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Unsupportive, Uninterested or Unknown Birth Fathers

You Can Still Pursue an Adoption Plan

We hear it often: "I want to choose adoption for my baby but the father doesn't."

If this sentence describes your situation, you are not alone, and you may still attempt to pursue an adoption plan.

American Adoptions works with adoption attorneys across the country who, depending on the facts of the situation, may be able to help you place your baby for adoption even without the birth father's consent. Each adoption situation is unique, and your attorney will help you determine whether you can move forward with your adoption plan.

Birth father rights are complex and handled on a case-by-case basis, so it’s impossible to make any guarantees about exactly what this process could look like for you.

Nothing in this article should be considered legal advice, and you should always talk to an attorney for more information in your specific situation. American Adoptions can connect you with an attorney and give you advice for your specific situation when you call 1-800-ADOPTION or request free information today.  

In the meantime, the following are some common birth father scenarios with which American Adoptions may still be able to help:

Birth Father is Unknown or "Out of the Picture"

American Adoptions has worked with countless women who do not know who or where the birth father is, through no fault of their own. In some states, the adoption may proceed without the birth father's consent.

In the cases of unknown birth fathers, many states have a putative father registry, for which the father must sign up to protect his parental rights. If he doesn't register, an adoption attorney may not be required to give him notice of the adoption. Often, if:

  • The father fails to register with the Putative Father Registry,
  • Has not provided financial support during the pregnancy,
  • Has not legally established his paternity to the child,
  • Or all efforts to find the birth father are exhausted,

Then you may be able to pursue an adoption plan without the birth father's consent.

However, as always, each situation is case-by-case and each state law is different. Your attorney and the court will determine whether the case may proceed without the birth father's consent.

Birth Father is Known but Unsupportive

If the father is known, yet he is unsupportive of the adoption plan, he may need to show his desire to assume the father figure role, including support and custody, in order to retain his parental rights. 

Most states require a birth father to provide financial support to the pregnant mother, and failure to do so may result in the birth father being unable to stop an adoption. Mothers must always respond truthfully to fathers about pregnancy and not refuse support as these are important legal indicators.

A mother may decline to speak to a father, but should direct a father's communications to the attorneys or American Adoptions. Once again, an adoption attorney will investigate the situation and determine whether the adoption may proceed without the father's consent.

Birth Father is In and Out of the Picture

If the father of your baby displays a pattern of coming into and going out of your life, this behavior may continue upon the baby’s arrival.

If seeing your child raised in a stable two-parent household is important to you, consider the birth father’s sporadic behavior and how it might play out in the future. 

If you determine that adoption is best for your child, an adoption attorney will assess the situation and may speak with the father (or possible fathers) about his/their rights and attempt to continue your adoption plan with or without his consent.

Birth Father is Abusive 

Many women have come to American Adoptions reeling from the physical and psychological effects of rape or abuse before and during pregnancy and not knowing where to turn next.

At American Adoptions, pregnant women who choose adoption are provided the opportunity for counseling and support before, during and after the adoption. Our adoptions specialists are available 24/7 to help in any way they can. They will also be able to provide you with resources in your area to help you escape your abusive relationship and, when you are ready, to help you begin making an adoption plan.

Some states will take a history of abuse or rape into consideration when deciding whether a father's consent is required for an adoption to proceed.

Birth Father Wants You to Get an Abortion

If the father of your baby is trying to convince you to get an abortion, understand that your baby’s future is ultimately your decision.

Consider how you would feel if he convinced you to get an abortion. You will be the one left battling the emotional and physical effects of the abortion – not him.

Many times, birth fathers simply do not understand the adoption process and view abortion as an easy way out. Consider sharing with him all the reasons why you feel adoption is the best decision for everyone and why you are against the abortion. You may also suggest that the two of you speak with an adoption specialist, so he might see different perspectives on adoption.

Finally, remember that no one can force you into making a decision that you don’t believe is right – not your parents, friends or even the father of the baby. 

Birth Father is in Jail

If the father of your baby is in jail, your Adoption Specialist will be able to explain to you the adoption process according to your state's laws.

If the birth father is supportive of your adoption decision, your Adoption Specialist can also coordinate with him to receive pictures and letters of the child as he or she grows up, just as you will.

If he is unsupportive of the adoption, your Adoption Specialist will be able to explain to you your rights and how his incarceration may or may not play a role in the adoption process.


Often, a birth father's lack of support for an adoption plan is a result of uncertainty and fear. The birth father may simply not understand the adoption process and his rights in that process. Having professionals educate him about how the process works and how he can work with you throughout your adoption journey may alter his opinion.

Remember, if you are interested in pursuing an adoption plan but the birth father fits any of these scenarios, you may still be able to place your baby for adoption without the birth father’s consent. Contact American Adoptions today and we can discuss your situation in more detail and whether you may still be able to pursue adoption.

Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. American Adoptions provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is American Adoptions the right adoption agency choice for many birth mothers?

American Adoptions is one of the largest licensed adoption agencies in the United States. Each year, we work with thousands of women who are facing an unplanned pregnancy and offer assistance to these women. Our large, caring staff is able to assist you seven days a week and provide you with one-on-one counseling about your pregnancy and available options.

You should choose an adoption agency where you feel completely comfortable with their services and staff. With American Adoptions, you will work with an Adoption Specialist who is on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Adoption Specialist will be your advocate and will provide support and guidance as you create an adoption plan that is right for you.

How will the family tell my child about me and the adoption when my child is older?

Each family has their own style of introducing adoption to the child. When you are matched with an adoptive family, you can ask them this question. If you would like your Adoption Specialist to discuss it for you, just let her know. He or she can share your wishes or provide good ideas from other adoptive families.

You will also be able to share what you want your baby to know about you. You can complete a keepsake booklet to share hobbies, stories, photos of you and your family and a letter to your baby. The adoptive family can provide this to your child as he or she grows older. Be as creative as you like! Some birth mothers have even knitted a special blanket as a gift to their baby or given a similar symbol of their love.

The father of your baby can fill out the birth father's keepsake booklet or write a letter too. You may have other family members who would also like to share photos or a letter to the baby. This is your opportunity to pass on your and your family's love and to share your personality, history and reasons for choosing adoption. The adoptive family will treasure whatever information you provide and will share it with the baby at an appropriate age. In most adoptive homes, the word adoption is in the child's vocabulary early on, and adoption is celebrated in their lives.

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