After a lengthy and difficult legal battle, a father has been reunited with his daughter, and he is working to establish a bond with the child he temporarily lost due to a wrongful adoption. The case has garnered headlines in Florida and across the nation, and it is being heralded as a significant fathers' rights victory. His story also serves as a warning to unmarried men who have not legally established their paternal rights.
In 2012, the man met a woman at work, and the two began to date. When the woman became pregnant, the two made plans to marry and raise their child together. However, the woman's parents became distressed over the situation and began to put pressure on their daughter to choose another path. The man soon became distanced from his girlfriend's prenatal visits and eventually only communicated with her via text messages.
Without asking for or receiving the man's consent, the woman decided to place the baby up for adoption. Because the father is African American and the mother is white, the laws in the couple's state of residence allow their mixed-race child to be deemed "difficult to adopt." This gave the mother the chance to place the infant for adoption with an out-of-state couple.
Because the man was worried about being cut out of the loop in regard to the pregnancy, he signed up for the "responsible father registry." That led to him being notified that the child had been placed for adoption, at which point he began the legal process of asserting his parental rights. After a difficult battle, he was able to gain legal custody of his daughter.
As he begins to bond with his child and establish a sense of normalcy within their home, this father is using his experience to help others in a similar position. He is establishing a foundation that will work to educate men about fathers' rights issues and help direct parents to the resources that they need to fight for their parental rights. For Florida men who read about this case, the story serves as a cautionary tale of the risk of failing to establish paternity at the earliest possible opportunity.
Source: Babble, "Father Rebuilds Life with Daughter After Losing Her in Wrongful Adoption", Chad Carter, Sept. 17, 2015