Monday, March 20, 2006

Unwed Fathers Fight for Babies Placed for Adoption by Mothers

Unwed Fathers Fight for Babies Placed for Adoption by Mothers

This is from the NY Times who will make you go through a ridiculous registration process. You can visit Bugmenot for free login info.


Jeremiah Clayton Jones discovered that his former fiancée was pregnant just three weeks before the baby was due, when an adoption-agency lawyer called and asked if he would consent to have his baby adopted.

Mr. Jones has never seen his son, now 18 months old. Instead, he lost his parental rights because of his failure to file with a state registry for unwed fathers — something he learned of only after it was too late.

Under Florida law, and that of other states, an unmarried father has no right to withhold consent for adoption unless he has registered with the state putative father registry before an adoption petition is filed. Mr. Jones missed the deadline.

While women have the right to get an
abortion, or to have and raise a child, without informing the father, courts have increasingly found that when birth mothers choose adoption, fathers who have shown a desire for involvement have rights, too.

But to claim those rights most states require a father to put his name on a registry. While about 30 states now have registries, they vary widely. In some, fathers must actually claim paternity; in others, just the possibility of paternity. The deadlines may be 5 days after birth or 30, or any time before an adoption petition is filed.

And registries are a double-edged sword: It remains an open question whether they serve more to protect fathers' rights or to protect adoptive parents, and the babies they have bonded with, from biological fathers' claims.

In many states, fewer than 100 men register each year — not surprising, adoption experts say, because most young men have never heard of the registries. One exception is Indiana, where men are notified of the registry when a birth mother names them as the father, and 50 men register a week.

Even for registered men, the system is flawed. Because the registries are state by state, a registration means nothing if the father or mother has moved — or if the baby was surrendered for adoption in a different state specifically to avoid a challenge.

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Blogger John Doe said...

Nice of the NYT to take up a torch for men, even if it sputters out 24 hours later with a 10 page discussing fathers as a commodity for trading

5:07 PM  

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