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“What does adoption mean to a child?”

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When Your Spouse is not Your Baby’s Father

Expectant mothers considering adoption come from all different walks of life. This may surprise some people because there is a stereotype of women who choose adoption. But this stereotype couldn’t be further from the truth.

Women from all different parts of the country, at all difference economic levels and all different relationship types choose adoption. This is a brave decision for anyone making it. It’s a selfless act, and it comes from a place of love. Even though it’s common to hear talk of “giving a baby up” for adoption, there’s nothing about choosing adoption that resembles “giving up.” It is giving life.

This is a hard decision for anyone to make. Some circumstances are particularly difficult, like if you are asking, “Should I keep my baby by another man?”

If you are married or in a relationship and pregnant, but your partner is not the father of your baby, you’re probably asking if you can choose adoption for your baby. First off, this is no doubt one of the most difficult situations you have ever faced. You don’t have to go through it alone. You can call 1-800-ADOPTION to speak with a professional adoption specialist at any time. They’ll listen to you and offer the best guidance possible.

The answer to any question like this is complicated because it is ultimately a question about parental rights. Do you have a right to choose adoption when your spouse is not the father? Does your spouse have a say in the adoption? What about the biological father? Does he have a say in this, too? These are all questions that should be asked to an adoption attorney who knows the specific details of your unique situation. Answers about parental rights in adoption are determined on a case-by-case basis.

That being said, there are some things that will be true in almost all cases involving questions like this. While this article shouldn’t be taken as legal advice, it can hopefully provide some answers to your questions and get you started down the right path.

Can a Baby Be Given Up for Adoption if Your Spouse is not the Father?

Each state has its own laws protecting birth father rights. These laws can differ from state to state, so where you live will have an impact on the answer to this question. Generally speaking, the father of the baby has a right to either consent to or contest an adoption plan. If he wishes to contest the adoption, he will need to do so before a judge. In this process, he will be required to establish his paternity and prove an ability to fulfill the responsibilities of a parent to the baby.

But, what happens when your spouse is not actually the father? Do the same rights still apply to him? Essentially, yes. If you are married, your spouse is presumed to have parental rights to the baby even if he may not be the biological father of the baby. This doesn’t mean adoption is impossible for you, but it is something to take into consideration, as it will have to be addressed in a successful adoption process.

There are different circumstances under which an expectant mother may be asking this question. If the relationship with the spouse is active and ongoing, he could have a stronger claim to his parental rights. If, on the other hand, a woman is still legally married to a man but has been separated for years, it will be harder for him to assert his parental rights. In any type of relationship, this will depend on your unique details, your adoption attorney and the judge hearing the case.

All of this information probably feels overwhelming, and it may not be what you were hoping to find. It’s important to know all the facts when you are considering adoption, even when those facts make potentially choosing adoption more difficult.

Here’s another fact about adoption: If you believe adoption is the best option for you and the baby, you should always consider it. Just because the road to a successful adoption looks daunting doesn’t mean it will be impossible. Speaking with an adoption professional is the best next step in any case.

You can call 1-800-ADOPTION at any time to speak with an adoption specialist, or you can request more free information about adoption.

Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. America Adoptions, Inc. 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.

Additional Resources

Teen Pregnancy - Information for Young Women

While not every woman who chooses adoption is a young mother, many are. Through adoption, many young women have found an ability to give their babies the best life possible, while finding the opportunity to realize their own dreams, as well. Call American Adoptions today at 1-800-ADOPTION.

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Adoption Glossary

Do adoption terms and phrases leave you feeling confused? Learn the meaning to key adoption words and phrases with our comprehensive adoption glossary.

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