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Father fights "secret" adoption in child custody case

Biologically speaking, mothers and fathers in Massachusetts do not share the same level of control over the earliest portion of the lives of their shared children. This is due to the fact that a mother carries her unborn child, and can make a range of decisions without the input or consent of the father. Many child custody cases have made headlines in recent months wherein fathers have lost their parental rights when a mother places her newborn baby up for adoption. For these men, it can be a long and hard road to regain access to their children.

Recently, one father took action to regain his rights after his daughter was put up for adoption without his consent. The man had previously provided support for his girlfriend, who was pregnant with their child when she dropped out of sight during her third trimester. Much later, he was told that the baby did not survive.

Eventually, the truth surfaced, and the man learned that his child was indeed alive. She was being placed for adoption and the process had already begun before her rightful father was able to intervene. After a lower court denied the man's request to add the adoptive parents as parties to his petition, the state's Supreme Court ruled that the lower court's decision was not in line with his Constitutional rights. The case has been handed back to the lower court, where the father will be able to proceed in the litigation aimed at restoring his parental and custody rights.

In Massachusetts and elsewhere, fathers face the risk of losing their parental rights when the mother of their child makes an adoption decision without their knowledge or consent. At the end of the day, these stories lead to negative outcomes for virtually everyone involved, the biological parent, the adoptive parents who have bonded with the child, and the children caught in the center of the matter. This child custody case and others like it are challenging the legality of the adoptions agencies that support these types of placements, as well as state laws that do not give equal weight to the rights of fathers.

Source: The Salt Lake Tribune, Court gives dad second chance in adoption, Brooke Adams, Feb. 25, 2014

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