your relationship is already broken. Here are some things to keep in mind.

A Man’s Sense of Pride

Part of every man is a sense of pride, and often men resist agreeing to an adoption plan based on that pride. They believe that no one can or should parent their child but them, even if they are not financially or emotionally able to be a dad.

It can be hard for a man to admit he cannot or should not parent his own child. You may need to have a heart-to-heart talk with him and share your hopes and dreams for your child. Ask him what his are as well. Adoption becomes a more realistic possibility if he can see that there is no way you both can provide that life.

Open Adoption For Him, Too

Your baby’s father may not understand that he can play a role in adoption, including helping to choose the family and having contact after the adoption. Even if the two of you are no longer together, you can both have a relationship with the child and adoptive parents.

Men usually don’t know this because TV shows and movies about adoption are geared toward women. Once he realizes that adoption is not goodbye forever, it may change his reaction to it.

Family Pressure

He may be pressured by friends or family members, especially his mother, to “step up” and be a man. Or, if his mother is saying she will raise the baby, what type of relationship will that create with you both? It will be awkward and difficult for sure!

Adoption is a decision that the two of you need to find a way to make together, free from outside influence and pressure. And it needs to result in a plan that is the best for the baby, providing the life you both want for them.

Custody and Child Support

Many men believe that if the mother wants adoption and the father doesn’t, the father automatically gets custody, but that isn’t true. If the father objects to adoption, the adoption process stops, and the baby goes home with the mother.

The mother will immediately file for and receive an order for monthly child support. If the father wants to establish shared or full custody, he must hire an attorney and fight for it. Objecting to adoption does not mean he is a better parent or should have the baby; it simply stops the adoption process. By stopping the process, he is asserting that he is the father and ready to support his child financially. This has come as quite a surprise to many men.

Brett learned this lesson the hard way. He was 19 years old and living with his mother after splitting up from his girlfriend, Tia. Tia had made an adoption plan for her baby, but Brett and his mother had refused it and filed the proper papers to stop it in their state.

Brett’s mom was excited to think she would be helping Brett raise a baby, so she started creating a nursery, buying diapers and clothes, and getting everything ready. Tia was very upset with Brett’s adoption refusal. She had the baby but did not call him and changed her number, so he couldn’t reach her.

Within a week or two, he was served with papers ordering him to begin paying $600 child support immediately, or it would be withheld from his paycheck. By the time Brett saw his baby for the first time, she was three months old and had outgrown everything his mom had purchased. Brett felt like an ATM, sending out cash and spending little time with his daughter. This wasn’t what he had in mind when he stopped the adoption.

Fathers Have Rights

Fathers have legal rights in adoption, but open communication about expectations and parenting plans will go a long way in agreeing on the best choice for your baby.

If you are pregnant and have questions about the father’s rights, call or text Lifetime at 1-800-923-6784, and we can help direct you to the correct answers.

If you are a father and have questions about your rights, Lifetime can help you too on our 24-hour adoption answer line at 1-800-923-6784.

Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P.

Written by Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P.

Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P., is a nationally-recognized adoption expert and the Founder of Lifetime Adoption Agency. She has been working in adoption since 1986 and is also an award-winning author and speaker.

Mardie knows the sorrow of coping with infertility, and is an adoptive parent who experienced many of the challenges adoptive families might face. In various media appearances worldwide, publications, and her podcast, Mardie important steps that must be taken to complete a safe and secure adoption. Having adopted her son, Mardie knows firsthand the joys of raising an adopted child.

Mardie’s life mission is to help adoptive parents and birth parents find each other. With Lifetime Adoption Agency, she seeks to build happy families and provide precious infants and children with a loving and secure future.