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Printed: 22/09/2020
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Involving fathers when considering adoption

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

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 family/whānau, their whakapapa and how they are connected – this includes their father and his family/whānau. We have a special responsibility to those children 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 family/whanau 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 family/whānau could provide permanent care for te tamaiti
  • giving information about themselves and their family/whānau in the family/whānau history document
    Information from the expectant mother and father describes the whakapapa and whanaungatanga of any child placed for adoption. Cultural information should be explored and recorded, in particular family/whānau history should include 3 generations of identified whānau names.
  • thinking about the kind of family/whānau 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 family/whānau may also want to be involved in the decision. 

Involving family/whānau in the adoption decision

Making a birth family/whānau history

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