This is a question that pops up – not infrequently – and it has an ethical and moral dimension to it as well as a legal one. Although adoption laws can vary from state to state, there are still strict laws in Texas surrounding the issue of paternity, which apply in many different scenarios.
Leave aside the feelings of the child’s biological father for a moment to consider how your fiancé may be feeling about the issue. Before you make your decision, you should both discuss exactly what it means for both of you. For example, would your fiancé wish to bring up the child as his own, or does he simply want nothing to do with the child? Some people can find it very difficult to bring up someone else’s child and this is absolutely fine. The welfare and future happiness of the child is the most important issue. Of course, if your fiancé is absolutely adamant that he cannot raise another man’s child then your decision must center on your wishes and the welfare of your child.
Under Texas law, the birth father’s rights must be addressed whether the father is known or unknown. The way this is done can vary case by case, but an unmarried or married birth father will retain parental rights until 48 hours after the birth of the child. Even in cases where the father is unknown, his rights must still be a factor in the adoption process and there are mechanisms in place to address this. The termination of parental rights, whether voluntary or involuntary, is something that should be discussed with your adoption agency who can guide you through the legal issues raised should you decide to put your child up for adoption. If the father is known and an application is made to terminate his parental rights, this will usually mean that a decision will have to be made by the courts in order to comply with the Texas Family Code.
There are many forms of non-traditional families that we as an adoption agency are proud to deal with and it is not unheard of for a man to want to adopt a child belonging to his partner, but one that is not biologically his. If this scenario applies to you and your fiancé then pre-birth counseling can help you by explaining all the legal steps you need to take as well as all the emotional aspects that are involved.
As the birth mother, your feelings and emotions are going to be all over the place. Adoption of one’s child is not a decision to be taken lightly and never under coercion from a third party. The decision you make now will affect your life as well as your child’s life, so it is important that you consider choosing an experienced adoption agency like The Adoption Alliance who can offer counseling services during the entire journey. Our team is available to listen and advise in a completely independent way in order to help you to make sense of your feelings and allow you to come to the best decision.
Here we can take an example of someone who conceived a child during marriage, but who then left the marriage to be with someone else. Under Texas Paternity Laws, any child born during a marriage is presumed to be the child of the husband even if he is not the biological father. In cases like this certain steps must be taken to legally adjudicate the paternity of the biological father. These could include a paternity test and an acknowledgement of paternity by the biological father. Where a husband is the presumed father, he is responsible for the welfare and upkeep of the child until these steps are taken and completed.
If an ex-husband is the acknowledged father of your child, he may be unwilling to relinquish his parental rights and may decide to challenge any adoption proceedings. He may wish to continue to have access to the child. This whole area can be a legal and moral minefield and is one where you would need to take the advice of a good attorney.
Putting up your baby or child for adoption is, as we have said earlier, an emotional as well as legal conundrum. Before you make a final decision, you must take as much time, counseling and advice as you need. Above all, you must be certain that having your child adopted is in the best interests of that child according to the common legal standards laid down in Texas Family Law. These include the child’s emotional and physical needs as well as the future stability and life plans for that child which will continue without you.
Once you make the decision to go ahead with adoption, the best thing for the child, you and any other parties involved, is to get help from a specialist adoption agency like The Adoption Alliance. Our team is available to speak with you and offer guidance throughout the entire adoption process. Contact us today.