In conversations about adoption we don't hear enough from biological fathers. It's true that the responsibility for a pregnancy lies more with the mother in a physical sense (she has to carry the child in her body!), but I don't necessarily agree with the viewpoint that pregnancy is a something a woman has a "right" to control totally. I don't want to parse words or gray areas here--I realize the issue is complex and varies case by case. My point is that I wish we as a society--in cases of adoption specifically--would give men more of a say.
Of course, I'm biased. My adoption agency did not contact my biological father for his permission for my relinquishment like they were supposed to back in 1981. And so he never knew about me. One of my cousins told me shortly after our reunion that it's a shame, because the family might have wanted to keep me. Several of my cousins grew up together like siblings as their parents shared caretaker responsibilities. Apparently my father used to pretend that his niece was his daughter when they were in public because they look alike and he'd always wanted a daughter.
Ok, I didn't mean for this to turn into my memoir. Originally I wanted to highlight this case in Ohio in which a bio father asserted his parental rights after the mother had relinquished his son to an adoptive family. The adoption agency did not follow the rules of gaining paternal consent. Once the man discovered he was the father, he spent nearly 3 years fighting to gain custody of his son. In September the court ruled that the son be granted to his bio father. The adopters initially defied the order to return him, the supreme court granted the temporary stay, then a few weeks ago the courts again ruled that the boy be given to his father.
What angers me is that everyone's all upset that the kid has to be ripped away from "the only family he's ever known" and given to a man whom they claim doesn't deserve him because he didn't call the adopters to check up on the child and therefore he never actually cared (nevermind that he began fighting for custody immediately after finding out that he was the child's father.)
Please. Yes it's sad that the kid has to go through an uprooting, but it's not the father's fault. The adoption did not follow acceptable practices in contacting the father and gaining consent. And just because the process was flawed, that doesn't dilute the fact that the man is the child's father, period.
The adoptive family, of course, has a Facebook page decrying the "unfairness" of the court's ruling, gaining the sympathy of 6,000 fans.
I'm with the father on this one, and--for once--with the courts. Fathers should be given a choice before a child becomes a ward of the state. I suspect more of them would step up to the plate than we think.