Comments about ‘Utah Supreme Court hears fight over 'Baby Emma'’

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Published: Friday, Sept. 10 2010 12:58 a.m. MDT

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Rmh

GoManUReds - it doesn't matter as far as Virginia law is concerned that the mother waived her rights to a Virginia adoption, because the father didn't and Virginia law does not allow her to make that decision for him. The father's consent is required in Virginia no matter WHAT the mother signs and they kidnapped the baby out of the state of Virginia in defiance of that law.

snowman

livestrong: The baby has a biological family too. They deserve to know her.

shamrock

@livestrong: If you'd been following this story, you'd know that the birth father DID make it clear during the pregnancy that he wanted to keep the baby. Despite this, the birth mother ignored his wishes and concealed the birth for several days.

If this were the first such case involving the Act of Love adoption agency and its attorney, Larry Jenkins, I might have more sympathy for their position. In fact, however, these sort of questionable dealings are pretty much standard operating procedure for Act of Love, and Jenkins often defends cases like this one. Most social workers I know say that Act of Love is an adoption agency to avoid.

shamrock

Livestrong, if you'd been following this story, you'd know that the birth father did, in fact, make it clear during the pregnancy that he wanted to keep the baby. Despite this, the birth mother ignored his wishes and concealed the birth for several days.

If this were the first such case involving the Act of Love adoption agency and its attorney, I might have more sympathy for their position. In fact, however, these sort of situations are pretty much standard operating procedure for Act of Love, and Jenkins often defends cases like this one. Most social workers I know say that Act of Love is an adoption agency to avoid if you want to steer clear of messes like this.

Nan BW

It isn't an ideal solution, but the bio-father should have visitation rights. Then he could establish a relationship with Emma, and she would simply have an additional relative. This happens in open adoptions commonly, and gives the child more opportunity to know his/her biological background. Eventually the child may want to make the bio-family a more frequent part of her life.

Manny Being Manny

I am an adoptive parent and the father has a certain time period to express his intent to keep the child. Just because he did it before the adoptive papers were drawn up or signed doesn't mean that period hasn't expired.

In other words, for example, if baby was conceived Jan. 1, father has a certain time by Utah law to claim parental rights. Adoption papers aren't signed until after the baby is born. Father's time to claim rights has expired by then according to the law.

Sorry, but adoptive parents have full custody. If you can't be responsible enough to claim parental responsibility until after the baby is born, then too bad. You should've been involved much earlier than that.

Rmh

Manny, he and the mother lived in Virginia and the baby was born in Virginia. As soon as the baby was born he filed for his rights and that was sufficient in the state all 3 were living in at the time. Why do you think it is ok for the adoptive parents and agency to say "Too bad, we are in Virginia but we don't like the laws of this state, we'll take this baby against the wishes of a parent this state says has rights and fly her to Utah so we can get a different court ruling."

This was not a child born in Utah. He did everything neccesary to protect his rights in the state all 3 resided in, then behind his back they flew the child somewhere else. You really think that's ok? The decision of the first state should prevail, otherwise kidnapping is being allowed, the law just doesn't work that way, you can't do something illegal in one state and flee to a state that allows the crime you just commited and expect to be protected.

Tami

If the father filed papers in Virginia 8 days after the birth, the adoptive parents need to step aside and let the dad have his daughter.
I too was adopted and found out after 30 years that my bioligical father tried to fight the adoption and was overwhelmed by my adoptive parents' money and lawyers. Although I love my adoptive family, it makes me sad to think of my birth father feeling helplessly outmanned and outgunned and somewhat angry at the strong arm tactics used by my adoptive family. I love them, but am a little resentful of the methods used to get me..

enfanta non grata

To all those who think this adoption was ok: if your infant or grandchild is kidnapped, taken to another state, and you find two years later that they were adopted in the new state, you're ok with that, right? I mean, you would not want to tear them away from those they love, and would laud their new environment where they're surrounded by love, right? You would, right?
Bigots, all.

Sarah B

Let the adoptive parents retain full custody with bio dad having a couple of visits a year. He can be a part of her life, much like a favorite uncle. When she's an adult, they can decide how close they want to be. I have a niece who has an open adoption with her son and it has been a very rewarding experience. Bio Mom gets pictures, updates and occasional visits, but no say in his upbringing. Son knows his bio mom and half siblings. It has been a win win situation. No mystery, no secrets. He's a teenager now and I cannot see how this arrangement has created any problems whatsoever.

Clarissa

I've really had it. The child should come first. Always. This man cannot offer her a home with a mother and father. She loves her parents she has now and unless they can show that they are abusive or incompetent, he should let it go. Please read my comments about what happened to me above if you think I'm being too harsh. She is being treated like she is a piece of property instead of a human being. This is a problem we have when it comes to children. Too often have I seen it as a teacher. Children who should never have been left in a home, but the laws favored the parents over the child. By the time the social services step in, no one wants the kid. Virginia laws should be changed. Only what is best for the child should be the deciding factors. I can just hear little Emma's screams as they rip her away from her parents. This is one reason I decided not to adopt. I was afraid the same thing would happen to me.

phnehme

WOW! UT is still living in the stone age. I can't believe all of you "wonderful" UT people that are OK with denying a father his parental rights. Obviously, if any of you have been following the case the adoption agency DID NOT follow VA laws. Yet you cower in your UT cloak and proclaim that this man should lose his child. Makes me sick that most of you are probably LDS. It's no wonder that the rest of the country and the world looks down on our religion with such distain.

Independent

The father is justified in his point of view in this case, but the child must come first. I can't imagine how difficult it would be, but I think it would be easier for the father to leave the child with the adoptive parents than it would for the child to be torn away from the adoptive parents at this point. How sad. Why can't we all just wait until we are married to have babies and avoid all of this?

Mike Rose

The kidnapping Adoption Agency employees ought to be thrown in jail, and the adoptive parents will be lucky if they're not thrown in jail for kidnapping as well. And this is speaking as an adoptive parent. There is no room for selfishness nor lawyer strong arming nor interstate child smuggling in the adoption process.

I expect at the very least the father will get full rights to the child, and he will likely bond very well with a 18 month old, similar to my spouses and mine experience with adopting a similarly aged child out of foster care.

Sorry Charlie!

@ Clarissa: The child should come first - and the adoptive parents never should have kept her from her biological father.

"This is one reason I decided not to adopt. I was afraid the same thing would happen to me."

If you adopt through a reputable agency, you won't have this problem.

Joggle

Utah is overzealous to strip away a father's parental rights in favor of the mother or in this case....the adoptive parents. The father did everything he needed to do to retain custody, but the state of Utah with all its misguided wisdom decided to overrule VA law and adopt "Emma" out before they legally could do so. The courts and the adoptive parents have now wasted precious months in a court battle in which the birth father should never have had to fight in the first place.

enfanta non grata

Mike Rose, you expect too much. This is, after all, a Utah agency, Utah court and Utah laws, laws designed and engineered to facilitate and legitimize kidnapping such as we see here. This is not the first time a situation like this has happened and it won't be the last.

I would think the father would have grounds for a civil suit against the mother and, more importantly, the adoption agency for fraud, deceit, intentional alienation of familial members, etc. But this is Utah, where justice is not justice unless cleared by the powers that be, the theocracy which purchased the laws this poor father is up against.

eenymeenymyneechic

There is a factor no one has mentioned. What if the birth mother wanted her child to be raised in a two parent family? It is out of love for the child a birth mom relinquishes her parental rights to opt for adoption. She bore the child. So what if John W. wanted the baby, that is not the same as being a parent, husband. The baby was not an option for him to raise alone obviously by a single dad and his mother. (?) That just does not bode well.

The birth mother was within her rights to take her own child anywhere. The fact that she signed the papers in Utah is why the law in Utah takes precedent, over Virginia's law. This is not astrophysics.

No custody or visitation should be granted to the bio-dad. Children are not property to fight over. He did not convince the birth mother, so why should the court be any different?

The

Rmh

She didn't sign papers in Utah. She NEVER set foot in Utah. She NEVER left Virginia. Are you stupid? have you read the article? She signed the papers in a hotel in Virginia.

The baby was born in Virginia, the mother never left Virginia, all papers were signed in Virginia, the custody case began in Virginia when the father filed for custody before a petition for adoption was ever filed anywhere. It doesn't matter if the mother wanted a 2 parent family, because Virginia just doesn't give her the right to make that decision for the father.

And actually, no, the birth mother does not have the right to take the child wherever she wants. Once the birth father is recognized as a legal parent (which he was), he gets a say in what happens to that child. When one parent wants to move in a custody case it has to be settled in court, they can't just take the child and go where they want.

eenymeenymyneechic

I stand corrected by whoever Rmh is. I will pardon your state of mind if you will pardon my oversight/ignorance. Thank you very much.

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