A network of adoptive families, birth families, and adoption professionals which exists to improve the lives of children and others touched by adoption through support and education. UFA is actively engaged in community outreach and advocacy to raise awareness of adoption as a loving option.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Out of the Shadows: Birthfathers' Stories

By Mary Martin Mason
Too often, any discussion about a birthfather has less to do with him as a person and more to do with him as a legal obstacle to an adoption. He is often stereotyped negatively as irresponsible and uncaring, among other things. Hopefully, this book will change that. Even if a birthfather was absent during the pregnancy and decision-making process, this book may help the reader better understand the situation from his prospective.

Although some of the seventeen men interviewed for the book are considered birthfathers by the author because of their lack of contact with their children through divorce or abandonment, most are birthfathers through placement for adoption. Their stories resonate with universal feelings of love for their children, whether the adoption happened only weeks before or decades ago. Other emotions they share are shame over not being able to assume the role of "Dad," fear and sadness over the unplanned pregnancy as well as terminating parental rights, and loss and grief over the separation from their children.

Whether you are a prospective adoptive parent waiting for your first child or you already have one or more children, whether your adoption includes an involved birthfather or you know nothing about him, this book offers a wealth of information and increased understanding and even compassion.

Perhaps if we can begin to change the culture of adoption to be more inclusive of expectant/birth fathers from the beginning, there will be fewer of them in the shadows.

We'd like to hear from you. What has your experience been with birth fathers? How can they be more included in the adoption community?

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