Social Work in Health Care
The role of the birth father in adoption is debated by lawyers, adoption professionals, and members of the adoption triad. At issue is how best to involve the birth father in the adoption plan while respecting the feelings of the birth mother, prospective adoptive couple, and rights of the child. This article examines emotional, legal and practice issues related to a birth father in adoption and implications for the perinatal social worker. A birth father is a significant part of the adoption triad with legal rights and responsibilities. He may offer support to the birth mother during labor and delivery, and possibly impact the life of the child. He may provide important medical and social history to the prospective adoptive couple. The birth father may have feelings of grief, loss, anger and depression, which require intervention. The increased practice of placing infants from the hospital directly with an adoptive couple gives perinatal social workers a unique opportunity to encourage the participation of the birth father in the adoption process and to offer appropriate interventions. The impact of the adoptive placement for a birth father, and all members of the adoption triad, will be positively or negatively influenced by the knowledge, sensitivity, and quality of presence of the perinatal social worker. Numerous references. (Author abstract modified)
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