He's only been trying to have that meaningful relationship since before she was born in January, 2010. Yes, you read that right. She will be three in January.
Such is justice for unmarried fathers in Utah. Nearly non-existent. But the new ruling may indicate that the "eye" of justice in Utah is opening a bit wider, as it is the second favorable one in a year for natural fathers there, after several in which the courts ruled against them. The state has a way to go, however, and the first step would be to rid the state of the dopey trial judges such as the one who first ruled in this case (name, tk).
KAFKA ON THE CASE
Now all Shaud has to do is prove that he is fit to parent his own daughter, possibly even better than the genetic strangers who have been caring for his daughter. How do these people sleep at night? will be the subject of a further discussion. Shaud's getting his daughter actually back will now mean a lower court hearing (months go by) to show that his rights indeed were usurped, and then other multiple hearings (many many months) to prove that his daughter belongs with her biological father, all the while the clock is ticking and the adopters are claiming that the child is better off with them, the only family she has ever known. It happens all the time. Time moves on, and adoptive parents cavil that they are entitled to keep the child because since they have been fighting the natural parents so long, it's too late...and the courts let this happen. Especially in Utah, that go-to state for fast-track adoptions.
The agency involved is A (sic) Act of Love, one who ought to be shut down for the cruel and inhuman ways it treats natural mothers and fathers. Ramsey Shaud is a good example of that.
With the help of an attorney, Shaud was able in a timely fashion to circumvent the convoluted system for putative fathers in Utah and register his desire to raise his child. The mother of the child, Shasta Tew, someone with whom he had had a casual relationship in Florida (where he had signed with the putative-father's registry), said she was going on a vacation to Arizona (where he then also registered), but then, possibly getting wind of Utah's reputation as a fast-rack adoption state, she wound up there. Shaud tried to file there also, but was not able to find the putative-fathers form anywhere online, for it did not exist on line. Instead of giving up and stopping there, Shaud hired attorney Daniel Drage, who filed the papers in court on January 12, and the same day faxed a copy to the Office of Vital Records and Statistics. Three days later, on January 15, Tew gave birth prematurely.
Though Shaud and his attorney had done all legally required, even though the state made this unnecessarily expensive and difficult, the Utah system then became a Kafkaesque bureau of confusion. Due to Utah's four-day work week and a federal holiday the following Monday, Shaud's paperwork was not on the official registry until January 20, 45 minutes after the Office of Vital Records informed A (sic) Act of Love that no paternity filing had been made. One imagines the same person at Vital Records answering the phone both times--better to say yes to an adoption, rather than see if that paperwork over there has anything on this case, right? Adoption first, humanity second, unmarried father's rights, what's that?
Thus A (sic) Act of Love must have handed over the daughter to the couple waiting in the wings immediately. In any event, when the screw-up was discovered did Act of Love say, Oh, we'd better correct this foul up? Here is a biological father who actually wants to raise his daughter! We're A (sic) Act of Love, right?
The people who run the non-profit A (sic) Act of Love would have to have some compassion and common sense running in their veins to do that. Instead, these impresarios of adoption over there (who incidentally could use a grammar lesson) proceeded apace to circumvent what any reasonable person would have done: Get the baby back. Instead, they hired lawyers and have kept the case in the courts and the baby with genetic strangers.
FOR PUTATIVE FATHERS IN UTAH, BEFORE BIRTH IS TOO LATE
A lower court could have stepped in and corrected matters, but that would have been so unlike Utah. Instead, the trial judge (readers help me out here, we need to name this bastard) went along with the screw up at Vital Records, and instead stated Shaud--through no fault of his own--acted too late to stop the adoption of his daughter. The website was, er, corrected, in January of this year and now has a link to the putative-father's form, god bless 'em. Cynic that I am, I can't help think that a certain amount of CYA chicanery is involved both at A (sic) Act of Love and the Bureau of Vital Statistics.
This decision by the state's highest court means only that the lower court must now reconsider whether Utah Vital Records received his paternity notice before the child placed her for adoption. Actually, since the facts are that he did, why the hold up?
Because it's Utah. It's about adoption. Babies born to unmarried couples are adopted. By married couples. It is in the water there. Utah is largely governed by Mormons, and I normally wouldn't give a fig leaf about them and their magic underwear, but when it comes to adoption, their policy is pretty much against all the laws of nature, and for the premise of creating More Mormons. A (sic) Act of Love, incidentally, has been involved in other grab-and-go adoptions. At Adoption Agency Ratings, I found this from a prospective adoptive parent with more soul than the baby-business types at the agency: "They are careless when taking in babies. No paternity tests to prove who the father is," read one comment. Why bother, when you can count on the state to back you up, if a father cries foul?
Another: "We had a successful adoption through A [sic] Act of Love but we were not all that impressed. We felt that they could have been more careful. We also didn't like that they work with birth mom's [sic] all over the place. [Meaning, many states] We didn't feel like our birth mom had enough opportunity for counseling and support." At least these people had a sense the mother of the child they were adopting was being rushed into relinquishing.Over at Adoption.com, I found this from a prospective adopter: "I looked into them a bit and if I wanted to adopt, didn't have a budget, and wanted a very short wait I'd use them." [Emphasis added] Call me crazy, but that sounds like, If you got the cash, have they got a baby for you! We note, A (sic) Act of Love is a non-profit, but from the website, it appears that business in booming, with a long list of due dates, babies born, babies adopted, their races all duly noted for the fastidious baby shopper. (When writing about A (sic) Act of Love, it is impossible to get the snark out of me; their policies make me do it. )
IF FILTHY LUCRE CHANGES HANDS, IS A BABY FAR BEHIND?
IF FILTHY LUCRE CHANGES HANDS, IS A BABY FAR BEHIND?
Now I know that we are likely to hear from adoption social workers in Utah who claim their agency is not like this noxious A (sic) Act of Love. That is all well and good. But until no agency in Utah, or anywhere, for that matter, operates in such a shifty and devious manner to deprive natural parents--"birth parents" to agencies--who wish to raise their children of those children, you are going to hear about it at First Mother Forum.
In a side note, we could not help notice that the two women in Utah highest court, Justices Christine Dunham and Jill Parrish voted in Shaud's favor, joined by Justice Ronald Nehring. We pay attention to such things because we feel having women in our legal and legislative system does make a difference, and in this case, the difference shows. Chief Justice Matthew Durrant and Justice Thomas Lee dissented on highly legalistic issues, such as whether or not Shaud's attorney had persevered the right of a constitutional challenge or merely "questioned the fairness of the statutory scheme on policy grounds. Well, he used the word "scheme" correctly. I'll give Justice Lee credit for that. Now maybe he could tell A (sic) Act of Love what the heck is wrong with their name. We've got a few ideas of our own. --lorraine
This is the second time the Utah Supreme Court ruled in favor of a natural father this year. In January, it ruled that a Colorado father was improperly denied a say in his daughter's 2008 adoption. This is how slowly grind the wheels of justice in such matters. Jurisdiction was an issue here because the mother also got herself to Utah to get one of those fast-track adoptions. That case is now proceeding in Colorado, and the little girl at the center of it was slowly introduced to her father under the guidance of a child psychologist. In October, according to the Salt Lake Tribune, she--now four--was told that Robert Manzanares is her father. He has been trying to claim his daughter since he learned she was born in Utah. The girl was about a week old at the time.
Unwed Fathers Can't Win Against the Mormons in Utah
When your adopted child wants to visit her birth mother....
Utah rules against natural father. Again. And again. Adoption is big business there.
Utah to Birth Fathers: Go Back to the Grave!
Fathers Day 2010: Unmarried Fathers Who Fight for their Rights to be a Dad
Suggested Reading for the so inclined:The Single Father: A Dad's Guide to Parenting Without a Partner (New Father Series) (above)..."informative, interesting, easy to read and easy to understand. Contrary to so many books on this subject, I didn't get any sense of anti-anything or anti-anyone posturing. Instead, I got the sense that Mr Brott values children and believes that they need fathers in their lives." --Amazon reader, Tom Duval, a single father himself.
Birth Fathers and Their Adoption Experiences (left)"In this pioneering study, Gary Clapton gives us a fresh perspective: he recounts the experiences of thirty birth fathers separated from their children at birth, and suggests ways of applying this knowledge to work with adopted children, their adoptive families and birth parents. Discussing different notions of fatherhood, such as biological paternity, social fatherhood, sperm donorship and the 'father figure,' this informative book gives new light on issues such as the decision to give up a child for adoption, the child's desire to find his or her birth parents, and the facilitation of contact later in life." --Amazon official description.
Sources: Utah Supreme Court: Florida man gets a shot at being a dad
Florida Dad Ramsey Shaud Stops Utah Adoption of His Child – For Now