Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“Do I Need My Husband’s Consent to Give Up Our Baby For Adoption?”

I met my husband in March, 2018. He always told me he wanted to have a family with me some day. He lied on our first date saying he had gotten a divorce in 2016 and didn’t have any kids, but I found out eight months later he had two kids from two different women. I worked it out with him but was obviously mad about his lying, especially since I have a kid myself.

When we went to the courthouse three days before we got married, I found out he was actually married the whole time we were dating and hadn’t divorced until August of 2018. I was pregnant basically the same day we got married. He left three weeks after we got married for a girl with four kids. Even though he lied about that, my friend saw him out in public and sent me a picture. He lied to a judge and was able to get an OP (Order of Protection) on me because she was afraid I was going to beat her up. He wanted to get married ASAP and wanted to have a baby, and now I’m stuck with the baby.

After this OP I can’t even let him know when I’m in labor to see the baby. Now I want to give the baby to a friend to adopt, and I will be able to still see the baby any time. I figured I can do this behind his back since I have no way of informing him about anything. Am I wrong to feel like this? Can I even give the baby up for adoption? I just want to get a divorce and forget I even met him. He got me fired in November, and I just now found a job but I’m still in training. I have the chance to make good money with this job, but it’s long hours and five to seven days a week. They said I would make enough money to hire a nanny, but I don’t feel that’s how a baby should live. I refuse to be a single mom again, and he has already walked out on his children from his past. What should I do? — Ready to Move on

Definitely, if you don’t want this baby and don’t feel you can love and provide and be there for for this baby in the way it deserves, you should find someone who can. You’ll have to talk to a lawyer about your rights and how to go about giving your baby up for adoption. You should also speak to an adoption counselor or agency about your options as well. There may be a better option than your friend adopting your baby, and your baby certainly deserves some time and effort on your part to research and consider those different options.

Beyond that, listen: You need to take some responsibility for your actions. You blame a lot on your estranged husband, and while he may have lied to you, you had agency in your decision-making and you made some ill-considered decisions, like marrying someone you’d known only a few months and who had lied to you that entire time about being married to someone else and about having two kids with two different women. You made the decision that not only was that, apparently, not a deal-breaker, but also you decided not to even postpone getting married. Not only did you decide not to postpone getting married, but you also decided to go ahead and get pregnant, too, since your husband wanted a baby with you “asap.” YOU made that decision (or, at the very, very least, you decided not to use birth control). Own your decisions. Take responsibility for them. You’re a grown woman — unless you are being physically assaulted, I don’t think anyone is making you do anything without your consent.

You blame your husband for getting an order of protection against you. (I admit, I don’t know much about how this works, but do judges grant OPs simply because someone asks for one, without any proven justification? That’s hard to believe). You also say your husband “got you fired” from your last job, but you don’t give any details, and so it’s hard to imagine how that works exactly — how someone who is a valued employed is fired, through no fault of her own, because her estranged husband wants her to be. And now you seem to want to take zero responsibility for the baby you’re pregnant with, or even for being pregnant in the first place – it’s all “he wanted a baby.” Well, guess what? It takes two to make a baby, you’re making one now, and, like it or not, you have the bare minimum responsibility — at least morally, if not legally and logistically — of ensuring that that baby has a loving and caring home to grow up in. So, get to it! Talk with a lawyer and talk with an adoption counselor; find out what your options are and then take time to consider them – at least more carefully than you considered this marriage. It is not too late to move on – it’s not too late to divorce this man and pretend your marriage never happened. But before you pretend this baby didn’t happen, you owe it the effort of finding someone who will be overjoyed that it did.

***************

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.

17 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Fyodor March 21, 2019, 1:34 pm

    “(I admit, I don’t know much about how this works, but do judges grant OPs simply because someone asks for one, without any proven justification? That’s hard to believe”

    It ‘s not that hard to believe. In most cases, legitimate or not, you’re relying on the testimony of the protectee.

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    • avatar

      JD March 21, 2019, 1:54 pm

      My understanding is that the initial order is simple to get but a permanent one requires both parties in front of a judge and him agreeing to make it permanent. They don’t do this lightly as it has major impact on someone’s life so they wouldn’t just usually hand it out. I am sure there is more to the story though for a protection order to even be granted to begin with.

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  • avatar

    JD March 21, 2019, 1:52 pm

    You can lie and not put his name on he birth certificate but doing so gives him legal rights to fight that and take the kid from the adoptive parents. Do not do that. In most states (I’m avoiding saying all but it’s likely) if the father is known he has to also sign off or sign off by default of not responding. You need to hire an attorney who will facilitate the adoption and will know the laws and how to handle it.

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    • avatar

      JD March 21, 2019, 1:56 pm

      You’d also be lying on legal documents in excluding him which could come back to bite you badly.

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  • Portia

    Portia March 21, 2019, 2:33 pm

    You need to talk to a lawyer, probably an adoption lawyer. If you’re still married, in at least some states, the husband is the presumptive father regardless of who’s on (or not on) the birth certificate.

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  • avatar

    anonymousse March 21, 2019, 4:33 pm

    There are so many incredibly bad decisions made in this post.
    Consult a lawyer. A lawyer could contact him for you.

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  • avatar

    Sue March 21, 2019, 4:49 pm

    The husband is the presumptive father of the baby. You absolutely can NOT put the child up for adoption without legal notice to him. A lawyer can serve notice regardless of any Protection Order.
    Also, a PO can be obtained ex parte (without notice) but it is only for a short time until a court hearing when the Judge will hear testimony and determine whether a longer term order is warranted. If you get notice and don’t show up, an order may be entered by default without your imput. Your version of events is missing some key facts

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    • avatar

      csp March 22, 2019, 7:55 am

      So I am an adoptive mom. We had a failed adoption because the birth mother didn’t want to tell the father. The father came back and took the baby. It was horrible for her and for us. Don’t do this to your friend. I now have a wonderful open adoption with the birth mother of my son. But get a lawyer and have them serve the papers. Many times this lawyer can be paid for by the adoptive parents. I call the birth mother of my son our Angel. You have the chance to profoundly change the life of your friend in the best possible way. My life is so blessed and wonderful because she chose to place her baby with us and you could be that blessing.

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  • avatar

    ele4phant March 21, 2019, 7:12 pm

    I think you need to consult a lawyer, ASAP.

    I have no idea what the law is, I would imagine a father could block an adoption. I would imagine as your husband, he would be the presumptive father. Would he do these things? I have no idea.

    But you should hire a lawyer that knows adoption and/or family law and knows it in your jurisdiction, not putting this question to a relationship advice column.

    And while you’re at it, you should probably look up a divorce lawyer. Maybe you can get this annulled? I don’t know, again, not a lawyer and you need legal advice, not relationship advice.

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  • Kate B.

    Kate B. March 21, 2019, 7:23 pm

    I’ve dealt with lots of restraining orders in the course of my job, and a temporary one is very easy to get, but in order for it to become permanent both parties must appear in front of a judge and present evidence, at least in CA. And I do believe a father can block an adoption. Please consult a lawyer ASAP.

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  • avatar

    MisaLaVan March 22, 2019, 8:31 am

    When you give birth tell your doctor you want to sign off your rights to the baby. They have paper work you fill out. The state will be given custody of the baby. You will have to given them the father information. The state will get hold of him and he will either have to A take the baby or B sign off his rights. If he takes the baby he can go after you for child support (depending on the state your in). If he signs off his rights your friend can ask the state to foster, then adopt the baby.

    If you keep the baby… then change your mind you can also always drop the baby off at any fire department or police station. This will rid you of your rights to the baby. Normally they will ask for father information.

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    • avatar

      csp March 22, 2019, 10:24 am

      I wouldn’t wait until she is in the hospital. This is a big deal and is letting a lot of this be left up to chance. For the friend, she is about to take on a huge responsibility and it isn’t fair to her to leave her in limbo like this. I think the LW needs to take control of this situation no matter what she decides.

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    • avatar

      ele4phant March 22, 2019, 11:35 am

      Again, not a lawyer, but…I wouldn’t wait until the last minute on this.

      Just, it’s not fair to the child. If this child is being adopted it should have a loving home to go to right away.

      Get a lawyer, the lawyer can handle contacting the father if she’s legally prohibited and getting everything in place by the time she gives birth.

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    • avatar

      MisaLaVan March 23, 2019, 11:19 am

      I 100% agree she shouldn’t wait at all. She should get a lawyer…. And a adoption agent who can help her get everything rolling.

      However I was just giving her information that no one else had given her. Because knowing all the information is imported. New borns are much easier to adopt in any case… most will be left in the hospital until homes can be found.

      I gave a baby up for adoption. The father wouldn’t sign the paper work… he was determined to make me keep the baby… even though we weren’t together and he didn’t want the baby. So I worked with a adoption agent…. when I gave birth o signed off my rights. The state got hold of the father (who fyi couldn’t be listed on the birth certificate be cause he wasn’t there to sign it… some states need him to sign it. ) The baby was now his to take care off…. he signed his right over. The agent had already worked out some placements and the baby went to a loving home. Sometimes…. you have to do what you have to do. Even if it’s sucks.

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  • TaraMonster

    TaraMonster March 22, 2019, 10:44 am

    A couple days ago I posted about my regret about ignoring the red flags with my ex and how I beat myself up about it. Part of me wants to be empathetic here bc we’ve all done dumb things, and I can understand that. But marrying a guy who lied to you about having two kids with two different women, who lied about being married, and who insisted on knocking you up basically immediately are more than red flags. It’s soap-opera level drama and if it should never enter your life. LW, please get to the bottom of whatever made you feel so unlovable that this POS was the best you could do. I hope your new job affords you a therapist bc you will really need it in the aftermath of all this. Jesus.

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    • avatar

      csp March 22, 2019, 1:50 pm

      I don’t know. I think a guy sitting there telling me that he loves me and wants a family would be so wonderful. It could make you miss the flags. He just preyed on her and preyed on her dreams. I think this guy does this for a sense of power.

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  • avatar

    anonymousse March 22, 2019, 11:19 am

    It never, ever hurts to take your time to get to know someone (and get to know if they are full of shit) and think things through carefully, make plans, whatever preparations normally go along with making major life decisions like marriage, or getting pregnant.

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