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Army veteran closer to winning custody of child his ex-girlfriend secretly gave up for adoption

Posted by on Feb. 26, 2014 at 9:27 PM
  • 17 Replies


While Chris Carlton was serving his country in Afghanistan, a former girlfriend gave his baby up for adoption without his permission.

Four years later, Utah’s Supreme Court has given Carlton another chance to win custody of the four-year-old child his girlfriend initially claimed was dead.

“I’m very ecstatic,” Carlton, who lives in Williamsport, Penn., told Fox 43. “This is the happiest I’ve been in four years. It feels like it is justice slowly being served.”

Carlton was working as a military contractor in 2010 when his girlfriend Shalanda Brown disappeared during her seventh month of pregnancy. Although the two had broken up, Carlton had been trying to keep in touch so that he could be involved with his child’s life.

Several weeks after her due date, the woman resurfaced and sent photos of the baby to Carlton’s phone, saying it was a boy.

When he returned home to Pennsylvania, Brown claimed the baby had died.

“I`ve never felt that kind of pain,” Carlton told WNEP. “And I believe no parent should feel that pain. And for the people that have already felt the pain, God!”

Chris Carlton, of Pennsylvania, has won a small victory in his legal fight to win full custody of his daughter.

wnep

Chris Carlton, of Pennsylvania, has won a small victory in his legal fight to win full custody of his daughter.

The devastated soldier tried to find out where his son was buried, but the woman refused to share the information.

But during a courtroom testimony, Brown finally broke down and told Carlton the truth: his baby was alive.

His ex had flown to Utah, delivered a baby girl, and given her up for adoption through the Adoption Center of Choice in American Fork, Utah. She refused to name Carlton during the adoption procedures, telling the ACC that the man was abusive — a claim that Carlton roundly denied. When the child was placed with a family, the dad was never given notice.

The Adoption Center of Choice had its license revoked on Feb. 21.

Carlton is now involved in two separate lawsuits challenging Utah’s Adoption Act. The state’s laws gives a birth mother fraud immunity, even if she lies about why she’s giving up the child without the birth father’s knowledge.

The dad is seeking damages against the adoption agency and the birth mother, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.

Carlton is now challenging Utah's adoption law to try and get back his daughter.

Carlton is now challenging Utah's adoption law to try and get back his daughter.

A lower court found that Carlton didn’t have a claim to the child, since the deadline for challenging the adoption had already passed. But Tuesday’s state Supreme Court ruling decided that the lower court should have taken Carlton’s constitutional rights into account.

“Of particular potential merit is Mr. Carlton’s contention, which he clarified at oral argument, that the (Utah Adoption) Act’s imposition of a deadline on out-of-state fathers whose home states impose no such deadline is a violation of due process," the high court said in a 24-page decision.

The case will now be sent back to the district court, where Carlton’s lawyer will be challenging the constitutionality of Utah’s adoption laws.

Carlton is also one of 12 fathers who have joined a federal lawsuit against Utah, claiming that the state’s adoption laws violated their civil rights.

The man knows he may never get his daughter. But he says he will continue the fight.

“This is one of the first hurdles that we have to overcome,” said Carlton. “Albeit, if I never do get my child I am not going to stop the fight until people who are not affected by this law are outraged just as much as people who are.”


by on Feb. 26, 2014 at 9:27 PM
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Replies (1-10):
RandRMomma
by Maya on Feb. 26, 2014 at 9:33 PM
1 mom liked this
That's pathetic. Some women can be so evil. If a man wants to be there for his child(ren) let him! There's nothing wrong with it. I hope he gets his child.

What's up with Utah and these shady adoptions?
Peaceful.chaos
by Member on Feb. 26, 2014 at 9:34 PM
This is how I look at it. As a mother, if I found out my child was somewhere in the world when I was told they were dead, I would move heaven and earth to get my child back. I know the argument is that the child's life would be disrupted taking them from the only parents they know, but I've yet to meet anyone adopted that hasn't wanted to find their birth parents. Those adopted parents are sitting on a time bomb as I see it since its likely one day the child will find out her biological father wanted and fought for her and was denied.
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la_bella_vita
by Bella on Feb. 26, 2014 at 9:39 PM
Wow, I can't believe she did that. I wonder what her reasoning was.
onethentwins
by Bronze Member on Feb. 27, 2014 at 11:38 AM

Utah has been getting away with this crap for far too long.  This is only one of several cases in the courts right now and it looks like Utah is finally going to have to answer. It's legalized kidnapping!

Sekirei
by Nari Trickster on Feb. 27, 2014 at 11:44 AM

I hope he gets his child back...

Karmahappens
by Bronze Member on Feb. 27, 2014 at 11:59 AM

No one can win this case. That baby has a home with parents he has known his whole life.

You almost wish they could treat it like a divorced couple, giving the Dad the visitation he would have had if the Bitch-mom hadn't done this.

I htink most adoptive parents would bend that far if given the choice of that or the potential of losing the child totally.

colins_mom
by Silver Member on Feb. 27, 2014 at 12:00 PM
1 mom liked this
The little girl is 4. I understand him wanting his daughter but imagine what she would go through. Being torn away from the only family she knows. I hope he gets the law changed I really do. And I hope that the adoptive parents are decent humans who will let him into the little girls life. But I feel for them. It isn't their fault and it isn't the little girls fault.
Euphoric
by Thumper kid spanks on Feb. 27, 2014 at 12:11 PM

 

Quoting Sekirei:

I hope he gets his child back...

 

www.cafemom.com/group/116692
VinVanMom
by Bronze Member on Feb. 27, 2014 at 12:15 PM

I really hope he works with the adoptive family or this child will have attachment and trust issues for life. My four yo son is adopted I cannot imagine what is would do to him. My heart goes out to all of them. 

Ziva65
by Gold Member on Feb. 27, 2014 at 12:17 PM

so sad.

I applaud him for challenging the laws, and fighting this, and I hope some charges can be brought against the birthmom.

At this point though, the child is 4. While I understand he really loves her and wants to parent her, she has a family. A family that loves her. I would hope they would allow visits, and the two getting to know each other, but I disagree with the disruption for the child to be placed with the birth father.

We seriously looked at adoption, and I had a hard time with it, primarily because of the mom potentially changing her mind, and I coudln't do the open adoption thing. My heart goes out to this family.

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