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
When fathers are guardians and need to give consent
If fathers are legal guardians they must give consent to an adoption. Information about when the father is a guardian can be found on the Ministry of Justice website.
[LINK]Who a guardian can be – Ministry of Justice website
[LINK]Types of court orders
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.