A father and Utah….

10 Nov


I have watched this case for a while, and, every time I read about it – I get upset all over again.  The father is from Pennsylvania, a veteran of multiple tours in Iraq, who lost his child at birth to an adoption in Utah, and has fought for his child since.

Mr. Wes Hutchins is his lawyer, and, as far as I can tell they are still waiting for the ruling from the Utah Supreme Court…please let me know if I missed a more recent update.

His ex-girlfriend left Pennsylvania in May of 2010, and, gave birth in June 2010.  The mother told Mr. Carlton that she gave birth to a boy, and, a couple of days later that he died.  Mr. Carlton wanted to know where his son was buried, and finally a judge told the mother he had a right to know where his child was buried.  She then confessed the child was alive and she had placed the child for adoption, but, wouldn’t state where.  Once he found out his “son” was alive he filed an a notice of paternity in Pennsylvania (they don’t have a putative father’s registry).  It took another court order to find out the child had been placed for adoption in Utah.

Utah Supreme Court weighs Pennsylvanian’s adoption fight

Carlton, a multi-tour Iraq war veteran who now works for a defense contractor, said he acted quickly once the truth trickled out, filing an initial petition for his “son” in Pennsylvania in November 2010 despite having no information about who had his child or where the adoption occurred. Weeks later, he learned the adoption had occurred in Utah and filed a new petition in 4th District Court on Jan. 6, 2011 — about a week after the adoption was finalized in the same court — but, as noted by the adoption agency’s attorney, it contained few details because he was “unable to obtain sufficient information to complete the filing.”

The next revelation was that the child wasn’t a boy, rather, a girl.

It was only in May 2011, after Carlton filed a second amended petition and while he was deployed in Iraq, that he learned his child was a girl. 

Can you imagine?  First she disappears eight months pregnant, then you are told you are a father of a boy, then that he passed away.  A court has to compel the mother to tell him where his son is buried, only to find out his child is alive and was placed for adoption, but you don’t know where your child was placed and you have to go to court to get that information.  Once you know it’s Utah, you file there, but then find out it is too late.  Months later while you are deployed – you find out your son is actually your daughter.   

Utah Supreme Court Case Challenges Constitutionality of State’s Adoption Laws

Carlton’s lawyer Wesley Hutchins argued that it is unconstitutional to apply Utah adoption deadlines to his client, who lives in Pennsylvania.  Hutchins says his client did not have a meaningful opportunity to assert his parental rights. He had no way of knowing that his child was being put up for adoption out of state, since the child’s mother lied and told him the baby had died. By the time he learned the truth, it was too late. 


…Jenkins maintained that Carlton did not establish his parental rights in Utah under the schedule required, neither did he register as the father in Pennsylvania within the timeframe required under Utah law.

Jenkins argument make no sense to me – even without all the horrendous things that have happened to Mr. Carlton – why would Utah’s timeframes have any bearing on Pennsylvania law, and, why would he have filed within Utah’s timeframes when he thought his “son” had passed away?

Regardless, this type of adoption has to stop.  Now we have a child who is 3 1/2 years old, and, who knows how long before the Utah Supreme Court rules, and, even if they win – it goes back to another court.  This isn’t right to do this to either the child, or, the father.  

At a certain point – every single domestic adoption becomes tainted by the sheer volume of contested adoptions.  Do you really think the public can discern the difference?  Do you honestly want your child to grow up and find out about this crap happening when they were adopted?  Question whether their adoption was on the up and up? 

There’s a simple fix. 

Demand adoption agencies respect fathers rights.  Advocate for laws that respect both parents rights.  No matter how much a prospective parent wants to adopt – it has to be done ethically – not just within the letter of the law.  Adoption demands better than that!  Your future child demands better than that!  Stop accepting the status quo that the mother does not need to name the father, or, steps made by your agency to “deal” with the father (the father of the child you hope to adopt – not just “the putative father”).  Would you be fine if this happened to your son, you nephew, your best friends son? 

Thankfully, there are good lawyers who are willing to stand up and be counted to do their best to protect fathers and their children.


Posted by on November 10, 2013 in Adoption, adoptive parents, biological child, Ethics


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

17 responses to “A father and Utah….

  1. TAO

    November 10, 2013 at 10:45 pm

    I put the wrong link in the first quote – give me a minute to find it and get it fixed.



    • Christopher Carlton

      March 3, 2014 at 7:11 pm

      Hey Tao, This is Chris Carlton. We won last tue in the supreme court. All 5 judges voted in my favor. Now we take the fight back to district court because FINALLY we have standing.


      • TAO

        March 3, 2014 at 7:31 pm

        Hey Chris – I saw that and was so please for you. It’s about time and a huge win that you can argue on Constitutional grounds re due process. I follow all the cases pretty closely and have watched the news clips on line. You did great on CNN. I need to do a post updating what’s going on, but got sidelined and need to figure out if the Mandez (spelling) suit is separate from the other damages suit. Once I figure that out I will do an update. Really looking up for changes in Utah finally (long over due – love the agency lost their license), and interesting legislation in OK as well. It’s about time. Cheers and I wish you the best.


        • Christopher Carlton

          March 4, 2014 at 2:37 pm

          Thanks and I will keep you posted of any changes. I should be on the Kelly Files on Friday.


  2. kellie3

    November 10, 2013 at 11:14 pm

    I am so very tired of hearing these stories. Absolutely appalling. And I agree with you 100%, how do you adopt a child when you know their parent still wants them? How do you explain this to the child you supposedly adopted so they could have a family and then deny them the family they already had?


    • TAO

      November 10, 2013 at 11:24 pm

      This one has been in the news when it first happened but then seemed to disappear. Just consider how many contested adoptions there really is- we only hear if they have some way of reaching the media,

      Kellie – I have no idea how an adoptive parent could look their child in the eyes and say we didn’t give a fig for your father’s rights – it was all about us. Sadly though – I think throughout the adoption process they are subtly schooled that fathers don’t matter – much in the same manner as mothers are guided to choose adoption over parenting…and once they get home and the child grows up a bit – then the fog clears at least for some and they start worrying.


  3. shadowtheadoptee

    November 12, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    Not only the APs, but the birth mothers? It’s not like, someday, the child isn’t going to find out. How do any of these people live with themselves? Does anyone ever, ever, ever think of the child?

    And then, these agencies want to portray adoption as a selfless act by, both adoptive, and biological, parents? They try to sell it as the answer to everyone’s problem? Just adopt and everyone lives happily ever after? Yah, right.

    On top of all that, everyone wants adoptees to believe adoption is in our best interest and well-being? Give me a break!

    They wonder why so many of us are so angry? Seriously? Yep, another angry adoptee in the making. Why don’t people get it? It’s not that hard to understand. Is it?


  4. jessica34

    November 12, 2013 at 8:22 pm

    I totally agree that this adoption should have never happened, it is a true tragedy for everyone involved. In my opinion, the birthmother should be in trouble for lying. Shameful! I think adoption is a beautiful thing, when done openly and honestly.


    • TAO

      November 12, 2013 at 8:38 pm

      Jessica – Utah adoption law has included a provision that protects the birthmother if she lies…it’s pretty sad when you think about it…nothing beautiful about that…


      • mad momma moogacat

        November 13, 2013 at 5:12 pm

        Holy crap! I knew Utah adoption law was horrible, but I didn’t know that existed. I’m not sure that is constitutional. All laws have to pass a basic due process test of being rationally related to a legitimate government interest. How can the government have a legitimate interest in encouraging lying?


        • TAO

          November 13, 2013 at 7:22 pm

          Of course I agree with you and we know Utah is so very special…and extremely pro-adoption.

          But to the overall general question – the government has clearly identified that in adoption lying is acceptable, and, with the use of “legal fiction” we are listed as having been born to people who may not have even known we existed at the time of our birth. I know mom and dad didn’t know I existed for quite some time after mom “apparently gave birth to me”…and pretty sure dad would have at least been assisting the other doctor – seeing as dad delivered many, many babies – pretty sure he would have been to that one.


  5. Christopher Carlton

    January 13, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    Thank you everyone for your support and comments. I am the Christopher Carlton whom this article is about and I wanted to give everybody an update.My attorney filed a supplemental brief in the Utah Supreme Court back in late Sept to clarify Pennsylvanias laws We are still waiting for a decision from the court and I will keep everybdoy posted from there. Thanks again


    • TAO

      January 13, 2014 at 7:37 pm

      Hi Christopher – thank you for stopping by. Yes, please keep us updated. What is happening to fathers is a travesty that cannot continue. If any of the detail in the post are incorrect, let me know and I will fix them.


  6. Christopher Carlton

    January 14, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    Tao I wanted to speak to you and I was wondering can you email me your phone number or vice versa. xxxxx


    • TAO

      January 14, 2014 at 2:58 pm

      Chris – best for me here. I put you on temporary moderation so give me a password in your reply (won’t be published) and then that will be the password for the “Other” page above and I will remove the moderation, so you can comment freely again. (Hopefully, that made sense and can work for you)


      • TAO

        January 15, 2014 at 3:53 pm

        Chris – done without ” ” and removed from moderation…



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