Centuori & Associates, PC

Imagine anticipating the birth of your baby daughter, only to find that the infant was given away for adoption without your knowledge or consent. This is exactly what happened to one man who was shocked to learn how few rights he had in relation to his unborn child. After a stressful child custody fight, he was finally able to gain custody of his little girl, and he is now in the process of building a bond with her. His story serves as a warning to unwed fathers in Arizona and across the nation.

When the man first learned that his girlfriend was pregnant, he was excited to become a father. However, the woman's family took action to limit communications between the two, which the father believes was based on their mixed-race relationship. As the pregnancy progressed, the man was cut off from almost any contact with the mother. The child was born a few days earlier than expected, and immediately placed for adoption with a couple who lived in another state.

The fact that the infant was of mixed race allowed the mother to make use of an arcane law within her state of residence that allows such "difficult to adopt" children to be placed for adoption with an out-of-state family, and without the father's consent. The only reason that the father was made aware of the adoption was because his family had urged him to sign up for the state's "responsible father registry." Once he was notified that his child had been given away, he began the legal process of fighting for her return.

While the child custody case ended with the man's parental rights being upheld, it is important to acknowledge that the result also left the adopted family devastated. They lost a baby that they had bonded with and loved as their own. This was an outcome that could have been avoided if the mother and her family had been honest about their intentions. The case illustrates the importance for unwed men in Arizona and elsewhere to take action to assert their paternity as soon as possible.

Source: babble.com, "Father Rebuilds Life with Daughter After Losing Her in Wrongful Adoption", Chad Carter, Sept. 17, 2015

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