Local media in Salt Lake City reported last week about the final court decision and awarding of custody to Terry Archane of his daughter, Teleah. The story has riveted the community and fathers' rights advocates on the need for adoption reform.
In 2011, Teleah's mother and Archane's ex-wife placed the baby for adoption in Utah. Terry was deployed out of the country and was not consulted by his ex-wife nor did he even know about his baby. The couple in Utah that adopted the baby as an infant had raised her in their family for 22 months before the courts voided the adoption and returned the little girl to her birth father.
The whole situation is just impossible to resolve as it currently exists. Certainly, the birth father has parental rights and the baby should never have been placed for adoption without his consent. But, little Teleah has only known one father and one mother, the parents who adopted her in good faith, and that adoptive mother and father are now separated from the child that they have raised since her birth.
Solutions like putative father registries and changes in adoption law to validate the rights of fathers to assert their parental rights and stop adoptions before they happen are highlighted by this case. I hope that the plight of this father, this little girl and the adoptive parents will continue to call attention to the need in every state to be extraordinarily careful with adoptions and to ensure that parental rights are respected in all cases.
More on Fathers' Rights and Custody:
- Things an unwed father needs to know
- What you need to know about child support
- What is Hostile Aggressive Parenting?
- Family law glossary for fathers
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