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Father will be reunited with baby adopted without his knowledge, judge rules

Posted by on Dec. 4, 2012 at 2:01 PM
  • 86 Replies

A South Carolina man whose wife put their baby up for adoption without his knowledge or consent will be reunited with his daughter after a nearly two-year legal battle, a Utah court ruled.

A Provo judge said Monday he was “astonished and deeply troubled" by an adoption agency’s deliberate efforts to circumvent the legal rights of father Terry Achane, who was serving as an Army drill instructor when his child was adopted without his knowledge.

Judge Darold McDade gave the adoption agency and the adoptive parents, Jared and Kristi Frei, 60 days to return Achane’s daughter, Teleah, now 21 months old.

The Frei family and their attorneys have declined to comment publicly, but on a blog where the family has sought help paying legal bills, they vowed to appeal the ruling.

They called the adoption "a righteous desire blessed to fruition by God....”there has never been any question to us that she is OURS!!!”

But Achane, who is trying to put the ordeal behind him and ready for a future with his daughter, implored the family to drop new legal action.

“If they prolong it, that is more time away from my daughter,” Achane told The Salt Lake City Tribune.

“There are precious moments I can’t get back. ... There is no court order saying they have the right to my child. I just won the case. I want to get my daughter and raise my daughter,” he said.

Achane was legally married to his Teleah’s mother, Tira Bland, when she became pregnant. Bland and her biological daughter from a previous relationship were covered by Achane’s insurance and the family resided together in Texas.

Achane maintained he was happy about the pregnancy and he took a job as a drill instructor in South Carolina, believing the family would relocate together. Just before he was to report for duty in February of 2011, the couple started having marital problems.

Bland suggested the possibility of abortion or adoption, but Achane objected to both options, according to court documents.

Bland decided to stay behind in Texas for the final four months of her pregnancy, and Achane described a series of communication gaps with his estranged wife. Even still, he expected to be there for the birth.

"I had already gotten clearance to come back when the baby was on the way," he told the Tribune.

By the late spring of 2011, unable to get an answer on the fate of his child from either Bland or her friends, he reached out to his wife’s doctors in Texas, the Tribune reported. He was told doctor-patient confidentiality prevented the disclosure of any information.

Finally, In June 2011, Bland admitted to Achane she had given their newborn to Adoption Center of Choice in Utah.

"I was like, ‘Utah? Where is Utah?’ I’d never been to Utah, she’s never been to Utah," he told the Tribune.

"Adoption? Who does that? ... I believe she felt guilty at that point because she just made a call out of the blue," said Achane.

The Daily News could not immediately locate Bland for comment.

Soon after learning his daughter had been taken to Utah, Achane began reaching out to the Adoption Center of Choice, who refused to give any information.

In the Frei’s adoption petition the couple acknowledged Achane was married to Bland and that he had never consented to the adoption. Court documents reveal they had asked his parental rights be severed because the U.S. military member "abandoned the natural mother during her pregnancy.”

A representative for the Adoption Center of Choice testified that it was "standard practice" to not provide any information when a father of a prospective adoptive child called the agency.

The Adoption Center of Choice did not immediately respond to the Daily News’ request for comment.

The judge ruled the agency knowingly and deliberately ignored Achane’s parental rights.

“The right of a fit, competent parent to raise the parent’s child without undue government interference is a fundamental liberty interest that has long been protected by the laws and constitution of this state of the United States, and is a fundamental public policy of this state," he said.

Achane’s attorney saw the events as a crime.

“This is a case of human trafficking," lawyer Mark Wiser told the Tribune.

"Children are being bought and sold. It is one thing what [adoption agencies] have been doing with unmarried biological fathers. It is in a new area when they are trying to take a child away from a married father who wants to have his child,” he said.

by on Dec. 4, 2012 at 2:01 PM
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Replies (1-10):
by Joqui on Dec. 4, 2012 at 2:05 PM
2 moms liked this

so sad.. it seems that the sytem we have doesn't really help fathers who want to be actively involved in their children's lives... 

by Platinum Member on Dec. 4, 2012 at 2:05 PM
1 mom liked this

I understand the heartbreak this must be causing for the adoptive family but i don't they they are acting in the best interest of the child by prolonging this.


by Ruby Member on Dec. 4, 2012 at 2:25 PM
6 moms liked this

I have sadness in two different directions.  On one hand, it's very sad that the father didn't get to have a say in whether or not he knew their daughter.  But on the other hand, an innocent baby has just been ripped from the only family she has ever known, and that, to me, is the worse tragedy :(

by on Dec. 4, 2012 at 2:41 PM
1 mom liked this

Wow, I had to look up more about this.  From a variety of articles (feel free to google)  Apparently the adoption agency told the Frie's that the father wasn't aware about the adoption and would contest if he found out, and they didn't care.   They already have FIVE children, but adopted two more.    And they are trying to get the fathers rights severed because he's never visited the baby that THEY have made sure he doesn't have access too.     Evil.

by Ruby Member on Dec. 4, 2012 at 2:42 PM
2 moms liked this

What's really sad is that he had to engage in a nearly two year legal battle to get custody of his daughter. The agency was completely and totally in the wrong when they preceeded in the adoption knowing the child's father wanted her. I understand that the adoptive parents want and love her but at this point they'd be knowingly trying to keep her from her bio dad if they appeal and since he can provide a good home, that's just wrong.

by Gold Member on Dec. 4, 2012 at 2:52 PM
1 mom liked this

This is awful! At least the father is getting the baby back and I hope they close the adoption agency that has caused all this pain

by on Dec. 4, 2012 at 2:57 PM
2 moms liked this

That is how it should be.   There are far too many woman in this world that believe their children belong only to them and only their wishes matter.  The adoption agency should under go review to see how many other children they have placed without obtaining parental consent from both parents.  

This would not have taken this long had the agency and the adoptive parents done what was right from the start.  

by Silver Member on Dec. 4, 2012 at 3:06 PM

This whole situation was handled poorly from the onset. The father was married to the mother and they still denied him the right to be involved in his daughter's life. That's almost 2 years he will never get back. 

by on Dec. 4, 2012 at 3:12 PM
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by on Dec. 4, 2012 at 3:15 PM
7 moms liked this

I don't feel bad for the adoptive family, from some earlier stuff I read, they adopted the baby KNOWING that the father did not know about it, and that he would likely contest it....I'm sorry, but that is sick.

If there is pain caused to that child it was from the mother and adoptive family...not by the father fighting to get HIS child back.  The only ones thinking about the best for that baby are the dad and the judge, IMO.   

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