The president of the Utah Adoption Council resigned Thursday amid controversy over claims the council is working to undermine the rights of birth fathers.I've posted before about the unfriendly approach Utah law takes to birth fathers -- see here and here and here and here and here and here and . . . I think I'll be writing about Utah and birth fathers for a long, long time yet.
Wes Hutchins was to serve another year as president of the Utah Adoption Council (UAC) — a group consisting of adoption agencies, adoption attorneys, families, and birth mothers and fathers. Instead, he's founded a new nonprofit organization he says will work in the best interests of all parties in adoptions.
There was certainly friction in Thursday's council meeting, as some representing adoption agencies accused Hutchins of having his own agenda. In turn, he pointed fingers at them for not acting ethically in administering adoptions.
"I'm an adoption attorney. I've done over 1,080 adoptions, (and) finalized six adoptions on Friday of last week alone," Hutchins said, following the meeting. "I'm a big proponent of adoptions, but I firmly believe they need to be done legally, constitutionally and ethically."
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"That's one of the changes that we need to make: that fraud is no longer accepted as a method of taking a child from one home, destroying a family, and placing (the child) in another home to create another family," he said.
That opinion conflicts with others who sit on the UAC.
"Wes has had a different vision of what's best for children in the state of Utah," said attorney David Hardy, also a former president of the UAC.
Hardy, whose clients include adoption agencies and adoptive parents, said Hutchins isn't as focused on what's best for the child.
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"There's been a very choreographed effort to sweep birth fathers and others under the rug," Hutchins said.
And some of those birth fathers were present and vocal.
"I do have a voice, and it needs to be heard," said Jake Strickland, a father currently fighting for custody of his child.
"There's two sides to every story," added Bobby Nevares, a man in the same situation as Strickland, "but they didn't want to hear the father's side."
Hutchins said the council didn't really want to hear his side either and accused him of having an agenda.
"If you want to call that ‘an agenda,' then absolutely, call it an agenda. And that agenda is to see that we have a balanced approach in Utah to how we're doing adoptions," Hutchins said.
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