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Page URL: https://practice.orangatamariki.govt.nz/our-work/adoption/working-with-expectant-parents/involving-fathers-when-considering-adoption/
Printed: 14/06/2024
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Last updated: 11/09/2020

Involving fathers when considering adoption

Te tamaiti benefits from the involvement of their father and their whānau or family when exploring care options and any adoption plan.

Upcoming changes for this guidance

This content will be strengthened so it more completely reflects our commitment to practice framed by te Tiriti o Waitangi, based on a mana-enhancing paradigm for practice, and drawing from ​Te Ao Māori principles of oranga to support mana tamaiti, whakapapa and whanaungatanga. We each need to consider how we can apply these principles to our practice when reading this guidance. The following resources provide support:
Practice for working effectively with Māori
Our practice approach

Helping tamariki develop a sense of self and identity

To develop a sense of self and identity, all tamariki need to know about their birth whānau or family, their whakapapa and how they are connected – this includes their father and his whānau or family. We have a special responsibility to those tamariki who have had these connections disrupted by adoption.

Involving the father – every tamaiti has 2 parents

Fathers should have the same opportunity as expectant mothers to consider care options and be involved in adoption planning.

Adopted tamariki will want to know that:

  • both expectant parents were involved in the decision-making process
  • fathers gave information about themselves – for the benefit of te tamaiti in the future
  • fathers were able to explore potential care options within their whanau or family as part of their decision-making process.

Supporting expectant mothers to involve fathers

We can support expectant mothers who may not want to involve the father. We can explore any barriers that are stopping her from getting him involved.

She may feel:

  • ashamed or embarrassed about the pregnancy
  • anxious that he'll take control of the situation
  • afraid of seeing him or giving him access to the child
  • rejected by him not wanting to be involved in the past
  • independent on her own and that she doesn't need to involve him
  • worried about further contact with someone she considers has been abusive.

If necessary, we can explore how to involve fathers without expectant mothers having direct contact with them.

Where unresolved adult issues limit the willingness of expectant parents to jointly discuss the option of adoption, consider whether separately engaging with the expectant mother and father is possible.

How fathers can get involved

Fathers can be part of the adoption process by:

  • considering whether they or someone from their whānau or family could provide permanent care for te tamaiti
  • giving information about themselves and their whānau or family in the whānau or family history document
    Information from the expectant mother and father describes the whakapapa and whanaungatanga of any tamaiti placed for adoption. Cultural information should be explored and recorded – in particular, whānau or family history should include 3 generations of identified whānau or family names.
  • thinking about the kind of whānau or family they would like te tamaiti to grow up in and helping to select profiles
  • deciding what sort of relationship they would be available for 
  • meeting adoptive parents and negotiating a contact agreement.

The father's whānau or family may also want to be involved in the decision. 

Involving whānau or family in the adoption decision

Making a birth whānau or family history

Family history from parents who are planning to place a child for adoption (DOCX 35 KB)