Facing an unplanned pregnancy and thinking about adoption can seem unbelievable to many men. This decision can be just as difficult for the birth father as for the child’s mother.
Even though agreeing might seem impossible, you both need to put your baby’s best interest first right now. Here are some basics about adoption to keep in mind.
If she wants adoption, she doesn’t want to or can’t be a mom right now
Try to envision what sort of a mother you want your child to have. Would you like him or her to have a mother who is excited about every day spent with your baby? Or would you rather have a mother that was forced into it, and so she may feel resentful toward you and your child? Forcing her to raise the baby isn’t in anyone’s best interest.
Some men believe that they can just give the baby to their current girlfriend or their mom to raise. However, your child’s mother has parental rights and may not agree to either of those possibilities. Just because she wants to place your child for adoption doesn’t mean she doesn’t love them. Actually, she is trying to give the child what she believes is the best opportunity for their future.
What kind of dad are you right now, before your baby is born?
Are you working on forming a solid relationship together, even if you are no longer dating? Are you going to every doctor’s appointment with here? Are you providing her emotional and financial support? These are all parts of being a good dad now, even before your baby is born.
To take it one step further, ask yourself if you are partying or using drugs right now? Do you have support from those in your life? Do you have a safe home, a reliable job, and insurance, both medical and life, if something happens to you? All of these things show you are ready to become a father, which starts before your baby is born.
Does choosing adoption mean that you’re a failure as a father?
Many men feel that considering adoption makes them a failure as a father. Maybe you are worried that family, friends, and co-workers will not look at you the same. Or, you might feel disappointed in yourself. Choosing adoption takes a lot of courage and love. It’s not easy to place the needs of your child above your own.
Guys often struggle to accept that they are unable to provide what a child needs and be a dad at this time in their lives. It can take some time to understand that feeling. Life will become about the child and not you. Try taking yourself out of the picture and instead focus on the future needs of this baby. It can be difficult to accept that you are not in a place to meet all your child’s needs.
Supporting her adoption choices doesn’t make you a weak, irresponsible, uncaring guy who doesn’t live up to the responsibilities of a dad. It’s the opposite — you are man enough to do what is best for your child. The man you are today responsibly meets the needs of the mother and child.
You can take part in creating the adoption plan
As the baby’s father, you can play an active role in forming the adoption plan. You can help her select the adoptive family and talk to them before the adoption. You can get your own updates after the adoption is complete and take part in visits if you want. The relationship with the adoptive parents often feels like extended family, and it can be this way for you as well.
You can still keep in contact with them in the future, even if you and your baby’s mother are no longer together. If your mother wants to stay in touch, she can too as the birth grandmother. Lifetime can help you arrange that connection.
Make a written plan if you plan to parent your child and stop the adoption
If you still want to parent after learning about adoption, then you’ll need to make a plan with the child’s mother. Here is a list that you can use to start with. It includes what you will need to agree on before your baby is born:
- Childcare plans for when you both are working
- How you will provide through the remainder of her pregnancy
- Commit to providing child support payments for at least 18 years
- Custody arrangements (note that she may want the child to be with you full time)
- Medical insurance
- Transportation to and from doctor’s visits
- What a healthy home and lifestyle looks like
- Agree on who the child will be allowed to be around (girlfriends, parents, etc.)
If you ask her to parent even though she wants to choose adoption, put a plan in writing. That way, she will feel assured that you are ready to join her in parenting the child.
Want to learn more about adoption?
Lifetime can help you learn more about adoption and how you can take part in it. If you have questions about your choices or what open adoption looks like, we’ll provide you with the help you need to make the best choice for your child.
We offer no-cost licensed counseling as part of our adoption services for both birth parents. Our adoption professionals are here for you 24 hours a day. Call or text Lifetime anytime, 24/7 at 1-800-923-6784.
As the Vice President (VP) of Lifetime Adoption, Heather Featherston holds an MBA and is passionate about working with those facing adoption, pregnancy, and parenting issues. Heather has conducted training for birth parent advocates, spoken to professional groups, and has appeared on television and radio to discuss the multiple aspects of adoption. She has provided one-on-one support to women and hopeful adoptive parents working through adoption decisions.
Since 2002, she has been helping pregnant women and others in crisis to learn more about adoption. Heather also trains and speaks nationwide to pregnancy clinics to effectively meet the needs of women who want to explore adoption for their child. Today, she continues to address the concerns women have about adoption and supports the needs of women who choose adoption for their child.
As a published author of the book Called to Adoption, Featherston loves to see God’s hand at work every day as she helps children and families come together through adoption.