It’s common for women to be nervous about sharing their unplanned pregnancy and adoption news — especially with the father of the baby.
This can be an emotional conversation for both of you, but having a plan ahead of time can make it easier to broach the subject. Here, we’ve outlined the top 10 tips for talking to your baby’s birth father about adoption.
What does your baby’s father need to know about your adoption plan? What if there’s more than one possible father? What if you’re not sure where your baby’s father is or how to get in contact with him?
These are all valid questions, and the answers will vary based on your individual circumstances. An adoption professional can help you understand the rights your baby’s father has and the role he might play in your adoption plan. They can also help you prepare for this conversation and, if you feel like contacting the father of your baby would be uncomfortable or dangerous for you, they may be able to mediate your contact with him or notify him of the adoption on your behalf.
Regardless of your circumstances, you can talk to an adoption specialist right now at 1-800-ADOPTION. Your call is completely free, confidential, and in no way obligates you to move forward with adoption.
2. Remember that this is YOUR decision.
Your baby’s father may or may not have strong opinions about how you should move forward with your unplanned pregnancy, but remember: you are the only person who knows what is best for you and your baby. No one can force you to choose abortion, parenting or adoption — not even your baby’s father.
It’s important to carefully think through all of your unplanned pregnancy options and to make the decision that you truly think is right in your circumstances. If your baby’s father is pressuring you to have an abortion, make an adoption plan or parent your child against your wishes, talk to a professional for help.
3. Confide in a trusted friend or family member.
When you’re deciding who to tell about your adoption decision, it may be beneficial to start with someone who you know will be supportive and respectful of your decision. If you’re concerned that your baby’s father may be unsupportive, consider telling a trusted friend or family member first. That way, you can have someone to lean on for support when it’s time to talk to your baby’s father.
4. Prepare what you want to say.
Before talking to your baby’s father, write down your thoughts or practice having the conversation with a supportive friend, family member or your adoption specialist. Having a plan ahead of time can make you feel more confident and help ensure that the conversation goes smoothly.
During your discussion with the birth father, you might plan to:
- Explain your reasons for choosing adoption
- Let him know why you think this is the best decision for all of you
- Educate him about the realities of modern-day adoption and its benefits
- Share any free adoption information you’ve received so far
- Let him know that you’ve spent a lot of time thinking through your options
- Ask for his support throughout the adoption process
Remember, your adoption specialist is always available to give you additional suggestions for how to prepare for this conversation.
5. Talk to him in person, if possible.
It’s generally best to talk to your baby’s father in person. Find a quiet, private place to talk where you will be free of distractions and interruptions.
If it’s not possible to talk to him face-to-face, you can also tell him through a phone call. Or, if you are nervous that the conversation might escalate into an argument, you might choose to write him a letter or email. Be as honest and descriptive as possible in your letter, and have your adoption specialist or someone you trust proofread it before sending it to him.
6. Stay calm.
You are sharing big news with your baby’s birth father, and he may have an emotional response. Do your best to remain calm during the conversation, and try not to take his reaction personally. Gently let him know that you have spent a lot of time thinking about this and that you feel confident in your decision. If the conversation escalates into an argument, or if you’re feeling overwhelmed, walk away. If at any point you’re fearful for your safety, call 911.
7. Listen to his thoughts.
Once you’ve said your piece, give your baby’s father a chance to respond. Try to put yourself in his shoes, and let him know that you understand and appreciate his perspective — just remember that this is ultimately your choice, not his.
8. Offer to involve him in the adoption process.
If your baby’s father is on board with your adoption decision, he can be a great source of support for you. Let him know that you would appreciate his help throughout your adoption process, and invite him to be as involved as you are comfortable with. You might ask him to:
- Help you choose the adoptive family
- Participate in pre-placement contact with the family
- Be present at the hospital when the baby is born
- Talk to your adoption specialist to learn more about adoption
- And more
9. Give him time.
Your baby’s father may not agree with your adoption decision right away. Give him some time and space after your initial conversation to process his own feelings about adoption.
Often, when a birth father is initially unsupportive of a woman’s adoption decision, it’s because he doesn’t fully understand adoption. Once he has had some time to process your news, you might suggest that the two of you talk to your adoption specialist together. The more resources, support and information he has, the more comfortable he will be with your adoption decision.
10. Be honest and clear about your decision.
Finally, whatever you decide to do about your unplanned pregnancy, make sure your baby’s father understands that you’ve made your choice. Be honest about your reasons for choosing adoption (or abortion or parenting), and let him know what his support would mean to you throughout the process.