It's often a common occurrence in most adoption stories that the role or voice, rather, of the birth father is vacant. Sometimes it's because it's been one of those “hit and run” sort of situations and the father wishes to have nothing to do with the entire situation. Most woman who become pregnant unexpectedly would surely admit that there were times where they felt as thought they wished they to had the ease of just running away and not facing any of the hard decisions ahead of them. Unfortunately, in this myth, the myth of the man who just runs away, we are continuing to allow this to be the standard by which these men are held.
Obviously, to us adults, we know how procreation occurs- it takes two people, generally speaking. There are cases when a baby is conceived in situations that are traumatic to the mother and possibly the child later in life. We should be concerned however, that often, and too often, really, a father's voice in an unexpected pregnancy is vacant or silenced in one way or another. Maybe he is missing, unknown, or he simply didn't know how to deal with the situation. Maybe there are other factors that have detained his presence. Nonetheless, we should be asking ourselves if we are doing every thing we possibly can to make sure all relationships in the adoption constellation are aware of the situation, and what it means for everyone. Most importantly, a father’s voice should be treated just as important as any other in the process, and he most absolutely should be involved in the discussion.
Let's say the adoption does go through and the father was either non-existent, left out on purpose, or was against the proceedings. We all have the ability to know that one day the child, or rather the adoptee, will wish to know both sets of their biological parents. No one in the that scenario has the right (unless due harm is likely to be caused) to say that he/she cannot seek them out. When we cut off one parent over the other, even in the beginning, we are making a predesignating decision that says, “You have no need for him/her”. All of us need to have access to our origins, even if we may not understand why our loved ones would search. It's ingrained within us to understand who we are, and where we came from.
Open adoption is meant to be open adoption. Families should be open, honest and accepting for all involved. When we seek to exclude someone out of fear, intentionally, or even for no reason at all, we're not longer in an open adoption. Think of a field, a wide open field. You can see as far as the eye can see and you can wander, around and around. If someone was to place a barrier, even a rock wall, it's no longer an open field. It can be that simple, and yes, it can be more complicated.
To ensure we are always aiming for open adoption, we should always be looking at the future. Can this choice lead to issues in the future? For whom? Why am I afraid/worried/concerned about not allowing this person into our lives? If I make this decision now, can I explain it to my child without it making me look as though I was doing what was best for myself, and not for him?
There are no easy answers, of course. There hardly ever are. In terms of fathers, and adoptions, we should be eager to embrace all sides of what made this child. We should be aware that in the future, some of these important details we all obsess about right now, will seem insignificant, and mean nothing. Inclusion should be the goal.
Credits: Danielle Barnsley-Cervo
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