The baby’s father has legal rights, and he cannot be left out of the adoption decision. A child can only be eligible for adoption if both parents have their parental rights terminated (called a TPR).
We understand that the circumstances surrounding a pregnancy can be sensitive and contacting the father may be very uncomfortable for a birth mother. We can help you with this.
The rights of a birth father can be terminated either voluntarily or involuntarily, depending on the circumstances. Please do not panic if you want adoption and the other birth parent does not. Adoption may still be possible. Your case worker will explain all of your options.
How does the birth father consent to adoption?
The alleged father can voluntarily consent in writing to terminate his parental rights and allow the adoption plan to proceed. If the alleged father is unsure of his paternity, but is willing to allow the child to be adopted, he can sign a consent stating that he does not admit paternity, but acknowledges the possibility and consents to the termination of his parental rights and the placement of the child through adoption. Paternity testing may be done if you are making an adoption plan but is not required. An unmarried father is generally not required to be present at the actual TPR hearing. However, if he is under 18, there will be a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) present to represent his best interests.
What if I don’t know the father, or don’t know where he is?
If the father of the child is unknown or unable to be contacted directly, the state requires diligent efforts to locate him so that he can be notified of the hearing. We can help with this. If he cannot be found, notice is given by publishing a legal notice after the baby is born in a newspaper in which the birth father is most likely to see it. This notice is to advise the father of the upcoming hearing but does not identify you or your child. If no father comes forward, the judge may terminate his parental rights.