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Utah Supreme Court hears fight over 'Baby Emma'

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  • SB Fan
    Sept. 9, 2010 12:16 p.m.

    Regardless of "Utah's Laws" these people didn't break the law and this young man didn't do his part to stop the adoption. Funny there is no mention from the birth mom about being locked in the hotel room! Simply because she can tell him anything she wants when the truth just may be that she didn't want to be a mother yet and consequently if he didn't do his part then he wouldn't me a father yet either. If you take the child now, how Messed up will it be! the 2 families won't get along, it just spells bad news for baby. Young man shouldve been responsible from the start... Next time protect yourself and then if that fails, follow the steps of the law.

  • Demisana
    Sept. 9, 2010 1:04 p.m.

    I'm adopted. My worst nightmare as a child was that my birth parents would change their mind and try to take me away from my real parents - the ones who raised me. Work to change the law if you want - but Emma doesn't want to go home with a stranger. It's too late now.

  • snowman
    Sept. 9, 2010 1:14 p.m.

    The father deserves a say in what happens to the baby in cases like this.

  • snowman
    Sept. 9, 2010 1:26 p.m.

    Demisana: Shouldn't the father at least get to visit. The child has the right to know her biological parents.

  • John S. Harvey
    Sept. 9, 2010 2:14 p.m.

    How did birth mother who was a resident of Virginia end up being subject to Utah law? Since the Virginia courts have already ruled the young man did take all of the required steps in that state (see the article earlier this week) what is the event or set of events which supposedly gave the Utah Courts jurisdiction?

  • Demisana
    Sept. 9, 2010 2:20 p.m.

    Fine - make it an open adoption if you must. But I (and every other adopted child/adoptive parent) don't want to see yet another screaming baby torn away from the only home and parents she's ever known.

  • Spoxjox
    Sept. 9, 2010 2:37 p.m.

    The father gets screwed again. When it comes to protecting a father's rights to his own children, Utah courts suck.

  • Doctor
    Sept. 9, 2010 2:45 p.m.

    Poor article. Clearly biased towards the adoptive parents. Father has date stamped court document showing he wanted custody before the adoption. In the last 18 months he has won two court battles in Virginia. The adoptive parents are responsible for any stress this child is under. They should have given the father his child before 18 months went by.

  • Matilda
    Sept. 9, 2010 2:52 p.m.

    If he truly loves his daughter he'll let it go. The worst thing he could do is to rip her away from her family. She deserves stability, security and love. We adopted a child internationally, and this is one of the reasons why we decided to go international. In most other countries, once the parent looses or declines custody rights, it cannot be reversed. They recognize that this is best for the child and you don't have to worry about someone coming back and trying to take your child away. Sadly, in the U.S., the laws have been warped and twisted and everyone suffers because of it - especially the child. When the biological parents try to rip a child away from it's family, they most often are acting out of selfishness not selflessness. The most loving and selfless thing a parent can do sometimes, is let there child go so the child can have the love and stability they deserve.

  • Doctor
    Sept. 9, 2010 3:55 p.m.

    Shame the adopting parents weren't loving and selfless and give the baby up 18 months ago.

  • Cedarite
    Sept. 9, 2010 4:19 p.m.

    Matilda | 2:52 p.m- if someone put your child up for adoption against your will, I bet you'd fight tooth and nail to get him or her back and I bet it would hurt like heck when people would tell you that you were being selfish for doing it.

  • gub-ment-cheeze
    Sept. 9, 2010 4:24 p.m.

    Cases like this make me sick. If the father was so intent of keeping his child, why did he not marry the woman carrying the baby? Why was he intent on being a sperm donor, but not intent on being a father until well after the child was born.

    He had plenty of time to invoke paternal privileges, but chose not to do so until past the 11th hour. Sorry, you snooze, you lose.

  • Demisana
    Sept. 9, 2010 4:28 p.m.

    Is it really so selfish to put the child's needs ahead of the birth father? They could give the child a stable home with both a mother and a father. The story is very light on what he can offer his daughter, maybe the adoptive parents are aware of significant issues that contributed to their "selfishness".

    I don't know about your kids, but all three of mine were mama's babies. They loved their daddy too, and needed him just as much - but when they had a boo-boo, they came running to mom, for the most part.

  • Demisana
    Sept. 9, 2010 4:37 p.m.

    @Cedarite - yes, it would hurt - but as the child of a birth mother who put my needs ahead of her own, I can't help but side with the adoptive family here. And baby Emma. The birth father needs to look at what his daughter needs and wants, and what she will need and want. And right now she wants her mommy and daddy. The time to take care of this is before birth, not after.

  • Clarissa
    Sept. 9, 2010 4:40 p.m.

    As an adopted child, I am so grateful that my birth father allowed me to be adopted by my stepfather, whom I consider to be my real father. I know it was hard for him to let me go, but he did it anyway for my own good. I'm forever grateful that he did it. I know that that child will be much better off in a stable family with two loving parents because that is what happened to me. I still communicate and have even visited my birth father. This man can let little Emma go and start a new family of his own. When she is old enough, she can create a relationship with him as I have with mine. The greatest act of selflessness is to think of someone before yourself. He is being selfish and I think our laws protecting adopting parents aren't tough enough here or definitely in Virginia. If he had wanted that baby, he should have married the mother and created a loving home life for her. He chose poorly. May I suggest that he consider reproducing within the bonds of matrimony so such things don't occur to him again.

  • pharmacist
    Sept. 9, 2010 4:48 p.m.

    And where was the baby born?? If back East, then the father was right. If the mother gave birth in Utah, then Utah laws should prevail. The article doesnt really say.

  • cjm
    Sept. 9, 2010 5:46 p.m.

    only in utah can an unmarried female get pregnant without the sperm and yet a married female requires a guy in order to get pregnant

  • jane
    Sept. 9, 2010 6:15 p.m.

    Interesting that a man can't stop a woman from aborting his child (killing it) but he can stop her from placing it with a loving family.

    Several of my grandchildren are adopted and not one of their birth fathers were/are in a position to be good fathers or provide a stable home. I'm grateful the children are in loving adoptive homes.

  • Sorry Charlie!
    Sept. 9, 2010 6:46 p.m.

    @ gub-ment-cheeze: " If the father was so intent of keeping his child, why did he not marry the woman carrying the baby?"

    Uh, because hitting the woman over the head with a club and dragging her off to be married against her will went out of style several thousand years ago.

    Both he and the mother state that they were in contact during the pregnancy. According to him, they had plans to raise the child together and eventually get married. (Apparently, she didn't want to get married until after college.) She changed her mind about raising the child with him and decided to put the baby up for adoption.

    The ethical thing to do, would have been to give him custody - she knew he wanted to raise his daughter.

    She chose this, she is the one putting her daughter through this. He is a victim of the mother's actions.

  • Sorry Charlie!
    Sept. 9, 2010 6:49 p.m.

    @ Jane: When men can carry a fetus to term, your comments will have some merit worthy of a conversation.

    Until then, they are a red-herring.

  • lin
    Sept. 9, 2010 7:32 p.m.

    This sperm donor thinks he is capable of raising a child. He should have no rights since he wasn't married to the mother of the child.

    I think it is the grandmother who is behind all this fuss.

  • Rob
    Sept. 9, 2010 10:12 p.m.

    I wish I knew more about this situation. The Father said he filed paperwork in time. The birth mother and adopted parents say he didn't. If she had residency here the state of Virginia has no say. This is sad. I understand both sides and someone will be hurt. Let's hope the child isn't hurt but she might be.

  • Rmh
    Sept. 9, 2010 10:58 p.m.

    Rob - some information about the case and why I think Mr. Wyatt should get his daughter back. I will have to break it up into multiple posts because of the character limit but I hope it answers your questions about where the parents resided; where the child was born and given up for adoption, etc.

  • Rmh
    Sept. 9, 2010 10:58 p.m.

    The birth mom never set foot in Utah. The baby was born at a hospital in Virginia and she met the agency and adoptive parents in a hotel in Virginia where she signed paperwork. Virginia laws give more rights to birthfathers than Utah. They require notice if the biological father is known (and the birth mother listed the name of the father in the paperwork, in this particular case) and also has a longer waiting period for an unnamed birth father to step forward and contest the adoption. Meanwhile, as soon as he learned of the birth, Mr. Wyatt hired a lawyer and filed a petition for paternity and custody in Virginia courts.

  • Rmh
    Sept. 9, 2010 10:58 p.m.

    At the time it is highly possible that the baby had not yet left the state, though he was unable to locate her. The records do show the case was filed in Virginia around a week before the first petition for the adoption in Utah. (it may have been a bit less than a week but it was somewhere in the range of 4-7 days before the adoption petition) Ultimately the case finished its rounds through the Virginia courts and ended with the determination that the baby was wrongfully removed from the state, that the adoption laws of Virginia were not followed, and that Mr. Wyatt would have sole legal and physical custody of the baby. However, while there are laws regarding interstate child placement/adoption, going to another state to get a different custody ruling, etc these are federal laws and it is up to the federal courts to enforce them if a state refuses. So this will likely end up in federal court if the Utah Supreme Court refuses to recognize the Virginia custody order.

  • snowman
    Sept. 9, 2010 11:14 p.m.

    Matilda: She also deserves to know her biological family.

  • Demisana
    Sept. 9, 2010 11:56 p.m.

    @snowman - believe it or not, not every adopted child WANTS to know their birth parents. Some of us just want to be left alone. And all of us should make that decision for ourselves, and not have it forced on us.

  • Rmh
    Sept. 10, 2010 12:13 a.m.

    Demisana - would you argue that if a newborn is kidnapped and enough time passes that the baby bonds to the kidnappers, they should get to keep custody to avoid upsetting the child, even though they broke the law and stole a child that wasn't theirs?

    if you would say no to that, than how is this case any different if it turns out the adoption was not legal? And before you say Utah law allowed the adoption, that is not the issue here, the issue is whether it was legal to take the child out of Virginia against the wishes of a parent whose rights were not terminated in an attempt to escape Virginia law. There are federal laws about jurisidction in child custody cases and the legality of taking a child to another state to get a different custody ruling, and it is very possible these laws were violated and thus the adoption was not legal.

  • Steven S Jarvis
    Sept. 10, 2010 6:00 a.m.

    This kidnapping case intrigues me.

    I have two adopted nephews. Neither one came from a situation that the father likely knew of the child. One case it was very uncertain which man was the father, and the other was a semi-pro athlete. There always was concern the adoptions could be contested til six months had passed and the adoptions stuck.

    This case and others like it have bothered everyone in our family. We could feel for the adoptive parents. We could feel for the child. We can also feel for the birth father. For one thing, he is no more a "sperm donor" than the woman an "incubator" or "egg donor." He is Emma's father and has established his parental rights in Virginia (he was declared the sole guardian). But Utah has so far denied him of his child.

    By stealing the baby out of the state of Virginia, the adoption agency IS guilty of kidnapping. They and the birth parents knew that the father wanted her. The agency did what they could to steal her away so they could essentially sell her to the highest bidder. So how is this not kiddnapping?

  • cjb
    Sept. 10, 2010 6:29 a.m.

    This really isn't as hard of a case as it seems. Any family adopting knows there are adoptions that happen without the concent of the father involved and that some adoptions involve parents who are not residents of the state of Utah.

    It makes as much sense that Utah's registry ought to hold in such an instance as if India had a similar law and the mother took the child to India to be adopted.

    Should a father lose rights to his child because he didn't bother to register himself in India?

  • Ethel
    Sept. 10, 2010 6:49 a.m.

    Mr Jenkins is quote4d, "Wyatt took no legal action prior to the adoption proceedings and waited more than two months after Emma's birth to place his name on the Virginia Putative Father Registry, Jenkins said."

    If that is correct, then Wyatt was too late to make any claim. However, Wyatt claims, according to the article that he filed a week before the Virginia birth.

    The fine line here is though, that Utah law has the birth father on notice from the time of conception. The complication here is that the adoption was in UTAH. The birth mother has the option to place her child up for adoption 24 hours and one minute after the delivery. Whether that delivery is in UTAH or another state, who knows?

    Nevertheless the adoption was finalized in Utah. That must be why the Utah Supreme Court is up to review it at this time.

    The article states that the birth mother changed her mind to marry the father. It is her decision and legal in Utah.

    What a fine mess this is and has become. The child should stay with the adoptive couple. Wyatt needs to move on if he loves the child.

  • Bubble
    Sept. 10, 2010 7:27 a.m.

    On the threads about illegal immigrants and the family being torn apart because one (or both) parents are deported, many people state that any harm to the children by being separated from their parents is the fault of the parents who broke the law and put the child(ren) in that situation.

    If any harm occurs to this child, it is the fault of the biological mother - who placed her for adoption knowing the father wanted to raise her - and the fault of the adoptive family who knew - long before the child bonding with them became a real issue - that the father was contesting the adoption and wanted to raise his daughter. If they cared about the needs of the child as much as they cared about their own wants, they would have returned the child to the father months ago and prevented any risk of harm to the child from drawing this case out.

    The father did everything he needed to do, according to the laws of his state - the state that has or should have jurisdiction - to protect his parental rights. His daughter was stolen from him. He should suffer because someone else committed a crime.

  • GoManUReds
    Sept. 10, 2010 7:39 a.m.

    Please read the article before you post. The birth mother waived Virginia rights and accepted Utah adoption law in the hospital. Utah has ruled in favor of the adoptive family while Virginia has ruled in favor of the birth father. The registry is a national registry so the nonsensical "registering in India" analogy carries no water. You may have an opinion but try improving your reading comprehension before you form that opinion...or had you predetermined it was a case of baby snatching?

  • Timp
    Sept. 10, 2010 7:41 a.m.

    the child belongs w/ his biological father.

  • Hey It's Me
    Sept. 10, 2010 7:51 a.m.

    BY THE WAY. . . I know of an adoptive family in the state I'm originally from that totally abused, pschologically, emotionally, and physically their adoptive daughter. She is grown up and found her real parents as soon as she was legal!Some of you metion that this little girl is established where she is. Well what about all the children that are adopted when they are 3,4 10 years old and have been living with foster parents till then etc. "Baby Emma is still young enough she can make the adjustment. I just don't get where Utah courts think they can overrule another court that made a decision. I feel bad for both the adoptive family since they have grown to love her but I feel bad for the dad that he has never gotten to hold his baby! If he loses, I hope the adoptive family will allow him to be a part of the baby's life and see her!

  • stanfunky
    Sept. 10, 2010 7:54 a.m.

    What was the father's intention when the child was conceived? What were his intentions during most of the 9 months of pregnancy? The mother did not make this decision to adopt in a vacuum. Likely she looked at the father as not being responsible enough, or prepared, to raise a child. However, when his mommy found out she was going to be a grandma, she stepped in and got him on the ball, and has fueled this ever since. I'd like to hear who's going to raise the child if the father is awarded custody, $$$ says it's his mother, the "Grandma".

  • Bubble
    Sept. 10, 2010 8:22 a.m.

    @ Ethel: What you are ignoring is the fact that neither parent lived in Utah at the time. Also, the baby was born in Virginia. Someone in Virginia is under no legal obligation whatsoever to file any paperwork in Utah. According to standard legal rules of jurisdiction, Virginia had (and has) the rights to this case.

    According to legal documents, the father filed for custody within 8 days of his daughters birth - well within the Virginia guidelines. That filing was 5 days before the adoption paperwork was filed in Utah.

    Utah law may put the father on notice from the time of conception, but that does not matter as Utah had no legal jurisdiction over the father, the mother, or the child.

  • Sorry Charlie!
    Sept. 10, 2010 8:27 a.m.

    Someone on a story about this issue from a few months ago brought up an interesting point:

    If the roles had been exactly reversed - If the father had removed the child from the hospital without the mother's knowledge and placed the child for adoption, it would never have been considered a legal adoption no matter how much time passed - as soon as the mother said she had not given permission and wanted to raise the child, she would have been returned to her. (And the father would probably have been charged with parental kidnapping and all kinds of other stuff.)

    This father is not doing anything wrong - the wrong and the harm come from the birth mother, the adoption agency, and the adoptive family. Too bad none of them are willing to do the right thing.

  • livestrong
    Sept. 10, 2010 8:56 a.m.

    The dad had 9 months to make it clear he wanted the baby. I have no sympathy for someone who takes that long to decide he really does want to be a dad (a decision that should have been made before you jumped into bed without protection).

    This baby has a family now and should stay with that family. End of story. What is best for the kid? A family who loves it or a dad who wasn't sure he even wanted it?

  • snowman
    Sept. 10, 2010 8:57 a.m.

    Demisana: They may not want to know but someday they will need to know their biological family.

  • Rmh
    Sept. 10, 2010 9:11 a.m.

    GoManUReds - it doesn't matter as far as Virginia law is concerned that the mother waived her rights to a Virginia adoption, because the father didn't and Virginia law does not allow her to make that decision for him. The father's consent is required in Virginia no matter WHAT the mother signs and they kidnapped the baby out of the state of Virginia in defiance of that law.

  • snowman
    Sept. 10, 2010 9:44 a.m.

    livestrong: The baby has a biological family too. They deserve to know her.

  • shamrock
    Sept. 10, 2010 10:09 a.m.

    @livestrong: If you'd been following this story, you'd know that the birth father DID make it clear during the pregnancy that he wanted to keep the baby. Despite this, the birth mother ignored his wishes and concealed the birth for several days.

    If this were the first such case involving the Act of Love adoption agency and its attorney, Larry Jenkins, I might have more sympathy for their position. In fact, however, these sort of questionable dealings are pretty much standard operating procedure for Act of Love, and Jenkins often defends cases like this one. Most social workers I know say that Act of Love is an adoption agency to avoid.

  • shamrock
    Sept. 10, 2010 10:20 a.m.

    Livestrong, if you'd been following this story, you'd know that the birth father did, in fact, make it clear during the pregnancy that he wanted to keep the baby. Despite this, the birth mother ignored his wishes and concealed the birth for several days.

    If this were the first such case involving the Act of Love adoption agency and its attorney, I might have more sympathy for their position. In fact, however, these sort of situations are pretty much standard operating procedure for Act of Love, and Jenkins often defends cases like this one. Most social workers I know say that Act of Love is an adoption agency to avoid if you want to steer clear of messes like this.

  • Nan BW
    Sept. 10, 2010 10:24 a.m.

    It isn't an ideal solution, but the bio-father should have visitation rights. Then he could establish a relationship with Emma, and she would simply have an additional relative. This happens in open adoptions commonly, and gives the child more opportunity to know his/her biological background. Eventually the child may want to make the bio-family a more frequent part of her life.

  • Manny Being Manny
    Sept. 10, 2010 10:30 a.m.

    I am an adoptive parent and the father has a certain time period to express his intent to keep the child. Just because he did it before the adoptive papers were drawn up or signed doesn't mean that period hasn't expired.

    In other words, for example, if baby was conceived Jan. 1, father has a certain time by Utah law to claim parental rights. Adoption papers aren't signed until after the baby is born. Father's time to claim rights has expired by then according to the law.

    Sorry, but adoptive parents have full custody. If you can't be responsible enough to claim parental responsibility until after the baby is born, then too bad. You should've been involved much earlier than that.

  • Rmh
    Sept. 10, 2010 10:58 a.m.

    Manny, he and the mother lived in Virginia and the baby was born in Virginia. As soon as the baby was born he filed for his rights and that was sufficient in the state all 3 were living in at the time. Why do you think it is ok for the adoptive parents and agency to say "Too bad, we are in Virginia but we don't like the laws of this state, we'll take this baby against the wishes of a parent this state says has rights and fly her to Utah so we can get a different court ruling."

    This was not a child born in Utah. He did everything neccesary to protect his rights in the state all 3 resided in, then behind his back they flew the child somewhere else. You really think that's ok? The decision of the first state should prevail, otherwise kidnapping is being allowed, the law just doesn't work that way, you can't do something illegal in one state and flee to a state that allows the crime you just commited and expect to be protected.

  • Tami
    Sept. 10, 2010 11:12 a.m.

    If the father filed papers in Virginia 8 days after the birth, the adoptive parents need to step aside and let the dad have his daughter.
    I too was adopted and found out after 30 years that my bioligical father tried to fight the adoption and was overwhelmed by my adoptive parents' money and lawyers. Although I love my adoptive family, it makes me sad to think of my birth father feeling helplessly outmanned and outgunned and somewhat angry at the strong arm tactics used by my adoptive family. I love them, but am a little resentful of the methods used to get me..

  • enfanta non grata
    Sept. 10, 2010 11:38 a.m.

    To all those who think this adoption was ok: if your infant or grandchild is kidnapped, taken to another state, and you find two years later that they were adopted in the new state, you're ok with that, right? I mean, you would not want to tear them away from those they love, and would laud their new environment where they're surrounded by love, right? You would, right?
    Bigots, all.

  • Sarah B
    Sept. 10, 2010 11:55 a.m.

    Let the adoptive parents retain full custody with bio dad having a couple of visits a year. He can be a part of her life, much like a favorite uncle. When she's an adult, they can decide how close they want to be. I have a niece who has an open adoption with her son and it has been a very rewarding experience. Bio Mom gets pictures, updates and occasional visits, but no say in his upbringing. Son knows his bio mom and half siblings. It has been a win win situation. No mystery, no secrets. He's a teenager now and I cannot see how this arrangement has created any problems whatsoever.

  • Clarissa
    Sept. 10, 2010 12:34 p.m.

    I've really had it. The child should come first. Always. This man cannot offer her a home with a mother and father. She loves her parents she has now and unless they can show that they are abusive or incompetent, he should let it go. Please read my comments about what happened to me above if you think I'm being too harsh. She is being treated like she is a piece of property instead of a human being. This is a problem we have when it comes to children. Too often have I seen it as a teacher. Children who should never have been left in a home, but the laws favored the parents over the child. By the time the social services step in, no one wants the kid. Virginia laws should be changed. Only what is best for the child should be the deciding factors. I can just hear little Emma's screams as they rip her away from her parents. This is one reason I decided not to adopt. I was afraid the same thing would happen to me.

  • phnehme
    Sept. 10, 2010 12:36 p.m.

    WOW! UT is still living in the stone age. I can't believe all of you "wonderful" UT people that are OK with denying a father his parental rights. Obviously, if any of you have been following the case the adoption agency DID NOT follow VA laws. Yet you cower in your UT cloak and proclaim that this man should lose his child. Makes me sick that most of you are probably LDS. It's no wonder that the rest of the country and the world looks down on our religion with such distain.

  • Independent
    Sept. 10, 2010 1:12 p.m.

    The father is justified in his point of view in this case, but the child must come first. I can't imagine how difficult it would be, but I think it would be easier for the father to leave the child with the adoptive parents than it would for the child to be torn away from the adoptive parents at this point. How sad. Why can't we all just wait until we are married to have babies and avoid all of this?

  • Mike Rose
    Sept. 10, 2010 1:14 p.m.

    The kidnapping Adoption Agency employees ought to be thrown in jail, and the adoptive parents will be lucky if they're not thrown in jail for kidnapping as well. And this is speaking as an adoptive parent. There is no room for selfishness nor lawyer strong arming nor interstate child smuggling in the adoption process.

    I expect at the very least the father will get full rights to the child, and he will likely bond very well with a 18 month old, similar to my spouses and mine experience with adopting a similarly aged child out of foster care.

  • Sorry Charlie!
    Sept. 10, 2010 1:27 p.m.

    @ Clarissa: The child should come first - and the adoptive parents never should have kept her from her biological father.

    "This is one reason I decided not to adopt. I was afraid the same thing would happen to me."

    If you adopt through a reputable agency, you won't have this problem.

  • Joggle
    Sept. 10, 2010 1:31 p.m.

    Utah is overzealous to strip away a father's parental rights in favor of the mother or in this case....the adoptive parents. The father did everything he needed to do to retain custody, but the state of Utah with all its misguided wisdom decided to overrule VA law and adopt "Emma" out before they legally could do so. The courts and the adoptive parents have now wasted precious months in a court battle in which the birth father should never have had to fight in the first place.

  • enfanta non grata
    Sept. 10, 2010 2:44 p.m.

    Mike Rose, you expect too much. This is, after all, a Utah agency, Utah court and Utah laws, laws designed and engineered to facilitate and legitimize kidnapping such as we see here. This is not the first time a situation like this has happened and it won't be the last.

    I would think the father would have grounds for a civil suit against the mother and, more importantly, the adoption agency for fraud, deceit, intentional alienation of familial members, etc. But this is Utah, where justice is not justice unless cleared by the powers that be, the theocracy which purchased the laws this poor father is up against.

  • eenymeenymyneechic
    Sept. 10, 2010 3:35 p.m.

    There is a factor no one has mentioned. What if the birth mother wanted her child to be raised in a two parent family? It is out of love for the child a birth mom relinquishes her parental rights to opt for adoption. She bore the child. So what if John W. wanted the baby, that is not the same as being a parent, husband. The baby was not an option for him to raise alone obviously by a single dad and his mother. (?) That just does not bode well.

    The birth mother was within her rights to take her own child anywhere. The fact that she signed the papers in Utah is why the law in Utah takes precedent, over Virginia's law. This is not astrophysics.

    No custody or visitation should be granted to the bio-dad. Children are not property to fight over. He did not convince the birth mother, so why should the court be any different?

    The

  • Rmh
    Sept. 10, 2010 5:11 p.m.

    She didn't sign papers in Utah. She NEVER set foot in Utah. She NEVER left Virginia. Are you stupid? have you read the article? She signed the papers in a hotel in Virginia.

    The baby was born in Virginia, the mother never left Virginia, all papers were signed in Virginia, the custody case began in Virginia when the father filed for custody before a petition for adoption was ever filed anywhere. It doesn't matter if the mother wanted a 2 parent family, because Virginia just doesn't give her the right to make that decision for the father.

    And actually, no, the birth mother does not have the right to take the child wherever she wants. Once the birth father is recognized as a legal parent (which he was), he gets a say in what happens to that child. When one parent wants to move in a custody case it has to be settled in court, they can't just take the child and go where they want.

  • eenymeenymyneechic
    Sept. 10, 2010 9:31 p.m.

    I stand corrected by whoever Rmh is. I will pardon your state of mind if you will pardon my oversight/ignorance. Thank you very much.

  • snowman
    Sept. 10, 2010 10:31 p.m.

    eenymeenymyneechic: It's not just the mothers that can deciede this. The dad has a say too.

  • K
    Sept. 10, 2010 10:56 p.m.

    It should not have gone on this long. The outcome shouldn't have a different ending cause one party was able to stretch it out so long. If the potential adoptive parent's didn't want to risk losing a child so old they should have stopped fighting a long time ago.

    When you adopt you are dealing with the bio mom, and bio dad and their families in many cases. A couple taking custody without a dad signing is asking for a hold up in the process and broken heart.

    A man who has relations with any women not married to should sign father's registry in every state that has one.

    Finality is necessary. In IL there is an agency where there is a nursery so while bio mom and dad are making up minds baby doesn't have to go perhaps temporarily "home" to AP's who might not be able to complete adoption while they are deciding whether to place or not. And a lot of times they don't place and decide to parent. Easier for everyone that the child is in a neutral place while decisions are being made post partum.

  • Rmh
    Sept. 10, 2010 11:40 p.m.

    eenymeenymyneechic - my apologies. I am just frustrated with arguing with people who jumped to conclusions, and didn't realize that the court case started in Virginia, not Utah, and that the biological father didn't just wake up 18 months later and ask for the baby back - he filed for custody less than a week after the baby was born. I realize the law IS different in Utah, but in Virginia that was within the limits, and at the time mom, dad, and baby were all Virginia residents. I just don't think it's right to sneak a child to another state to avoid a pending custody change.

  • CB
    Sept. 11, 2010 10:34 a.m.

    He had his chance when he found out the mother was pregnant. If he was so intent on being 'dad' why didn't he marry the mother and provide a stable home before his daughter's birth? Now he comes along to provide what? A life that is disrupted when she's torn from the only home she's ever known...placed in a day care situation where she will be one of how-many? Unfortunately this guy doesn't know what love is. His actions so far are totally selfish and self serving. Now he has a chance to prove that he loves his daughter. Walk away, let her grow up in a stable, two parent home. If she wants to know you, she will find you.

  • Sorry Charlie!
    Sept. 11, 2010 11:06 a.m.

    @ CB: gub-ment-cheeze brought that issue up on page 1. I will give you the same response I gave him:

    Because hitting the woman over the head with a club and dragging her off to be married against her will went out of style several thousand years ago.

    Both he and the mother state that they were in contact during the pregnancy. According to him, they had plans to raise the child together and eventually get married. (Apparently, she didn't want to get married until after college.) She changed her mind about raising the child with him and decided to put the baby up for adoption against his expressed and known wishes.

    The ethical thing to do, would have been to give him custody - she knew he wanted to raise his daughter.

    She chose this, she is the one putting her daughter through this. He is a victim of the mother's actions and he should not be penalized because the mother did something which - in the state that has jurisdiction over this case - is basically illegal.

  • CB
    Sept. 11, 2010 1:03 p.m.

    Perhaps this is a good lesson in 'casual sex' then. It has consequences and these consequences fall upon an innocent child. In the good old days it was not a club, but a 'shotgun' that prompted marriages where conception came before the ceremony. Being born a short 8 months after my parent's anniversary which was a 44 year marriage, I'm grateful they took responsibility for their behavior.

  • Sorry Charlie!
    Sept. 11, 2010 1:21 p.m.

    @ CB: The father has been trying to take responsibility ever since he found out he got the mother pregnant.

    It is unfortunate that she denied him that and, as a result of her actions, he is now suffering.

  • Rebeckah
    Sept. 12, 2010 6:14 p.m.

    I am absolutely appalled by the tenor of comments here. Emma's KIDNAPPERS are NOT her "adoptive parents". They knowingly stole this baby from her father and are attempting to manipulate jurisdiction to keep her. How DARE you people accuse her father of not loving her OR of being selfish. I hope her father keeps record of every comment made here just in case young Emma is ever tempted to believe the LDS lies of "forever families". Clearly the majority of posters here have no care about family OR what is best for children. Just as clearly Emma's kidnappers don't care either. All they cared about was their own trophy baby that they could raise and indoctrinate themselves. If they actually CARED about children they would have legally adopted one who actually needs a home.

  • Rebeckah
    Sept. 12, 2010 6:35 p.m.

    "Please read the article before you post. The birth mother waived Virginia rights and accepted Utah adoption law in the hospital."

    Actually, the birth mother was restrained in a hotel room while her mother and the adoption agency strong-armed her into signing adoption paperwork. She did not "waive Virginia rights" because she had NO legal grounds to do so.

    "The registry is a national registry so the nonsensical "registering in India" analogy carries no water."

    Actually, there are several such registries and Utah has no legal grounds to hold a Virginia resident to their obscure laws. They kidnapped the baby and Virginia has, and should have, jurisdiction. I hope the lawyer and the kidnappers face federal charges for their actions myself.

    "You may have an opinion but try improving your reading comprehension before you form that opinion...or had you predetermined it was a case of baby snatching?"

    Yes, it was baby snatching. Only a brainwashed fool would think otherwise.

  • GoManUReds
    Sept. 13, 2010 9:12 p.m.

    @RMH
    Obviously you're part of this whole ordeal and are biased by your desire that the birth father be given parental rights and the baby returned with him to Virginia. The birth mother waived rights to the baby and then the birth father, apparently (b/c the judge in Utah determined it was so) registered with the national registry too late or not at all. There is a uniform set of laws from state to state (maybe not many but there are some) and those are that the birth mother can waive her rights to the baby and, if that happens the father must register with a national registry to exert his rights as the father of that baby.
    As far as Virginia law and Utah law are concerned, obviously each state has determined it has the ability to pass judgment in this case. I'm not telling you you're right or wrong, just what the situation is, even if that situation is frustrating to you.
    Personally, I hope the adoptive parents get to keep their baby, but that's just me.

  • Bethanymom
    Sept. 14, 2010 9:23 a.m.

    Wow, what a mess!! Both sides have strong emotional arguments. Sadly I am not nearly well versed enough in the laws of either Utah or Virginia's adoption/parental rights to offer an opinion one way or the other.

    I can only hope that no matter what does or does not happen little Emma will come out of this with as little damage as possible. Kids are resilient, and she may shock us all by being very well adjusted, and having a happy life.

    I know it is not the same, but there are so many adoptable little kids (and bigger ones too) in the foster system that is it hard to see people fighting over one child like a rag doll. Not that they don't both have good reason to want this specific child, but with such an excess of children that no one will fight you for, and people will gladly help you adopt children from the state's foster system, it is unfortunate to see something like this possibly scare away potential adoptive families.

  • Sorry Charlie!
    Sept. 14, 2010 10:31 a.m.

    @ GoManUReds: There is not a uniform registry law - there is a proposed law, but it has not been adopted by all states yet.

    The father registered according to the guidelines of the state that has jurisdiction over the case - Utah is ignoring that.

    Additionally, there is no national registry - each registry is a state registry.

    What there is is a federal law which establishes the conditions under which a state determines jurisdiction such that "full faith and credit" under the US Constitution can be applied. This federal law determines custody based on where the child has lived for the 6 months prior to the proceeding, or, in cases of an infant under 6 months, where the child was born and where the parent(s) live - which was clearly Virginia.

    If there is a law in my home state that I do not want to follow, I don't get to just arbitrarily decide to apply the laws of a different state.

    I also do not have the right or the ability to waive someone else's rights and protections.

  • Sorry Charlie!
    Sept. 14, 2010 10:35 a.m.

    @ Bethanymom: The only side that has good reason to want this specific child is the father. When this whole thing started the adoptive parents knew it was contested and had no connection with the child - they could have held off for a child who was not contested or adopted a foster child.

  • Rebeckah
    Sept. 14, 2010 11:59 a.m.

    @GoManUReds

    "The birth mother waived rights to the baby"

    Which was, in and of itself, illegal. In Virginia (where the child was born and both mother and child were located at the time) a mother cannot sign away her rights until three days after the birth. This is a very reasonable law as a woman's hormones are still fluctuating wildly after the birth of a child and that can impact her decision making abilities. Right there this Utahn lawyer committed a crime against the laws of Virginia.

    "and then the birth father, apparently (b/c the judge in Utah determined it was so) registered with the national registry too late or not at all."

    First of all, there IS no national registry -- each state has their own. Secondly a Utah judge has no jurisdiction in this case -- Virginia does. Virginia is where the child was born and where it was kidnapped from.

  • Rmh
    Sept. 14, 2010 2:56 p.m.

    GoManUReds - I don't know anyone in this case, I just don't agree with kidnapping a child across state lines to get your way. And I don't agree with a state protecting this type of behavior while ignoring federal custody laws. There is NO national registry, adoption laws are decided by states. However, we do have a federal law that prevents poeple from feeling to a state whose laws are friendlier to the adoptive parents, when one or both biological parents have decided against or changed their minds about the adoption within the requirements of the original state. This law says that once a state with proper jurisdiction has begun a custody case in court (In this case, Virginia, the home state of both bio parents + the baby), another state does not have the right to steal jurisdiction to make a custody decision about that particular child. It is called the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act.

  • Rmh
    Sept. 14, 2010 3:01 p.m.

    Rebeckah - the funny thing is if there was a national registry, none of these Utah adoption cases would have ended up in court, because in pretty much every case the birth father registered in at least one state and then the mother learned about it and tried to sneak off to Utah. I really hope a national registry that all states are required to check before proceeding with an adoption is a reality in the future!

  • Rmh
    Sept. 14, 2010 3:01 p.m.

    Rebeckah - the funny thing is if there was a national registry, none of these Utah adoption cases would have ended up in court, because in pretty much every case the birth father registered in at least one state and then the mother learned about it and tried to sneak off to Utah. I really hope a national registry that all states are required to check before proceeding with an adoption is a reality in the future!

  • Bethanymom
    Sept. 14, 2010 3:20 p.m.

    SorryCharlie! At this point the adoptive parents have emotionally/financially/physically invested 18 months in this child. So I would say they have good reason to want this specific child. In the beginning, BEFORE they bonded to the kid I would have agreed with you that it didn't need to be a specific child they adopt. But at this point, after 18 months, you can't just swap in a different child and say there you go, all better.

  • Rmh
    Sept. 14, 2010 4:41 p.m.

    Bethanymom - they knew when the child was born that the father planned to fight the adoption under the laws of the state the child was born in. They signed a paper stating they were aware of those risks. They should have walked away on day one. I have NO sympathy for them - none, zero. They are at fault for any pain they end up feeling, because they knew the situation from day one and refused to back off, instead taking the child to another state while they knew a custody case had begun in Virginia.

  • county mom
    Sept. 14, 2010 6:59 p.m.

    Desparate parents-to-be will do many things to get a child. In this case they went to far. I can't believe they would have not known the reputation of the Adoption Agency and the desires of the Father. If they are LDS they know that we are not released from the calling of parent just because someone else wants our child. We are parents from the cradle to the grave. The birth father has the right to raise his child and if the birth mother disagrees, she should have been more careful who she had sex with. She picked him.

  • Sorry Charlie!
    Sept. 14, 2010 7:05 p.m.

    @ Bethanymom: "At this point the adoptive parents have emotionally/financially/physically invested 18 months in this child."

    You're right - but it never should have gotten to this point. When this case started, they should have done the right thing and acted in the best interests of the child and returned her to her father.

    IMHO, it is rather disingenuous to wait all this time and now claim that they should get to keep the child by default because it would cause her distress to remove her from the only home she has ever known.

    If they were truly concerned with what is best for the child, they should have acted accordingly several months ago.

  • K
    Sept. 14, 2010 7:53 p.m.

    Bethanymom, when you adopt and you don't have both parent signatures you don't get invested until you do have those signatures. They don't win cause they keep possession as long as possible.

    I believe there needs to be finality but until there is finality, and that is when the adoption is final way after parental rights waivers or terminated or terminated by default.

    No you don't swap children. They begin again. Finding birth parent's who choose them as the family who will be the parent's of the child. Or go international where the government decides a ward of theirs will be parented by them.

    Have you adopted from foster care. I mean you are suggesting they just go and adopt a child from foster care. Many kids fostered are still attached to parents when young. Not all. But believe me there is fighting over the kids. Only it's extended relative relatives, moms and dads, sometimes foster parents. There was a foster mom fighting for the foster kids new sibling, born in Utah instead of AZ months ago.

  • AlishaKay Amherst, MA
    Oct. 21, 2010 11:45 p.m.

    This whole thing makes me so mad. The judges should have never allowed the adoption to go through, knowing that Baby Emma's Father had been granted custody in Virgina. Plenty of single parents raise their children with the help of grand parents and family. If a single mother can do it, so can a single dad. The biological family clearly wants this baby in their lives and the longer Utah keeps her, the harder it will be on the baby. They had no right to take that baby away from her biological father in the first place! Utah law is not above Federal law. I hope this will bring national attention to what is going on there. No one is asking Utah to do anything special, only that Utah abides by the law. You must stop stripping a parent of their legally awarded parental rights. Just because Emmas's Dad doesn't fit a certain mold and lives in another state, does not give you that right. This is after all America, isn't it?

  • AlishaKay Amherst, MA
    April 13, 2011 6:18 p.m.

    Very easy for people to say that if he loves his baby, he'll let her go. I'd like to see how many of you would let your baby go, if you didn't want to let it go to begin with. That baby deserves to grow up with her Father. He did everything he was supposed to do in his home state. It was Utah that decided not to give his baby back way before she could even become attached to strangers.