Celebrating Mothers' Day: Reflections
5 weeks ago
A legal tug-of-war is playing out in Utah between adoptive parents and the father of a 21-month-old girl.But this story is far from ordinary, as the next paragraph makes clear: "The birth father says Tira Bland, his wife at the time, traveled from their Texas home while he was away on military service in South Carolina and gave birth in Utah. She signed off on an adoption in Utah to the Freis without his knowledge or consent, Wiser said."
A Utah judge recently ordered the adoptive parents to give the child to the biological father, Terry Achane of South Carolina, said his lawyer, Scott Wiser.
The adoptive parents, Jared and Kristi Frei, have countered with a legal motion to keep the girl, whom they've raised since she was born, attorney Larry Jenkins confirmed.
That sets up months, if not years, of more legal wrangling and uncertainty about who will raise Leah Frei.
The Freis, who live in a Provo suburb, legally adopted her through an agency in 2010. They have four biological children and two adopted children, including Leah.
The significance of the biological connection is that it offers the natural father an opportunity that no other male possesses to develop a relationship with his offspring. If he grasps that opportunity and accepts some measure of responsibility for the child's future, he may enjoy the blessings of the parent-child relationship and make uniquely valuable contributions to the child's development. If he fails to do so, the Federal Constitution will not automatically compel a State to listen to his opinion of where the child's best interests lie.So when it comes to unmarried fathers, and whether they have any legal rights when their biological child is adopted out, we ask what they DID to grasp their opportunity to be legal fathers. Did he support the mother financially and emotionally during pregnancy? Did he live with the mother and child as a family unit? What has he done to develop a relationship with the child? Has he supported the child financially and emotionally? And in more recent times, we ask, did he file in the putative father registry of the state in which the child is being placed?
Q: What's Gladney's biggest challenge today?So, Gladney needs to endorse projects like Brave Love to counteract a flat market in domestic adoption? Doesn't seem like the problem is not enough parents wanting to adopt (the demand side), it's not enough mothers wanting to place (the supply side). So, imagine your 6th grader – adopted or not – being involved in this project. Your little darling gets to help Gladney develop the supply side!
A: Growth in a flat to declining market. Domestic infant adoption continues to shrink overall. On the international side, countries shut down or slow down adoption and we have to contend with the volatility. But we believe tough times create opportunity. We have a game plan and the will and capability to see it through.
Q: How does Gladney set itself apart from others in the field ?
We are working hard to lead our field toward greater collaboration and away from the mindset that we need to view each other as competitors. We believe that "a rising tide lifts all boats."
Q: What are the trends in domestic infant adoption?
A: More and more young women are choosing to be single parents. Combined with those choosing the abortion option, that leaves less than 2% who decide to place their baby for adoption. We have to do a better job of educating the public that adoption is a wonderful option.