The vast majority of child custody disputes involve two parents who are struggling of the care and control of their shared children. It is important to remember, however, that family courts in Arizona and across the nation see a wide range of child custody actions in any given year. One recent case demonstrates the complicated issues that can come before these courts, and the importance of following adoption policies carefully in order to avoid heartbreak.
The case centers on the child custody claim made by a father of a now 22-month-old little girl. The man is a drill sergeant in the U.S. Army. In March 2011 his wife gave birth to their first child while living in a different state from that in which he was stationed. Following the child’s birth, the mother placed the infant for adoption, claiming that the child’s father had abandoned the family and had no interest in his child.
The agency who accepted the placement, the Adoption Center of Choice, placed the infant with an adoptive family. It was not until June 2011 that the father discovered that his child had been placed for adoption. He contacted the adoption agency and asked for his child to be returned to his care, but they refused and moved forward with the adoption.
In October 2012 the case made its way to court, and the father was granted custody of his daughter. The adoptive family has fought the decision, and asked for a stay, which was recently refused. They have been given until Jan. 16 to turn the child over to her father.
This child custody case is one in which all parties have suffered. The father has lost the chance to bond with his daughter during the first 22 months of her life. As for the adoptive parents, they accepted this child into their hearts and home with the intent of raising her as a permanent member of their family, and are now faced with an enormous loss. The story serves as a warning to biological fathers in Arizona and elsewhere who wish to retain rights to their children. It also warns of the risks of accepting an adoption placement when the full and informed consent of both biological parents is not in place.
Source: sltrib.com, “Utah judge upholds decision to give father custody of his child,” Brooke Adams, Jan. 4, 2013