Birth Fathers and Adoption: Who is he?

Birth Fathers and Adoption: Who is he? 

With all the focus normally being on birth mothers,  we’ve noticed a large lack of information regarding birth fathers and adoption. That would be you, your significant other or just the man who happened to be genetically linked to the child. It’s just, in all the usual hustle and bustle of the adoption journey, birth fathers always fall into the background and we don’t learn much about them. Who is he? Does he have any rights? What is his involvement? Can he have a say in anything at all? 

Birth fathers are somewhat of an enigma when it comes to the adoption process. Adoption Choices of Reno, however, believes that he plays an important role and is just as important as the birth mother. After all, without him, the child being placed for adoption wouldn’t exist. So let’s focus on who he is and the different types of birth fathers there are. 

Who is a Birth Father?

It’s important to know who the birth father is. By definition, he is the biological father to the child who is or has been adopted. However, there’s more to him than that. A birth father can also be defined by his connection to the birth mother.

  • He may be married, unmarried or divorced from her

  • He may be Known or Unknown

  • He may or may have not surrendered parental rights

Does He have a Say in Choosing Adoption?

As sad as it is, it’s not uncommon for the birth father to not know he had a biological child placed for adoption. The final decision is left up to the birth mother, especially if the birth father isn’t in the immediate picture. However, at Adoption Choices of Reno, we always try to contact the birth father. We use whatever information the birth mother has so that we can give him the opportunity to become informed of her decision. It isn’t always successful, but we do our due diligence. 

If the birth father is known, able to be contacted or still in a relationship with the birth mother, he has the chance to work through the adoption journey with her and sign away his parental rights himself.  

What Types of Birth Fathers are there? 

There are many terms that go along with this, and it can become rather technical. So, for the sake of this blog and to refrain from getting too deep into the legal side of things, we will stick with the two most common types of birth fathers -- known and unknown. 

A known birth father can be in a relationship with the birth mother, married or divorced with her or simply someone she knows is the biological father of her child. If they are still on speaking terms or together, a known birth father can work alongside the birth mother to decide what is best for their future as a team. He can also establish his legal paternity to the child, which means he would have to sign away his parental rights before an adoption could be finalized.

An unknown birth father isn’t typically in the picture. Whether or not he and the birth mother knew each other is a huge gray area with this. He can be anywhere from a one-night stand to an ex. In the larger scheme of things, however, the birth mother doesn’t know who or where he is. If this is the case, depending on the state you live in, the adoption process can proceed without him. Our agency still does our due diligence in trying to locate him; but, if he doesn’t surface within an allotted amount of time set by state law, the child can be safely placed with his or her new family without his consent. 

If you have any specific questions or concerns regarding birth fathers and adoption, please don’t hesitate to speak to our in-house counsel. They will be more than happy to help you.

Birth Fathers and Adoption

On the most basic level, a birth father is the man who shares a genetic link to a child. When it comes to birth fathers and adoption, it can get a little tricky depending on where you live and your personal circumstances. However, Adoption Choices of Reno believes that birth fathers play a vital role in the adoption process and that more should be known about them. They should be forgotten, and are as much of the equation as the birth mother.

If you are a birth father considering adoption, or one who has placed in the past, we are here for you! We would love to hear about your experience and support you in any way we can. 


Birth Father Rights in Adoption. (n.d.). Retrieved May 27, 2020, from