Update on UT/CO Unmarried Father Case

My thanks to TAO, who pointed me towards this story in a comment to the last post.   I had written about the case two years ago, but would surely have missed this chance to follow up on it.

I’ll leave folks to go back and read either the earlier post (I just linked to it) or the article for the facts.    They are rather long and complicated.   But the short of it is that Robert Manzanares is the genetic father of a six-year old girl who has been living with a Utah couple her entire life.   (The people raising her are actually the brother and sister-in-law of her genetic mother.)

Regular readers here will know that Utah is a state that is very hard on unmarried genetic fathers.    As a matter of policy the state would much rather have children raised by married couples.  Hence, it is easy for a woman to give birth and place a child for adoption in UT and it is hard for a man who is the genetic father of the child to stand claim a right to raise the child himself.   

This is where Manzanares got caught.   The genetic mother (Carie Morelock) engaged in a series of deceptions that ended with the her brother and sister in law completing an adoption of the child even as Mananares pursued paternity in Colorado.   The conduct was egregious enough that it even seem to disturb the UT Supreme Court, and the actions of that court were the occasion of the blog post two year ago.

It appears that since that time the matter has been pending in the Colorado courts.  It’s more than a little disturbing (to me anyway) that it seems to have taken over two years for a trial court judge to rule in this case.  (I could be missing something here–maybe there is an intermediate appeal that slowed things down?)   In any event, part of the problem is clearly the passage of time.  The girl is now six.  She has lived her entire life with the married couple in UT.   It really would be incredibly disruptive to sever those relationships, even if their origins were tainted by the earlier proceeding.

And this, it seems, is the heart of the judge’s finding.   The child will continue to live with the UT parents, but Manzanares gets to play ‘an important fatherly role.’  The three adults (Manzanares and the couple) will make all the important decisions jointly.   It appears that they have overcome their differences enough so that they can cooperate about this.   (I do wonder about who actually has legal parental rights.  Perhaps all three of them?)

The news story describes the court’s decision as “Solomonic” and you can see why.   There are deep tensions running in different directions.  Do you reward the adoptive parents, who participated in the original wrong-doing?  That hardly seems right.   But do you punish the child (by disrupting her crucial relationships) in order to avoid rewarding the adoptive parents?    Do you try to undo the wrong done on Manzanares?  And at what cost to the child?

Frankly, it seems to me the ability of the parties here to cooperate made all the difference.  It gave the judge a way forward that will allow the child to develop a relationship with Manzanares even as she maintains a relationship with the adoptive parents.    If the adults can continue to get along, this seems like by far the best way forward.

So maybe one can take two lessons from this.  First, the passage of time in cases like only makes them more and more difficult.  You’d think this could motivate court systems to put them on a faster track?  And second, that the best hope for resolutions that really do serve the children caught up in this are those that involve the adults behaving like adults and working together for the best of the child.

 

 

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129 responses to “Update on UT/CO Unmarried Father Case

  1. Manzanares is the legal father and has custody during summer break and some holidays. I have no idea if there is a legal mother. As the adoption was never finalized, I think the aunt and uncle she lives with might just be legal guardians.

  2. Thanks–that’s instant gratification. (Confession: I only read the one article so far. TAO sent links to three.)

  3. maybe i’m cynical but i think the difference between Manzanares and those other unlucky dad’s is that this was a private adoption; manzanares didn’t have to go up against one of those slippery adoption agencies with tons of money to throw around.

    • I don’t want to deny that cynicism might be appropriate. (And I’ve been meaning to note that one of the more notorious UT adoption agencies lost its license recently). But there are some facts here that might allow a court to see this as different–if only in degree. A greater degree of fraud/misleading on the part of the “adoptive” (I’ll put it in quotes since Rebecca noted that it wasn’t finalized) parents and birth mother and a greater degree of quick court action by Manzanares himself, although it was in the wrong state. It may be that Utah is beginning to bend on this policy, but it’s certainly too early to say, and in truth I do not watch closely enough to know.

    • kisarita, it was done through a Utah Adoption Agency and the lawyer in at least the Utah Supreme Court case was Larry Jenkins, and likely the lower Utah court the USC returned it too.

      The Colorado judge stated Rob had spent a couple hundred thousand on this case…as one of the reasons why he would NOT grant the request to make Rob pay child support to the “psychological parents”…

    • No, the key difference was that his ex lied under oath to a Colorado judge about the adoption during the proceedings for paternity in Colorado. The UTSC then ruled that since that statements under oath are the gold standard of knowledge in cases, therefore he can’t have ‘known’ that she was giving up the child for adoption in Utah and had standing to intervene. The judge also ruled that Rob be immediately placed on the birth certificate which has been another important factor in the case.

      • That’s interesting, because one of the ultimate trump cards you can play in court-in almost any kind of case–is the importance of courts and their procedures. Courts will typically enforce their own orders years after the fact if people skip out, even if it causes huge upheaval, in part because of this interest in vindicating the court system itself. (One might see it as a bit self-serving, though it also makes sense not to reward law-breakers.) Anyway, it seems a similar thing might be at work here–lying under oath subverts the whole court system and so cannot be tolerated–even if you’re a court that has been unsympathetic to unmarried fathers.

  4. Julie, the judge I think is assuming they will get along based solely on statements made by the lawyers in the hearing in December 2013…not on any real proof. Rob is the legal father on the child’s birth certificate per a Utah court ruling. The mother has no legal rights at all, they were terminated.

    I do think the outcome should have been different where over time, the primary custody would move to Rob so as to be a natural occurrence rather than abrupt.

    It will be interesting how the suit against Utah plays out.
    http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/57432393-78/utah-adoption-lawsuit-fathers.html.csp

    • It’s hard for me to tell why the judge reached the conclusion that they’d get along. There’s some information to support that in this article: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865598214/Judge-Biological-father-will-share-custody-with-girls-psychological-parents.html?pg=all It appears that there is an established relationship with Manzanares now, which suggests they’ve managed at least that much. And Manzanares seems to speak well of the “adoptive” parents. I would hope that, for the sake of the child, they can manage it.

      It’s hard to say what the future will bring. If the parties live in different states (as they do) sharing time with the child gets harder as the child gets older. And at some point courts will begin to take the child’s view into account, too.

      There are a couple of similar damages actions around. You’re right–they bear watching.

      • Julie, the court had to order them to tell the child at age 5 that she had a different mother/father because they had ordered them to allow visitation. Any relationship that starts that way will be strained at best – especially when they asked for child support from him in the filings. It will be interesting to see if he files an appeal because I think the precedent is very scary.

        • I didn’t know that. Have you found the opinion of the trial judge on line? Or is there another source? There’s no question that the beginning was rocky (at best). There are accounts of hostility in the 2012 reports of the hearings, too. But sometimes it is possible for people to move beyond that. It does worry me that there are conciliatory quotes from Manzanares but not from the “adoptive” parents.

          • I hope they can move past it but something that has gone on for six years that as you say about the hostility. I don’t know if it can be done and kids are pretty good about vibes. I have kept up with the case from FB Birthfathers United page if you want to go there and skim down to about the the 11th of March.

            There are far too many cases in Utah – just starting to read the Carlton Utah Supreme Court ruling where it seems they agree he can challenge the Utah laws under thwarting his due process. Not to overload you but I found that today: http://www.utcourts.gov/opinions/supopin/Carlton140622514.pdf

            • I read the Carlton decision but didn’t find I had enough to say about it. Perhaps there is a shift in UT. It’s policies have certainly garnered more attention recently. But the Carleton opinion gives him a right to raise a constitutional claim without offering much insight as to how the court will view the claim. I think it’s worth watching, because we might learn something at that point.

              • I think it will be interesting because to the best of my knowledge, PA doesn’t have a putative fathers registry, you file a paternity filing and that can be done at any age – so there is no age/time limit. I’m not sure I would even say I have a layman’s understanding of due process but I would think based on his home state laws vs Utah it will be interesting…

                I do think the courts in Utah are tired of the shenanigans.

              • His case is also dreadful as he was told his son died and months later he finds out is was a daughter and then only because the court required that. He was also deployed during that time.

                • See! I reunite lots of fathers who were in the military when the ego maniac women they got pregnant just go pick another boyfriend or give their child up for adoption. Women, biological mothers need to be taken down a notch or ten. The stuff I’ve read/witnessed in reuniting sickens me they often think of their kids as property even though they love them. Step dad is your father now.

              • Back to the subject of the post – link to the Manzanares Utah Supreme Court ruling that over-turned the lower court ruling, sent back to lower court, and then over to Colorado. It’s very illuminating re the time frames and why there was no way he could have complied with Utah timeframe. http://www.utcourts.gov/opinions/supopin/InreBabyB123500.pdf

        • what exactly is the precedent you are concerned about?

          • At best the “psychological parents” are the legal guardians, although I never saw that a court granted them that status. They got the baby originally via by the agency giving them “temporary custody” based on “at risk” placement due to the father not surrendering. I believe that agreement usually states they agree to hand over the child, if the petition to adopt is dismissed. They would have obtained the temporary custody by way of the mother surrendering her rights to adoption agency (licensed by the state to then assign temporary custody to the couple based on specific requirements ie homestudy approved). Keep the child long enough and you win, in this case it is only primary custody but custody none the less. I wouldn’t know the legal terms but when a “legal stranger” succeeds over a legal father simply by length of time then it just seems wrong. There were better ways to handle it and I think it will be appealed.

            • i would tend to agree with you, but on the other hand since this is Utah, he likely wouldn’t have gotten anything at all, so it could be viewed as a postive development?

            • It’s not precedent unless it happens in an appellate court. This was a trial level court. Rob can appeal this.

  5. “…the best hope for resolutions that really do serve the children caught up in this are those that involve the adults behaving like adults and working together for the best of the child”

    Yet the biological father is almost always painted as the person not behaving as an adult and selfishly keeping the child from their ‘real parents’. There is next to no punishment other than financial for PAP’s who fight fit and loving biological parents. The level of deceit that went into kidnapping Kaia would have landed anyone else in jail except when it comes to adoption apparently. The PAP’s could have ended all the pain and frustration a long time ago and greatly lessened and affects a transfer would have had on Kaia if only they had acted ethically from the beginning. Instead, they only cared for what they wanted and I doubt that is going to change anytime soon.

    Our daughter is living proof that a child can be moved at an older age. She will be 5 when the transition is most likely complete. Is it tearing apart the hearts of the foster parents who wanted to adopt her? Absolutely! Do we care? Absolutely! Is that going to stop of from ever fighting to bring her to our home? No. The courts have spent nearly 4 years fraudulently keeping her from us and we will not allow that injustice to stand. The foster parents have finally realized that we’re not the scary people that certain parties were claiming us to be and have put their full support behind our bid for custody. It’s an act of selflessness that has blown us away. We are also working with a therapist and follow her recommendations yet even this therapist recognizes that the process will not be painless for our daughter and still recommends reunification.In end end, we believe that this temporary pain is in her best interest. If Kaia’s PAP’s would learn what being selfless really is, maybe Kaia can have the same kind of transition too.

    The only home ever known argument only encourages unethical practices and, while it tugs at the heartstrings of everyone in the media and social spheres, it’s simply not true that a child who has a healthy attachment to one caregiver cannot transfer that attachment to another. If children were not able to go on with the loss of a parent or both, the human race would have died out a long time ago.

    • much success in your case!

    • I do not know the details of your situation so I do not mean to comment on it particularly. There is clearly much truth in what you say–had the PAPs surrendered early this would be a very different story.

      But in the grand scheme of things there can be many variations in these cases. Some of those variations might matter, at least to some of us. Sometimes the PAPs (who I take it are “prospective adoptive parents” or something like that) may know what has happened but sometimes they may be unwitting. The motivations of the parties vary, too–on both sides. Not all unmarried men who pursue the women who are pregnant are acting nobly.

      Are these things important? That depends on what we’re trying to accomplish. I think lots of people would agree one should not reward wrong-doers, and that will help us resolve those cases where the PAPs are found to be wrong-doers. But what about cases where they are not? (Again, I do not mean to suggest that yours is one of those.) What about cases where the genetic father doesn’t come along for a year or two or three?

      I don’t mean that this dictates any answer here, only that I think we need to look for general principles that will help us with the range of cases and that is hard.

      • Where are all the cases of men showing up years later where they full-well knew they had a child? People always bring this question up when it’s a moot point to the discussion at hand, especially with the recent cases out of UT and other places. The biological father is always painted as coming out of NOWHERE to snatch their child back from loving parents and that just isn’t the case in any of the cases I have read.

      • “what about cases where {PAP’s] are not?”

        Too bad, so sad. They should gracefully bow out and give the child back. No one is entitled to someone else’s child just because they followed all the rules.

        • Too bad? Like with Julie I don’t know the details of your story but I think you need to recognize and empathize with the other side of the picture. You say that you care that it’s tearing the hearts out of your child’s Foster parents but I don’t buy it one bit when you come back with statements like this.

          However, having read many birth parent stories I recognize why you don’t care or have empathy for them. You’ve likely been hurt and have a lot of pain. But I imagine once the transition is over that you will cut the Foster Parents out of your child’s life for good never allowing them to have any role in her life hoping that she forgets about them.

          I hope that one day your pain eases and that things work out for all parties involved most importantly your daughter. I hope she has more than just a select few that you choose that love her.

          • I’m not a birthparent. This is my husband’s daughter. If anything, I understand her perspective better than anyone as I went to live with my aunt and uncle when I was 4. I was never adopted nor under a guardianship.

            Emotions do not exist in binary states. I can feel bad for them yet also feel abhorrent at PAP’s who cling to children they have no rights to. Money and paperwork do NOT, entitle you to someone else’s child.

            The rest of your comment is extramely rude. How often do adoptive parents do the same thing? We have no intention of cutting off the foster parents. At the same time, I do forsee a gradual process where they are not in the forefront of her mind. That is just how relationships work, especially since we will be a 10 hour drive away and they are professional foster parents.

            The pain I remember the most was wondering why my parents didn’t want me and this affected me greately most of my life.

            • “We have no intention of cutting off the foster parents.”

              Actions speak louder than words. Now that you’ve used them and no longer have use for them or see their value in your husbands daughters life it’s doubtful you allow a relationship to continue.

              • I’m sorry, I didn’t know I was in contact with the psychic hotline. *rolls eyes*

              • Also, I see from your blog that you are looking to adopt. Just how open do you plan on that adoption being? Have you actually lived a life with more than one set of parents?

                • As open as possible. If we pursue adoption we will make every effort to keep the relationship open. The key word is relationship not contact. There is a difference between an open contact adoption that includes updates being sent to the birth/first parents and an open relationship adoption where the birth/first parents have an open relationship with the child and parents. We prefer the latter and will make every effort to do so. But we both recognize that it’s going to be a lot of tough work if we pursue adoption and are privileged enough to be selected to become some child’s parents.

                  I have not lived a life with more than one set of parents. Though I have a very close relationship with my in laws. They’ve always treated me as if I was their son. That’s probably the closest thing to having two sets of parents.

                  My wife has on the other hand has two sets of parents for almost her whole life as her parents got divorced at a young age. Both dad and mom remarried. She has a very strong bond with her step mom that is as strong as any mother has with her daughter. I know it’s not the exactly same as adoption but being the choke with divorced parents who remarry present some challenges that are similar to adoption.

              • Used them? How can you say that this child’s father used them? They kidnapped his kid. But since he loves his kid and these are not strangers they are his kids family he’ll not be cutting her off from her bio relatives the way they tried to with him. But leading by example like that will be easier for him than for them because he’s her FATHER and really does have her best interests at heart. He’s still her father Greg even if he played no part in raising her because raising a kid does not make a man a father. He’s a father first and then has the job of raising his kid. They never were adoptive parents first it was never their job to raise her, they usurped his authority.

                • “He’s still her father Greg even if he played no part in raising her because raising a kid does not make a man a father. ”

                  Because in your mind he has biology that trumps all and biology is superior to non biology.

                  “They never were adoptive parents first it was never their job to raise her, they usurped his authority”

                  Even if they were they are just babysitter and not real parents according to your logic and core beliefs.

                  • Well, in this case I’d say they aren’t parents because they could not legally finalize the adoption.

                  • True, but for Marilynn even in cases where adoptions are finalized she does not believe parents through adoption are real parents she believes they are babysitters and bio parents can come back and take the kids when they feel like parenting.

                  • what you call babysitting is something that bio parents do for their offspring too. I call it child rearing because babysitters don’t have custody and only have limited decision making power and also they are paid – something adoptive parents are not. Certainly nobody pays people to raise their own offspring either. Nonetheless, what you call babysitting I call raising a child. Sometimes parents raise their children themselves and sometimes they don’t raise them for whatever reason and other people are asked to step in and help fill the absent parent’s shoes. The other people are only raising the kid because the parent failed to do it themselves or was prevented from doing it themselves. So it’s plan B and we should think it’s just OK to skip right to plan B in order to provide people with kids to raise

            • Cause they are not the kids parents. The kid has one estranged parent right the mother, and the kid has their Dad and his wife/step mom who will be day in day out mom figure, Maybe their aunt and unclie will resume the roll of aunt and uncle cause that’s what they are and always were. There is no trauma their – they never were her parents they were her relatives and they’ll stay her relatives. If one wanted to put a very rosey spin on it – she stayed with family until her father arranged everything so she could come home. Thanks for watching her, lets skype.

              I’m so staunch on this I don’t care if a pop was straight derelict junkie gambling mess – what ever he is capable of doing for his child he should be allowed to do and should be expected to do no matter what no matter if someone else has been doing all the work and he waltzes in one day full of apologies having seen the light gotten a job sobered up – let him, make him take care of his kid. Yeah ease into it but don’t say no to him he lost his chance the kid is not a first come first serve prize to whoever works the hardest. If that’s his kid he should be taking care and anyone who stops him from trying should be ashamed of themselves. Unless there is a basis for a restraining order and jail sentence stay out of a guy’s way.

      • So he does not come along for a year or two or three. At what point exactly does a child stop deserving the love and daily care giving of the individuals who put them in the position of needing love and daily care giving? Children are people not prizes for good behavior. The person should have a right to receive care from their bio parents to whatever extent they are capable whenever they are capable of it and everyone else who wants to be involved in the child’s life should be ordered to work with the parent on that to give the kid everything they deserve. Maybe the parent never secures full custody because of the inability to live a stable life or something but then garnish their SSI checks for support and encourage visitation in a safe environment whatever. Coming back into the picture when the kid is three is wonderful! What a blessing! The child certainly deserved it earlier but now is better than later. What can we do to help him assume his proper roll of father and ease him into performing his required duties? That is what people should be saying if the father waltzes in when the kid is three after being on skid row all cracked out. Welcome back your daughter child needs you and there is still an opportunity for you to do right by your kid let’s not undermine your earnest efforts.

        But people don’t say that. They say MINE they adopted to become parents and they paid a lot of money to a judge so they could tell everyone that she was their kid and they’ve been doing all the work – whine.

        • “But people don’t say that. They say MINE they adopted to become parents and they paid a lot of money to a judge so they could tell everyone that she was their kid and they’ve been doing all the work – whine.”

          And you claim that you have respect for non biological parents and don’t have a bias against them? LOL, who are you kidding.

    • I love you who are you. Stay here talk more

    • Lucreza Borgia
      I think you are wonderful and logical. The “only parent she’s ever known’ argument is malarkey intended to kidnap people out their families.

      Two people owe it to a kid to take care of them and those are the two who caused their dependency. Causing a person’s existence is not a harm, but causing a person’s dependency is. A baby is a person and their dependency is caused by their parents and justice for the baby is for the law to hold those responsible for the harm of dependency accountable for resolving their dependency. It is not justice to have the wrong guy go to jail for robbing you or the wrong kid get grounded for breaking your window, nor is it justice to send in a substitute child care; giver when the people who really owe it to them to take care of them and teach them to be independent would be let off the hook. Likewise anyone trying to interfere with a parent who is attempting to honor their responsibilities as a parent is doing the child a terrible injustice. Other people should only be called upon for help as a last resort when their parents are convicted of abuse or are physically or mentally disabled and unable to take care of them. Other than that even the most marginally competent parents should still be held accountable for their kids and everyone needs to get out of their way and let them do their job. They’ll let you know if they need you. “What’s best for the kid” theory is also totally random which means there is no law. Do we decide any other cases based on what’s best for a victim of harm? Like if a poor person hits me while driving their car, it woulld be a whole lot better for me if I was hit by someone who had more money and wanted to compensate me for my pain. Maybe charge their rich aunt instead of them cause that’s what’s best for me. Justice would mean having the guy who hit me pay for his crime and if he’s broke that’s the breaks. Generally adoptive parents are older and richer than the parents they vight for custody. Time passes sure they build a relationship sure – but look at time served vs. time remaining. If you have a 6 year old kid she’s got 12 years minimum of minor-hood left it might be appropriate for her to know and experience and witness responsible non-slacking parenthood in action showing her that she’s important and that she deserves her father’s full attention. I highly doubt that she’ll appreciate anyone that kept her bio parent away from her especially if he’s fighting so hard just to be allowed to take care of her. She has a right to that. People I reunite that find out their adopted parents fought to keep the bio family from contesting or whatever – they get really pissed off about it and from what I can tell hearing that their bio family fought to take responsibility for them is pretty important meaningful to their souls almost seems like

      • “People I reunite that find out their adopted parents fought to keep the bio family from contesting or whatever – they get really pissed off about it and from what I can tell hearing that their bio family fought to take responsibility for them is pretty important meaningful to their souls almost seems like”

        Congrats and keep up the good work of doing what you do best……….break up non biological families. It must make you feel so good to destroy those people’s lives.

        • You are crossing a line into an area of personal attack. Why are you doing that? You have no evidence that I’ve destroyed anyone’s life. I’ve never broken up an adoptive family either. I can’t think of anyone who stopped talking to their adoptive family after they found who they were looking for or were found by someone looking for them. What gives you the idea that I’ve broken adoptive families up. Be specific. Cause I have not altered the facts on any birth records or paid for any damn babies or sequestered anyone to keep them from knowing who their relatives are. I have not withheld information. What concrete basis do you have for making such an outlandishly untrue and pointedly spiteful accusations? I do what I do to bring families together and in hopes that some day people won’t be treated like house pets anymore.

          • I would just advise caution because breaking up the wrong non biological family could come back to bite you in the rear with an mentally unstable non biological parent comes knocking on your door. Though that would be karma knocking on your door. 😉

            • You put a smiley face next to a statement about me being hunted down by some mentally unstable person who wants to bite me and you are saying that I deserve to be physically hurt by a crazy adoptive parent smiley face?

              Take that back. You’d better not mean what you are saying to me. You are crossing the line and making or at least endorsing physical threats at my home and saying that you think it would be karmic retribution for me helping their kid find their parents or siblings?

              You think I deserve to be physically hurt that I’d have what was coming to me for helping people locate their missing family and I should like what stop helping people because someone might be mad about what exactly? Wait just forget it – I’ll ask Julie offline to talk to you about your weird personal attacks and will try not to go back and forth with you. You are very peculiar. I don’t actually feel threatened but you are saying things you just should not say.

              • All I am saying is there are a lot of sick people in this world and when you go around getting involved in family matters that don’t concern you that it might turn around and get back to you. That’s all.

                • It wasn’t meant to be a personal attack and I’m sorry if you took it that way. It was meant a you should be more careful with what you are getting involved with. The world is a scary place.

                  • Also really if anyone needs to worry about someone getting mentally unstable and snapping it would be anyone concealing or withholding information from people about their families. Still it would be wrong of someone to get violent over that. Mad yes, violent never

                  • Wow be more careful with what I’m getting involved with sounds like something someone would say to a person tampering with black magic or underworld crime. I volunteer for a good cause its like being a candy striper at a hospital or working in a homeless shelter or doing legal pro bono work or collecting canned goods for hungry families. Not tampering with witchcraft or anything. Not calling forth any demons.

                  • My parent's donor is my father

                    It has everything to do with INTENT. No ‘gypsy card flipping’ required. 😉

                  • These are delicate family matters with a lot of emotion involved. You have no idea as to the family dynamics or relationships. Even if your focus is on helping the biological side of the family there is a whole non biological family that is impacted. While you may not think it’s a big deal due to your own personal feelings for someone else it could be a big deal.

                    Why do you think your friends have to create anonymous websites and use different names? Because family matters are extremely emotional and there are a lot of hurting people out there who are unstable and angry. I don’t blame them either.

                  • My parent's donor is my father

                    I get it Greg. I know. I really do know. But we can’t stop people from trying to connect. Search angels like Marilynn are a rare breed. Most of us are left to our own resources and communities to help navigate these stormy waters. It is what it is. It won’t stop just because of the potential of to hurt non-bio or even bio parents/family. Intent and personal integrity is all we have.

                  • But you and I both know that family dynamics change with a search and find. It’s not as simple as once the biological relative is found all is right with the world. That family dynamic changing may not be something Marilynn cares about due to her feelings on non biological families but as I am sure you know better than any of us that it’s more complex than it may seem on the surface.

                  • My parent's donor is my father

                    Yes Greg you are so so so right about that. Oh how do I know it’s not an easy fix. After the honeymoon wheres off we are still left on our own to figure out, what does this all mean. Gifts = lessons = gifts

                • Well I have a right to expect people to control their tempers and not react with physical violence. The only right a person has to hurt someone is in the process of self defense and I have no intention of hurting anyone physically myself so therefore no expectation of receiving the same in return. I don’t get involved in family matters that don’t concern me. Family members reach out for help finding and contacting their relatives and I help them. Their plight concerns me very much and I offer help when they think they’ve exhausted all their alternatives. I can’t see how it would cause me anything but joy because I’m not hurting anyone in the process. If someone has a problem with the truth then that is their problem to deal with not mine. I help people uncover the truth and get in contact with family they never should have been out of touch with. It’s fine really. If I were working in a cryobank concealing parents names from their children I’d be doing something to aid and abet parents in abandoning their kids and then I could see where someone might loose it if I said they could not have access to their own information about their own family. Then I’d be hiding something from someone that was theirs to have not mine to conceal. Then I could see where someone might loose control but even then people need to take responsibility for their own feelings and not get violent.

                  • “Well I have a right to expect people to control their tempers and not react with physical violence. ”

                    While this is true, unfortunately this is not the reality of the world we live in.

            • My parent's donor is my father

              If anyone did that to Marilynn, then karma will come knocking right back to them at their door 😉

              • Aw thanks. Karma got me a really beautiful hand blown glass orb with a family tree in it from some people who really need help finding their families and I’m so grateful because I never saw anything that pretty and so meaningful.

        • Do you see that the only thing you are focused on is how adoptive parents feel? What about what I said where these people find out their bio parent fought for them and it really hurts to know their adoptive parents fought to keep them when their bio family was able to raise them and wanted to – can you see how angry and horrible that would make someone feel to know that their parents wanted to keep them and fought for them but someone prevented that? They would have gotten over the intitial change of hands at any point in their childhood. It’s very important to know they were wanted by those who made them and hurtful to be prevented from going home when there is no real reason for it.

          What if a child’s parent became gravely ill shortly after they were born and someone had to take over raising them and a few years passed with limited contact and it looked as if the parent was apt to die and then in a few more years their parent fully recovered and the kid was now six years old. Does the kid deserve to be with a parent who is capable of caring for them or not? And don’t worry about the feelings of the non bio parent because the kid was not in the custody of others for the benefit of others. That’s the thing children are not placed in adoptive homes for the benefit of the people raising them. Their feelings don’t matter – neither do the feelings of someone’s parents matter, its all about the kids and what they are owed and deserve.

          Some will say that kids deserve stability – yes but they are not owed stability the way kids are owed support from their bio parents. Law cannot ensure that every child has a stable life but can ensure every child has a right to support from their bio parent. Whether they get it or not is another matter but at least they should have a right to legal protection in the event that their parent refuses or some nasty interloper undermines their parents efforts to take care of them.

          • “Do you see that the only thing you are focused on is how adoptive parents feel? ”

            What I’m focused on is respect non biological families and how important those bonds are for children and children who become adults. Turning someone against who was raised by and has a bond with a non bio parent is pretty disgusting if you ask me.

            • I’m not talking about turning against non bio family. I’m talking about it being wrong to prevent parents from taking care of their offspring when there is no physical danger to the child from being in that parent’s care. If they are not worthy of a restraining order then there is no reason why they should not be doing the job of raising their own offspring. It’s fine for others to help out until the parent is able to raise their offspring themselves of course but to actually block the parent from taking care of his kid when he could be just fine doing it all because the kid spent a few years in someone else’s care is wrong. Arrangements can be made to have a smooth transition that respects a child’s bond with those people but the focus should be on getting the kid what they are owed and deserve from their parents first and foremost while making that switch over as comfortable as possible. The judge could require visitation with the people that were taking care of a child..

            • Greg in this case I think the people you are thinking of as non bio family are actually the child’s maternal relatives and so they’ll just be who they are and the Dad will raise his kid like he’s supposed to.

            • If I recollect correctly the father was not trying to end the relationship between his child and the bio relatives that were doing the care giving, he was just trying to take custody of and raise his own kid, you know, because that’s his job and his kid’s entitled to that care from him?

              If I were a judge I’d always look at the individuals trying to block a parent for no good reason and I’d be like “why?” It’s interesting that when father’s are trying to just do the right thing, rarely are they trying to simultaneously block or thwart the mother’s efforts at doing their job for the kid. Usually all that fathers in these situations want is to do the right thing and care for their kid – not prevent the other parent from doing it as well.

              Mother’s have WAY too much authority to ruin their kid’s lives as far as I’m concerned. The law needs to level the playing field for mothers and fathers. This is terribly unfair to the kids that Mom’s can play games that create messes and prevent Dad’s from meeting their responsibilities.

              • “If I were a judge I’d always look at the individuals trying to block a parent for no good reason and I’d be like “why?” ”

                If you were a judge you wouldn’t even hear the particulars of the case you would just rule against the non biological adults who have no connection to the child in your mind. We are very lucky that our society has judges that are more open minded and don’t have any biases against non biological parents.

        • It’s marilynn’s fault that the adoptive parents were liars?

          • Sure all Adoptive Parents are liars and no child could bond with them. I see you have joined her anti non biological family army. Then again you have broken up a non biological family so you both have a lot in common.

            • Where did anyone say they were all liars? I highly suggest you go to therapy to deal with the anger of your infertility before you adopt.

              • No anger here, maybe upset by your closed minded views but not angry. I suggest that you seek sensitivity training. With this being the year 2014. It’s sad that such intolerance for non biological families exist and that diversity in families isn’t more widely accepted.

                • I have an intolerance for kidnapping.

                • Greg adoption is a solution for children whose parents are unable or are unwilling to care for them. What do you call it when someone keeps a child from parents who are willing and able to care for them? That is tantamount to kidnapping. Stretching out the time when they should be giving the kid over to the parent by saying”well we are the only parents the kid’s ever known” is selfish and sadistic. I’ve reunited families where the adoptive parents did that. Sometimes it was even bio family that were just guardians preventing the parents from contact. They are really resented by the person once they grow up. If a kid finds out their parent fought for them but their guardians or adoptive parents tried to prevent it – look out.

                  • “If a kid finds out their parent fought for them but their guardians or adoptive parents tried to prevent it – look out.”

                    That’s like a dream come true for you. Then you don’t have to take any responsibility for breaking up the non biological family you have someone else to blame for what your true intentions were.

              • There is nothing to indicate they said directly or even implied they were liars why do you make stuff up Greg?

                • They interfered with the father doing his job trying to take care of his kid. That is pretty clear they thwarted his efforts and in my opinion interfered with the kid’s rights.

                  • Where was he from the beginning?

                  • Greg you asked where the child’s father was from the beginning? He was in court fighting the illegal adoption to the child’s maternal uncle and his wife. He was not there from the beginning due to the deliberately punk ass actions of the mom’s family. They never should have had custody of his child. If the mother did not wish to participate in raising her child with the father she was S.O.L because the father wanted to and she should have had to pay child support whether she wanted to change diapers or not is beside the point. The baby was not her personal property to go giving away to her brother to raise. The child’s uncle is the child’s uncle, not her father. She has a perfectly good father who should have been raising her. Even if he was a slacker my opinion would still be that they should work with him and that would be if the adoption were all not shady and above board. But since the adoption was so shady it was not even an actual adoption – they need to go back to just being Uncle and Aunt and accept reality, they are not and never were parents to the child no matter what kind of snow job they ran on the kid.

                  • “Greg you asked where the child’s father was from the beginning? He was in court fighting the illegal adoption to the child’s maternal uncle and his wife. ”

                    There are three sides to every story each parties story and then somewhere in the middle is the truth. You are just going by one side of the story. I’d like to hear the other side to figure out what’s actually the truth.

                    “But since the adoption was so shady it was not even an actual adoption – they need to go back to just being Uncle and Aunt and accept reality, they are not and never were parents to the child no matter what kind of snow job they ran on the kid.”

                    Of course you feel that they were never parents because in your mind only the people who conceived the child are their parents. I guess my friend who her and her husband adopted her niece aren’t “real” parents to their daughter according to your logic. See I’m starting to believe that it’s not an anti non biological bias you have but that you have a bias against any adults raising a child that they didn’t conceive. You obviously feel that anyone who conceived a child is superior person to someone who didn’t.

                  • OK Greg I will die on this particular hill, people who adopt their relatives that mess around with titles and try to call themselves parent instead of whatever they actually are to that kid are just trying to mess the head of that kid up. Your friend adopted her own niece the child is still her niece and most people who adopt their grandchildren or siblings or nieces and nephews don’t do it to become parents they do it because their family is in crisis and normally its a beautiful example of exactly why raising a child does not make a person a parent, it just makes them the aunt that raised them. Normally people don’t try to call themselves the mother of their siblings child, they are already related they have a kinship title. Why is your friend doing that? Why does she feel uncomfortable with who she is? Will she call their cousins their siblings? Will she call their siblings their cousins? Whatever people can do whatever the heck they want to the identities of adopted people like they were cabbage patch kids. They can turn their sibling into their son or turn their grandson into their son.

                    I think its lovely that your friend’s family is sticking together in their time of crisis and that the child won’t be adopted out to strangers. It’s unfortunate they can’t just let the kid be their niece or nephew and be the aunt and uncle that they are and raise the kid with no expectations that the kid will play along and pretend they are not the child of their own parents. It’s sad enough when a kid’s parents are not able to take care of them; to make the kid pretend they are not even those people’s kid – that someone else is their parent just so that someone will be willing to take care of them is such a dog and pony show its so wrong. Can’t they take care of the kid without doing that to them? They turned a perfectly noble family centered act of love into something self centered if they try to call their niece or nephew their child.

                    Go on, rail on me say I don’t believe other people should raise the kid, you’ll be wrong – I know they should not try to assign the kid a different identity that is what I care about. It’s all pretend cause they can’t work themselves out of being an aunt.

                  • Marilynn your lack of respect for diversity in families is truly disgusting and shows a lot about your character. Out of respect for Julie, I am too upset to respond to this further.

                  • Greg I have no problem with diversity in families – its when sameness is faked forced faked and the kid and everyone the people interact with is forced into acting like aunts are moms and nephews are sons and like mom’s and dad’s are strangers, siblings are cousins, cousins are siblings. Real diversity would just be “hey my mom and dad are AWOL and my aunt and her husband are raising me together with my cousins. That would be diversity. The charade is just a forced monstrosity. If people were only pretending to themselves it would be one thing but they go out in the world they want paperwork falsified, they want everyone they encounter to go along with the farce like its not a farce. That is not diversity, its just lying. It’s lying and feeling entitled that everyone including the government should enable their delusion of changed kinship. You can only be related to a person one way – everything else is secondary. An aunt can’t adopt her nephew unless her sibling has a kid which makes the kid her nephew not her son or daughter. The adoption just makes her have parental authority it does not make her be the kid’s parent. I don’t know why people need the power AND the title, the power is plenty to get the job done; taking the title changes who the kid is legally at least now under the current law it’s not fair.

                  • “Greg I have no problem with diversity in families”

                    You wouldn’t be trying so hard to break up non biological families if you did. You’d have more respect and less anger towards non biological families.

                • There is some information on the history of the case and who did what in the Utah Supreme Court opinion http://law.justia.com/cases/utah/supreme-court/2012/20090740.html

            • She did not support her husband’s efforts to gain anything for herself. Do you understand that there are ethical ways to be involved in the life of a child that is not your own offspring? This would be a very ethical way because whatever she’s doing is with the kid’s rights in mind. At the very bare bones minimum – her step kid will not feel threatened or disrespected by her even if they are oil and water in every other way possible which I doubt, there is no other way for that kid to see her but as respectful of who they are as a person not as wanting to turn them into something else to be worthy of her time and interest. You just don’t get it Greg. There are ethical ways and millions of people do it the right ethical way.

              • How are they breaking up a non bio family when wait…..the people who are the psudo adoptive parents are already relatives of the kid right? They’ll just be who they are, regular relatives, the kid’s maternal relatives. Nothing has been or will be broken up

                • It will be when all contact is cut off from the adults who babysat.

                  • I wouldn’t have much sympathy for the couple in this case since if you read the court ruling they helped the mother’s fraud. The father asked the court to give him primary custody and the failed adoptive parents court ordered visitation. Had the court given him what he requested and he cut off contact after winning he could have been held in contempt of court.

                  • May not happen right away but watch it happen over tine Rebecca after the transition happens.

                  • That would be for the courts to handle? Regardless I don’t have sympathy for the couple and I think this dad did just about everything he could. He filed legal paternity pre birth. I think he should get primary custody now that the child knows him.

                  • Greg let’s calm down. In your opinion shouldn’t adoption actually be necessary in order to be warranted? Do you believe people should take responsibility for their own offspring unless there is a compelling reason to prevent the child from being raised by them? Why shouldn’t the father take care of his child? He put the child on this earth – he should just walk away? The only reason for an adoption is if the child can’t be safely raised by his or her parents. There is no need for adoptive parents or guardians if the child can be with his or her parents.

                    What you call babysitting is raising a kid. Nobody else should raise a person’s kids unless its absolutely necessary for the child’s safety. Not just that they have more money or they think they’ve established a relationship.

                  • Greg these people are the child’s maternal relatives. There is nothing he can do to change that even if he wanted to. The kid is going to be related to them whether they are the care givers or not. It’s not like the kid is loosing any family here, being legally cut off from legal kinship or anything. The kid is simply getting what they deserve.

                  • Marilynn,

                    An Adult(s) should be able to decide prior to a child being born whether or not they want to or are able to parent. From day one parental relationships need to be established for that child. The child should not be treated like a yo yo going back and forth between different people raising them just because selfish adults want to pick and choose when they want to parent.

                    Raising a child is something that is done from day one by adults who are parental family to that child. Legalized Babysitting a temporary providing for a child by adults who are not parents or family. You’ve stated many times that adults who adopt a child are not the child’s family. They don’t join that family in your mind. Thus those adults fit the Guardian/legalized babysitting model. Nothing wrong with having that opinion but it’s an opinion I strongly disagree with.

                  • Greg first of all a parent is a parent whether they raise their child or not – it’s something they cannot erase can’t get away from which is why its so tragic when parents abandon their offspring more so than when they relinquish, although that is also truly tragic, its just shows more concern for the rights of the child to relinquish. When you say parents should be there from day one, I agree, but not every parent can physically be there from day 1. Some like the father who is the topic o this post was prevented from taking care of his child from day one by the mother and her brother and his wife. Others are similarly prevented against their will or are prevented because they are at war, or have a debilitating physical or mental illness. People who step up to the plate and cover for absent parents are to be commended but they should not be doing it to earn themselves a child. They should be doing it because someone needs to in the absence of the parent and they should be hoping for the child’s sake that the parent will at some point be able to do at least some of the job of raising their own child. Whether it’s just a little bit for 18 years or full time the final ten years its the parent’s job. They owe it to the kid, that does not expire. The fact that others are willing to fill in for an absent parent is a bonus, whatever those people do is in addition to what the parent should have been doing. It’s not like well those people are doing it so the parent is no longer needed by the kid. Even if its only visits, its better than nothing but not nearly enough you know?

                  • Greg I never said that adopted people were not part of their adoptive families. That is their only legal family sadly. All I ever try to say is that they should not legally loose membership in their family in order to gain membership in the adoptive parents family, there is no reason for a person to loose rights or kinship or their identity when they are adopted. The person loosing rights is the parent who is relinquishing or abandoning their parental authority, that need not extend to terminating the adopted person’s kinship or their relatives kinship and rights either. I just think the law needs to change so that people who are adopted don’t loose anything more than they’ve already lost due to their parent’s decision or inaction. So yes I do think that they are members of the adopted family how could I not think that when it’s the one they are left with. It should be additive not instead of. That is what I think would be fair. But in this case there was no adoption necessary to begin with in fact, there was never an adoption at all. Her uncle has just refused to let the father have his kid.

                  • “Greg I never said that adopted people were not part of their adoptive families. That is their only legal family sadly.”

                    This is simply not true. A person who is adopted has two families one through blood and the other family through adoption. Both are very real families in a true open adoption. Even if you only recognize the biological family as the “real” family the reality is the person knows they have two families.

                  • Greg you said both are real families, I agree with you BUT the law does not treat the person’s family like family, they treat them like strangers. The law needs to change so that adopted people remain full fledged members of their bio families legally with no alteration to their birth records. The adoption decree documents the adoptive parent’s authority. The adopted person does not need the adoption decree for identification, just their birth record and if they need to show who has authority over them, the adoption decree. Right now they don’t have two legal families all they are left with is the adopted family and it should be that giving up parental rights does not mean the kid or other relatives loose kinship just because the parent can’t raise their kid. That is why it’s unfair. I have no qualms with the legality of the adoptive relationship, it just should not be a wholesale replacement legally because its not in reality. Like you said, there are two families.

                  • “Greg you said both are real families, I agree with you BUT the law does not treat the person’s family like family, they treat them like strangers. ”

                    You say this yet show so much anonimosity towards the non biological family. You also don’t want the non biological family recognized as such in any way. I find it very hard to believe.

            • I think you are angry that she’s not related to the kid and has focused on the kid’s rights without worrying about what she’d get out of it. In fact it sounds as if it’s drained their joint resources and she’s involved just because she believes she’s doing the right thing. Not everyone does stuff for others because they want something out of it for themselves. Sometimes people see injustice and it pisses them off and they just do the right thing. You have that level of righteousness in you Greg. You could be like that yourself and do something good for a kid without worrying whether you’d get a fat title.

              • I’m just upset that she like yourself has an intolerance for non biological parents and is against non biological families. I mean why should the child suffer because her husband didn’t feel like being a dad from day one. He used the Foster Parents as babysitters. For all of your talk about abandoning children this guy abandoned his child. I don’t see you having an issue with that. But it’s typical.

                • It’s been a while since I read about what happened there but I don’t recall at which point the father filed for paternity. The bio mother, who lived in another state, had custody and the state took the child for some type of unfitness, at which point he requested custody (whether it was for the first time or he asked before but the mother won primary, I don’t know, she’d have answer that) but the state put the child in non-relative foster care instead.

                • Greg,a person that makes another person can never fully escape their responsibility for that other person’s existence whether they relinquish or abandon their responsibilities. They cannot change the fact that they were and are one of the two people on earth their child had a right to depend upon to care for them and if at any point that parent becomes capable of doing something, anything for their child, they should do it – no matter how much time has passed. Their child is not a reward their child is a person who was supposed to be able to rely upon their parents and when they can’t it is tragic. The least the world can do is not stand in the way of a child receiving whatever their parents have to offer even if it is a day late and a dollar short. Anyone that thwarts the parent’s efforts out of a sense of entitlement just because they’ve been doing the work on behalf of the absent parent is thinking about themselves, not the child they’ve been caring for. They are thinking about what they deserve for all their effort and how wrong it is that the parent could just come waltzing in when ever they are ready and start pitching in – but the parent is not claiming a prize the parent is just doing what they should have done from the beginning. It’s horrible to think anyone would feel like the parent ‘lost their chance’ because what message does that send the parent’s child? That they have to loose out on their parent’s care entirely just because they could not care for them at first? Why? Why should the child loose out entirely? Why wouldn’t the people caring for them want them to receive all they deserve from their parent? The only reason the other people are caring for them ever is that their parent can’d or did not assume responsibility – it’s not like those other people are the one’s who really owe it to the kid to care for them. If the parent can do it then let the parent do it, work with that parent, not against them – all for the benefit of the child getting as much as they can from who they deserve it from. Maybe they cannot take over entirely but the idea of preventing the parent or fighting them on it out of bitterness is just sickening.

                  • What’s sickening is that the child has already lost because the father did not step up and be a parent from day one. Now the child loses the people who were parenting them from their lives eventually forever.

                    Bottom line for you is that this isn’t about the child it’s what’s best for the biological parent. And it shouldn’t be. People shouldn’t get to pick and choose when they parent. You don’t get to say I don’t want to parent an infant because I don’t want to deal with that stuff and will only parent an older child who is more fun. That’s being selfish and letting other people do the work you don’t want to. It’s not fair to the child on so many levels.

                  • Gsm I think you are getting confused with another case. The father in the Utah case has been trying to get custody since even before the child was born.

                  • To be crystal clear this particular case the father has been trying to take care of his child from the day she was born but has been prevented from doing so which is utterly wretched don’t you agree Greg?

                    On to hypothetical situations where you see someone who just did not feel like raising an infant the reality is going to be more complex than that. Maybe they were just too immature or addicted to drugs or selfish or short sighted or young or at war or unaware they had a child. You look at it like they had someone else do the hard part and now they are ready, reality is that for whatever reason they were not ready before and once they are nobody should say well whoops you loose your turn. That is not fair to the child. Why shouldn’t the people caring for the child be made to work with the parent to ease themm back in to hopefully take over their roll completely. The goal should always be to get the parents doing what they are supposed to be doing, not keep the other people doing what they never should have been having to do in the first place. It’s obviously only for emergencies so when the emergency is over so should be their care giving duties. They could still visit. Yes other people are only there on an as needed basis, not as a full bore substitute it just does not work out that way completely even when the parent is totally gone and never comes back they never stop owing their kid a debt of care. They are supposed to care.

                  • “Why shouldn’t the people caring for the child be made to work with the parent to ease themm back in to hopefully take over their roll completely. ”

                    Why should the child be treated like a yo yo from home to home because of the selfish people who conceived them? See for you this is more about the biological parents and less about the child.

                • His wife is non biological family; she’s the child’s step mother. Why would she be intolerant of non biological family? Greg are you also understanding that the people who were taking care of his child were the child’s maternal uncle and aunt-in-law?

                  • marilynn I think you are getting two cases mixed up. Lucreza and her husband are in a custody case but it’s not the Utah case. The child was with an unrelated foster family due to the biological mother losing custody while living in a different state than the father, if I remember right?

                  • Hell Rebecca am I? Shoot. I pressed the link in Julie’s post and read the article but maybe she was making reference to a different article. How embarasing for me. Well either way I think its appropriate for father’s to stick by their kids whether they are married to the mother or not and I also think it’s impossible for a man to be terribly involved prior to the birth of his child especially if he’s unmarried. He has no kid to have a legal obligation to at that point and he is not legally obligated to the pregnant woman if she’s not hos wife – he cannot add her to his medical insurance for instance – like what do they expect a guy to do but wait until the kid is born to begin acting like a father. Anyway thanks for telling me if I read the wrong article. I’m still on this father’s side and his wife for doing what’s proper.

                • I know Rob personally but his case is not mine. My husband had to overturn the marital presumption and was given bad legal advice about his ability to file a paternity suit at the same time. The biological mother took off with his daughter before paternity could be established, but after the courts overturned the marital presumption. My husband was there at the first court hearing when they took our daughter into state custody and a few months later he finally gained paternity. Mostly because bio-mom got served in the psych ward. Her whole purpose of moving to Missouri was to hide from a paternity suit and try to find some way to have the child adopted out from under him.

                  Before things went to hell in a handbasket, he had almost daily visitation with his daughter and even had her for a week at a time twice due to the mother needing surgery. Even when other women were around, he was the only one to feed, bathe, and change her. He would even sleep on the floor next to her crib in case she woke up.

                  You have no idea what it was like the day we found out she had disappeared. It was even worse once we found out the conditions his daughter had been living in. If there is anyone at fault for any emotional harm towards our daughter, it is the state of Missouri, not us.

                  • Sounds like you have even more of a reason to close off contact once the transition is complete. Now that your husband has won the prize he can do whatever he wants. Just like parents through adoption close open adoptions bio families who win the prize are just as self centered and close off contact as soon as they are no longer required to do so.

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