It’s funny that this showed up in my Search Engine Terms today:
“are utah adoption agencies ethical”
Yet another father is fighting for his right to parent HIS daughter – you can read the entire article at the link just above the quoted section below.
This time both the mother and father were from Florida. They had a casual relationship and yet a month after he found out she was pregnant and due in February 2010 he signed up for the Florida Putative Fathers Registry – somewhere around July, 2009. In December 2009 his girlfriend sent him a note saying she was going to visit Arizona and then stay in Utah for a while. He signed up for the Arizona Putative Fathers Registry and searched to find out how to sign up in Utah but couldn’t find out how (as I discussed in this post). So he hired a lawyer in Utah in January, 2010. On January 12, 2010 his lawyer submitted a paternity petition pleading and faxed a notice of paternity to the state records office as well as mailing a copy of the notice of paternity that was marked received January 14, 2010. The office was closed that day (a Friday) as well as the following Monday so the notice of paternity was not officially filed until January 20, 2010. All of that should have been fine though as the baby wasn’t due until February but she came early and the mother signed away her rights on January 19, 2010.
The records office happened to be closed that day, a Friday, because of the state’s four-day work schedule, and was closed the following Monday, which was a federal holiday. A clerk filed Shaud’s paternity notice on Jan. 20, a day after Tew relinquished her rights and the infant was placed with adoptive parents through A Act of Love Adoptions.
The trial court said he failed to act promptly and had no say…now it is before the Utah Supreme Court…
Larry S. Jenkins, the attorney representing the adoption agency, said it is “irrelevant” when Shaud sent his notice to the records office; what matters is when it was entered into the record, and that didn’t happen until the birth mother had already consented to the adoption.
The Utah Legislature purposefully set the time of filing to coincide with when a claim is entered into the Putative Father Registry to further “important policy interests,” Jenkins said in his court filing — namely, a clear-cut deadline that a birth mother, adoptive parents and adoption agencies could rely on and a “compelling interest in providing stable and permanent homes for adoptive children in a prompt manner.”
Shaud also failed to submit a copy of his court-filed paternity petition to the records office, which Jenkins argues is required by Utah’s adoption statute but Drage said is “discretionary.”
By officially accepting a paternity notice, the records office is signing off on a filing as complete, with a verified paternity petition and no conflicting paternity claims, Jenkins said. Shaud is simply trying to shift blame for not filing his notice sooner to the records office.
So here is a father who very much wanted to protect his right to his daughter – filed in 3 different states all before the expected due date. How much more should he have had to do?
When will the adoption industry show some good faith and lobby to change the archaic (although newly drafted/signed) adoption laws in Utah? How much worse could the adoption industry look? How could any of the adoption industry not stand up and say this is wrong and needs to change – they are in it to protect children aren’t they? Where is the justice, fair play, best interests of a child to be raised in their biological family when possible?
Anyway that loop-hole Larry is talking about in the second to last paragraph in the quoted section above? Below is the actual text of the law and pay special attention to the term “may” not “will” – to me there is a distinct difference (it may not be accepted vs it will not be accepted) and that may be what makes a difference in the outcome.
Chapter 15 – Uniform Parentage Act – Maintenance of Records 78B-15-401.
(1) The Office of Vital Records shall register the following records which are filed with the office:
(a) all declarations of paternity;
(b) all judicial and administrative determinations of paternity; and
(c) all notices of proceedings to establish paternity which are filed pursuant to Sections 78B-6-110, 78B-6-120, 78B-6-121, and 78B-6-122.
(2) A notice of initiation of paternity proceedings may not be accepted into the registry unless accompanied by a copy of the pleading which has been filed with the court to establish paternity.
(3) A notice of initiation of paternity proceedings may not be filed if another man is the adjudicated or declarant father.
With the above being just one of the numerous hoops a father must traverse to retain his right to parent his child – one has to realize that Utah is doing a grave disservice and justice is being denied. Hopefully they get it right in this case but by the time the Utah Supreme Court rules enough time will have elapsed (if it hasn’t already), to declare in the best interests of the child the bond is with the adoptive parents.
Seriously you have to really question everyones intentions here – obviously the PAPs knew when they accepted the child that the father had not signed consent. They took a risk and honestly they don’t come out looking well and that reflects on other adoptive parents too…
This should never have happened again…when will it stop? How many times? When will the adoptive parent community start demanding change? The ball really is in your court to speak your mind to the NCFA or your adoption agency or your legislator, if you want to have any credibility as being concerned with ethics in adoption. Yours is the voice that is heard by those who can change this wrong-headed law…
P.s. – isn’t one of the hopeful presidental candidates a former Utah Governor and an Adoptive Parent?