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The Natural Father prompt…

04 Nov

By TAO

November 4th prompt…The Natural Father

According to biology, it takes two to make a baby. However, when it comes to adoption often the natural father seems to be left out of the conversation more often than not.

Do you feel that’s a valid statement?

Where to start is the question, but yes, it’s a valid statement today and always has been.  Historically the states excluded fathers if the child was illegitimate.  Below is an example of the laws during my era.  In Washington state they ensured in three separate areas of the adoption act that the father did not need to give consent, or be provided notice of the adoption hearing.

ADOPTIONS AN ACT (applicable sections)
SEC. 4. No consent for the adoption of a minor shall be required as follows:
(5) From a father of an illegitimate child.
SEC. 5. If the court in an adoption proceeding, no consent after a hearing for that purpose upon notice thereof as hereinafter provided having been given to a parent, finds any of the conditions set forth in Section 4 of this act to be a fact as to the parent, the court may decree that consent of such parent shall not be required prior to adoption: Provided, that the father of an illegitimate child shall not be entitled to notice of such hearing.
SEC. 8. (1) The court shall direct notice of any hearing under section 5 of this act to be given to any or guardian, person or non-consenting parent or guardian, if any, and to any association having the actual care, custody, or control of the child: Provided, That where a parent has been deprived of the custody of such child and such child has been set over for adoption by an order of a court of competent jurisdiction, after due notice in a preceding regularly had for such purpose, no notice need be given to the parent so deprived, and the record of such deprivation proceedings shall be deemed prima facie proof of such deprivation;
(5) If the court is satisfied of the illegitimacy of the child to be adopted, and so finds, no notice to the father of such child shall be made.
Passed the Senate March 9, 1955.; Passed the House March 7, 1955.; Approved by the Governor March 18, 1955. (source)

The 1972 US Supreme court ruling on Standley v Illinois changed that.  In a post back in August about a 1972 article they talk the upcoming changes – below is a quote from that article regarding fathers.

“That problem, the rights of the father of the illegitimate child, is just starting in the courts and it’s one that social agencies see as an impending nightmare, further complicating the adoption procedures and creating more children doomed to the never-for-sure world of foster homes.

In most states an unwed mother may give up her child for adoption without the permission of the father, but changes are taking place.”

(quoted from Decrease In Homes For Unwed Mothers-Rise In illegitimacy )

Today there is a mishmash of laws regarding fathers and adoption – some states have putative fathers registries, other states don’t have any.  Fathers are still loosing their rights when it comes adoption – due to how some states have set up impossible to navigate requirements – especially for out-of-state fathers where the mother has gone to that state to give birth. A federal putative fathers registry bill was submitted in 2009, but hasn’t gone further, as far as I can see.

What always strikes me as bizarre is that the opponents of any adoptee rights legislation always bring up the privacy rights of the birth parents – yet many, or most of the fathers – were deliberately denied any rights when it came to adoption laws.  You can’t have your cake and eat it too – just because you think it will add weight to the argument that has been dismantled about mothers – you can’t now try to include the fathers rights that were stripped back when the adoptions took place.

Were your natural parents treated as equals in your adoptive household?

Absolutely treated as equals – no qualifiers were added, no disrespect was ever shown.  I had a mom and dad and a mother and father.

As a child, did you wonder about your natural father?

Not as much as about my mother – but I think that is pretty normal seeing as it was my mother who nurtured me – and gave birth to me.

Were you given any details about him?

There wasn’t much to give – one of the four sentences of my story was about my father – I found out decades later that most of the details were incorrect – except that he didn’t want anything to do with me.

How did that make you feel?

It didn’t really strike me in any way – we are talking one sentence and really – what can one sentence tell you about a person.  I was upset when I found out the social worker just created a plausible lie about him, that wasn’t right – but really not a surprise when it comes to adoption – now is it…

What is your view on natural fathers’ rights?

That they should be included in every single adoption plan just like the mother – unless of course they are abusive or raped the mother.  It’s a tough call, but if all things being equal and the mother goes out of her way to keep a safe father out of the adoption process, or life of the child – then I have lost respect for the mother, and feel the law should protect the fathers rights.  I also think all involved in the adoption should work hard to make sure a father is never cut out of the picture when possible and his rights respected.

Shadow’s thoughts on the Natural Fathers prompt – give might just make you cry.

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9 Comments

Posted by on November 4, 2012 in Adoption, adoptive parents, biological child

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

9 responses to “The Natural Father prompt…

  1. monk-monk

    November 4, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    I always assumed that my natural father was a bum who got my mother knocked up. FAR FROM IT! In fact, after reunion, he is by far the more normal one in the relationship. He stayed with my mom for 3 years after I was relinquished, and would have married her, but she told him he would “never amount to anything.”

    It took me much longer to want to search for, and find, my father, but I am so happy that I did! He updated his information at the adoption agency when I turned 18, carried a picture of me in his wallet since I was a kid and told everyone about me, and was so happy to meet me! He is definitely Grandpa J to my baby!

    I agree with you on natural father’s rights!

    Oh, and I’m in WA, too 🙂

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    • TAO

      November 4, 2012 at 8:46 pm

      Really glad you commented – first post is the only one sent to moderation. I love how other adoptees are finding their voices and talking more and more. I found your blog in WP reader and am glad I did. I’m glad you found out your father wasn’t a bum and that he contacted the agency and you weren’t a secret – that’s amazing. I am seeing quite a few adoptees from Wa…:)

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      • monk-monk

        November 4, 2012 at 11:42 pm

        I know, I love connecting with other adoptee blogs! Though, I once tried simply blogging adoption and got overwhelmed, so I had to branch out and blog about other aspects of my life, too 🙂

        Maybe someday the WA laws will change. I keep hoping, and we almost get a bill through,but then it gets killed. Bah!

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  2. kellie3

    November 4, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    My granddaughters’ father was not exactly “stand-up”. I think you could say he was just really young and immature. To his credit though, he refused to sign papers without my daughter present. He also came to the hospital and met and said good-bye to his daughter. He’s been judged unfairly by a lot of people (myself included).
    I’m trying to get all of his and his family’s information together so I can include it in a scrapbook I’m making for my daughter to give to her daughter. I don’t want her to have to search.
    Reading adoptee blogs has made me aware of how much I’ve judged a lot of first fathers unfairly. I think men in general are told they are not important in a child’s life and that’s just not true. Perhaps if we changed our views, men would feel as if they deserved to be a part of their child’s life and step up to the responsibility. Maybe I’m wishing for too much because it seems like a cultural issue.

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    • TAO

      November 6, 2012 at 2:45 pm

      Make sure you create a duplicate of the book – don’t assume your granddaughter will be given it.

      Like

       
  3. andy

    November 4, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    Great post. Isn’t the law amazing in the lengths they will go to deny someone basic rights? Makes me mad every time.

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  4. catfishmom

    November 6, 2012 at 12:17 am

    I hope that things are different now. SO many lies and cover up from my birthfather’s parents. He did not know he had a child until I was two and my birth mother thought he cared nothing for her and completely abandoned her. He didn’t even know.

    I did not feel a huge connection to my birth mother but did like her very much. My adoptive parents were furious at me for my relationship with her, especially my father, so I gave up my relationship with her. I gave it up so that I would not have to face losing them. It is not something I am proud of, but I am beginning to understand things now that I didn’t then.

    I have told my adoptive parents that I have met my birth father, and for me now that is all that I owe them. My first father and I have a very special relationship that we work very hard on. He respects my husband and loves my children even though he sees that realistically he probably won’t be able to been seen by them as a grandfather due to how old they are. That is just the way it is. I have anger about a lot of things and am learning to let that go. He is better at accepting things as they are…maybe that has come with age.

    My dad loves and cares for me even though he did not get to raise me. I used to think that a father needed to love a child’s mother to really feel bonded to his child. My dad and I have a great closeness that has nothing to do with that. It is all DNA and similar personality in combination. He was my dad the first minute I met him.

    I know this is not always the case, but it is my fortunate and wonderful experience.

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    • TAO

      November 6, 2012 at 2:43 pm

      Welcome Catfishmom,

      Adoption never is easy – way to many people’s feelings, personalities, needs, wishes all seem to be laid on the adoptee. That is I think what angers/bothers me the most – the only one who wasn’t part of the decision seems to have to make sure everyone else is okay.

      I do get the dna / similar personality aspect. I saw that in both sides of my family and why they were close and got along so well – peas in a pod. That is an element in adoption that is glossed over and not given the credit it so rightly deserves.

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      • catfishmom

        November 6, 2012 at 6:00 pm

        TAO…my first father and I spoke of that very thing today….having to make sure everyone is o.k. My dad did not know about me, so he looks at things a little differently. There were lots of decisions that he did not have the chance to make either. It is completely exhausting when the people who are supposed to love you the most want you to handle the emotions they have about something that is not even directly happening to them. I know that they are “affected” by it and family life is affected by it, but it is a lot to have to bear on top of post-adoptive issues and reunion issues. No wonder I have taken so many naps this year….gotta rest up for the next big thing! My first father says we could do a reality show Emotions Gone Wild!

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