S.S. asks from Tacoma, WA on February 27, 2009
Adoption Questions - Centralia,WA
So My Brother in law was talking to me the other day and is Ex-girlfriend is due with his baby any day now. She has just informed him that she is giving the baby up for adoption and is going to make it to where he can never see the baby at all. I want to help but I don't know what information to give him. He Wants to take the baby and raise her(the baby) with his current girlfriend. He is more than ready and prepared to take on the responsibility. He is very worried that he will never be able to see his daughter.
Do any of you have any advice for me that I can give to him. I know that he will be a good daddy. I just want him to be able to see his daughter and take care of her. Please if any of you have been through this or have any advice my bro would love the help.
Thank you so much. If there is anything else you would like to know about the situation also please don't be afraid to ask.
Brother-in-law in need of help
M.L. answers from Seattle on February 28, 2009
He has to get a lawyer. It might be a bit expensive, but worth it to have his baby.
She also doesn't have the legal right to give away his child without his consent and may be making empty threats or lying that she doesn't know who the father is.
He just has to get a lawyer.
H.B. answers from Seattle on February 28, 2009
From what I know of my sister who was a single mom and had a terrible relationship with the beby's father...in most states I know the baby cannot be adopted unless the father also signs a consent form. Now the birth mother has the option to list the father as unknown on the birth certificate and then the state would require a paternity test when the baby was born which may take a while. If he is certian the baby is his and she hasn't led him to believe she will lie about it I would advise him to be proactive and get to know his state's laws and his rights as a father right now.
J.S. answers from Seattle on February 28, 2009
It all depends on the state but often the father has to sign away rights before an adoption. It might depend on if he is ever listed as father. But my friend who adopted in IA they even had to post a notice in the local paper for potential fathers (birth mom didn't know dad..complicate situation) before the adoption could be finalized.
B.O. answers from Portland on February 28, 2009
I am a single mom and thought seriously about adoption when I was pregnant. I even had a lawyer(and still do) and met with several adoption agencies. The laws that I researched applied to Oregon, Washington, Idaho, California and Arizona.
First- I would like to know if he has been financially supporting the pregnancy.
If he has NOT financially supported any part of the pregnancy, and has been aware of the pregnancy, his participation is not required for her to adopt the child out. If the child is adopted out and he decides to petition for custody, he will have to prove to a judge how he would be a better parent than the adoptive parents, which would be hard to do if he did not financially support the pregnancy.
If he has been giving her money, or paying for any part of the prenatal care, then he has established parentage, and has a leg to stand on when filing for custody.
It is not like TV, where you wait for the DNA test to establish parentage. A simple interpretation of the law is- if you slept with someone and then found out they were pregnant, it is your financial duty to assume the child is yours, until proven otherwise by DNA. If the mother does not name him the father on the birth certificate or has hidden the pregnancy then the father can file a petition for DNA testing. Also, when I filed for child support from my child's father, the court assumed he was the father because I named him so, and sent him the affidavit to DISPROVE my claim, not to prove it. The father was given three choices on the affidavit, 1)sign the paternity papers to acknowledge he was the father 2)take the DNA test to disprove my claim 3)ignore the paperwork, and the court would assume he did not contest my claim. He chose to ignore the paperwork, and is now legally the father of my child. Even if he took a DNA test and it showed him not to be the biological father, he would still be legally bound to support payments because he had his chance to contest my claim.
Anyways, I am getting away from the point. Pregnancy is really hard and my heart kinda goes out to this girl. No offense to your brother, but it seems that he really is not ready for the stability that raising a child involves. He got a girl pregnant, and already has another girlfriend before the baby is even born to be dealt with? And this new girlfriend is magically the person for him to have raise his baby for him? He is not even married to her, and honestly, any judge would laugh at his petition. If he is really serious about being a parent, he should take parenting classes, and seriously think about what he alone has to offer his child. His girlfriend may not always be there, it is an extreme commitment to raise a child. Is this something he would still want to do if he did not have a girlfriend? Did he think to offer to help the mom with keeping and supporting her child, or is he just fighting to keep the baby if she adopts her out?
Honestly, I think the mom will end up keeping her baby. It sounds like your brother and the mom got into a fight, and she became scared of dealing with him for the rest of her life. I felt that way when I was pregnant too. I honestly felt I couldn't spend my life dealing with my child's bio-dad for the rest of my life. I was being selfish, and when I met my daughter all of that melted away. I understood that whatever I had to deal with was worth knowing her.
I think she is scared and is saying things out of fear. You can't sign adoption papers until after the baby is born. I think she will birth her child and meet her child and melt into motherhood.
ps-also, in Oregon you cannot "sign away" parental rights, but an adoptive couple/parent can adopt the rights and legal responsibilities.
3 moms found this helpful
T.S. answers from Seattle on February 27, 2009
You got me curious so I did a little research and found the following reccomendation:
"Have the attorney send her a registered letter stating you are aware of the pregnancy and want the baby"
That way, you have proof he told her he wanted prior to the birth and adoption. Also, me may have to take a paternity test to prove it is his. He can try to demand a prenatal paternaty test, but it is risky to the baby like an amnio. He could get the court to order a paternity test now for after the birth.
Also, read this: http://www.acal.org/questions.htm#2(it is from california but we may have the same laws). It states rather clearly that if a mother says she does not know the father, the fathers rights can be terminated without his consent. He has to prove he knew about the pregnancy, tried to support her during the pregnancy, and tried to "legitimate" the child. Maybe he could send her a cashiers check and send it certified mail so he would have proof he tried to support the child/pregnancy. That way even if she doesn't cash it he has proof had one made out and that he sent it.
*edit* I just found the washinton state laws regarding birth fathers prior to adotion http://www.crisispregnancy.com/birth-mother/expectant-fat... Also check this out, it shows what he can do to help preserve his rights http://library.adoption.com/articles/unwed-fathers-preven.... hope this helps.
3 moms found this helpful
A.H. answers from Portland on February 27, 2009
I have actually known someone who went through this.. The mother of the child can not give the child up for adoption unless both parents sign the paperwork. It's not like the old days where the father had no rights. My friend's sister was going to give a child up for adoption, had a family there ready and everything, but the father didn't show to sign the paperwork.. She had the take the baby home until he would sign it. Needless to say she still has the child that she didn't want.
She can't actually do what she's saying legally. It sounds to me like she's using major scare tactics.
The only way that she can give the child up is to lie that she doesn't know who the father is. It's a federal offense to lie on legal paperwork and she can get in BIG trouble if she does. If she lies and your brother didn't know, he would still have rights to get the child back after the adoption. This could very likely end up in court and be a long battle, you all need to be prepared for that. Your brother needs to get a lawyer ASAP and have this all handled legally. That's all my advice.. GET A LAWYER. Good luck!
2 moms found this helpful
D.L. answers from Seattle on February 28, 2009
I haven't read all the other advice, so this might be repetitive. I'm adopted and know that a baby cannot be adopted until BOTH parents sign off on the adoption (in fact, my birth father is the one that held up my adoption). If he's listed as the father on the birth certificate, then it will not be a problem. She is supposed to list him, but I know that that doesn't always happen.
Does she have a lawyer or agency she's going through for the adoption? If so, he should speak with them immediately so they know he is involved and doesn't want the adoption to take place. It's not fair to the family that is anxiously awaiting (what they believe to be) their baby.
However, I would urge him to look inside himself and examine if he is indeed ready to raise this baby. This is not something to be taken lightly. Nor should it be done for purely selfish reasons. Does he have a steady job? Who will be taking care of the baby while he works? I know you say he wants to raise the baby with his current girlfriend. I'm assuming that they haven't been together long (assuming less than 9 months). A baby can even be hard on long relationships that are strong - it's unbelievably hard on a new relationship. My husband and I have been married for almost 15 years and together for 18. We have a 3 year old and her colic as a baby really put a strain on our relationship at the time. I just don't want him to rush into this major decision when there are people out there that are ready to open their loving families up to this little girl.
That being said, there are always different adoptions out there than what his girlfriend is planning. He might be able to find a family that wants a very open adoption - one where he can still be part of his daughters life.
I just wanted to give you some options. I wish him all the best with this new journey. :-)
1 mom found this helpful
M.S. answers from Portland on February 28, 2009
Great news! He cannot control whether she has an abortion because while she is pregnant, the baby is only hers... but, once the baby is born, he has half rights. An adoption can not happen unless both parents sign over their parental rights. He needs to find a lawyer now and make sure he is ready when the baby is born to establish his parental rights and fight for custody.
1 mom found this helpful
V.G. answers from Seattle on February 28, 2009
I agree with the other posters that have suggested that he get legal advice. Most states will not allow children to be adopted unless both parents reliquish their rights or found to be unfit parents. I also with Donna L. that he really needs to think about this long and hard. If he is living with his current girlfriend or plans to marry her, he needs to consider her feelings. This could easily end their relationship and cause problems in any future relationships. He needs to ask himself the same question that every pregnant future single mom should ask herself:
Can he afford to raise this child by himself for the next 18+ years?
Is he ready to have 24/7 responsibility for another human being?
Can he afford daycare?
Is he ready to miss work every time the child is sick?
Sometimes an open adoption is the best option to to maintain contact when someone really isn't ready for the committment it takes to raise a child.
1 mom found this helpful
A.L. answers from Anchorage on February 28, 2009
From my understanding since he is the father he has every legal right to his baby,also she legally can't give the baby up for adoption w/out his consent.The states say that when a baby is put up for adoption both parents have to sign away their parental rights to the baby. My suggestion to you is that you contact a good lawyer to fight for custody of the baby.
God Bless and good luck.
J.S. answers from Seattle on February 28, 2009
I know that his ex can't put the baby up for adoption without the father's consent. The most she can do is try to get full custody and try to limit his parental rights. Is there any proof that he is the father? He may need to get a paternity test to confirm it. Chances are if she wants to give the child up for adoption she will probably not want to raise her herself. Although some people are very vindictive. Get an attorney if he can afford it and start proceedures now before the child is born.