This legal battle began in 2008, shortly after the girl was conceived and the girl's mother and Manzanares broke up. Aware that the mother did not want to raise the child, he took all the right steps, filing for his parental rights to be recognized...in Colorado where he and the mother had been living. He made it clear that he did not want his daughter given up for adoption. But the woman fled to Utah before the girl was born. She had Mormon relatives in that state who wanted to adopt the child. And in Utah, that is pretty much all you need: Mormons who want to adopt.
LEGAL MUMBO-JUMBO IN UTAH ADOPTION LAW
What happens in Colorado stays in Colorado, according to Utah law regarding adoption. In 2008 Utah's regulations for fathers made it nearly impossible for a man to retain his rights as a father unless he and the mother were married. The regulations were an outgrowth of the rules and practices of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The legal stipulations have been made less opaque since then, but still adoption--yes! pretty much rules in that state.
So the girl born in 2008 went to Mormon relatives of the mother. But Manzanares never gave up, and continued to fight for his daughter in the courts. The case went back to Colorado after a Utah judge called the adoption "a fraud." After five years, Manzanares won visitation rights--and the adoptive couple were ordered to tell the girl she was adopted, which they had not gotten around to.
What do these conversations go like? Well, ah, ah, honey, you actually have another mommy and daddy but we loved you sooo much that we didn't want to tell you, and you were so special and we love you so much...but that "other man" actually wants to meet you....Cough, cough....You don't have to like him...we love you, you are our daughter and will always be....don't you see how much we love you and how much better we are than that man?
Okay, I get it. At five the child is just learning that babies come from mommies' tummies and don't have a clue as to how they get there. Certainly that first conversation is difficult, but the adoptive parents in this case made it that way by not even broaching the subject until a court ordered them to do so. Now they have to add that the "other daddy" has been fighting for you. No matter how the wording goes, the kid automatically senses that in some unknowable way, that man, is her real daddy and that these people have been lying to her. But I digress.
Manzanares knew that visitation was not enough. To ensure that he would remain a part of Kaia's life
Yet Rob Manzanares is the legal father. His name is on the birth certificate. "I felt stripped of what should have never been taken away from me in the first place," Manzanares told KSL TV. But says he is not bitter towards the adoptive parents, though the six years it took to get to this decision is ridiculous. Six years in a six year old child's lifetime is a lifetime.
A DANGEROUS PRECEDENT
Perhaps this case will peel back the layers of of pro-adoption law and legal maneuvering that make Utah our least favorite state of all. "This decision is dangerous for other biological fathers fighting for their parental rights," Utah lawyer Wes Hutchins said. He is representing Manzanares and a group of more than a dozen other biological fathers who are suing the Utah Attorney General's Office, accusing it of allowing adoption agencies to use practices that were not ethical--even criminal. Hutchins, a Mormon himself, is the lawyer bringing the law suit. We applaud his courage.
Decisions like this one, coming after six years, that allow adoptive parents to keep their ill gotten gains--children that they took under unethical and often illegal circumstances--are what is rotten in the court system. Six years. Even if "god was on their side" the adopters who took Manzanares's daughter from her rightful and true father are immoral lowlifes. There must be a special tier in hell reserved for these people--they can hang out with the Capobiancos and all the other couples who have fought fathers who want to raise their own children, and lost. And remember, karma's a bitch.--lorraine
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Child Custody (Opposing Viewpoints)'
One of the highly acclaimed series that presents opposite viewpoints on topics of general interest today. A leading source for libraries and classrooms, presenting a wide diversity of opinions from experts, policy makers, and concerned citizens. Lorraine is a contributor to this volume.
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