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Saskatchewan, Canada--Background: In my recent blog post Father of Newborn 'Did Everything One Would Hope a Man in His Position Would Do'--but It Wasn't Enough, we discussed the case of an embattled California father, Jorge C., who fought a long, hard and ultimately unsuccessful battle to be a father to his baby boy. The boy's birth was hidden from him and the mother gave the child up for adoption after, according to one judge, she had "engaged in a web of lies.' The case reminded me of this remarkable story--From Sask. adoptive parents win custody of baby boy (CTV, 1/29/07): "The biological father of an infant boy in Saskatchewan has lost a battle for custody, after the court decided the child should stay with the adoptive parents he has known almost all his nine-month-old life... "The biological father launched a legal battle last year to get custody of the baby, arguing he hadn't agreed to the adoption. He said he hadn't even been aware he was the child's father and once he found out, he sought custody. "The adoptive parents argued they followed proper procedures in adopting the baby. In testimony heard last year, the biological mother said she chose the couple to raise her son because she already knew them and knew they couldn't have children of their own. "In a 35-page judgment released Monday, the Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench said the unofficial adoption had served in the child's best interests and should be maintained... "As well, the court found the biological father was capable of having a positive presence in the baby's life, but not in a parental role. So in order to give the child a year of 'familial calm' to promote bonding and attachment in his current home, the court banned the biological father from seeing the baby for a year. "'My concern is [the boy] could have immense difficulty, particularly in the early stages of his development, in reconciling all the complicated adult relationships in his life. In the interests of [the boy's] stability, it is best that he have intermittent exposure to [the biological father], rather than structured continuous access,' the court said in its ruling. "Although this case has generated considerable heartache and stress, it cannot, in a fair-minded way, be said that any party has been in the wrong. Although lives have been disrupted, the turmoil arose from the often complex circumstances that flow from the unfolding lives of real people with human frailties." A few comments: 1) I do recognize that the judge was in a very difficult situation here. I would've allowed the father and his new wife to raise the boy but given the adoptive couple liberal visitation time with the baby. But the judge is correct--there's no easy or completely satisfactory solution here. 2) I would disagree with the judge's assertion that "it cannot, in a fair-minded way, be said that any party has been in the wrong." The mother was wrong--she should have allowed the father to raise his own child, instead of sneaking behind his back to put the child up for adoption. 3) While the judge insists that mom didn't do anything wrong, I wonder why nobody mentions the obvious possible motive she had to surreptitiously adopt out the baby--the desire to avoid paying child support to the biological father for the child. This may not have been her motive but I know one thing--if it had been the father in her position, everybody would have assumed from the beginning that this was his motive. 4) The judge "banned the biological father from seeing the baby for a year"--nice. And what a jerk the dad is--wanting to impose on the adoptive couple by visiting his own child. I wonder if the mother--who caused the whole problem to begin with--has been "banned" from seeing her baby, too? Somehow I doubt it. 5) According to this story the father apparently has to pay child support to the adopted couple to raise the child he should've been allowed to raise. So he gets the financial responsibility for his child without having any parental rights to his child--what a cynic might call one of the core principles of modern family law.

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