At birth, a natural parent-child relationship exists legally and otherwise. The bonds between the parent and child may be severed only because of death, by judicial order, or by voluntary action of the natural parents. Adoption is the procedure by which a legal parent-child relationship is established between a child and third person, often not related biologically to the child. As a result of adoption the legal rights and obligations that exist between a child and his or her natural parents are legally terminated and replaced by similar rights in the adoptive parents. The adoption process includes both the termination of parental rights and the transfer of legal custody to and creation of legal rights in the adoptive parents after an adoption hearing and decree. The termination can occur through a voluntary surrender of parental rights by the natural parents signing a consent to adoption or a relinquishment of parental rights; or by an involuntary severance of parental rights by a judicial declaration either prior to or contemporaneously with the adoption.

The U.S. Constitution clearly states that any man that has conceived a child with a woman has equal parental rights (includes females: ages 13--older & if married or single & in cases of rape). The laws are color blind, behavior ignorant and do not judge the worthiness of a birth father's parental rights. However, each state within the United States may apply U.S. Constitutional statutes as it deems just through their own state adoption laws. Thus the "how" and the "application" of rights and limitations of such rights for the birth father will be determined by independent state adoption law. Every adoptive couple needs to be legally aware of each state's adoption laws (in the state where delivery/birth occurs [may also include state of  conception]) and how they will apply regarding a birth father's rights. In other words, in the adoption process, we must acknowledge the legal parental rights of the birth mother and the birth father. [We are not suggesting that an adoptive couple studies the adoption laws of every U.S. state--but adoptive couples need to be educated (primarily) about the adoption laws of the state where the birth mother gives birth.]

When a birth mother is married, whether living with her husband or separated from him, he has LEGAL rights to the birth of any child that she delivers while they are still married. In other words, if a woman becomes pregnant outside of marriage--her husband maintains LEGAL rights to the child and he must terminate his LEGAL rights in the adoption process. If they are legally divorced, he has already terminated his legal rights to a pregnancy in regard to his former wife.

I.E.: Marilyn is pregnant from an affair while separated from her husband. The U.S. Constitution presumes that her husband is the father since they are married. Therefore, he must terminate his LEGAL rights to the child in the adoption process. And the birth father must terminate his BIOLOGICAL rights to the child in the adoption process.

Hence, 2 terminations are needed: 1 from the legal father & 1 from the biological father.

Can this be done? Yes, we've faced this situation many times in Christian Adoption.

This set of circumstances requires additional legal paperwork and expense, but is totally do-able!

For more information please read George Mueller.*

We encourage you to follow God's loving guidance.


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A Christian ministry helping birth parents & Christian couples for over 12 years!  

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Deborah S. Hill     P.O. Box 243     Coffeyville, KS     67337  

We are not an adoption agency, we are not registered, we are not licensed, and we are not professional counselors.

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