The most important thing to remember about birth fathers is that in Virginia they have exactly the same rights as birth mothers. This is not true in many other states, and it surprises people who do not think that it should be the case. Parental rights follow biology. A man who fathers a child during a one night stand has full parental rights. But a man who takes care of a child, not knowing that he is not the biological father, has very few rights with respect to the child. So, the birth father must be treated with the same concern as the birth mother.
The law of parental placement adoptions requires that both birth parents consent to the adoption. While in the vast majority of cases only the birth mother appears at the Consent Hearing, the birth father’s consent must be obtained. It is usually obtained out of court.
It is important that adoptive parents have as much reliable information about the birth father as they can obtain. A Medical and Social History form should be filled out by the birth father if he is willing to cooperate. If he is not, the adoptive parents should get as much information about him as possible from the birth mother.
Because the identity and consent of the birth father is so important, adoptive parents should be aware that some birth mothers are not truthful about the identity of the birth father. They may lie because they are afraid of the birth father. They may lie because they are ashamed and do not want the birth father’s family and friends to find out about the pregnancy. And they may lie because they are trying to make the process easier. We do not know for sure what percentage of birth fathers are incorrectly identified by birth mothers, because paternity tests are not standard procedure. The statement of the birth mother under oath as to the birth father’s identity will be accepted by the court. The law requires that the birth mother be informed that it is a felony to give false information in connection with an adoption.