In what is being called the first of its kind, the Utah Supreme Court has invalidated an adoption and has returned a child to its biological father. The ruling is the culmination of a 22 month legal battle that ensued after a mother put the child up for adoption without informing the father.
The story, highlighted by ABC News, gained national attention and was a talking point for many father's rights advocates.
Terry Achane , an army drill sergeant, was stationed in South Carolina in March 2011 when his wife Tira Bland gave birth to a baby girl in Utah. The couple was married despite living in two different states. Archane was under the impression that Bland had aborted the child, and had no idea that his daughter had been put up for adoption two days after the birth. Several weeks later, he learned that the child had actually been born and had been adopted.
Through court documents, Archane claimed that the adoption agency ignored him when he informed them that he had not consented to the adoption. The trial court found this to be true, despite the adoption agency's contention that it had tried diligently to reach him. In its ruling, the judge wrote that he was "astonished and deeply troubled" by the agency's actions.
While the adoptive parents are likely heartbroken by the decision, the story underscores the importance of the custodial relationship married parents have with their children. Essentially, they both have joint legal and joint physical custody of a child born of the marriage. Because of this, both parents must agree to an adoption before it may proceed.
Source: ABC News.com., Drill sergeant reunited with baby that mom gave up for adoption, January 27, 2013