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Father battles for custody when ex tries to give their baby up for adoption. UPDATED 5X

Father battles for custody when ex tries to give their baby up for adoption. UPDATED 5X


"Ex gf wants to place our baby for adoption, not sure that I can"


I’m 23. My ex-girlfriend is 20. We met in college. I’ve since graduated but she has 2 years left. She’s 21 weeks pregnant and wants to put the baby up for adoption. She was around 14 weeks pregnant when she told me she was pregnant.

We had already broken up 2 months before that and I honestly had no idea she was pregnant. She said she needed space to make her own decision and that’s why she didn’t tell me.

From the moment she told me she was pregnant I told her I would support whatever decision she made. I respect that it’s her decision. I believe in a woman’s right to choose and all that.

I feel guilty that I got her pregnant. I’m internally panicking at the idea of a baby and the idea of being a father is wild and unreal to me right now. But when she told me she was planning to put the baby up for adoption it felt like a gut punch. She’s already connected with an adoption agency and looking at possible adoptive families.

In no way do I think she should be forced to be a parent. I would never want to contribute to that. I completely understand her reasoning. It’s just making me feel sick. She seems as content as she can be with the decision. She knows this is the “right” decision for her.

I don’t know if I can consent to it. I’ve started researching contested adoptions. I think it’s sort of crazy and I’d have to be willing and prepared to completely support and parent the baby on my own and be able to prove it.

I feel guilty thinking about coming in and ruining all of her plans. Maybe it wouldn’t be fair to anyone for me to do that, but I’m becoming more uncomfortable with the idea of adoption every day.

I’ve not told her how I feel because I know it took her a while to come to her decision and even though she feels it’s the right one it’s also a highly emotional thing for her. I spend a lot of time trying to rationalize why adoption is the best thing for everyone.

Here were the top rated comments from readers after the OP's initial post:


Why don’t you ask her for sole custody, ask if she would be willing the waver all parental rights and you won’t ask for child support? That way you can both go your separate ways.

The OP responded here:


Once I make any sort of suggestion like that out loud I have to be 100% committed. It’s my understanding that the court system is extremely reluctant to terminate a parent’s right (and financial obligations), even if both parents agree to that arrangement. It’s not as simple as just signing away her rights.


There’s a difference between the court terminating rights and her willingly signing them away.

ETA: look up a spot that provides pro bono advice for what you would need to do. Will help with deciding and then will show you’ve done the work/aren’t taking this lightly.


What is best for the BABY??

Five days later, the OP returned with an update.

"[Update] Ex gf wants to place our baby for adoption, not sure that I can"


Posting this as an update because my original post received so many comments that it’s hard to really follow everything there anymore. I was really surprised by how many people responded and honestly, the advice was all over the place and admittedly some of it got me pretty worked up.

I think it really helped hearing some unbiased thoughts of my situation though. There’s no huge update really. I’ve decided that just sitting here passively and not saying anything won’t get me anywhere.

My ex and I are in regular communication. We don’t talk every day but we text every few days. She told me she can’t find any adoptive parents that feel right yet. She really wants me to start looking at the stuff the adoption agency has sent.

She asked if I had looked and I told her I skimmed some stuff but it doesn’t really make me feel good. That was my opening to tell her I’m really not sure how I feel about adoption and I’m having second thoughts regarding my own desire to parent my child or not.

She asked me what I was really trying to say and I tried to communicate that I’m not saying she should keep the baby and be a parent right now, I understand why this is the best decision for her, but I’m not sure if it’s the best decision for me.

She said “What? You’re going to be a single dad? Hahahaha.” I told her maybe, it’s not that crazy. She said it is crazy and “Don’t do this to me.” She basically feels like if I do that, even if I don’t hold it against her, she’s still legally the mom and suddenly she’ll be this horrible deadbeat parent who isn’t involved with her child at all.

By placing the baby with another family, she breaks the legal ties and she doesn’t have to feel like she’s quite as shitty of a person. Even my own mom is unsure of how to feel about what I’m considering it, but she would support me.

She understands my feelings about not wanting my child to be raised by other people, but worries I’m biting off more than I can chew. She still support me 100%. She thinks it’s crazy but she also thinks I can do it if it’s what I want.I admittedly cried like a baby about it to my mom and in true mom fashion she thinks I need to “follow my heart.”

Here were the top rated comments from readers after the OP's first update:


Picture what you want for your future 5 years from now, what does it look like?

The OP responds here:


I didn’t originally picture having a 5 year old kid 5 years from now, but I have started to sort of be able to picture it. I always thought I’d like to be married and have kids in my early 30s.

I’ve never really liked the idea of waiting until I was 40+ to start a family. Definitely thought there be a little more time before that happened but it doesn’t feel like the end of the world to me.


Go for it, just don’t be like that asshat that did this exact thing, got 150% child support from the mom, then 18 months later made a reddit post calling her a deadbeat and asking for legal ways to force her to be a parent because he bit off more than he could chew.

A week later, the OP returned with another update.

"Update 2 - My ex gf wants to place our baby for adoption"


Third update on my situation. Not sure if this many updates are allowed here, but I’ll take the risk. I’m not going to recap it all here. You can check my previous posts on my profile if you want.

I’ve decided to pursue custody of my child and will not be consenting to an adoption. My ex gf may or may not still try to pursue adoption. There’s no way to know right now because she hasn’t talked to me since I told her I was uncomfortable with adoption and exploring my own options.

I have a consultation with a lawyer next week. In the meantime, I contacted the appropriate local county health departments. I can add myself to the putative father registry in the current state she’s in. I’ve already downloaded the form and will get it notarized and sent off on Monday.

This will do nothing to establish paternity, but will hopefully mean that I should be notified should she try to place our baby for adoption without informing me herself. The other state (the state she’s from and where her family lives) doesn’t have a putative father registry.

I’ll still need to establish paternity as soon as the baby is born. That is, if she even informs me when she gives birth. I’d really like to be there or be able to get there as soon as possible, but I really have no clue what she’s thinking or planning at this point.

l that I have a pretty clear understanding of my options for establishing paternity and am hoping that by then she’ll be willing to sign an affidavit establishing me as the father. Otherwise, I’ll need to go through the courts.

In an ideal world, she’d agree to a prenatal paternity test. I do believe I’m the father but it would be nice to have that definitive assurance before I completely turn my life upside down for this. Since she’s not event talking to me currently, I can’t ask her for that right now.

Maybe once she has a chance to process things, we’ll be able to talk about this more and she will cooperate. If not, I can’t force her to do anything and may have to wait for the test.

She’s really stubborn so I can see her digging her heels in. I’m leaving her alone right now but I will communicate my decision to her after I speak with a lawyer. All of the comments on my previous posts really helped.

The constructive criticism was needed. It gave me some important things to think about and questions to answer for myself. It did make me doubt myself, but ultimately the negative comments telling me not to do this or that I can’t do it only served to motivate me further.

She’s around 23 weeks now. It feels like her due date is still a long ways away, but now that she’s at the point of seriously looking at and interviewing potential adoptive families I felt like I couldn’t wait much longer to make a decision and move forward with it.

Plus, it’s going to take me at least that long to figure out some of the logistics. I previously had no clue how expensive daycare is or that waitlists are often months or sometimes even more than a year long.

I need to save money, start budgeting, maybe even considering moving slightly closer to family. I haven’t figured anything out beyond just making the decision, but that was probably one of the hardest parts.

Here were the top rated comments from readers after this update from the OP:


I say this with so much concern for your success - move closer to family. Along with keeping your child, it will be the best thing you can do for the two of you. Make sure and check out “buy nothing” groups on Facebook. Also cruise the free/for sale sections on nextdoor. Wishing you good luck.

The OP responded here:


I think if we end up back here I will plan to move closer to my family. Not that I plan to make them raise my child. It’ll just be better to have that safety net if people a little closer.

But somebody else made a good point about not moving yet. If my ex decides she wants to be involved with the baby, I will have to be prepared to move to where she’s at. She lives a few states away.

I’m not trying to force that on her, but I’m the back of my mind I know there’s a possibility that she could change her mind. I will not live stayed away from my kid and I’m not out to have full custody or keep her away if she does end up changing her mind. I think best thing for me to do will be to save the money so that I’m prepared if/when I should need to move - wherever that might be.


Wait, negative comments on Reddit motivated you to take on the responsibility of a baby? You weren't motivated by considering what the comments had to say and balancing their talking points against what you knew of yourself and your own resources? Good luck with the next twenty-one years.

Almost three weeks later, the OP popped up again on another forum. Some of the info in the same, but some is new.

"Advice needed for soon to be single dad of newborn"


Some people in another sub recommended I post here. I’m 23 years old and am going to become a single dad to a newborn baby girl around the end of January. At this point, the baby’s mom (my ex girlfriend) doesn’t really want to be involved at all.

The pregnancy was unplanned. We broke up when she was around 6 weeks pregnant. She says she didn’t even know she was pregnant yet at the time. She’s 20 and still in college. I graduate with my degree, was working remotely for a company for several months, and eventually relocated to where the company is based to take me closer to where home is for me, about 45 minutes from my family and where I grew up.

She was 14 weeks pregnant when she finally told me, and she announced that she was already pretty set on adoption at the time. She connected with an agency and was at the point of seriously looking at families and trying to involve me in the process.

I did try to go along with it and convince myself that it was the best option, but eventually I had to admit that I really wasn’t comfortable with the idea at all. The further in the process she got the more sick I started to feel about it.

So that’s the short story of how I got here now, planning to be a single dad to a baby girl in less than 4 months, absolutely unprepared in every way. I have a full time job with benefits. I’m focused on creating a plan for childcare. But in the grand scheme of things I’m basically starting at.

Legally, I’m covered. I’ve met with a lawyer and am covering my bases there. My ex is very mad at me for ruining her plans. She hates me. I’m not trying to ruin her life. I sympathize with how she feels and I understand why she chose adoption. I’m not trying to make her life more difficult than it needs to be.

I just need some practical advice to help prepare me here, to prepare me for the initial stages, how to survive. I have support from family and friends. None of my friends have kids and they all think I’m crazy but they respect my decision.

Three months later, the OP again returned.

"My daughter was born on New Year’s Day and I just found out"


My ex-girlfriend gave birth to my daughter on New Year’s Day and didn’t inform me until today. I’m so pissed off that she would do something like that to me. I had asked her to please let me know when she went into labor so I could do my best to get there asap. We broke up before she told me she was pregnant and we now live in different states.

My previous posts detail a lot of the backstory, but basically she wanted to place the baby for adoption and I ultimately decided that I wanted to keep the baby. She has maintained that she doesn’t want to be a parent and has not been planning to be involved.

I have been preparing to be a single parent for the past several months, with the understanding that there was a chance that she might change her mind and want to be involved with our daughter.

I told her no matter what, I wanted to be involved with raising my child and whether she changed her mind or not, I was going to be involved. Even after we broke up, our relationship was good for the first part of her pregnancy.

We communicated regularly and she wanted to involve me in the adoption process and all of that. As soon as I told her that I wasn’t going to consent to an adoption she turned cold (and I get it - I ruined her plans). She has been giving me very brief updates, basically just to let me know everything was fine.

We had one big long conversation and she seemed to accept my decision, even though she was still upset about it, and made me promise that I’d give our baby all of these things she really wanted her child to have in life. I thought things seemed good or better after that. She even told me where she was at over the holidays, in case something happened.

She already told me she didn’t want me in the delivery room and I didn’t fight that. I was disappointed at the idea that I wouldn’t see my daughter being born, but in the grand scheme of things it was something I could live with. She told me she’d tell me when she went to the hospital so I could prepare.

Today she sent me a picture and said our daughter was born on New Year’s Day. She wasn’t due until the end of January, but she is healthy and only spent one extra day in the hospital. The baby went home with my ex-gf and her parents. She said it’s only fair that she got a few days with her before I knew, since I’m taking our daughter away forever.

I’ve told her that if she changed her mind I would rearrange my life (job, home, etc.) because I’m not going to live states away from my child. She’s trying to act as if I’m the bad guy taking her baby away now.

I don’t feel prepared yet. I mean, I felt like there was nothing else I could do to prepare and it was just a waiting game, but now I feel like I really need the extra few weeks. I wish somebody could just knock me out with a sedative until my flight out there because I’m just buzzing like crazy with all the emotions.

My mom was supposed to come with me, since I plan to stay there for a few days before traveling back home, but due to the unexpected timing my sister is coming with me.

I just have a bad feeling about how dealing with my ex will be moving forward. I have a lawyer and already have things in motion to protect myself and my daughter but I had just really hoped that things could be amicable between us. I feel like I’ve done nothing but try to be nice and understanding every step of the way.

Here were the top rated comments after this update from the OP:


For the sake of the relationship and baby. Let it go. Don't even bring it up. Tell her thank you for delivering such a beautiful baby and that you are glad they are both okay. Be happy and enjoy holding your kid. After you land text/call her and ask her if there is anything you and your sister can bring her (lunch, diapers, anything she needs for the next few days).

After a few days then have the conversation about what the new plans are with either her being involved with the baby or you taking the baby with you. Ask her what she wants. Don't have a huge fight it will make things worse.

If she is stuck on adopting her out still then tell her you already made arrangements to take her and call your lawyer. Don't throw the lawyer in her face. Make sure your sister doesn't overstep or be mean to the mother of your child and make things worse. Congratulations on your new little one. Life is about your child now. Keep that in mind. Good luck.



Deep breaths and deal with the issues as they come up.


Either she is getting pressured to adopt out (so it's good you have a lawyer) or she is changing her mind-which is normal. Just go out there and spend time with her and the baby and see how she feels.

Be prepared to not being the baby back. It is a good thing for the baby if she now wants to keep her. Like you said, you would move out there. It sounds like she cant admit it to herself yet and is taking out her stress on you. Did she name the baby?

One month later, the OP returned with their final update.

"Update: My daughter was born on New Year’s Day and I just found out"


I’ve received many private messages asking me for an update and I’m sorry that I haven’t responded to most of them. I’ve had a lot going on and my hands full since meeting my newborn daughter last month.

I’ve only been at home with her for a few days and am still getting settled in here. During the second week of January my sister and I travelled out to where my ex-girlfriend lives and I met my newborn daughter for the first time.

It was awkward to say the least, with her whole family staring at me and silently shooting daggers at me. I felt like a jerk, but had to remind myself that I’m not taking our daughter away from her mother.

She is choosing to not be directly involved. I have told her that I understand if she changes her mind. I’ve left the door open for her. It’s just not a situation you really prepare for. I was so happy to meet my daughter and all of these people staring at me were so sad.

So I sort of hung around there for a little while because it felt wrong to just take the baby and leave. I was waiting for a queue from my ex to indicate she was ready and eventually she told me to please leave, but that she would want to see her again before I left town. I rented an air bnb because I planned to be there for a few weeks.

Because I wasn’t able to be at the hospital within 72 hours of the birth to fill out all of the appropriate paperwork as originally planned, she and I had to go to the local health department to file a paternity affidavit.

She willingly went and signed everything. The baby’s last name will now officially be changed to mine, but my ex picked out the first and middle names and I chose not to argue.

As far as custody goes, the paternity affidavit allowed us to agree to share joint legal custody. I had to submit to a court approved paternity test as part of that, no big deal. She does not actually want joint legal custody.

She wants to give me full legal and physical custody, but the form only allows us to officially establish joint legal custody. She has full physical custody because that’s just how the law works there.

I was already aware that this would be the case and my lawyer is working on filing the appropriate forms in court to amend everything. We both want me to have physical custody since I will be the primary caregiver.

I am opening a court case. I’ve explained the steps we have to take and she understands. This is how the process works there and even though we’re in agreement right now, nothing is legally enforceable until there is a court ruling. At this time, she’s in agreement and claims that she doesn’t plan to fight it.

She just wants to get it over with. I told her that she may want to think about it, because it feels like she is just trying to rip the bandaid off as fast as she can right now. I know sharing legal custody could really backfire on me but I just want her to feel sure. I got the sense that she wasn’t sure but was just trying to follow through with a complete break.

I feel like I’m on thin ice right now. All I have is a signed, notarized letter of consent to take my daughter out of state, so I’m anxious to get all official legal proceedings done. I don’t think I’ll be able to relax fully until then.

The baby herself? She’s perfect. She’s so small. Everyone warned me not to get too many newborn size clothes because she’d grow out so quickly, but the newborn clothes are still a little big.

I think her features are becoming more noticeable now, but the only trace of me that I sort of see is her eyes. I look at her and it’s like my heart just wants to explode. She’s the tiniest, cutest thing I’ve ever seen in my life and this is my kid?

It still doesn’t feel real. I’m still getting used to saying “my daughter” out loud when I have to call to make appointments. I think she has colic. During the early part of the day she seems happy and able to nap and doesn’t cry a ton, but around dinner time she starts screaming and will cry almost nonstop for hours.

She spews vomit like you wouldn’t believe. The only thing that semi soothes her is being out in the stroller and rolled back and forth over and over. She was just switched over to a special formula but I think it’s too soon to know if it’ll make a difference. I had colic too apparently.

A year ago, I never would have imagined any of this. It almost feels like I’m watching somebody else from the outside.

Here were the top rated comments from readers:


First off congrats again. Your daughter is lucky to have a dad like you. Calling your baby “my baby” is definitely a surreal experience in the beginning. It’ll warm you heart forever.

You’ll definitely get into the swing of things. I hope that the new formula helps her. I hope that the legal end of things gets tied up really soon too. Wishing you the best with your daughter.


Well, OP is a much better guy than the guy who tried to baby trap his ex.


I'm rooting for him! Being a single parent can be tough, especially as young as he is.


Oh. Oh, my heart. His total adoration for his daughter at the end. He just immediately loves her with his whole entire soul. I think he could very well be an amazing dad. Gosh, that’s sweet. I hope the ex-gf is well and manages to find peace.

So, if you could say anything to the OP, what would you say?

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