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How many more times will Utah allow this to happen?

07 Sep

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.

Did Utah four-day work week cost dad rights to his child?

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?

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18 Comments

Posted by on September 7, 2011 in Adoption, adoptive parents, biological child, Ethics

 

Tags: , , , , ,

18 responses to “How many more times will Utah allow this to happen?

  1. Dannie

    September 7, 2011 at 11:57 pm

    that was a nauseating post. What to even say?

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  2. Raven

    September 8, 2011 at 1:58 am

    I hate the state of Utah…detest it. I lived in Brigham City for a year while my stepfather served in Vietnam…and it was a horrible experience. My 5th-grade teacher was constantly telling my mother that I would fit in much better if we converted to LDS (Mormon church). When my mom informed her there was no way in hell that I’d be a Mormon, the teacher made life hell for me for the rest of the school year.

    They’ll do anything to get what they want, even if that means lying. If you read about some of the atrocities committed under Brigham Young in the 1800’s, you’ll find him saying that the ends justify the means and that it was fine to kill government agents…because they were of the Devil. Their justification for illegal acts sounds very similar to what the Jihadists say about terrorism in today’s world.

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  3. Sarah

    September 8, 2011 at 3:39 am

    I thought a while back what it would be like if during one of their infamous ‘town hall’ meetings someone asked the candidate from Utah how he expected voters to trust him when he led a state that has no problem allowing businesses to make money off of child trafficking.

    Too bad they tend to screen the questions during those things.

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  4. jimm

    September 8, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    The problem is that the hate group known as LDS owns the state of Utah and writes the laws to suit themselves. They are a bona fide “religion” according to the Feds and so enjoy vast protection to do as they please, including legalizing kidnapping. As long as LDS is allowed to exist, children will be stolen from parents in the name of God.

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  5. Melynda

    September 11, 2011 at 3:45 am

    Yes, AO, Jon Huntsman and his wife have adopted two girls internationally, Gracie Mei born in 1999 and adopted from China, and Asha Bharati born in 2006 and adopted from India.

    (Read more: http://mljadoptions.com/Media.aspx?articleID=237#ixzz1XbykjUdg
    Under Creative Commons License: Attribution No Derivatives)

    While Mitt Romney is not an adoptive parent, he actively counseled single mothers to relinquish their children for adoption while he was their Bishop in Massachusetts in the ’90s. One of them was a brand new member of the LDS church with an infant (will track down source and post it here). She wisely told Romney and the church to take a hike and went on to successfully parent her son.

    I cannot tell you how I wept when I heard of this latest father being shafted by the Utah courts & it has sent me into a serious existential crisis. Coincidentally, I used to live about 30 minutes away from John Wyatt in VA. We moved about a month ago to Florida, and now I live about 15 minutes away from Rasmey Shaud. I have half a mind to drive to Crestview and take him out to lunch and talk with him personally.

    I am so ashamed to be from Utah.

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  6. The adopted ones

    September 11, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    Melynda – you should not feel ashamed – “you” speak out. Those who don’t speak out are the ones who should be ashamed.

    This past week every single morning “fathers and Utah and “Larry” etc” hit me full on – it is so disturbing on such a deep level. I just cannot get out of my mind how the adoptee’s are going to feel when they find out their fathers fought for them all the way to the State Supreme Court and hopefully The Supreme Court. It would suck turning every aspect of trust upside down finding out that my parents ethics and morals did not support his rights to parent – I just cannot even imagine the fall out. Something has to be done – I just don’t know what to do.

    It would be very interesting to read about the mother who stood up to Romney, very interesting. Do you know if LDS Adoptions do single parent adoptions like the rest? That would be an interesting discussion on what the difference is and if it is simply the “repentence” answer then how can they justify making the child be the lose his/her family…the sins of the father doesn’t wash with me as an answer.

    Find Shaud and ask him to lunch – I am sure he would love the support.

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  7. Melynda

    September 12, 2011 at 12:17 am

    AO – LDSFS does not do single parent adoptions. To qualify to adopt through their agency, you have to be a current temple recommend holder who has been married for at least two years. If either partner has been party to a divorce, they have to get special permission from the agency director. Same goes for if either party have had a voluntary sterilization. LDSFS fees are on a sliding scale based on the income levels of the potential adoptive couple. The fees range from $4K to no more than $10K https://www.itsaboutlove.org/ial/ct/eng/site/adopting-families/is-adoption-right-for-us/adopting-with-lds-family-services/ The fees are subsidized through tithing funds donated by the general membership. So yes, that mean the tithing I pay goes to subsidize adoption fees and “outreach” activities (such as the LDSFS/FSA conference in August). I get a bit sick to my stomach just thinking about it.

    I, too, have often wondered what these children are going to think when they grow up. Are they going to be so brainwashed into believing “this is God’s plan for them” that they tell their natural fathers how *absolutely grateful* they are that they weren’t raised by them, just as many other Mormon adoptees tell their non-LDS natural parents? Or are they going to figure out how hard their natural fathers fought for them and then resent the adoptive parents AND the religion that was at the genesis of this whole farce? Sadly, based on a lifetime of membership in this church, I have a hunch it will be the first option. 😦

    I think I will look up Shaud this week. Thanks for the encouragement.

    M.

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  8. Melynda

    September 12, 2011 at 1:05 am

    Found him on FB: https://www.facebook.com/people/Ramsey-Shaud/75303774?sk=wall & sent him a message. Will let you know how it goes.

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  9. Melynda

    September 14, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    Ramsey emailed me back – he is going to call today after he gets out of class. His sister also emailed me last night, thanking me for the support of her brother and her family. I am grateful they were responsive to my efforts to reach out.

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  10. Erik L. Smith

    November 24, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    Good blog article. I am perplexed, however, by the arguments of the lawyers on both sides. The statute states that a notice of registration “may not be ACCEPTED into the registry” without a copy of the pleading attached to it. How is the statute discretionary when the state clearly had a duty to reject the registration upon receiving it? Had the state timely rejected the filing as required, the father could have timely fixed it. But the state ACCEPTED the filing.

    Why does one lawyer insist that it was FATHER who didn’t follow the law and the other lawyer insist that the father did not need to follow the law, when it was the STATE who did not follow the law and misled the father? The case would be different if the statute said “The father must attach a copy of the pleading for the notice to be valid.” But the statute does not say that. Nor does it say: “But if the state erroneously accepts the filing, it can wait five days before entering it into the registry.” Because the state ACCEPTED the notice instead of rejecting it at the time it was “filed with the office” then the notice must be considered accepted into the registry at the time it was “filed with the office.” No?

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    • The adopted ones

      November 24, 2011 at 2:40 pm

      HI Eric,

      I agree it is the May word that can used to twist things to suit their desired outcome. Utah is known in adoption circles as being adoptive parent friendly. I tried to read the law to figure out what a father had to do and it was horrendous, coupled with the inability to find anything related to a fathers putative registry made it absolutely clear that they have worked very hard to make it unfather friendly. You need to look further into who is and who isn’t connected to adoption in the state to get a better understanding of they have designed it this way. It really does not make those who hold themselves up look very good.

      If I remember correctly the office was shut the day it was received (yet it was a business day) so they forward dated the date received.

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      • Erik L. Smith

        November 24, 2011 at 6:27 pm

        Thanks for your reply. I realize the statutes have been worded to confuse or to be cleverly deceptive. But a straight interpretation of 78B-15-401(2) works in Shaud’s favor in any case because the statute is directed to the state, not to the father. Focusing on the word “may” was a red herring Jenkins used to lure Drage and the Court from the real argument about the true intention of the statute and its textual meaning. That is, the statute was meant to eliminate the “mailbox rule” courts often enforce (date of postmark versus date of reception) and to show that the legislature presumed that the notice would either be entered into the registry immediately after it was ACCEPTED from the father’s attorney, or returned to the attorney immediately upon receiving it. Just think about it and you’ll see I am right. Here is the statute with the word may tuend to shall:

        “(2) A notice of initiation of paternity proceedings [shall] not be accepted into the registry unless accompanied by a copy of the pleading which has been filed with the court to establish paternity.”

        The statute is directed at the state, not to the father. The STATE is the entity with the mandatory duty to REJECT the filing if no complaint accompanies it. The statute does not say that a notice filed without a copy of the pleading is a nullity or can be de-registered. Because the state “SHALL REGISTER” a paternity notice when it is “FILED WITH THE OFFICE,” the state must either accept the notice for immediate filing at that time, or reject the notice and inform the attorney at that time that he must cure and resubmit. The state cannot shirk its duty BOTH to reject the document at the time of filing AND wait five days to ENTER (which differs from ACCEPT) the filing into the registry.

        Put another way: The statute says the state shall not “ACCEPT the notice into the registry. Once the state ACCEPTS the notice from the father or his attorney, the state “SHALL REGISTER” it. The exception is when the document lacks the attached copy of the pleading. In that case, the state must tell the attorney that the document is rejected and return it to him (otherwise the state has “accepted” the document), putting the attorney on notice that he must refile. Here, the state registered the notice without giving notice to the attorney that it was rejected for filing. Therefore, the father’s attorney had no duty to attach a copy of the pleading to the notice–the statute puts a duty only on the state not to ACCEPT it. The statute does not retroactivley reject an already ACCEPTED document or retroactivley DE-REGISTER an already “ENTERED” document.

        Your complaints about the state of Utah and Utah laws and intentions are well-taken. But plain statutory interpretation wins the day here.

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  11. Erik L. Smith

    November 24, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    I am also confused by the following arguments by Jenkins:

    “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,”…namely, a clear-cut deadline that…adoptive parents…could rely on…” 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…Shaud is simply trying to shift blame for not filing his notice sooner to the records office.”

    If the legislature wants a “clear-cut” deadline, understood by all, and wants the “time of filing to coincide with when a claim is entered into the..registry” then doesn’t the state need to enter the claim into the registry at the time the father files claim with the office? How else can anything “coincide” and while also being “clear-cut?”

    Shaud filed one day before the deadline, but Jenkins argues that Shaud should have filed sooner. How MUCH “sooner” was Shaud supposed to file? How can a filing deadline be “clear-cut” if the filer needs to file some unknown amount of time before the actual deadline? Obviously, the deadline is not “clear-cut.” And if the deadline is not clear-cut, how can the adoptive parents, or anyone, “rely” on it? Moreover, the state can reject a late filing. Accordingly, how is any important policy served by the state accepting a document that was timely “filed with the office” but then misleading the father into thinking the state will enter the document into the registry? Doesn’t that just end up causing more litigation and longer uncertainty for the child when the father inevitably challenges it and appeals?

    Jenkins is talking in circles, the trial judge is either dishonest or stupid,

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  12. The adopted ones

    November 24, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    Eric – look at those in power and see who has a connection to adoption. Utah allows a mother legally not be specfic in what she intends to do – it’s right there in the law that her lack of notice does not impact the adoption she is free to mislead the father. All she has to do is at some point mention the word adoption to the father and in another instance note she is going to Utah. As soon as she has mentioned the word Utah the father is on notice – something like 20 days.

    Look up the John Wyatt case for a real eye opener – Virginia sided with him, the baby was born in Virginia – the mother did all sorts of things to mislead him. Utah has important policy interests – for adoption.

    As for it being in the babies best interest to have permancy – show me a baby who recognises that a piece of paper has been signed sealed and delivered and then sleeps better.

    The best interests of a child adopted is to know without a single concern that their parents were treated with the utmost level of fair play and there was no jacking around done to them.

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  13. The adopted ones

    November 24, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    Eric – the father never wins on appeal in Utah – right up to the Supreme Court of Utah – at least I haven’t seen it happen.

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  14. The adopted ones

    November 24, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    Eric – here are a few more posts specifically on Utah

    Where they would not even add a “good cause” exception for opening adoption records for the adoptee to obtain family health history (one of my biggest pet peeves)

    https://theadoptedones.wordpress.com/2011/09/29/utah-you-cant-have-it-both-ways/

    On how hard it is to even figure out how to file in Utah’s putative registry
    https://theadoptedones.wordpress.com/2011/07/20/putative-fathers-registries-and-of-couse-utah/

    John Wyatt was featured on dateline and the post below is the date the program aired.

    https://theadoptedones.wordpress.com/2011/08/19/dateline-john-wyatt-tonight/

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    • Erik L. Smith

      June 17, 2016 at 10:58 pm

      You kept trying to convince me that Utah is against fathers. I already know that. I am simply puzzled about why the main arguments on this and other posts were against “Utah” when the Utah laws that Shaud ran into were reasonable and Shaud FOLLOWED them. The focus should be on the error of Jenkins’s arguments and the trial court’s rationales. In Wyatt, the father did not follow Utah law, so the argument there is properly focused on the unreasonableness of Utah and its laws. But with Shaud there is finally a chance to use the Utah laws against the evildoers you complain of. Instead of taking advantage of that rare situation, you whine about things you can’t control.

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      • TAO

        June 18, 2016 at 3:08 am

        Erik – after 4 1/2 years you come back and rant about what I wrote about in 2011? Really?

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