For Pennsylvania parents, playing an active role in the lives of our children is a top priority, and the source of joy and contentment. Imagine having a child taken away and permanently placed with another family, with no ability to connect with that child or participate in his or her upbringing. That is exactly what faced one father after his infant daughter was placed for adoption without his knowledge or consent. After a lengthy child custody fight, he was finally able to win the return of his little girl, and he is now working to build a bond with her.
The man’s story began with a new relationship with a woman he met at work. Things were going well up to the point that the woman became pregnant. Although the couple made plans to have the baby and become a family, the woman’s parents were unhappy about the union, and allegedly began placing a great deal of pressure on her to take another path. The two began seeing less and less of each other and communicated primarily through text messages.
As the pregnancy progressed, the man, who is African-American, found himself virtually cut off from prenatal visits, time with his girlfriend or knowledge about the pregnancy. He asserts that her family was unhappy about the mixed-race relationship (the woman is Caucasian). The man’s family became concerned about the lack of communication and urged him to register with his state’s “responsible father registry,” which provides notification if a child is placed for adoption. That is how he discovered that his newborn daughter had been adopted by an out-of-state couple without his consent.
The resulting legal battle placed the rights of the biological father against the rights of the adopting couple, who were told that the birth father wanted no part of his parental responsibilities. The courts ultimately ruled for the father, but a great many people were put through a lengthy, stressful and expensive court process before the matter was settled. The child custody case serves as a warning to unwed fathers in Pennsylvania and elsewhere of the importance of establishing parental rights at the earliest opportunity.
Source: babble.com, “Father Rebuilds Life with Daughter After Losing Her in Wrongful Adoption“, Chad Carter, Sept. 17, 2015