ONTD Political

Terry Achane adoption case

9:36 pm - 01/17/2013

The Utah Supreme Court today put a temporary hold on a trial judge's orders to return a little girl to her soldier father after she was given up for adoption without his consent two years ago.

Drill sergeant Terry Achane was waiting in Dallas airport to board a flight to Utah when he was told that a hearing scheduled for today, that would have likely reunited him with baby Teleah, was cancelled.

'He's extremely disappointed,' his attorney, Mark Wiser, told MailOnline. 'He's waited almost two years to gain custody of his daughter. Everyday without her is heart-wrenching.'

Achane's officers at Fort Jackson in South Carolina ordered him to return to the base until the court makes a final ruling.

'The decision could happen anywhere from tomorrow, to next week to a month from now,' Wiser said.

The Supreme Court said the provisional stay on the petition for emergency relief filed by the adoptive parents, Jared and Kristi Frei, would give it 'the time necessary to adjudicate the request for emergency relief.'

But the court didn't indicate how long that might take.

Wiser said it could be something as simple as one or two of the justices were not available for the hearing or that the court wanted more time to read through the information in the case.

'There is quite a bit of material,' he said.

The Freis are appealing the decision made by Fourth District Judge Darold McDade on November 20 and upheld on January 4 If the petition for 'emergency relief' is granted it means Achane, not the Freis, will have custody of Teleah while the appeal takes place Wiser said Achane had arranged time off work and Teleah's grandmother had flown to South Carolina to help out with the transition.

The sergeant had also footed the cost of flights from South Carolina to Utah as well as hotels for when he arrived 'He had to bear all the cost of that, so that's frustrating,' Wiser said. 'He's hoping to get his daughter back as soon as possible.'

The adoptive parents of a little girl given away without her father's knowledge are trying to block her return to him Achane was 'completely elated' after Judge McDade ruled late last year his baby daughter would be given back to him by mid-January after he was stripped of his parental rights to raise the child But the Utah couple who adopted her at birth quickly filed a motion asking that McDade stay his order dismissing their adoption petition and requiring the baby be returned. In January, McDade upheld his decision but the case then went to the state's high court

The Freis, who have five other children, are appealing the decision Their lawyer Larry Jenkins told ABC News n December: 'They believe the district court made some fundamental errors in its decision and they will raise those with the appropriate appellate court. Yes, they will appeal.'

The couple said they were 'deeply saddened' by the court's ruling to give Teleah back to 'a father she does not know at all.'

In December it was revealed the Utah adoption agency that organised the botched adoption had been under the scrutiny of state licensing officials for three months.

Licensing director for the Utah Department of Health and Human Services Ken Stettler told the Salt Lake City Tribune that the Adoption Center of Choice had been operating under a corrective action plan since September when its license was extended but not renewed.

The action was taken because of documentation deficiencies in some case files, Stettler told the newspaper. The extension was due to expire at the end of December - the deadline for the agency to sort out its compliance.

But the case of baby Teleah has raised new questions and prompted additional review.

Achane won the long legal battle on November 20 to gain back custody of his toddler who his wife placed with the Freis without telling him. The Utah judge ordered the girl's adoptive parents to return her to him within the next 60 days in a 48-page ruling.

Judge McDade condemned the adoption agency that handled Achane's daughter's case for refusing to disclose any information to him nearly two years ago when he learned that his child had been given away without his consent, according to the Salt Lake Tribune

On a blog about the case, the Freis have raised more than $20,000 to help with legal bills They described the arrival of Achane’s daughter in their lives as 'a righteous desire blessed to fruition by God.'

'We have not lost our conviction that we are in the right!!!!!!' Kristi Frei wrote. 'We have only ever wanted to do right by Leah, and have always felt we have been acting in her best interest to keep her with our family and raise her as our own. Our hearts have demanded it — there has never been any question to us that she is OURS!!!'

Achane said it was just days after he left his pregnant wife for his new job out of state that she quietly signed over their unborn baby to a family of seven in Utah.

The military man said that he and his wife, Tira Bland, were having marital problems not long after learning she was pregnant in 2010, leading to her decision and his now spiraling struggle despite a judge ordering the girl returned to him last October.

The now ex-husband says Bland had suggested having an abortion or giving their child up for adoption - fearing she would end up as a single mother - but he said no, encouraging their daughter's birth.

It was just months later in February of 2011 that Achane found himself sent to Fort Jackson in South Carolina for work, believing he’d leave and come back a new dad.

Ten days after his move, however, his wife went gave birth to a premature baby and signed away their child before cutting all contact with her husband.

'I was like, "Utah? Where is Utah?" I’d never been to Utah. She's never been to Utah,'" Mr Achane told the Salt Lake Tribune f the moment he first heard the bizarre and horrifying news.

Sent to live with Jared and Kristi Frei, who had spent the last few years struggling to naturally expand their family of five children, the baby found herself in the city of Spanish Fork.

'We knew that we were not done having children, but after years of sudden infertility and several miscarriages … we discovered somewhere down the line that Kristi had advanced endometriosis, and would not likely conceive or carry another child again,' the Frei family write of their struggle in a blog aimed at raising money for their court battle.

Turning to adoption, in early 2009 the Frei family grew their family by one more with a baby boy named James

Desiring to add one more child - 'a close, similar sibling' [OP: So...they wanted another black baby so they could have a matched set. Barf.] or James - they found Achane's daughter, whom they named Leah.

'Since that eventful day, we have, as a family, come to know that this dream was a righteous desire blessed to fruition by God, and that Leah would be that child - and yet, little did we know the challenges and trials that awaited us in finding and fighting for this little girl,' they wrote.

Adoption Center of Choice told the new family that Achane wasn't aware of his daughter's placement with them and that he would most likely contest it if he found out The Tribune reports that Bland had given the adoption agency Achene's former address in Texas for contact, knowing full well at the time that he was not living there With the judge's recent ruling, he noted the Freis family acknowledged the risk of the father's upset but 'decided they wanted to proceed forward with the adoptive placement anyway.' [OP: Fuck their smug, self-righteous entitlement to a stolen baby.]

Kept in the dark throughout this with months of being unable to reach his wife, Achane asked a friend to visit her home in Texas who reported that the house appeared vacant.

Feverishly calling anyone who may know where his wife could be, while fearing she may have carried out the abortion she once threatened to do, he learned from a family doctor that his wife was no longer pregnant but they could not legally disclose what had happened to the baby.

An ounce of relief only came to the horrified man when his wife finally called him in June, telling him she had signed away their baby to the Frei family ‘I believe she felt guilty at that point because she just made a call out of the blue,' he said of his ex-wife’s phone call Once he learned of his daughter's fate, he immediately tried to track his little girl down but upon contact with the adoption center they refused to disclose any information on her whereabouts.

The agency told the court in October that it was standard procedure to not share any information with a father of a potential adoptive child when asked.

'I am not a very religious person,' Achane has since told the Tribune, 'but thou shalt not steal.'

Speaking of the drawn out legal battle, he said: 'If they prolong it, that is more time away from my daughter. There are precious moments I can’t get back. ... It has been a year and a half now. There is no court order saying they have the right to my child. I just won the case. I want to get my daughter and raise my daughter,' he said.

Judge McDade berated the Adoption Center of Choice's handling as 'utterly indefensible.' 'This is a case of human trafficking,' Achane's attorney Mark Wiser told the Tribune.

'Children are being bought and sold. It is one thing what [adoption agencies] have been doing with unmarried biological fathers. It is in a new area when they are trying to take a child away from a married father who wants to have his child.'

When an attorney for the Frei family contacted Achane, asking him to consent to the adoption, he said no and demanded his little girl returned to him - to the Frei family's complete surprise.[OP: Complete surprise, my ass. They KNEW he hadn't consented.]

'Over the last 19 months, despite the law requiring that a father show interest in his child and at least attempt regular communication to establish a bond, the father has never shown any interest in Leah other than to hire an attorney,' the family writes in their blog.

Despite a judge's order to return the child within 60 days, the family now asks that his parental rights granting him custody of her be terminated.

They accuse him of abandoning both the mother and baby during her pregnancy and therefore demonstrating no capability for raising the girl.

'The right of a fit, competent parent to raise the parent’s child without undue government interference is a fundamental liberty interest that has long been protected by the laws and constitution of this state of the United States, and is a fundamental public policy of this state,’ said Judge McDade.

He added that there is no law requiring the father to 'prove himself' as fit to father his own child.

'Once Mr Achane contacted the Adoption Center of Choice ... to let them know he opposed the adoption and wanted his daughter back, that should have been the end of this case,' said McDade.

Not going down without a fight, the Freis vow to appeal the judge's decision, asking friends and family to support their case financially through their blo They note having paid for 'two already expensive adoptions (each costing around $25,000),' with a continuing fight only requiring more money Their online petition has since raised more than $20,000.

Source Yeah, I know it's the Daily Fail, but it's the most comprehensive article I found Here n here re some others.)

OP: I fucking cannot with this. I'm the last person to argue that men should have any say in what their partners do with their fetuses during pregnancy. But after the baby is born you can't place him or her for adoption without the father's consent. What the mother did was super gross, but the mind absolutely boggles that the adoption agency considered it a legit adoption AND that the so-called adoptive parents knew and didn't give a shit, because it was apparently all God's idea. Not to mention the fuckery that is the whole matched-set-of-black-children business, and all the racism that is no doubt behind this. Ughhhhh. Achane should get his daughter back immediately.

MODS: Sorry about the HTML in my first submission...no idea what happened there. I hope it's better now. It looks good to me when I preview it, except that I cannot for the life of me get the line breaks to show up.

zhiva_the_mage 18th-Jan-2013 05:20 pm (UTC)
# But after the baby is born you can't place him or her for adoption without the father's consent. #

Now that's generalising. Never-ever? Even if pregnancy was a result of rape?

Edited at 2013-01-18 05:21 pm (UTC)
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spyral_path 18th-Jan-2013 05:23 pm (UTC)
I'm an atheist and I still know stealing someone else's child is wrong. The Fries probably think if they drag this out long enough eventually they'll find a judge who'll say it would traumatized the little girl to take her away from the only family she's ever known.
emofordino 18th-Jan-2013 05:38 pm (UTC)
it just reminds me of that old movie with halle berry where she's a crack addict and put her baby in the garbage when she was high and it ended up in the hospital where a doctor adopted him and then they went through a huge legal battle once the bio mom got clean again, and the lawyers were like "but this is the only family he's ever knowwwwwn and i think eventually the bio mom gave up.

except in this case the only thing the father did was just have to be away from his family for his work, which in the military, you don't really have that much of a choice. to say he's "unfit" is just really gross and untrue, not to mention unfair.</p>

i really, really hope that achane gets his daughter back. the frei family sounds obnoxious tbh, they knew this was wrong the whole fucking time!

perrie 18th-Jan-2013 05:39 pm (UTC)
I'd also add re; the communicating with his child bit, in the UK once a closed adoption has been completed, the biological parents can't contact the child until a certain age. I'm assuming there a rule like that in the US which would also prevent him getting in contact with her?
justagimmick 18th-Jan-2013 05:47 pm (UTC)
Not considering legalities, she's TWO. If the adoptive couple say no, how is he meant to make contact?

Edited at 2013-01-18 05:47 pm (UTC)
friggasmuse 18th-Jan-2013 05:40 pm (UTC)
I think there are circumstances which pertain to stripping the father of rights. Was he abusive and putting the fetus and mother in harmful situations? Was the conception because of rape? Did he abandon the mother and fetus?

I feel that in this case, the adoption was conducted unethically. I do have some questions though. If the father is a soldier, will he be sent overseas and if yes, where will the child go?</p>

Would the law have been followed if the child had been from a white family?

furrygreen 18th-Jan-2013 05:56 pm (UTC)
I think there are circumstances which pertain to stripping the father of rights.

I'm sure there are good reasons. However, given that this was done in Utah, the chances of him actually doing something wrong are slim.

Utah basically traffics babies. They adoption rules sway heavily in favor of the mother giving up rights. Women come to Utah just for that. And, regardless if you can prove the mother and the agency lied in court, fathers still have little or no rights. There's no grace period like in other states. Fathers have some three days to assert their rights. However, the mother and the agents don't actually give proof that they informed the father.

Would the law have been followed if the child had been from a white family?

That's the thing. The mother did follow the law. This is how Utah handles adoptions. They do this to white babies too.

Edited at 2013-01-18 05:57 pm (UTC)
pepsquad 18th-Jan-2013 05:40 pm (UTC)
fuck that family they need to give the child back. and that is why we didn't adopt because this shit is wrong and so heart wrenching for all involved.
chaya 18th-Jan-2013 09:02 pm (UTC)
that is why we didn't adopt

That makes it sound like there aren't any orphans in the world.
furrygreen 18th-Jan-2013 05:50 pm (UTC)
but the mind absolutely boggles that the adoption agency considered it a legit adoption

Unfortunately, this is Utah for ya. They do this shit ALL the time. It's a terrible and horrific thing. In fact, it's so well known for having a fucked up system that adoption agencies actually tell mothers to give birth in Utah if they don't want the fathers to have the babies.

Seriously. This is how the Utah baby traffickers adoptions work. Once the baby is in the system, it's damn near impossible to get that child back. Some fathers have been fighting for over five years. Even WHEN it's been proven that the mother and the adoption representatives have lied and have not followed the meager rules, you still have no chance. The "rules" here, though, are a joke. Fathers have to present their desire to keep their child within three days of the birth (usually, this has to be done in person.) The judge will ask the mother if she gave him notice and all she has to say is "yes" and the fathers rights are gone.

It's disgusting.
jamaesi 19th-Jan-2013 02:10 am (UTC)
And what makes this all worse is that adopting a child of color is seen as a status symbol for the... kind of people who live in Utah Valley and Utah Valley is pretty much all white. This is a white family that stole a Black baby.
abiding 18th-Jan-2013 07:16 pm (UTC)
Wow, how fucked up.
ebay313 18th-Jan-2013 09:48 pm (UTC)
This is so terrible and yet from what I've read not actually that unique. Adoption agencies seem to commonly have no problem arranging adoptions for babies despite a father who does not consent and wants to raise the child, because they are making money off the adoption.
And what is the most ridiculous is the adoption agencies and adoptive families can drag it out so long, like in this case- through the adoption agency refusing to give him information and by tying the case up in courts for a long time- and during that whole time the child stays with the adoptive family and then they argue that it's not fair to the child to remove them after so much time because that is the only family the child knows- and people and courts buy that! Even when the only reason that is the only family the child knows is because of the agency and family forcibly dragging it out so long.

Men have no right to tell a woman what to do with her body, but they do (and should) have equal rights to a (born) child of theirs. Unless there was cause to terminate his rights against his wishes, then he absolutely has/should have the right to seek custody and not have an adoption go through against his will.
lady_borg 18th-Jan-2013 10:37 pm (UTC)
What I dont understand is the selfishness of the adoptive family. They have FIVE other children. FIVE. I dont have an issue if you want a big family, that's fine but seriously why do they neeeeeed one more and if they want another so badly there are thousands in the system to adopt, let the father have his daughter and if you must have six children there are many out there wanting homes.
angelus7988 18th-Jan-2013 11:04 pm (UTC)
They're religious, in that very "God is my BFF, so I'm always right" kind of way.
natyanayaki 19th-Jan-2013 12:57 am (UTC)
IMO there are some instances in which the mother -or custodial parent- has the right to give a child up for adoption after birth, in rape, if the other parent hasn't been around and has essentially abandoned the child, but this doesn't seem to be the issue in this scenario. To be honest, I'm a little surprised/confused as to how the mother was able to give the baby up for adoption if she was still married to the child's father? Isn't a woman's husband by default listed as a child's father, and thus automatically given parental rights? If so, how could she legally adopt out the child without the father having signed away his parental rights? This sounds like kidnapping through an adoption agency to me.
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