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Natural/Birth Father Perceptions in Infant Adoption
The survey was entitled “Natural/Birth Father Perceptions in Infant Adoption.” A link to the survey (through Survey Monkey) was shared on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and this blog between the dates of November 19, 2017 and August 7, 2018. In all there were 36 respondents. Of those, 5 were removed once parameter filters were saved; leaving a total of 31 respondents.
The parameters were that:
- The respondent had to be 18 years old or older.
- The respondent had to have had at least 1 biological child placed for adoption when the child was 1 year old or younger.
- The adopted child was not conceived due to the respondent’s gamete donation at a fertility clinic.
- Neither the respondent’s nor the biological mother’s parental rights for the adopted child were terminated due to CPS involvement.
There were a total of 70 questions and a free-form response. The free-form responses will be posted at the conclusion of this summary. Of the 70 questions, 22 offered an “other” option. There were 40 “other” comments that were taken into consideration and will be shared as they relate. There were 5 questions skipped by at least 1 respondent. There were no questions skipped by more than 1 respondent.
A link to the survey results will be posted at the conclusion of this summary. We encourage you to follow us here at the blog as well as our Facebook page, Twitter account, and on Instagram. Please consider sharing this summary if you believe it to be informative and necessary.
Margin of error calculator (provided by Survey Monkey)
Parameters and Housekeeping
As stated above, the first 4 questions set the parameters for the survey. Additionally, general questions were asked about the respondents’ lives and relationship with adoption. There were 2 (6%) respondents who answered that they too were adopted. All respondents had 1 child placed for adoption and 1 respondent replied that he was uncertain of other children being placed for adoption. The majority of respondents were teenagers when their child was placed for adoption. There were 4 (12%) who were 15 years old or younger and another 12 (38%) who were between the ages of 16 and 19. There were 35% (11) of respondents who were between the ages of 20 and 25, 2 (6%) who were between the ages of 31 and 35, and 2 (6%) who were 36 years old or older.
It was asked what the respondents’ views were on adoption. From greatest to least, respondents identified themselves as: 10 (32%) Anti-Adoption, 7 (22%) Undecided, 5 (16%) Pro-Adoption, and 4 (12%) Indifferent. There was an additional option to comment considering the survey was about adoption. There were 5 respondents who chose to elaborate on their thoughts about adoption.
Their comments included, “It depends on the particular situation. Some birth parents shouldn’t have custody.” “Pro adoption if both parents agree”, and “Depends on circumstances.” Another said, “Pro adoption. It’s a good way to put yourself first, and legally discriminate and blame your child for your own problems.” Lastly, “Has to be reformed or abolished then replaced by child guardianship or stewardship.”
It was also asked what the respondents’ views were on abortion. From greatest to least, respondents identified themselves as: 17 Pro-Life (54%), 7 Undecided (22%), 6 Pro-Choice (19%), and 1 (3%) Indifferent.
Respondents were asked if they believed that adult adoptees should have a right to their Original Birth Certificate. There were 29 (96%) respondents who answered in the affirmative.
The majority of the survey asked questions about what happened immediately before and after the adoption of their child(ren). There will be a section designated for each timeframe.
A large segment of respondents became natural/birth fathers after 2010, with 25% (8) affirming. In descending order, respondents had a child placed for adoption between 1980-1989 19% (6), 1970-1979 16% (5), 1990-1999 12% (4), 1960-1969 12% (4), 2000-2009 9% (3), and prior to 1959 3% (1). Most respondents (77%,24) were US citizens at the time of placement. Children were most often (93%, 29) placed in an adoptive family in the same country.
Most respondents affirmed that they were the boyfriend to the child’s mother, but later separated 58% (18). Another option that was answered most frequently was that the respondent was an ex-boyfriend/husband of the child’s mother during the pregnancy 22% (7). There were 23% (7) of respondents who said the mother of their child was placed in a maternity home.
Respondents were asked what their income was at the time of placement. Many respondents (32%, 10) were making minimum wage at the time; followed by unemployed (22%, 7), middle class income or higher (22%, 7), and poverty level (6%, 2). Another 16% (5) of respondents didn’t remember.
It was asked of respondents what their involvement was with the decision-making that led to adoption. The majority of respondents 58% (18) answered that they were aware of the pregnancy, but not involved in the decision-making. Another 12% (4) said that they were involved in the decision-making and did encourage adoption. Another 6% (2) said that they were involved in the decision-making, but discouraged adoption. There were 2 (6%) respondents who said that they either coerced or threatened an adoption decision. There were 11 (35%) respondents who said that the mother of their child was more intent about an adoption decision than they were. The most common reasons for supporting an adoption decision were age, social pressure, and not being married. One respondent said, “I thought if I agreed to the adoption, my girlfriend and I would stay together .”
A number of respondents 25% (8) were not told during the decision-making process that adoption was either “brave” or “selfless”. But if a respondent was told that adoption was a “brave” or “selfless” choice, it was most often said by the adoption facilitator 22% (7).
- 93% (29) of respondents were aware of the pregnancy for the child who was placed
- 45% (14) of respondents were not aware that adoption was an option being considered for their child
- 48% (15) of respondents did not sign a TPR (Termination of Parental Rights)
- 35% (11) of respondents felt pressured to sign a TPR
- 22% (7) of respondents felt the timeframe to sign a TPR was fair
- 22% (7) of respondents felt the timeframe to sign a TPR should have been longer
- 41% (13) of respondents were not aware that there was a revocation period
- 9% (3) of respondents were aware that there was no revocation upon signature
The majority of respondents 63% (19) affirmed that their initial desire was to parent their child. There were 9 (30%) respondents who protested an adoption decision so that they could parent their child. Another 6 (20%) respondents said that they would have protested an adoption decision in order to parent if they had known their was an adoption decision made. One respondent added, “I was a kid myself, I wasn’t sure of anything.” The families of the respondents most likely did not know of an adoption decision with 35% (11) affirming. Another 22% (7) of respondents said that their families did support an adoption decision. One respondent said in regards to their family, “They didn’t care and were glad someone else took care of the problem.” Friends of the respondents most often didn’t know about the adoption (51%, 16).
- 54% (17) of respondents answered that their child was placed in a Closed Adoption (identifying information was not known about the unrelated adoptive family)
- 74% (23) of respondents were not given a say in choosing the family who adopted their child
- 38% (12) of adoptions were facilitated by an adoption agency
- 22% (7) of adoption were facilitated by a private attorney
- 19% (6) of respondents were present at the birth of their child
- 19% (6) of respondents were named on their child’s original birth certificate
- 29% (9) of respondents said the adoption was meant to be kept a secret from them
- 90% (28) of respondents said that they did not have another child at the time of placement
The subject of counseling was touched on. There were 12% (4) of respondents who did receive adoption counseling prior to placement. There were 9% (3) of respondents who received adoption counseling after placement. One (3%) respondent stated that counseling was beneficial to them.
There were 22% (7) of respondents who said that they wanted to back out of the adoption decision after the birth of their child. There were 19% (6) of respondents who said that they pursued custody of their child.
It was asked of respondents how they have adjusted to being a natural/birth father over time. The majority (53%, 16) said that it has gotten harder. It was followed by 26% (8) of respondents saying that it has gotten easier over time. There were 3 (9%) respondents who said that they have received adoption-specific counseling since the time of placement. There were 45% (14) of respondents who said that adoption has affected their parenting style. There were 22% (7) of respondents who said that they have considered adopting a child and 1 (3%) respondent who has adopted a child.
- 74% (23) of respondents regret that their child was placed for adoption
- 83% (26) of respondents wish that they had parented the child who was placed for adoption
- 41% (13) of respondents said that adoption anniversary days are triggering for them
- 9% (3) of respondents believe that their child’s adoption was “God’s Will”
- 3% (1) respondent believes adoption to be an “empowering” choice
- 67% (21) of respondents believe that the adoption of their child was not beneficial for the respondent personally
- 54% (17) of respondents do not perceive that adoption was a benefit for their child
- 9% (3) of respondents would recommend adoption to other expectant parents
There were questions asked about contact between the adoptee and the respondent. There were 74% (23) of respondents who had/have no contact with their child between the time of finalization and the child turning 18 years old. Since their child has become an adult, 45% (14) of respondents have had contact. Another 22% (7) stated that their child is still a minor. One respondent added, “No, my sister found her. I told her if she contacts me or my family I’ll call the police.”
It was asked if respondents have searched for their child who was placed. There were 8 (25%) respondents who said they both located and made contact with their child. Another 6 (19%) respondents who were found by their child. And 5 (16%) respondents have always known how/where to contact their child. Currently, there is 1 respondent fighting an adoption finalization, “Fighting a TPR, and PAPS, shut down the agency.”
It was asked of respondents what their overall feeling about the adoption of their child would be. In descending order, respondents answered; 38% (12) sadness, 25% (4) anger, and 12% (4) indifference. One respondent said, “Too many emotions to list!” There were 15 (48%) respondents who currently have a relationship with their child who was placed for adoption. There were 2 (6%) respondents who said that they would not welcome a relationship with their child who was placed for adoption. It was asked of respondents how often they think of their child(ren) who was adopted; in descending order (53%, 16) daily, (16%, 5) hourly, (13%, 4) on occasion, (10%, 3) weekly, and (6%, 2) never.
Respondents were then asked what arrangements they think are best for children. There were 3 responses that garnered the majority of responses; (80%, 25) preserving a biological family, (38%, 12) open adoption, and (25%, 8) kinship adoption.
Every survey published by Adoption Surveys asks various questions about the respondents’ mental health. There are general questions asked on each survey and then additional questions are asked specifically for the particular situation. This section covers natural/birth father specific questions as well as general mental health questions.
- 16% (5) of respondents have been diagnosed with a mental illness and/or mental disorder
- 38% (12) of respondents have suffered with a sleep disorder
- 9% (3) of respondents have suffered with an eating disorder
- 25% (8) of respondents have struggled with substance abuse
It was asked of respondents if they developed a mental illness and/or mental disorder after the adoption of their child and 3 (10%) respondents answered affirmatively. There were 16 (51%) respondents who said that they have suffered with depression in relation to the adoption. There were 4 (12%) respondents who have considered and/or attempted suicide in relation to the adoption. There were 18 (58%) respondents who said that the adoption of their child(ren) affected their sense of self-worth negatively.
Thank you to all respondents. Your voice is greatly appreciated. It is important to the Adoption Surveys team that respondent voices are elevated and shared. If you found this survey to be adequate and necessary, please consider sharing it on social media. Also, please follow the Adoption Surveys social media pages for upcoming surveys and weekly polls. For further reading, the full survey questions and answers can be found here: Natural/Birth Father Perceptions in Infant Adoption
As with every summary published by Adoption Surveys, there is always a final question asking if the respondent has anything they would like to share about their experience with the topic at hand. The following are free-form responses left by respondents:
It was done behind my back. In the state of Utah,fathers have no rightsa
It is the worst thing that has ever happened to me
I had no idea what I was doing. I messed up.
It’s affected my wife now and my children
I am now anti adoption
I lack any moral compass or feeling. I believe in keeping records sealed to protect men who made a mistake in the past. Adoptees are mistakes.
It is my son , he is my world and for him I exist . My son was born , I am born
Great sense of loss for the rest of my The mother intends to =die with her secret and will not cooperate.
I would like to thank the adoptive parents
Adoption is stone age practice has to be reformed or abolished as a whole then replaced by child guardianship or stewardship.
Adoption is human trafficking
There needs to be better counselling before and after.
How your current family deals with it