If The New Utah Law Is Wrong, Where Is It Wrong?

My last post was about some new law enacted in Utah.   I won’t try to summarize it since you can just go read it.    I’ve been thinking about the law over the weekend (and I’ve looked at the comments made) and I wanted to look a bit more carefully at what it does and what (if anything) is wrong with it.  The key here for me is that, as always, it’s important to think carefully and precisely about how law works and to be as specific as possible about what is wrong.

One general idea embodied in the law is if a man who is genetically related to a child abandons the child then he cannot object to the child’s adoption.   (This is, I think, a fair summary of how the provisions of the law operate–really what happens is his consent is implied from his abandonment.  Thus, he irrevocably consents when he abandons the child.)   This does not seem like an unreasonable idea, at least to me.  

It’s important not to jump ahead to the next question–which is what constitutes abandonment.  For the moment, let’s just assume that what a man does clearly constitutes abandonment.  Say he voluntarily walks away from all contact/responsibility for five years?   In that case, in my view, he shouldn’t be able to object to adoption of the child by another, even if he suddenly decides he’d like to object at the last moment.

While I don’t know, of course, I can imagine that some might dissent from this conclusion.   Particularly those very attached to the importance of the genetic link might contend that no matter what he has done he ought to be able to change his mind at the last moment.   So there may be a point of disagreement here.  In that case, there’s a discussion to be had about the pros and cons of having any doctrine like abandonment.

My guess is that the more controversial question is the second one–what constitutes abandonment?   That’s obviously a critical question.  And there’s obviously a spectrum here.    To take one obvious point–let’s assume a person has to renounce responsibility in some way in order to abandon a child–for how long does this have to continue?   A day?  A month?  Six months?  A year?   Five years?  There’s no clear and obvious right answer—there are only competing answers.  And again, it’s quite likely that we are going to find that we disagree about what constitutes abandonment.

There’s a critical subquestion highlighted by the Utah law, too.  Can a man be deemed to abandon a child even before the child is born?   Utah says that he can and that he does so when he fails to provide support (financial and emotional) to the mother in the six months preceding the birth of the child.   Again, whatever one thinks about abandonment after the birth of a child, one could take the position that there can be no abandonment before the child is born.

Actually, I think that might be a difficult position to defend.  Suppose a woman is pregnant as a result of a one night stand with a man and then he vanishes.   Do we really want to require his consent before she can place the child for adoption?  Don’t we need a way to say his consent is not necessary?

You can see that there are many questions to ask and many complaints one could make about the Utah law.  The real point I want to make here is that it is important to think carefully and to identify exactly which things seem to be problematic.  I think it is the only way to have an intelligible discussion.

One final set of points here:  It’s also useful to identify the underlying goals that are to be served by laws regarding abandonment.   One ever-present goal is the well-being of children generally.  What I mean is that one can say that we should craft law in a way that serves the best interests of children generally.  (You can see that one can defend incorporating some idea of abandonment into the law as consistent with this goal.)

But I’m sure we’ll disagree about what serves the well-being of children generally.   And there are always trade-offs to be made.  A policy that serves the well-being of some children may also harm some children along the way.  (I think the abandonment provision might be in this category.)   Don’t we need to know the proportions to decide if it is okay?   I’m fairly sure we won’t agree on what the numbers/proportions are.

Are there other goals we should consider, too?   Do we think about the well-being of the adults, to0–about the rights of the adults involved as well as the children?

What all this means to me is that there’s an awful lot to talk about/think about here, but it’s very important to unpack what we mean as we do so.



84 responses to “If The New Utah Law Is Wrong, Where Is It Wrong?

  1. An anonymous unknown man can not be a legal father so putting the anonymous one night stand guy in the same category as a father who knows and wishes to parent the kid doesn’t make sense.

    Certainly a man who had demonstrated that he has no intent to parent should not be given the right to disregard the adoption. But you ask where the law goes wrong- it goes wrong in conflating partnering with parenting.

    Also, as Marilyn said, creating a legal obligation where none actually exists (support of a pregnant woman)

    • There’s a bunch here I’m either not sure I understand or I disagree with, I think.

      An anonymous and unknown man can be a legal father–if you define the man with matching genetics as the legal father. He isn’t identified but when he is then he assumes those rights. That means he could be out of the picture for some chunk of time and then appear and claim the status by virtue of his genetic relationship. Maybe this isn’t what you meant when you said he couldn’t be the legal father.

      And maybe I wasn’t clear? What I meant was that you could set up a system where the genetic parent must consent–period, no exceptions. But most of us wouldn’t want that system–we want a way to get around the absence of the genetic parent at least some of the time.

      When you say a man who has demonstrated he has no intent to parent should not be given the right to disregard the adoption I think you mean he should have the right to disrupt the adoption? I’m not sure what else disregard means here. I think a different way tying things together would be to start with this point of yours and then say that abandonment is what we call that demonstrated intent not to parent. And so then we are back to the “what constitutes abandonment” question.

      Here I take it your point is that abandoning the pregnant woman (refusing to be her partner) is not the same as abandoning the child and that Utah law seems to conflate those? I think Utah law does do that, as you say, and so the point is a completely fair one to make. It does make me wonder, though, about whether you think a man can demonstrate that he has no intent to parent before the child is born or whether he has to fail to take action after the birth of the child in order to show that. And if the latter, how long does he get?

      I am not sure it means anything to say this creates a legal obligation where none actually exists. Maybe you mean it creates a new legal obligation. It might do that (but I’m actually not sure if this is new.) But all legal obligations are created by law so you could say of any legal obligation that it was just created like law. Utah chose to create this one. Or do you mean to suggest that there are some obligations that exist outside law–like moral obligations.

      I might actually be willing to say that a man who wishes to raise a child has a moral obligation to be assistive and supportive during the pregnancy, but I gather you would not say this?

      • sorry Julie, I used the wrong word. I did mean to say “disrupt” instead of disregard.
        Regarding assistive and supportive during the pregnancy: How does one go about being emotionally supportive of a person you they are not interested in having a relationship with? Or who is not interested in having a relationship with them?
        Financially- fetus’s don’t cost anything beyond the mother taking care of herself and pregnant women are adult women, not minors, and like all other adults are expected to take care of themselves.
        So no, I do not think the expectant father owes the mother anything.
        (Remember Marilyn’s point- even if the he wanted to put the fetus on his insurance policy, he couldn’t!)

        • and back to the anonymous man- what I mean is that a person who is unknown can not undertake any responsibilities or have rights. I’m not one of those people who think he can show up five years later as if nothing ever happened. I think that is an extreme minority point of view.

          • Fair enough. Can he show up six months after the child is born? Can we at least require him to evince some interest in the possibility that there was a pregnancy in the six months after they have sex?

          • so if you are his kid and you have lost five years of support and contact with that half of your family then screw it who needs the next 13 years? If he fails the first 5 years you get nothing ever from him.
            Does that kind of send the wrong message? Like break enough dishes don’t have to wash them any more? Ruin enough loads of laundry that’s no longer your chore? Heck if you are a big enough lazy bum you simply won’t have any responsibiity to anyone for anything and there will be no recourse for those you owed because your laziness actually absolved you of your responsibiities

        • Good questions–and I will try to provide reasonable answers (which may not be satisfactory but are at least responsive.)

          First, you are right to point out that you cannot be emotionally supportive if the person won’t let you. I think this is addressed in the new law–lines 247-249(e). I’m not sure what the use of “may” instead of “shall” does, but clearly the idea here is that if support is offered but the woman won’t accept support then the court is at least permitted (if not required) to find that there is no abandonment.

          Second, I think that a pregnant woman faces expenses that are fairly attributable to the pregnancy–everything from maternity clothes to medical treatment to baby equipment and so on. The statute requires that he offer financial support to her and I think you could say if he picks up a share of those expenses (or at least offers to) he’s done that and if he doesn’t even offer/try, then he hasn’t. It’s true about insurance, but I don’t see that it matters. The idea is that he has to show some responsibility on the $$ side. Let’s assume that the pregnant woman is an adult and I’ll agree that we generally expect adults to take care of themselves. But she’s got some extra obligations while she’s pregnant and if he wants to share the responsibilities for the child to be, I can see why a legislature might say that he should show that from the get go–or at least try. Not saying the law has to be this way, but I can see why it is a choice legislatures make.

          Underneath this all is a major question: if the man and woman don’t get along at all do you want them to be co-parents? Or do you only want them to co-parents if you’re fairly confident that he’s actually interested in the child and not just in jerking the woman around? The way the law is often set up, if they are getting along then it’s easy for them to both have legal parental rights. If they aren’t getting along, he can get them but he has to show he’s invested in the child. Is that such a bad thing? I suppose this is where the core disagreement shows up–I don’t think he gets the rights without some action beyond providing the DNA but others do.

          • My understanding is that we aren’t talking about co parenting but about adoption. If the woman doesn’t want to co parent with him, no one in the world can force her too with the exception of garnishing her bank account. She can completely withdraw herself from the situation as a non custodial parent, same as in an adoption. Of course on an emotional level thats easier said than done.

          • Extra obligations? She would have to buy herself food and clothing anyway. She would have to get herself to and from work anyway. She would have to pay her rent anyway. She would have to pay her pg&e water garbage and comcast anyway. Truly I have been pregnant and you don’t wear maternity clothing until your 6 or 7 months pregnant and then you buy maternity clothing but no different than you would have spent on clothing for the year anyway. People throw you a baby shower. I can’t say that my husband and I bought anything ourselves but the car seat. The hospital bill was astronomical and that was on my Kaiser from my work and when I went on maternity leave that was my disability. What special pregnancy related expenses are there that are so different than her normal expenses?

            I call bs

            Buying his child things in advance of the birth would be offering support to his as of yet non existent child. For use by his child once born.

            Yes I know what it means to “be there” while a woman is pregnant but for crying out loud she is not his kid. His obligation is not to her its to the child which has not been born yet. For pete sake how fair is it to start the clock before there is even a child to be the father of.

            • Marilynn, this comment really surprises me.

              What about a scenario where an ex-partner and father of the fetus had been supporting the mother financially, and she had been completely dependent on him when she got pregnant? What if the relationship and financial support ended precisely because the father of the fetus did not want a child? Welfare is not available everywhere in the world, and where it does exist it may take months to appear.

  2. I joined the Utah Adoption Council back in the early 1990s when my adoption support group leader told us about this putative father provision proposed as an amendment to the Utah Adoption Code. Three of us joined, the leader who is a reunited first mother, an adopted woman and myself, a donor conceived adult who advocates for open records in both adoption and donor conception.
    We attended four or five meetings and it became obvious that the representatives from separate LDS Social Services were trying to ramrod this bill against the best interests of everyone except the adopting parents.

    The bill was developed by the Attorneys for the Church from a position paper prepared by the conservative National Council For Adoption, headed by the infamous William Pierce. That group had a long-standing opposition to providing for the rights of adopted people to win access to their birth records. They represented primarily religious adoption agencies, such as the LDS Church, Southern Baptists, and the Catholic Church, all opposed to the rights of adopted adults. I am not a member of the LDS Church but I do know that their older doctrines about children suggest that children have a pre-existence. During that time they choose their future parents and if these are infertile, they choose a woman as a vessel who would surrender them to their rightful parents. This is highly controversial even among the LDS. LDS original mothers feel particularly coerced to surrender their children to adoption if they are unmarried or if there is a likelihood of divorce.

    In the meetings, representatives of non-LDS adoption agencies strongly opposed this LDS idea that the original father who hasn’t married his pregnant girlfriend is a prima facie evidence of abandonment. We members of the adoption support group tried to represent that pregnant young women suffer immense family, social and church pressure to relinquish. They are often encouraged by their bishops, who serve as unlicensed psychological counselors, to avoid their boyfriends, refuse his calls, leave the area, make up stories of non-support or multiple unknown partners, to be told to adoption agencies. As far as the LDS agencies were concerned, if a pregnant woman comes to them without her boyfriend, then they will believe whatever she tells them. They felt no obligation to contact the boyfriend or separated husband. Since the majority of the Utah Adoption Council members were from LDS Social Services, they completely ignored or dismissed whatever we said, preferring to be guided by the legal counsel of the Church, who happened to be adoption attorneys.

    Once adopted into a “good” LDS family the child becomes “sealed” to the adoptive parents for eternity and the original parents no longer have any meaning for them. I have no objection to people believing whatever doctrine they choose unless it tends to encourage deception of the original parents as well as of the children. At that time, open adoption and contact with original parents was anathema to LDS agencies. Many of these children were never told they were adopted. Although less common now, non-disclosure and secrecy still happens in some LDS adoptive families. The original parents are simply erased from memory.

  3. If I don’t take care of my kid someone else will have to pick up the slack or be inconvenienced by my child’s cries from hunger and petty acts of theivery necessary for survival. The fact that someone else does me the favor of picking up my slack for me does not mean that its their job to do it nor should it absolve me of my responsibilities to take care of the kids I create. I still owe it to them and to the state to look after the kids I put on this earth until they are old enough to fend for themselves. Why should my obligation to my child be erased just because someone else happens to be willing to foot the bill? We are not talking about transferring property here we are talking about what I owe my child and what my child deserves to get from me in particular. If I fail and someone else needs to step in their altruism won’t erase my negligence, nor should it.

    I’m not saying that adoptions should not move forward for a child that appears to be truly orphaned but its possible to terminate a parent’s authority for just caue like abuse or deliberate abandonment without trying to say they are no longer that child’s parents and assigning the child to some other person as if they were not a member of their own family anymore. Someone else can do the work without the crown and ceptor without donning the title of parent – give them authority without the permanent obligation and familial ties that adoption currently has. Why say the kid is not a member of their own family anymore? Its not their fault their parents are lousy.

    • To the extent that the first part of what you say is about moral rather than legal obligations one can certainly take this view but as far as law goes I’m not sure what you envision. Remember that (at least as currently constructed) being a legal parent brings with it the authority to make decisions and the right to be consulted about things as well as obligations.

      So what does it mean to say that the right continues to exist in the genetic parent even if he has walked away for years. Practically it means that if he pops up again whoever has actually been raising the child must suddenly consult with him. Why would we give him that kind of power? What would he know about what school was best if he’d been gone for five or ten years? I’m not sure if you envision giving someone else the right to make these decisions during the period he’s gone–but surely someone does have to make them. Or is it just the state?

      What I mean to suggest is that for the sake of the child at some point shouldn’t we say that the guy has forfeited any claims to parenthood he might have had. (Or he has demonstrated his intent not to be a parent, as Kisrita said.)

      I understand that people disagree about the way Utah defines abandonment–that the seem very eager to find men abandoning their children. Perhaps that’s an extreme position. But the idea that the rights are with him until death also seems to me to be extreme and seems to me to really run counter to the interests of the kids who need to know that they do have a permanent home.

      If you’re worried about him not being held responsible we can do that other ways–make him criminally liable for abandoning his child or something like that.

  4. Hi Julie: I generally don’t agree with Utah politics, but I believe that their adoption policies are generally sound. In my observation, deadbeat fathers are already given far too much slack in this society. People keep gently nudging the deadbeat dads to take interest in their children, reasoning that eventually these guys will see the light and become solid role models. It rarely happens. If a man is clearly not on board while his girlfriend is pregnant, he is highly unlikely to suddenly snap into the role of doting dad once the kid arrives. I’m sure someone will chime here in with an anecdote about some second-cousin in Iowa who did exactly that, but it’s rare. The adoptions of thousands of children should not be held up on the tiny possibility that some deadbeat dad might eventually come around.

    • The problem is mainly happening with out of state mothers taking advantage of Utah law when the dad completed legal obligations in their state of residence so they run to Utah to make sure the adoption can be pushed through anyway.

      • good point. does the new law change that aspect in any way? i mean it doesn’t make sense to cry abandonment when a. the guy did everything he was supposed to do in his own state and b. the absconding party is actually the mother

        • I don’t think the new law does anything to change this but I would have to look more closely. You cannot stop the mother from travelling, of course. And each state does do things its own way and each state tends to think whatever it is doing is right. That’s why the national registry–covering all states–seems like the simplest proposed solution.

          • In my ideal world, there would be a legal residency requirement for the mother to use a particular state’s adoption laws, and if the father could not possibly know of the move, he could use the laws of the last known state of residence.

          • But yes a national registry is another possibility, the problem is, there would then need to be SOME kind of national guideline for how long a man has to register, because right now there are states were it’s 24 hours, a week, two weeks, 30 days, until the adoption petition is filed, until the adoption is finalized, and I’m sure you could find a few more time restrictions if you looked at every state. A national registry would be meaningless without a standard that would protect the father’s rights if he signs the registry within a clearly stated uniform time period, no matter where the adoption petition ends up being filed.

            • Suppose he had to register within six months of when the baby was conceived or before the child was born or anything like that. There’s really lots of time in there. I’m not sure why anyone should be allowed to let it go till the last minute as long as the time is ample. What most states require is that the registry’s be searched at the time of the adoption and I cannot think of many good reasons why a guy wouldn’t have registered by then if he really had any interest–I mean assuming national registry.

              • Well, I was mainly pointing out there would need to be SOME known national standard, because if each state could use the registry based on their own time limit, it would pretty much be meaningless and not much different than now, because no one would know the rules until it was too late. I’m curious what the average time given to sign a registry is when all the states are compared – perhaps I (or someone else) will do the math sometime. My own state has no registry at all, the father just has to file a regular paternity case, and the time limit seems to be pretty long – 60 days after termination petition is filed, but its unclear what happens if the father did not receive notice when he was entitled to notice – for example, if he supported the child financially but the court was unaware of it.

                • There’s a case that many people find disturbing called Lehr vs. Robertson (this is US Supreme Court). A guy didn’t send a postcard to the NY registry but he did file an action for paternity. The NY courts held that he hadn’t done the right thing (the postcard) and so had no right to notice and the US Supreme Court affirmed the result. At the same time, I think if he had provided financial support then he would have been okay under NY law. What all this suggests to me is that some states will require that you comply with the letter rather than the spirit of the statute and that’s okay. But results may vary.

                  • If I am remembering correctly, in the Lehr case, notice also had to be provided to a “judicially adjucated father” (is that the term? I have to look it up) but because he delayed in filing a paternity case until the child was around two, the stepfather had filed to adopt the child right before then?

                  • Something like that. What makes Lehr a difficult case is that if the he had sent a postcard to the correct address then he would have been entitled to notice under NY law. But he didn’t send a postcard. Instead, he filed a paternity action. Now clearly that was a lot harder and a lot more considered action and you’d think it would count for the equivalent of sending in a post card, but NY didn’t look at it that way.

                    I think the bottom line becomes that the unmarried man has to do something to be entitled to assert his interests. States specify what that something is, limited by the constitution. NY said postcard. Utah says what it says. And so on.

              • What happens if he isn’t told from the beginning?

      • These may well be the cases that are the most bothersome. (They are indeed the ones I’ve written about.) There are some proposed solutions out there–creating a national registry would be the easiest I suspect–one place that a man could register.

    • This is the flip side of the argument from what Marilyn laid out above. I do wonder about how many chances we should give a guy to step up and do the right thing before we say “ok, someone else can take your turn.” Perhaps UT is too harsh, but there’s got to be a line drawn.

    • If just one adoption can be prevented – just one child gets to go home with their own family – that fought for their right to be a member of their own family…their family their father who wants to fulfill his obligations and do his job give his child what he owes his child- are you suggesting that adoption to some other family is preferable for that child? Its always the first choice to have the people that made the child take responsibility willingly. To prevent or thwart attempts of a father and father’s family from doing the right thing is just so many kinds of wrong.

      I’ve reunited many people with their children years after they fought and lost them to adopting parties and let me tell you its not easy for people to learn that their parent or parents wanted them and that their adoptive parents or that their birth mother fought off attempts to keep their family intact especially when there was no criminal reason for preventing the father or parents from doing their job for their kid. It’s the child who has the right to the parent – its not some privlidge that the state gives and takes away its an obligation that comes from being the person who created a dependent human being. The state steps in or should only step in to help find other people to raise a kid when the parents can’t hack it themselves.

      Even when they can’t hack it and need help it really should not ever become someone else’s total responsibity as if the parents were never their parents. There are some things that only they and their families can provide their child with like ongoing medical information and their name for one thing their identities their membership in their own family regardless who raises them. Someone else could add them to their family without having to erase their presence in their own families. We do that in marriage and with step parents we do it with guardianship. There should be a way to give adoptive parents the authority without giving them the lock stock and barrel title of parent what’s wrong with just being an adoptive parent with adoptive parental obligations? Which should be partly to keep up communication with the childs family if possible.

  5. Utah is too harsh Julie without a doubt against fathers. I want to know what a man will have to do to “prove” he provided emotional support – to me you can’t prove that – and what happens if he objects to the adoption – does that mean he isn’t providing emotional support – I think it is a catch 22 clause.

    I do believe a National Putative Registry is the way to go so that a man can register in his home state and it applies in Utah as well – utter nonsense that you have to register in all states that have a registry to protect your rights but with the shennagins Utah has been doing it really has come down to that.

    Off topic – why this rush to permancy as in as soon as the mother can legally sign away her rights. Utah states it is for the best interests of the child but seriously a newborn baby has no clue. I just don’t see the point of rushing so quickly unless your only objective is to secure the adoption rather than doing what is right.

    • I don’t really know what a judge would want to see, but I think the proof would be pretty easy. Were I giving advice I’d suggest that the man remain in contact with the woman, maybe offer to do the grocery shopping from time to time, go to the doctor’s appointments, help her get any sorts of equipment she might need. It’s actually pretty easy for me to think of things that manifest support for the process-and they needn’t be financial ones. Taking over some household tasks so she could rest, perhaps? Maybe getting books on pregnancy and child birth from the library. Finding out where there are labor and delivery classes. Offering to go to those classes. All those sorts of things.

      The key is that he has to offer–he cannot, of course, make her accept. But I don’t think the statute requires that. It requires that he demonstrate his commitment by doing the things he can do.

      Now of course you can argue about whether any of this should be required before the baby is born. I can think of some good reasons why we at least ought to encourage that. But this is another point, I think.

      • I think this needs to be something that is strongly encouraged socially (with the obvious exception of a mother who keeps refusing, obviously at some point the dad should be able to just make the offer and get to back off) but not legally, because I don’t like a legal requirement for pre-birth support – it can too easily become a he said, she said situation, which is something I really don’t like (as you might remember from some of the same sex couple in non formalized parenting relationship threads).

      • Most of the activities you mention here are partnering activities Julie and really not applicable to people who aren’t in a good relationship with each other or living in the same household. Especially attending the birth and doing household tasks in someone else’s household. Frankly if I’m not in an intimate relationship with someone, what is happening in my body is none of there business and the last place I want them is at the doctor’s with me.

        Now are there some people who might want this level of involvement? Sure yeah, but we can not base a law that is consistent for everyone, based on individual whims.

        • TANGENT: this being said, I do plan to invite my baby’s father to be present at the birth. Not for myself- for myself I’d rather hire a doula- but for them- I think those first few moments are important bonding moments.

        • I suppose I’d say he has to offer whatever sort of help he thinks is right to offer. If he offers nothing, then that does matter to me. She is free to reject his offers. But if nothing else he could probably offer to do the laundry or cleaning to spare her some of the physical labor of running a household. Or he could just offer to be on the phone when she wants to talk to him. It’s true, as you say, that what will be appropriate is extremely personal, but this does not (to me) mean he doesn’t have to try to be supportive. There are an infinite number of ways to do that. And remember–his obligation is to offer–not to have the offer accepted.

          • I see you are continuing to fall back into partnering activities.
            It seems you speak from the perspective (as you have elsewhere in this blog) that partner = parent. This is exactly the point I disagree with.

            I would say that if we are going to require offers, the only offer that matters is money. Why? Because money is quantifiable, objective, and impersonal, and not related to the vicissitudes of the relationship between the couple. (example- divorced spouses are sometimes required to give alimony money although it is understood they are no longer in a relationship). Also, providing money could be seen as preparing for the infant’s future needs as opposed to the mom’s needs right now. For the state to require a personal relationship is a major crossing of boundaries in my opinion. What’s more, a man has every right that a woman has, to attempt to extricate himself from an unhealthy and unwanted relationship. He should not have to make himself available to talk on the phone, buy clothes, or for other personal issues if he does not want to.

            I could arrive halfway by agreeing that efforts to be a good partner can serve of positive evidence of intending to be a good parent, but the lack of it can not be used against him.

            • I’m sorry if it seems that way and I do not mean to do the partner/parent in a general way. I don’t think it is so post-birth. It’s perfectly possible to be a partner and not a parent.

              The problem, I think is that, pre-birth many of the things that imply concern for the well-being of the soon-to-be child require care for the well-being of the pregnant woman. So, for instance, can we agree that high stress levels in a pregnant woman are bad for the developing fetus? I’m pretty sure there’s strong science about. Thus, if I care about that child, perhaps I can think of ways to reduce stress. Maybe it doesn’t actually require interaction with the woman. I can make sure that there is food in the house (which has other benefits for the developing child) without ever actually seeing her. I could ensure that the new baby supplies are ready to go.

              Maybe we are at an impasse because anything I do to show I care for the child will also help the pregnant woman, if only because it is one less thing she has to do herself. But it is actually more important to me to see some concern about the child in some ways. I also think if the man and the woman are really on such terrible terms than we will do a child no favors by making them share legal responsibility for the child. So there is a part of me that wants to see if they can get over it and work together as a team–and if they cannot, that’s important to know.

              I’m not averse to the money part, by the way, but there will be people who cannot offer money. And do wonder if money is enough.

              • OK so by that line of logic if you argue a lot with your pregnant partner you are simply not going to be a parent when the child is born and you have no obligation to that child whatsoever. Whether your geneticially related to the child or not hows that? Just purely based on trajectory you were romantically involved and could have found yourself named as father of this your genetic child or someone else’s genetic child but you argued a bunch and that was stressful for her and so now the child only deserves one source of support. Is that the idea? Because I assure you that having fewer resources growing up is a recipe for stress.

    • I forgot to address the “why the rush” question. I think it’s not the case that a newborn baby hasn’t a clue. Humans are primed to bond and it’s ideal for them to bond and stay bonded. Those first few weeks can be really intense hands-on care and I think it does register who’s giving it. If there’s a legitimate reason for haste it is to get the child to where the child is going to be ASAP.

      It’s not clear to me why this bothers people if the guy can secure his interests by actions he can take before the child is born. I get the problems with running off to Utah and all that. But let’s suppose you said he had to register with the paternity index or demonstrate some interest in the six months before the child is born. That’s plenty of time, really, isn’t it?

      The reason for concern, it seems to me, might be cases where the woman doesn’t want to let him care for her. I think that problem warrants separate discussion.

      • again “where the woman doesn’t want to let him care for her”. Once again, adult women do not require care unless she has a severe pregnancy complication. I find it important to return to this point again and again. A pregnant woman is a fully capable adult like any other. This outlook feeds workplace discrimination among other things and perhaps its just me but I worry that it skates close to other laws that would deny pregnant woman agency over their bodies by relating to them as baby carriers.

        • one more thing- if we base it on which partner wanted out of the relationship- we wind up with endless he-said-she-said and what-came-first cases. In divorce custody cases we consider it irrelevant we should consider it irrelevant here as well.

        • In my opinion, the only thing the father should have to do is show an interest in the child, not the mother. I would prefer he simply have to file for legal paternity, without being completely cut off from objecting if the mother lies to him. A recent Utah case is a pretty good example of the problems with requiring the father to just act before the adoption. It’s the Chris Carlton case which recently had oral arguments before the Utah SC. In that case the father and mother lived in a state without a pre-birth putative father registry, Pennsylvania. To gain rights, a father would need to file a paternity petition after the birth and certain information would be required (such as date, place of birth). The mother went off and had the baby slightly prematurely in Utah then told the father the baby was born locally and died. So far Utah courts say that since he was unaware of the Utah connection at all, he was legally required to file in Pennsylvania – the mother’s last location – before learning of the Utah adoption – but because of the mother’s actions, he did not have the information needed to even legally request paternity in Pennsylvania. It can sometimes be hard to get the needed information if the mother is determined to evade the father. He only learned of the whole situation when he went to court to force the mother to reveal the circumstances of the baby’s death, at which point she told the whole truth and by then it was too late for him to file in Pennsylvania anyway since the child had been absent for so long.

          So that’s an example where if the mother is determined to evade the father, it would be hard to require the father to act very early on, unless states allow paternity actions with very few details, no known name or gender of the child, no known place of birth, only the mother’s name at a guess at the due date…

          And if the father does have to spend money on something during the pregnancy to show “commitment” it should be something the baby can use after birth (such as a savings account for the baby, baby items, etc). While there can be additional pregnancy expenses if there are complications, and it’s unfortunate if the woman cannot afford that and I would hope there would be temporary state assistance available in a situation like that (for example, if it became medically impossible for the woman to work because she needed to be on bedrest, or something along those lines), if the mother intended to keep the child in such a situation, and the father were not married to her, his legal obligation for financial support would not begin until the birth, even if the pregnancy caused the mother to have extreme financial difficulties due to complications.

          • So the short version is I would simply require a paternity action by the father within a reasonable time of the birth – I would give 30 days just because it can take time sometimes with lawyers and all and I don’t think any harm from a change of custody that early on outweighs the harm to the father and child’s relationship if the adoption continues under those circumstances. I would also say the time should be extended if deliberate deception (the baby died, etc) can be proven. I do have a hard time saying what the time limit should be for fraud though. That is the part I struggle with. It would really suck if the mother managed to hide something like this for years and years but if it’s not discovered til the kid is really old, say a teenager, I’d say at that point a better solution probably would be the child gets the info at 18 and can choose as an adult whether to have a relationship with the bio father.

            • Why give him any time after the birth of the child? I don’t see why this is an important moment in time from his perspective–and it may well be that he doesn’t know exactly when the child is born. Why not count time from when sex happened and require whatever it is in a time frame measured from that?

              • I can’t quite put my finger on why, but something about giving the man no opportunity whatsoever after the birth feels wrong to me.

                • perhaps because it’s unequal? after all the mother is allowed to change her mind after the birth.

                  • Perhaps that is it.

                  • Right–and why is that? Does it have to do with being pregnant somehow? Is it because you cannot think clearly when pregnant? Is it because there is some important qualitative difference in your relationship to the child after it is born? Is it that a child is notably different from a fetus in utero? Figuring out that might help us figure out whether the different treatment of men and women is okay or not. Or at least it would help us understand it.

                    I wonder, too, if from a “life begins at coneception” point of view you’d draw the same line?

                • We do tend to think of birth/before birth as a very important dividing line–and the law recognizes it for women. There’s at least one obvious reason why it is different for women–before birth the woman is pregnant and the man, of course, is not. The question, I think, is what we do with that.

                  Perhaps it matters whether the man in engaged in an ongoing relationship with the woman. If he is miles away and generally unaware of the moment-to-moment happenings, then I’m not sure why pre-birth/post-birth ought to matter to him.

          • I do think if the mother is unable to work the father has an ethical obligation to at least offer some support but not a legal one.

          • That case is on my list of things to write about. Thanks for raising it.

            If we had a national registry, would you object to saying he has to register in the six months before the child is born? That gives him ample time (unless he has amnesia and has forgotten that he had sex with someone). And it doesn’t require any action showing any interest in the mother. I’m not sure I like it, mind you. I need to think about it more. I’m just asking.

            More on Carlton soon, I promise.

            • I don’t think its someone’s responsibility to keep track of every person they ever had sex with. In fact I’d call them a stalker.

              • Even if you think the woman might be pregnant? IS it really on her to track him down? Why not make him pay attention if he’s intending to invoke some interest in the child? Is that so much to ask?

                • absolutely. the only person who knows whether or not she is pregnant is the woman, so naturally its her responsibility to notify him and not the other way around.
                  women should be able to have casual sex with someone without him tagging her on the phone for the next few weeks to see if she had her menstrual period on time. That’s creepy and offensive.
                  In general your suggestion that men should be required to be involved in the daily needs of the woman, could encourage stalking-like behavior as well.

                  • (…. not because he’s a creep. but because he’s been placed in a position where he has to prove that he met his legal obligation!)

                  • Fair point and something I need think over. I see what you mean about stalking and one wouldn’t that. Or I wouldn’t. Indeed, it’s actually that general concern that wants me to have fewer rights–or even no rights–unless she wants him to have rights. (I know that this makes some people crazy.) And that is also why I don’t want to give her the obligation to contact him. Hmmm.

                    I really do need to think about this. I’m really reluctant to try to argue that we can effectively have a system where we draw a line between him offering to be supportive and him stalking, because I can see from here that this is unlikely to work.

                    There’s also a whole range of scenarios from “never saw each other before, never likely to see each other again” to “really a couple” and everything in between.

                    And while I’m thinking about this, would you suggest that, assuming he knows she is pregnant, he has no obligation to do anything of any sort during the pregnancy if he wants to protect/create rights or is there some obligation you would place on him, once he knows she is pregnant?

        • Poor word choice on my part, you are right. A pregnant woman has some additional obligations during the pregnancy–like going to prenatal appointments, maybe getting folic acid or whatever is recommended. Some pregnant women are also unusually tired some of the time. There are ways he can try to make it all easier. Driving, shopping, whatever it is. The fact that she could manage without him doesn’t mean that he cannot help and support her. It means he doesn’t have to for her to survive–and this means she can turn him down.

          • Yes Julie SHE can turn down help for HERSELF but not for her child. In fact I believe there are some cases about that very thing where the mother has no right to waive support from the child’s father. She is only caring for her child she should not have the authority to decide to simply exclude the father the child has a right to him and his support. Mother’s interfere with their children’s rights when they thwart the father’s attempts at support or also don’t go after that support and contact like a pit bull.

            What kind of mother would care so little about her child’s right to both parents that she’d do such a thing? What kind of sick woman would think she can simply put the lover of her choice in his place and make the real father disappear? Like any old person she likes better can just become the other parent through their efforts. Its so so wrong.

            • I think you’ve gone and leapt to a scenario that is one of many possibilities we can discuss and acted like it’s the obvious or only one. A woman might meet a man in a bar and end up having sex with him. She might end up pregnant and she might decide that she doesn’t wish to have an abortion, (or she might not be able to find a place to get one in some states.) She might learn that the guy is a bad person–whatever that might mean, and I’m just leaving it vague. She might care for the child but want it to have chance she didn’t have and so see adoption as a viable option. (I’m not saying we shouldn’t have social policies that enable her to raise her own child, but we don’t really have them in fact.) And the last thing in the world she might want for her child is to have that jerk raising it. I wouldn’t call her sick. Maybe some would say she’s wrong–I get that. But sick? that’s a bit much.

              I don’t mean to raise this as another subject for discussion right here/now. I just mean to point out that there are many scenarios here and (in my view) it unhelpful leap to any one or another without acknowledging the range of variations and to start hurling words around like “sick.” It doesn’t advance the discussion.

              • So she gets to be the judge of whether or not he is a fit parent? Why? I thought that is what the courts are for. Does she not need to have some evidence of his unfitness?

                • No, she does not. If he is a legal parent, then she doesn’t get to oust him or judge him or anything like that. this is rather the point–once he is a legal parent, he is protected. On the other hand, if he isn’t a legal parent then she gets to judge him just as she gets to judge all the people her children interact with. A legal parent can say “child will/will not see X” where X is not a legal parent and we pretty much let her do that.

                  I think what is bugging you is that she may be able to act in ways that make it hard for him to ever arrive at the “legal parent” spot. And it makes sense that this would bother you because, as I understand your view, he shouldn’t have to do anything beyond contribute the genetics to arrive at that spot. But try to put aside your view of how the law should be for a moment just to think about how it really does work. An unmarried man who is a genetic father has to do something in order to become a legal parent. Some of the things that he might do require her involvement (like getting married, say, or filling out the correct paperwork with her). I think there is always at least one thing that does not require her to participate–like sending in a postcard to a putative father registry. But she certainly can make this hard for him by changing what state she lives in. If he doesn’t get the thing done then he isn’t a legal parent and she can indeed keep him out of the child’s life.

                  You may think the result is the same–perhaps it is. But the way you’ve described it isn’t accurate.

              • If a woman keeps a baby, as far as I know, there is absolutely no legal requirement to name the father unless the mother is receiving state assistance. We can argue the moral right or wrong of it, but an unmarried woman with sufficient financial resources can go to to the hospital, not name the father on the birth certificate, and not file for child support, and there will never be a legal father unless the father comes forward and files a paternity case.

                • agreed; she does not HAVE to notify him legally. when I said it’s her responsibility, it was more of a SHOULD than a legal requirement. the thrust of it being that her decision not to notify him can not be held against him.

                  • Yes, I would say that morally, she should notify the father unless she *personally* witnessed dangerous behavior that would be hard to prove in court (and not just because she thinks he wouldn’t be the greatest parent). But a father would have at some chance at gaining parental rights if he found out later on, as opposed to an adoption. While I don’t think the courts would just give him 50/50 custody for showing up 2 years later, I don’t think (correct me if I am wrong) there would be any legal time limit for a paternity petition when the mother was raising the child alone and there was no adoption. Though I find myself thinking that maybe there should be one if there’s some evidence the father could have found out earlier but didn’t even try.

                • But there have been cases where the child later sued the father for back child support saying the mother had no right to waive his support obligation – it was not her money to be passing up and the kid won. The mother is not the grand poobah that trumps the father they are equal in their obbligation to the child they created together. She should not have to bear that burden alone, he’s suppose to help. If she chooses to bear that burden alone it should not mean that he is off the hook. The child still would have had more if he had helped and why does the child not deserve the support of both parents. I think we need to be asking that question in al situations where the woman wants to go it alone. Why does this child deserve less than other children and not receive the support of both parents.

                  • actually i believe people can legally wave child support in custody agreements. many custody and support agreements are highly individualized and concluded privately, and later enforceable by law.

                  • Ki
                    Why don’t you google waiver of child support and see how wrong you are in every state in the union.

                  • Explanation: “parties may not by agreement divest the court of jurisdiction to order child support.” (Practice Under the California Family Code (Cont.Ed.Bar 2009) § 8.3, p. 306.) “[P]ublic policy also prohibits a parent from waiving or limiting, by agreement, a child’s right to support.” (Kristine M. v. David P. (2006) 135 Cal.App.4th 783, 789 [37 Cal.Rptr.3d 748].). Accordingly, regardless of the parties’ intentions in a Marital Agreement, the courts in California will continue to maintain jurisdiction regarding child support.

                    Parents have no right, in California, to waive or limit by agreement a child’s right to support. (Fam. Code,[fn1] § 7632; K.M. v. E.G. 2005) 37 Cal.4th 130, 144 [33 Cal.Rptr.3d 61, 117 P.3d 673]; In re Marriage of Buzzanca (1998) 61 Cal.App.4th 1410, 1426 [72 Cal.Rptr.2d 280].)

                  • If the two parents involved have a private agreement regarding custody and child support and follow it exactly and neither parent complains to the court and there has never been a court case involving the child, and there are no allegations of abuse or anything, and they have never been married so no divorce proceeding, and neither parent needs government assistance, can a court actually get involved to order child support? I’m pretty sure someone (the government in cases of government assistance and a parent in other cases) has to go to court before the court can do anything.

                  • Rebecca
                    Its like anything else against the law- do it and if nobody complains or notices, your cool. How often have you broken the speed limit? How often have you gotten a ticket for it? Not getting caught driving 80 on the freeway does not mean its legal, just means you got away with it.

                    In the event the parents do agree and the courts never get involved you have a child who was seriously gypped out of what they are entitled to. And because of what? Why did they not deserve the full physical and financial support of both parents? However meager it may be the child is certainly entitled to it and anyone who thinks its OK simply to waive that on as unnecessary is not gambling with their own chips and has overstepped the limits of their authority. Shall I say overstepped the limits of their rights?

                  • I can think of theoretical situations were it makes sense in the real world though. If one parent is really wealthy, and the other parent is quite poor, and they agree that the wealthy parent will pay financial expenses while the other parent will focus on being emotionally supportive to the child and having a good emotional relationship with the child, well the child’s emotional needs are met and the child’s financial needs are met. I don’t see the point in bankrupting the poor parent or making them pay a dollar a month in support just because. I mean what if some anti adoption person who was ridiculously wealthy decided to pay poor people to keep their kids because they had no one to pass their money down to? like financially supported the kids so the parents could physically and emotionally raise them? would those kids be cheated because their parents gave them love but someone else paid for their food and clothing and medical bills? I think the love is way more important.

                  • Rebecca
                    No those kids would not be cheated because the people who owe it to them to be taking care of them would be doing their job of supporting the dependent minors they brought into society. They (the parents) found a source of income that enables them to do their job of raising their children. It makes no difference whether the parent receives the money as a gift or whether they earn it through 8 hrs a day work, they are opting to utilize their funds in support of their child. In fact they are obligated legally to use their funds whatever the source in support of their child because they owe it to their child and to society as a whole to be responsible for the results of their own reproductive actions.

                    My child does not have the right to rely upon my employer for financial support, they have a right to rely upon me for financial support. My child would not have a right to rely upon my anti-adoption benefactor for support, they’d have the right to rely upon me for support. Our government provides assistance to parents in times of emergency specifically for the care of their dependent minors. You don’t have to pay the government back for that assistance unless you were awol and not attending to your obligations as a parent.

                    A parent’s support obligation is offset by the amount of time their child spends in their custody so a wealthy parent with no custody owes more each month than their impoverished parental counterpart who has the child full time.

                    I think the bottom line here is that whatever a child’s parents have to offer the child deserves and nobody else’s efforts can alter their essential responsibility. Everything else the child gets is gravy and should be treated that way because they have no right to rely upon those accessory individuals for support. The nature of the two parent model precludes saying the child has a right to that support from more than two individuals so if you swap a real parent out for a step parent for instance you end up with a loss: they should have the support of both parents AND their step parents income is counted as their parents income so their parents obligation increases and the child’s financial situation improves by adding a step parent, not by swapping the parent for a step parent and calling the stepparent dad.

  6. Julie – I can’t reply in the thread but you answered my question about emotional support but how will he prove it – it can become a he said, she said so it is problematic.

    As to the why the rush / bonding – of course that is important but if it is so important then should the NICU nurse become the parent because she cared for the infant, the mother had complications and the nurses had to care for the infant – same applies? If you apply it in any other real-life situation where the mother and or father could not care for the newborn the rush as in within a day of birth fails.

    As to when a father should have to apply to the putative fathers registry with the suggestion of before birth – are you speaking to the expected due date or the actual birth? That is an important distinction simply because mothers deliver early all the time, mothers with an adoption plan often schedule to be induced before the due date for what appears to me to be the convience of paps and travel plans.

  7. I wonder whether part of the issue is that with more casual arrangements, people assume that contraception is nearly 100% effective so there’s not going to be any comeback from having sex, especially if men haven’t heard anything back from the pregnant woman. The assumption is not that the woman could be pregnant but that she almost certainly couldn’t be.

    OTOH the problematic cases are ones where the couple had an actual relationship or were even married.

    • Precisely.

      In these complex situations, this is the more likely scenario.

      I don’t like misandry any more than I like misogyny. Why do we have to keep imagining nice responsible women and deadbeat irresponsible men?

      Both people have sex, and both people involved probably don’t plan for the child to be created. The woman knows relatively soon if it does happen, the man may never find out.

      The woman has the option of relinquishing her parental obligations and rights – or keeping them – both during the pregnancy (abortion or not) and after giving birth (adoption or not; even changing her mind after relinquishing the baby). OTOH, the father might not even know of the pregnancy, but is expected to take positive action or lose any chance of even merely contact with the child.

      In my country, a horrible crime repeatedly happened about two decades ago: parents were told their babies died at birth in hospitals, and their babies were then sold to adoptive parents. They believed it. Have they thus proved to be deadbeat parents and effectively relinquished their children?

      • For me you raise a series of interesting questions. One is “what is the typical case?” I think this is important (and I’ve been meaning to write about it) because one way to think about law is to say that it should at least work in the typical case. And I’ve been planning to write about this question. Which is more common–the case where the man is trying to find the woman and claim an interest in the child and she’s avoiding him OR the case where she’s pregnant and he’s just gone? Personally I suspect the latter is far more common (I have not stats), but it doesn’t make a good news story and those instances don’t end up with court cases. So we see cases like the ones out of Utah where there are some obvious reasons why people are sympathetic to the man.

        Then there’s the question of obligations post-sex. The positions of the man and the woman are importantly different here. She will always know (okay–almost always?) if she is pregnant. He won’t necessarily know. Should he have an obligation to find out? I don’t see why not. Is this going to be so impossible for men–if you have sex with a woman, you should check whether she’s gotten pregnant? Or at least try to check? I guess I am not troubled by requiring him to take some sort of action based on what he must know is possible. What’s wrong with requiring that?

        Finally, there are terrible cases–and even more than cases, terrible systematic abuses–like the one you describe. If a woman is falsely told her baby dies and therefore leaves the hospital without it, I don’t have any problem saying there’s no abandonment. I don’t think it is hard to shape the law to include this principle and still say that a person has a general obligation to take some action to demonstrate some interest in the well-being of the child.

        • I guess we all have different “typical” scenarios in mind which are based on our experiences but to base laws on stereotypes is dangerous.

          I personally know a young woman who flew halfway across the world with her baby away from the baby’s father because he was “not ambitious and successful enough” (her words – she says he’s decent and gentle). He keeps begging her to at least let him see his son every once in a while. She refuses and feels entitled to it because she’s the mother.

          Have you read Margaret Drabble’s The Millstone? The protagonist gets pregnant and, after unsuccessfully attempting an abortion, willfully deceives the father about the baby because she doesn’t need anyone’s pity or help. He even asks her, when he sees her, if the baby is his, and she denies it.

          If a woman says she’s (currently) infertile or is using BC or if the man uses a condom – which probably covers most cases of unmarried people not planning to become pregnant any time soon having sex together – how realistic is it to require the man, but not the woman, to have expected it? It’s usually a ‘surprise’ pregnancy for the woman precisely because it was not anticipated.

          There’s the scenario of a brief relationship in which contraception was used and the man realizes the woman has, say, borderline or narcissistic personality disorder and she will not stop emotionally abusing him, so he leaves. She realizes she’s pregnant and decides the jerk who left her doesn’t deserve the information. How is the onus on the man to possess the information – that only the woman can provide – if their relationship is bad? And is it always the man’s fault if his relationship with his child’s mother is a bad one? Because women are selfless saints and men are abandoning deadbeat jerks? I ask this as a feminist.

          If there is no realistic reason to fear the father and if he can easily be reached by the mother, then I do believe it should be the mother’s responsibility to formally inform the father of the pregnancy. If he desires to parent the child in face of her decision to relinquish the child for adoption, then he should automatically be entitled to custody. If the father is demonstrably abusive or demonstrably impossible to reach, then it’s a different issue altogether.

    • Yes, I have noticed the really problematic cases tend to be ones where the mother and father knew each other a long time and might even have been in a long-term relationship. There was even a case in some other state, not Utah, where the couple had a previous child together they shared custody of and the court had found no fault with his parenting! But she didn’t feel like co-parenting another child with him so she gave it up. Sad for the child who lost her full sibling as well when the dad would happily have raised them together. It might have been in Texas?

      • It’s certainly true that these are the cases in which there is press. My guess would be that this is because in the one-night-stand, they-never-really-knew-each-other cases, he’s not trying to assert any rights. He’s perfectly content to have them erased.

        I also suspect those cases aren’t uncommon. Perhaps we should think about them, too, in a separate way. I don’t say we’d all agree, but I think the discussion would be different.

    • I think you’re raising the question of what the default assumptions are, maybe? And that people generally assume that there isn’t a pregnancy unless they hear otherwise? I wonder if this is equally true for men and for women? And whether it is equally true no matter what form of contraception is being used?

      I think what Utah law does is require the man to remember that pregnancy is possible and to think about whether he’s going to do something to investigate that possibility. I’m not sure that, in itself, is a bad thing.

      • My two main problems with the Utah law are application to out of state fathers and the allowance of outright fraud. With the exception of the dad who couldn’t file anything because he was told the baby had died at birth in Pennsylvania, every single father who has had a problem with Utah filed in their state of residence. I don’t really have a problem with a father having to do *something* but it should be clear what he has to do, not so confusing even a Utah lawyer struggles to get it right, and fraud should not be tolerated.

      • Yes, pregnancy is a possibility, any time there is sex. That is easy enough to remember. But why should a man that has never been to Utah have to be aware of, and meet the requirements of, Utah law? This seems to be what the Utah courts are saying.

        • This, it seems to me, is a completely fair and serious question to ask. I’m dashing off to class right now, so cannot discuss. It might be part of the reason why a national standard with a national registry is appropriate (though of course then someone can go outside the country.)

          But to highlight the difference between this question and the one about knowing there could be a pregnancy–if there were a national registry and a man didn’t put his name in it, I think it might be okay to count that as his failure to act. Him not knowing that he needs to comply with Utah law seems a bit different to me.

      • Let’s assume that they are strangers who’ve had safe sex, ie he’s used a condom. At that point he knows the risk of pregnancy is about 3% per year. It’s 97% not likely to happen regardless of whether she’s using some other form of contraception or not. It’s a reasonable default assumption that the woman isn’t pregnant.

        It seems to me to be pretty unlikely that the woman would feel any differently about the likelihood of her being pregnant even though she bears the risk more heavily. It’s one of those times when it’s a rare advantage that the woman is usually held responsible for contraception: she probably knows the actual risk better than he does, especially if they aren’t using condoms and he hasn’t asked. Doing something about this would involve a massive culture change.

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