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NPO publishes blog articles to inform and to stimulate conversation about issues of importance to NPO's mission.  All blog articles express the opinions of the authors as individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views of National Parents Organization, its Board of Directors, or its executives.  

December 4th, 2012 by Michael Sherron
Several media outlets tonight are reporting that a Utah Adoption Agency has allegedly helped adopt out a female child of a Army Drill Sergeant named Terry Achane. Fathers and Families gets contact from many unmarried fathers across the United States, and especially Utah, who tell us that adoptions of children from unmarried biological children is reaching crisis level. However, this case, if proven true, is far more sinister given that Sergeant Terry Achane is a MARRIED Father. According to media outlets, a Utah Judge has given the adoptive parents and the adoption agency known as the Adoption Center For Choice 60 days to return the children over to Terry Achane because he is a legal father. According to reports, Terry Achane and his legal wife we married when the child was born, that Sergeant Achane attended all OB/GYN appointments with his wife, supported his wife financially, and was looking forward to the birth of his daughter. However, Sergeant Achane is in the Army and was ordered to Fort Jackson in South Carolina towards the end of the pregnancy and his wife decided to stay behind in TX citing marital problems. Sergeant Achane even made arrangements via the Army to take a leave of absence to be there for the birth of his child. While in South Carolina, the wife of Sergeant Terry Achane contacted a Utah Adoption Agency, now known as Adoption Center of Choice, which arranged for her to come to Utah and give birth to the child. After birth, the adoptive parents known as Jared and Kristi Frei allegedly completed all steps in what they thought was a normal adoption process. Thanks to Judge Darold McDade of the 4th District Court in Utah, Jared and Kristi Frei now have to return the child to Sergeant Achane within 60 days. In an even more bizarre twist, Jared and Kristi Frei are fighting Judge McDade’s decision and have created a website to tell the world their side of the story and solicit for donations to help their legal cause. As of today (Dec 3, 2012), the Frei’s have raised $20, 387.

Utah Adoption Agencies and Unmarried Fathers (Putative Fathers)

When one thinks of adoption, it is usually a thought of wonder that complete strangers would want to take a child that the parents decided to give up into their homes and love them as if they were their biological children. And, no doubt this is how Americans want to think of adoption across the United States and Utah. The problem is that a majority of US States do not recognize unmarried biological Fathers as legal Fathers unless they do a formal legitimation via the courts. If that does not happen, then a mother can refuse to identify a Father and an adoption can continue without involvement of the Father. If the mother does decide to identify the unmarried Father, then in MOST cases (but not always), the adoption agency must go through some procedures to attempt to find the Father. These procedures vary from state to state, but apparently in Utah, adoption agencies have to do very little to find a biological Father to see if he wants to raise the child or not. In fact, it is well known throughout the adoption community, both for birthmothers and adoptive parents, that if you want an adoption to proceed in a State that severely hampers the ability of the birthfather to contest the adoption, then Utah is the place to go. Fathers and Families is an organization that believes BOTH parents should be equally allowed to be in a child’s life after a divorce, and works daily to bring about real Family Law reform for the presumption for equally shared parenting which is a far better course of action that extreme division for two parents which the current Family Courts encourage. However, in the event that either biological parent decides not to be involved in a child’s life, then that child must be raised by the other biological parent regardless of marriage or not. Only after it is ASSURED that both biological parents want to proceed with adoption, then certainly adoption is a beautiful thing.

But here is the problem, in a majority of US States, mothers do not legally have to identify a Father, or even tell him that she is pregnant and considering adoption so that he can plan to legitimate the child and raise it himself. Of course, in Terry Achane’s case, this is a moot point. Many adoption agencies tell us that if a birthfather has no interest in a child as evidenced by not supporting the mother and child, then they should be discounted in the adoption process. In fact, if you look at the website of Jared and Kristi Frei you will see where they state “Several months later, we were able to track down the birth father to serve him with our adoption petition.  To our great shock and dismay, he objected to our petition and intervened to stop the adoption.  Over the last 19 months, despite the law requiring that a father show interest in his child and at least attempt regular communication to establish a bond, the father has never shown any interest in Leah other than to hire an attorney (which he is not paying).  He has never sent her clothes or toys, or even a gift on Christmas or her birthday.  He’s never inquired into her health and well-being. He hasn’t asked for pictures or other details like when she started crawling, walking, talking, or cutting her first tooth. In short, he hasn’t shown any of the natural affection or interest of a parent.” and this is the basis for their appeal.

And then there is THIS VIDEO from the Utah Adoption Council

And then this video that is just MIND BLOWING regarding Utah Adoption Laws and Unmarried Fathers

And if the above video from David Hardy, a Utah Adoption Lawyer, is not enough to cause serious concern, then THIS ARTICLE will.

Allegedly, in the case of Sergeant Terry Achane, someone is not telling the truth because he was married to the child’s mother and was supporting his wife and soon to be born child at the time. It will be interesting to see where Jared and Kristi Frei got their information from, be it Adoption Center of Choice (Utah Adoption Agency), the birthmother, or some other source.

But in the case of unmarried putative fathers, what about if they do not even know about the pregnancy, birth of a child, or plans to adopt by the birth mother and WANT to raise the child? How are they supposed to support the mother and child, visit, buy things, inquire about, and see a child they have no idea exists? And this is what is absolutely sick about the current state of adoptions across the United States and Utah. In fact, we think that this is a crisis that demands a halt to all adoptions until the US Federal Government enacts laws to stop ALL adoptions until a birth mother identifies a potential father and DNA is performed to establish paternity.

Another issue I want to touch on briefly is that we suspect most adoptive parents and adoption agencies are wonderful people who want the best for children and support birthparents who want to raise their children. We even suspect that both adoptive parents would never want to adopt a child knowing that there is a biological parent who wants to raise them. But clearly, the fact that Jared and Kristi Frei want to proceed with an appeal to stop the contested adoption of a LEGAL Father is shocking to say the least and makes this author wonder if these people are thinking about their needs over the child’s needs. Who exactly wants to adopt a child, or what adoption agency, knowing that there is a biological parent alive who either wants to raise the child, or who was unaware that he even had a child.

Surely, the Utah Adoptive Community and Adoption Agencies must be up in arms tonight over this incident.

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