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Published Wednesday October 28th, 2009 at 1:30pm

Original Article

When most people think of the adoption triad they think of the birthmother, the adoptive family and the child but there is a missing pieceto this picture. Birth fathers may be the most overlooked individualsin the adoption process but it is important to remember that they havethe same parental rights as the biological mother. Some birth fatherscontest an adoption not because they actually want to parent the child,but because they are angry at being treated as if they didn't exist.The open adoption process welcomes birth fathers and helps them toidentify ways to stay involved in their child's life.

Birth fathers needs and wishes need to be respected and discussed inorder to create a plan that is inclusive of all parties. Many birthmothers simply assume that things will be easier if the birth fatherremains unnamed. The birth mother may not even be aware that the birthfather has legal rights. She also may have personal reasons forcounting him out.
No social worker, lawyer, or adoptive parent can force a birth motherto name the birth father if she is determined to keep him anonymous butit is always better to include all parties.

Along with having the same rights as birth mothers, birth fathersare also entitled to the same services and counseling as birthmothersand are encouraged to take advantage of them. There are many socialobstacles for birth fathers to overcome when considering adoption. Many men believe that "real men keep their children" or that family andfriends will think less of them for creating an adoption plan, but aresponsible father is one that ensures that all of his child's social,emotional and financial needs are met by whatever means are necessary. Deciding on adoption is not shameful but an honorable, difficult andloving choice.

By being involved in an open adoption plan and committing to anongoing relationship with the child and the adoptive family, birthfathers are taking an active and important role in ensuring thewell-being of their child. When children have little or no contact withtheir biological fathers, they tend to develop unrealistically strongfeelings of love or hate for them – casting birth fathers as heroes orvillains. The ongoing contact afforded by open adoption allows birthfathers to develop realistic and balanced relationships with theirchildren.

Adoptive children want and deserve to know their birth fathers justas much as their birth mothers. Both birth parents provide criticalkeys to a child's emotional security and his/her genetic history.