A father whose daughter was adopted without his consent will now get her back from the adoptive parents who have been caring for her since birth. A court found that the birth mother deceived the adoption agency and adoptive parents into thinking that the father was uninterested in his child and had abandoned it. The father, a former Texas resident, came forward to let them know that was false. The case is a powerful vindication of the principle that fathers should be included in important family law decisions, including adoption.
The adoption agency and adoptive parents refused to cooperate when they found out that the father did not consent to the adoption and wanted custody of the child, necessitating a court battle. The court ruled that the father, far from having abandoned the child, simply did not know where she was since his wife acted to prevent him from knowing where the child was for months after her birth.
While unmarried fathers may also have parental rights over their children, in this case, the father's constitutional rights to his child were even stronger since he had married the mother. A father who is married to his child's mother has the same parental rights as the mother from the very beginning, and does not have the burden of going to court or otherwise establishing his parental rights, as an unmarried father may sometimes have to do.
A married father has to give his consent to an adoption of his child unless there has been a legal proceeding terminating his parental rights. In the absence of such consent, the adoption agency and adoptive parents should have immediately turned over the child to the father when he demanded her and they became aware of the situation.
Source: The Salt Lake Tribune, "Father is ready to turn page on Utah adoption horror story," Brooke Adams, Dec. 3, 2012