Birth Father Wins Custody After Wife Secretly Gives Child Away - The Houston Family Law Blog

The Houston Family Law Blog

Birth Father Wins Custody After Wife Secretly Gives Child Away

Can you imagine losing your child to adoption, without your consent? That's the nightmare that a former Texas father had to endure.

When Terry Achane and his wife Tira Bland split, they didn't sort out the custody details, it would seem. Bland was pregnant and Achane headed off to South Carolina.

Little did he know that Bland made plans for adoption. He only found out once his daughter was adopted by a Utah family. The girl was adopted by Jared and Kristi Frei. The Frei family has been ordered to turn the baby over to her birth father, but they plan to appeal the court's decision.

Several weeks after Bland gave birth, Achane came to learn that the baby had been born and was adopted by the Frei family. Prior to that, he had been under the belief that his estranged wife had an abortion.

He contacted the adoption agency to no avail, despite the fact that he mentioned to the agency that he had not consented to the adoption.

The Utah judge harshly criticized the adoption agency's behavior in his court ruling, saying that he was "astonished and deeply troubled" by the actions of Adoption Center of Choice.

How did the adoption agency drop the ball? After all, the consent of both parents is a prerequisite to adoption, if the whereabouts of the father are known.

According to ABC News, the adoption agency attempted to contact Achane, but Bland had given the agency Achane's old address. The agency apparently contacted him once but never really followed up.

This is a tricky case. For one, the judges tend to favor the best interests of the child. Removing a child from a loving adoptive home after she's settled in can be detrimental to the child. On the flip side, the judge has to weigh the rights of the birth parents.

In this case, the judge called out the Frei family, claiming that they knew Achane had not consented yet they decided to pursue the adoption regardless. In essence, they assumed the risk of the adoption without the dad's consent.

Related Resources: