Sunday, February 12, 2006

Would any type of adoption reform

Been able to help this man? David Archuletta thought his child was stillborn. Turns out his ex-girlfriend placed the child with an adoptive family telling the family and the agency she didn't know who the father was. Flash forward several months after the baby has been born (and is with the adoptive family) they receive an extortion letter from the child's other mother. Give me money or I'm telling the father. They did what they were supposed to do - they turned the letter over to the agency. The agency sat on the letter and the baby's father was never notified. After a year she tells him and he's been trying to get custody ever since. He lacks funds for legal representation. I see so many culpable parties in this story. First and foremost the first mother for lying and then for committing extortion (yes, she should go to jail). The agency for not attempting to contact the father before the adoption was final, the adoptive parents for not following up on the letter with the agency. Who suffers? The father, most definitely. The adoptive parents? Yes, they suffer because they've been parenting this child for several years (even though I feel that they didn't do enough - based on the news reports - to follow up on that letter) and, the biggest victim of all... the baby. What reforms can be made to ensure this doesn't happen? Can we not allow adoptions to go through without the benefit of both parents? Can we require that even if you are not sure who the father is, that a list of potentials be given and tested? What can we do?

11 comments:

  1. It is just a horrible situation. It sounds like the agency could have prevented it though since the birthmother sent that letter NINE months before the adoption was finalized. And the adoptive parents definately should have followed up. I don't see a good outcome to any of it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is actually a similar story to Baby Richard's, the child who was taken from his adoptive parents at the age of (I think) 4 and returned to his bio dad, who also had been led to believe the baby was stillborn. Frightening, and horrible for everyone invovlved. But also - we read about these instances because they ARE the exception. Our social worker has assured us that most cases where there is this kind of legal mumbo-jumbo with a bad ending begin with someone not doing all of their legal homework. But what a nightmare.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is so horrible, I don't even know what to say. I guess I would wonder about the birthfather, though. Is he legally married to the birthmother? Because if he is not, then does he really have rights? I'm asking, because I don't know. I was always under the impression that an unmarried woman has the right to relinquish a child for adoption but perhaps I'm stuck back in the dark ages. I would also wonder why he was so clueless. Where was he during the pregnancy, and why was he not present at the birth? Why did he not grow suspicious when there wasn't a funeral for his infant?

    This may sound incredibly judgmental (um, probably because it is), but if he was your typical absentee unwed dad who abandoned the birthmother in her pregnancy, and then later was motivated to seek custody of the child as part of a power struggle between him and the birthmother, or to show he's a man, or to save face after being tricked -- well, then, I really don't have sympathy for him and I think the child should remain with the adoptive family.

    As to why the adoptive parents didn't follow up with the letter -- I'm not sure that I would have were I in their shoes. They turned the letter over to the adoption agency and then hoped for the best. They no doubt clung to the belief that no news is good news.

    The birthmother needs to go straight to jail. That might appease the birthfather and who knows, may mark the end of the whole thing.

    Call me cynical (um, because I am) but I find it hard, VERY HARD, to believe that this birthfather really has a genuine desire to parent this child.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh, all right, I see now that current law requires the birthfather's consent prior to allowing an adoption. I still find the circumstances surrounding the birthfather very strange and I don't know what to think about him. I would hate to see a four year old child removed from the only parents he has ever known.

    It sure looks like the caseworker screwed up big time.

    ReplyDelete
  5. OH my god... WHAT a nightmare...

    ReplyDelete
  6. It makes me sick...but I don't know that the law can actually do anything about it. It's the people. The people who were dishonest (the birthmother), the people who did not follow the law (the agency) and the people who undertandably just hoped it would go away (the poor adoptive parents).

    It's simply a no-win situation. How sad.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Personally I'm in favor of making firstmoms go to court, swear in, and swear in court that they have provided all the information they have about who might be the bio father. Then, if turns out she DIDN'T provide all the info, she can be prosecuted for perjury.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Unbelievable! And who suffers the most? The child, of course. Amazingly unreal... or so real that it blows my mind.

    ReplyDelete
  9. N is right - they need to have the mother swear under oath and she must know she could go to jail if she lied. This is horrific for this father but now you have to consider what is best for the child....to stay with the only parents he/she has ever known.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I think that some attempt at finding the father should be made. But how do you prevent the woman from lying about that? I mean, the woman could conceivably give a list of names that she knows are not the father and never include the guy who she knows is the father. What can they do if they never find the father? It's a very difficult situation, though, not to mention quite sad.

    ReplyDelete