Suddenly, I was a birth father. What? When my girlfriend and I found out she was pregnant, we had both been well on our way down our own individual career paths. Not being prepared for this unplanned pregnancy, we both felt that our relationship wasn’t ready to survive raising a child. In addition, we didn’t feel it was best for the child to raise her ourselves in our lives. We began the delicate process of deciding exactly what we should do.
We would soon begin a journey that would open our eyes to many new things.
The term ‘birth father’ was a relatively new one for me. As a man, I can never know the feeling of carrying a child inside of me, or what it is like to go through the act of childbirth. Therefore, I feel the decision to give birth to, or not give birth to, a child can only be made by the woman whose body is pregnant. My opinion has always been that since it is her body, it must be her decision.
Therefore, I saw the most important role for me as the birth father was to support my girlfriend in whatever decision she made. Because of our relationship, my girlfriend needed to know what I thought as well. My feelings were important to her and part of the information that she needed to decide.
What Do We Do Now?
“What should I do?” and “Should I give up my baby for adoption?” were questions she would often ask me. What it all boiled down to was that she didn’t feel she could raise the child (even with my help). She didn’t feel comfortable with the option of abortion either. And as those two options gradually faded out, a third option of giving up the baby for adoption became clearer as the one that would be the best for everyone, and the easiest to live with in the years to come.
As my girlfriend is fond of saying, “I am pro choice, and I choose life.” She chose adoption for our baby so that he would have the life that he deserved, so that he would be loved and provided for.
So, we investigated adoption, and what to do next. We needed to know where to start.
How Do We Choose an Agency?
After some thought, we decided we wanted an agency that met these two criteria: 1) That the agency not be affiliated with any one religion (we did not want to pre-determine the religion of our child—that would be up to the adoptive parents), and 2) That the agency offer some kind of financial assistance should we need it (we did not know what it cost to be pregnant).
We began searching for local adoption agencies in Michigan that could help us with our adoption plan. I explained we wanted to place our baby for adoption and we didn’t know what to do next. I made an appointment with one of Adoption Associates’ caseworkers and our meeting went well. We were provided with the information we needed, and more. Our caseworker would help us throughout the entire unplanned pregnancy.
We Wanted to Choose Just the Right Parents
We didn’t know how we would feel after the baby had gone to his new home, but we felt it was extremely important that the adoptive parents be as involved as possible with us during the pregnancy. The more we knew about the people who would be our child’s parents, the more peace of mind we would feel later. We could look back and know we had done the right thing and chosen the right people.
In looking through many profiles of adoptive families individually, we narrowed it down to our own top three choices and sat down together to discuss them. We were surprised to find that we had both chosen the same couple as our first choice. This couple had also adopted a baby who was born two-and-a-half years earlier.
Too many people hear the term “unplanned pregnancy” and assume that it means “unwanted child.” We both quickly realized how wrong this assumption was. Our child’s adoptive parents wanted him more than we could have imagined.
The time came to meet the family we had chosen. Our caseworker was there to support us and to answer questions we had. We were very nervous and worried about things like “what if they don’t like us?” or “what if we don’t like them?”
Meeting the Adoptive Parents
We met at a restaurant near our home. At first things were uncomfortable, but after a short while we could loosen up. We began talking about our families and our relationships. The open and honest nature of the evening left us with a greater feeling of respect for one another. By the end of the evening, we were already feeling comfortable around each other and we were laughing together at each other’s stories.
So, for the rest of the pregnancy, we kept in very close contact with the adoptive parents and with our caseworker. The parents came to birthing classes with us, as well as doctor appointments and more dinners. Our caseworker’s continued support kept us in good spirits, and she made sure that all the legal aspects were taken care of.
Wow. This is Real!
One highlight of our experience was during an ultrasound that the adoptive parents were with us for. It was a very rewarding experience watching the faces of our child’s parent’s as they could see their baby for the first time. “Wow. This is real!” the adoptive father kept repeating. I knew how he felt. It was shocking to learn of our unplanned pregnancy.
The baby was born healthy and happy. As my girlfriend recovered and we both caught up on sleep, the adoptive parents were given their own room so they could spend all the time they wanted with their new baby. We could see and hold the baby whenever we wanted. Even though I was the birth father, I felt like I was holding somebody else’s child. My girlfriend and I had done a good job, and now it was time to begin the healing process.
It was hard when it came time to say goodbye to the new parents and the baby we’d helped to create. But we felt secure knowing that we’d done the right thing – for the baby we’d brought into the world, and for ourselves.
If you are a birth father and the mother is experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and needs help, please call Adoption Associates. We are here to help you and are available 24/7.