Appleton/Central Wisconsin
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​3 Hearts, 2 Journeys, 1 Family

    One of the fundamental rights protected by the Constitution is the right of a parent to raise his child. Under Wisconsin law, the mother of a child born out of wedlock has custody. However, the father also has rights to agree to in order to make your child available for adoption. In fact, this cannot be done without either your voluntary consent or a legal procedure to terminate your rights involuntarily. You also have the right to ask the Court to grant you custody and allow you to raise your child.

    Planning for a child’s future is as much a father’s job as a mother’s job. Deciding whether to raise your child or place him or her for adoption is an important choice you will have to make. It is often a difficult decision to make. Frequently, when contemplating an adoption plan for your child,  it is helpful to talk it over with someone outside of your families. Adoption Services offers free and confidential birthparent counseling.  A quick meeting with an adoption professional can provide you with helpful information about the adoption process, and can answer specific questions you may have regarding your rights and responsibilities.

   Adoption is a legal process in which you, as a birthparent, terminate or end your legal rights to your child and a new set of parents takes on the responsibility for raising your child.  You continue to keep all rights to your child until your parental rights are terminated in a court hearing.

   Whether you are married or single, you have an important role in planning for your child’s future.
This page will introduce you to the rights, responsibilities, and choices facing you.

your rights...
     your responsibilities...


Being a father is a lot of responsibility. It also means

 , and many 

If you decide to place your child for adoption, there are still a number of things you can do for yourself and your child. This includes deciding

                                                              you would like with your child, by the type of adoption you choose, and the personal, medical and genetic background information you provide the agency to help your child in the future.

The fact that you are considering all of them very carefully means you are already being a good father.  

    The legal procedure for permanently taking a child away from its biological parents is called a Termination of Parental Rights, or TPR. Once your parental rights have been terminated, you are no longer legally the parent of your child. A termination of parental rights is a very serious procedure, and an adoption specialist will assist you in understanding the legality of your choice.

    There are many good reasons for deciding not to parent your child yourself. If you decided to terminate your rights, you many have to appear in court so the judge can be sure you are making an informed and voluntary decision about such an important matter.



      Adoption is a big decision for you.  It is a choice you make for yourself and your baby. Caring for a child is not an easy job. Look at yourself and decide what you want to do with your life. Think about your school and job situation. Think about who can help you with your baby and about the life-long responsibilities you assume when you become a parent. Think about your baby and decide what you want for your child. You make the choice.

     You may decide your child would be better off being adopted. You may believe you are too young to raise your child, or you may want your child to have the benefit of living in a home with two parents. If this is the way you feel, you may want to voluntarily give up your rights to your child. Making an adoption plan for your child is one way to fulfill your responsibilities to your child.

    If you have decided that an adoption plan is best for you and your child, there are several final things you can do for your child. As your child grows up, access to non-identifying information about you as a person (which you have provided to Adoption Services) will help him or her gain a sense of self and identity. It will also help him or her understand you as a person and why you made the decision to allow your child to be adopted.

    Medical and genetic information provided by birthparents can be very important in a child’s life. In preparing for your termination of parental rights, you will be asked to complete a questionnaire about your medical and genetic background. This will be kept on file by the State Department of Health and Family Services, and may be updated at any time by you.

    Adoption today takes many forms. It gives you, as a birthparent, options as to how much involvement you wish to have in choosing an adoptive family for your child. It also gives you some choice as to how much you wish to know about the adoptive family. You have a right to plan for your child’s future, and should carefully think about how you want to do this.

   Open Adoption involves a meeting between the birthparents and adoptive parents. Identifying information is exchanged.

  Semi Open Adoption may involve a meeting between the two sets of parents, but identifying information is not exchanged.

  Semi Traditional Adoption allows the birthparents to select the adoptive family on the basis of written profiles provided by the agency.

   Traditional Adoption is completely anonymous, with the agency making the selection of an adoptive home.

   Independent Adoption involves the birthparents and the adoptive parents in mutually selecting each other, without agency assistance in making the decision.