Baby Teleah returned to biological father; decision called a victory for father's rights

Return To Article
Add a comment
  • Tolstoy salt lake, UT
    Jan. 28, 2013 1:29 p.m.

    @ AZ Blue&Red: Previous stories address your questions. 1) The father contacted the adoptive family and let them know he did not consent to the adoption - they decided to keep the baby anyway. 2) The mother provided false information to the agency at first, but when the father found out his daughter had been placed for adoption he contacted the agency and told them he did not consent - they moved forward with the adoption anyway. 3) The agency knew the mother was married and relied on the contact information she provided. She told them he was in the Army, they did not try to track him down through the Army. 4, 5, 6, 7, & 8) The parents were married. He was in the Army and was sent to Virginia. The mom told him she wanted to stay in Texas with her family until the baby was born. Two weeks after he left, she decided to put the baby up for adoption. As soon as he found out his wife was no longer in Texas he started looking for her and the baby. Teleah was less than 3 months when he found her and started trying to get her back.

  • AZ Blue & Red Gilbert, AZ
    Jan. 28, 2013 8:35 a.m.

    7) Dad had a responsibility to find his child. If he did not then he is considered abandoned and legally they will proceed based on the streamlined newer laws.
    8) Mom did not do her part. Betting she did not want dad to have the child.

    So who is to blame here and what is the right answer?

    I feel sorry for the adoptive parents. From what I see they did nothing wrong.

    So from my 50000 ft perspective the most blame should be on the agency. Looks like they did not do their work. If dad is in the Military it would not be hard to find him. The next to blame would be the dad for not pursuing this before this child was born. And when she was born where was he? Sorry he must have known she was expecting. If not then he should have talked to the mom. He has some blame.

    So who should have this child? To me that is a hard one but legally the dad has the right. May not have come at it the proper way and it has hurt people along the way but I think it is him.

  • AZ Blue & Red Gilbert, AZ
    Jan. 28, 2013 8:27 a.m.

    Having Adopted many children here is my take

    1) The adoptive family is being guided by the agency. They pay a lot of money to have them handle all the dealings. They are not involved in the custody of the child.
    2) The agency has to by law find the father and get him to sign to give up the child.
    3) If no father is found then they have to in good faith to do all that they can to try to find him.
    4) Rights have to be terminated legally by a judge.
    5) Laws in the past few years have been streamlined in order to speed up the process. I had a Son years ago who they could not find the Father (not sure who he was as it could have been several) yet it took almost 4 years to get legal termination of parental rights. This boy was almost 5 by the time he was legally ours. Children need a home and some closure.
    6) Where was Dad? If he knew his wife was expecting why did he not come forward then? Something is not adding up there.
    Cont next post

  • OCoug Ogden, UT
    Jan. 28, 2013 1:54 a.m.


    Strong points. I agree with you. I don't agree with someone labeling the parents as "kidnappers" however.


    Great and thought provoking comment. I hadn't thought that far into all the legal and ethical issues.

    We are looking into adoption ourselves and are trying to do it the best and right way.
    Terrible situation that makes adoption seem even scarier.

  • Maudine SLC, UT
    Jan. 28, 2013 12:04 a.m.

    The adoptive parents beat responsibility because as soon as the father found out where his daughter was, he contacted them and let them know he did not agree to the adoption. They decided that didn't matter and they wanted to keep the baby anyway. Any emotional or psychological harm this child experiences as a result of this case is directly their fault. They did not act in the vest interest of this child or their other children, but acted solely based on their selfish desires.

    The bio mom chose not to go with her husband when he was deployed. She made decisions about placing the baby for adoption 2 weeks after she made the decision not to go with him. Two weeks. He didn't even have enough time to get his first paycheck before she claimed he wasn't supporting her.

    The adoption agency knew she was married, as soon as the father knew who to contact he told them he did not agree to the adoption.

    Before the baby was 3 months old, everyone concerned knew the father wanted to raise her. The actions of those who kept this father and daughter apart are inexcusable.

  • conservative scientist Lindon, UT
    Jan. 27, 2013 1:03 p.m.

    I suspect this decision and situation is actually much more complicated than this article suggests. Sometimes it is hard to determine if someone has indeed abandoned a family. It is possible that the mother may simply be lying, but it is more likely that there are two legitimate sides to the question.

    If the father getting this child and being able to decide is truly the right thing, then the next logical step is to ask the following question. If the father has a right to do with his newborn/unborn child (adoptive processes usually start long before birth) against the wish of the mother, then does this mean that a father should be required to give consent for an abortion and that if a father wants to raise a child, then should that mother not be allowed to get an abortion and the father be given "in utero" custody as well? Interesting thing to consider.

  • OCoug Ogden, UT
    Jan. 26, 2013 11:14 p.m.

    Aah man tough and emotionally charged situation.

    My2Cents- Seriously, charge the adoptive parents? Kidnappers? They broke no laws that I'm aware of. The fault appears to lie with the agency and the birth mom.

    K- The birth mom is just as responsible, if not more so than the adoptive parents. She is the only one with full knowledge of the situation.
    Regarding your comment "If you don't have dad's signature you have no right to the child." I see what your saying ethically. Legally, my understanding is that Utah law doesn't require a signature if an exhaustive search is performed and no father is found. Not exactly sure where the statement you presented about agencies hiding the mother's location from the Dad come from. Do you have any credible sources for that statement?

    I agree the baby should be returned to the father, the whole situation is terrible for all involved. I hope little Teleah will grow up healthy, happy and strong.

  • K Mchenry, IL
    Jan. 26, 2013 9:41 p.m.

    He is the bio dad and her husband at the time. A bio mom can't decide the dad or her husband should not father their child and place with someone. Can any mom of a military man place their children for adoption while he is stationed in another state and they are physical separate, which is typical in the military?

    The only thing the judge had to consider is did dad consent to the placement of this child. He didn't. End of story. There is no side.

    Can you imagine a married husband and dad deciding while his wife were away on orders from the military to perform a job placing her toddler up for adoption and failing to disclose it? A court allowing the prospective parents to have physical custody and continue the process even though mom hasn't consented? And then for a family for to hold onto the child for almost 2 years and much money expended and agony over the situation when she found out what her husband did while she was doing her duty?

  • Foma Milwaukee, WI
    Jan. 26, 2013 8:03 p.m.

    Easy to blame the birth mother based on the news reports, because the media has ignored the judge's bias in his ruling. If you read his ruling, you'll see consistant bias for the birth father. The adoptive parents acted all along on the premise that the birth mother was telling a true story. Unfortunately, the judge wouldn't give that story the time of day. In recounting the facts of the case the judge regularly spoke of the father's statements in a way that presented them as fact, while either ignoring completely the mother's statements, or putting them in a questionable light.

    Parental rights should not be terminated willy-nilly. Seems Achane really does want to be the dad now. But I was disappointed in how the results came about. If Utah needs to reform its adoption laws, great--do it. But that reform won't be as strong when it's brought about by a judge acting in this manner.

    K: if you read the mother's account you can see better how a family could act this way. You and I might act differently, but "they should know better" is pretty harsh.

  • K Mchenry, IL
    Jan. 26, 2013 6:28 p.m.

    The prospective parents knew she was married. They and the agency didn't even need the bio mom to identify there was a spouse and dad who needed to give permission. A simple vital records check. But they knew the woman was married and legally dad.

    When you proceed with an adoption you need dads consent. If you take custody without it you need to hand over the child when he appears. They didn't do that. They made this drag out, not the dads fault.

    This agency had a service of relocating pregnant women. All for the purpose of excluding the bio dad from knowing the where and when so if single to skirt registry deadlines. But this man was married. Not even an issue. They needed his consent. No deadline required.

    This family made it more devastating for the kids in their home already. Would they want their son or grandson treated the way this dad was treated? They should know better.

  • Old Jake Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 26, 2013 6:06 p.m.

    Everyone needs to love their kids!

    No excuse to be a poor parent. Love them!

  • Wonder Provo, UT
    Jan. 26, 2013 11:46 a.m.

    Maybe I'm missing something in the story, but My2Cents and K, how is this in any way the adoptive parents' fault? I think this is a tragedy, but it sounds to me like the bio mom and the adoption agency are the ones to blame, not the parents who thought they were legitimately adopting a baby. Very sad story.

  • K Mchenry, IL
    Jan. 26, 2013 10:01 a.m.

    They never adopted. They tried to adopt. Knowing full well the mom was married and a father existed and ignored it since they wanted what they wanted. So happy for dad.

  • K Mchenry, IL
    Jan. 26, 2013 9:58 a.m.

    I don't blame the bio mom. I blame the agency and the prospective adoptive parents. Any vital records search would show this woman legally married. And the family knew she was legally married from the beginning anyway, My goodness he was serving his country. I think the agency should be closed down before vulnerable pregnant women are lured to utah during a military separation.

    If you don't have dad's signature you have no right to the child. If you proceed anyway be prepared to hand the child back immediately upon discovery of the man. I hope you realize you would want the same for your son's. Married or not. Agencies telling bio mom not to tell dad where they are relocated to or that the child was even born to get around the registry deadline need to be closed down and the people charged with a crime and the child reunited with the birth family.

    I feel no sorrow for the money they lost, more anger at the money they raised.

    I am an adoptive parent. This is the way to do it.

  • My2Cents Taylorsville, UT
    Jan. 26, 2013 4:24 a.m.

    Visitation rights? How mundane and such poor judgment that this is even being contemplated. The soldier should take his child and leave the state and tell the kidnappers no deal. He will never hear the end of it, its time to cut the cord and sever all claims and visitations on his child. The kidnappers have no claim, and committed this heinous crime with the endorsement by an illegal state adoption system.

    Good for the dad and the adoptive parents, adoption agency, and their legal staff should be charged with a crime of human trafficking.