Mom gives baby up for adoption without dad's consent, now he's fighting to get her back
It may sound like the plot of a movie, but this adoption horror story is as real as it gets. According to Terry Achane, his wife gave their firstborn baby up for adoption without his consent. Back in February 2011, Achane, who is in the Army, moved from Texas to South Carolina for a new job while his wife, Tira Bland, stayed behind to supposedly give birth surrounded by her family. But the couple had been having marital problems and a couple of weeks after Archane moved out of state, Bland contacted an adoption agency in Utah. Her baby girl was born in March 2011 and Bland relinquished her parental rights two days later to adoptive parents Jared and Kristi Frei of Utah.
Problem is she never got Achane's permission and, in fact, cut all communication with him for months. She apparently told the adoption agency that Achane had abandoned her and lied about how they could get in touch with him.
Meanwhile, Achane had no idea what was going on. After countless failed attempts at getting in touch with her, he finally found out through Bland's family that she had had the baby, but nobody knew her whereabouts. Desperate to find out what was going on, Achane tried to get information from his wife's doctor to no avail due to doctor-patient confidentially.
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Finally, in June 2011, Bland got in touch with her husband to break the news. Achane wasted no time calling the the adoption agency, but they refused to give him any information. Eventually, the agency's lawyer called him back to confirm an adoption was in process and asked for his consent. He declined to give it and told the lawyer he wanted his daughter back. But the Freis disregarded his request and proceeded to file an adoption petition in July 2011 knowing full well that Achane was against it. They claimed he had abandoned his wife while she was pregnant and had never shown any interest in his baby. Achane fought back.
More than a year later, a judge finally ruled that the baby girl belonged with her father and that the Freis needed to give her back as soon as possible. The appalled judge stated that Achane didn't have to "prove himself" as fit to parent his own child because according to law, "Just by marrying the woman who may one day become the mother of his child, a man is deemed to have demonstrated his commitment to the responsibilities of parenthood."
The Freis are planning to appeal the judge's decision, but he has set another hearing for Jan. 16 to talk about the transition of the baby girl back to her father. And I hope that goes as smoothly as possible. Luckily, the little girl is still very young to remember any of this. While I can imagine it'll be very hard for the Freis to give her back, there should really be no question in anybody's mind that the little girl belongs with her father.
Image via Charnell Tira Bland/Facebook