Army Sergeant Dad, Terry Achane, Reunited With Daughter That Wife Gave Up for Adoption Without Consent

United States Army Drill Sergeant Terry Achane, the father whose wife put up their baby for adoption without his knowledge or approval, has his daughter back.

The reunion came after a Utah court reversed the adoption – much to the disappointment of adoptive parents Jared and Kristi Frei. Twenty-two months ago, the Frei family adopted baby Teleah from an adoption agency. This last Thursday, Taleah was returned to her father.

For now, at least.

As the crow flies, the story is that Achane and (his now-ex-wife) Tira Bland lived in Texas, and in 2010, Bland became pregnant. Bland had (allegedly) told Achane that she did not want to live as a single mother, and was considering an abortion or giving the baby up for adoption. Achane urged Bland to go through with the pregnancy and give birth.

Then in February of 2011, Achane was stationed at a U.S. Army base in South Carolina. Days later, Bland gave birth to a premature baby in Utah, and quietly signed the baby off for adoption with Utah’s Adoption Center of Choice. During this time, she had cut off contact with Achane. In her adoption papers, she had intentionally listed an old address of Achane’s, so that the adoption agency wouldn’t be able to get in touch with him.

The agency attempted contact with Achane, and when they couldn’t reach him, went forward with the adoption. The whole process from birth to adoption took two days.

Meanwhile, Achane, without any contact from Bland, had a friend visit his old house. The friend told Achane that it looked vacant. Upon hearing this, Achane attempted to contact family doctors to see if Bland had carried out the abortion. Doctors were not able to confirm much with Achane, but in June, Bland finally called Achane and let him know that she had adopted out their baby in Utah without his knowledge or consent.

According to his lawyer, Achane contacted the adoption agency that had given Taleah to the Frei family, but the agency denied him access to information – even when he had said that he had not consented to the adoption. The agency claimed that it was standard procedure to not share information with the father of a potential adoptive baby.

On November 20, 2012, a Utah judge ruled in favor of Achane – ordering the Frei family to return Taleah within 60 days. But the Frei family filed a motion to delay the return.

The Daily Mail reports that by December, “the Utah adoption agency that organized the botched adoption had been under the scrutiny of state licensing officials for three months.” The Adoption Center of Choice was operating under an extended (but not renewed) license due to discrepancies and deficiencies in filing.

Last Thursday – January 24, 2013 – a Utah judge again sided with Achane and ordered Taleah be returned to him immediately. Achane and his daughter await a hearing in Utah’s Supreme Court, which is scheduled for March.

The Frei family kept a blog during the process, where they have been collecting donations to help with their legal fees. On it, they paint a picture of Achane as an absent father, who never cared to meet or take care of his daughter, and one that “left [Bland] without any money, a car, or details of his whereabouts.”

“But because the child was conceived in wedlock,” the blog later continues, “[Achane] can object to the adoption, forcing us to trial to terminate his parental rights.”

So far, the Frei family has raised over $22,000.

Robert Franklin (Esquire, even!) of Father’s Rights organization Fathers & Families wrote last week:

Face it, Achane got lucky. He happened to be married to the mother of his daughter and she happened to be dumb enough or honest enough to tell one lie too few for her scheme to work. The simple fact is those things don’t always happen. The adoption industry in this country is set up to deny single fathers notice when their children are placed for adoption. That denies fathers their rights to their children and children their rights to their fathers.

Yikes.

For now, Taleah is back with her biological father, who told papers that he is “very happy” and that the wait has been “worth it.”

Photo: 8BitDad

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About Zach Rosenberg

Zach Rosenberg is a husband and father living in Southern California. He is co-founder of
fatherhood news site 8BitDad.com, and a contributor to HLNtv.com. You can also find him on Twitter @zjrosenberg.

Comments

  1. Joanna Schroeder says:

    My gut aches for the adoptive parents here, too. There are no winners here. Even the little girl, to be taken from a family she knows and given to a man she’s never met… At 2 years old.

    This mother should be prosecuted to every inch of the law.

    I don’t know what I would do if that were my kid. I can’t imagine living without her, but I can’t imagine taking her away from the only parents she knows. How will she learn trust and attachment? Ugh, it just guts me. Not that I blame the father, I understand he should have his daughter, it’s just a horrifying lose-lose situation. I pray for the adoptive parents (who are totally innocent, too, they merely wanted to give a child a family) that they heal, and that they are able to adopt again. Amazingly, adoption is so hard in this country. Worse that you can imagine for many, many families.

    Terrible story.

    • Here is my thing about adoptive parents. While it may not be so in this case I do wonder something.

      Most of the time when people adopt I take it it’s a combination of the adoptive parents wanting to bring a child into their home a child needing a home.

      Well there are plenty of cases where adoptive parents will fight to keep a child that has a parent they could be properly raised with.

      I know that over time bonds form between adoptive parent/child just like biological but sometimes I wonder why do adoptive parents fight so hard to break up a biological family.

    • The prospective adoptive parents do not deserve 1 ounce of sympathy. They knew from the very beginning he did not consent and would fight to get his daughter back. They are the reason this has taken so long by filing court hearing after court hearing, followed by multiple appeals. If they returned Teleah to her father 21 months ago, they would not be so “heartbroken” now. Now to mention Jared Frei, the husband, is a lawyer and KNEW what they were doing was illegal.

  2. I do support the father’s right to be involved in the life of his daughter. But . . . . To pull her away from her adoptive parents at the age of two – a critical age in the attachment process – is cruel and may have lifelong negative effects on her sense of trust and overall sense of well-being. Dad, if you’re not allowing contact with the adoptive parents, please do so. She needs them.

    • The reason it was at age 2 is due to the Frei family refusing to return her 21 months ago. Instead, they made this drag out in court in hopes that the judge would side with them based on the “only parents she has ever known” theory. What they did is absolutely disgusting and illegal.

    • cafy2k@76 says:

      No disrespect but the father never gave up his rights. When the military tells you to go on orders somewhere you go. Plain and simple. I have no remorse for the adoptive parents. They went with a lie and ran with it. Trust and believe the lil girl will not remember any of this at all. If the adoptive parents felt like what they were doing was right. ONce they found out they should have returned her to the father not fight it and say he abandoned the mother. He didn’t abandon her he received military orders to a new post. It’s a part of military life. If she couldn’t handle that then don’t marry a solider. They need someone to support not hender.

  3. I do support the father in getting his daughter back this is the best thing that could happen for the child being with her family natural born. When she is grown the child will never have to be told that she was adopted and go thru that terrible ordeal that some adopted children have. I am a adotive parent of one child but he is a sibling of 10. The state had no problem in takeing the children from the parents nor did they have a problem in splitting the children up. I believe this hurts the children also. but when the state does it every one thinks it’s ok. I adopted my son he was almost 2 years old it took him a week of adjustment to my husband and my self. Lots of hugs and kisses and warm affections can work wonders. Some times when a child finds out they are adoped no matter how much love and attention they get they almost always want to meet the natural parents, they want to knwo why, they go back to the adoption agency to try and locate their parents.They want their birth certificate. This was the best for all. My son is now 18 and dosen’t know any of his brothers and sisters, natural grandparents, neices and nephews or cousins. Adoption is good in so many ways. But when children can remain with their families . This is the best thing in the world

  4. Wirbelwind says:

    Look at yourself, people. You say : “I support the dad, but the adoptive parents…”.
    The problem is, these guys knew from the very beginning that the father did not consent to this. They, the adoptive agency and the mother basically kidnapped the kid.
    Would you say the same thing if some guy snatched the kid from the hospital and, let’s say, the kid was reunited with his/her family 10 years later ? The family she/he had no memories with ?

  5. @Joanna: I have to question your statement that your gut aches for the adoptive parents too. Did you read the article , if not, I would strongly suggest that perhaps you look into what these “PARENTS” did. They knew from Day 1 the father did not consent and when he tried to get his daughter back, the battled him every step of the way. It was very early in the process that they knew he wanted his daughter back.

    I have to wonder something (not just for Joanna btw), for those that think that the adoptive parents deserve anything. Would you feel the same way if this was a mother trying to get her kid back that the father had lied about.

    AND MORE IMPORTANTLY.

    Would the adoptive parents have fought the way that they did if it was a mother whose child was taken without her consent.

    Personally I don’t think they would have.


    • Would the adoptive parents have fought the way that they did if it was a mother whose child was taken without her consent.

      Chances are they would say yes and it would an empty yes because of one thing. What’s the likelyhood of someone being able to get a child away from their mother and get them to an adoption agency to put them up for adoption against the mother’s consent?

      I’m asking this because there was a case last year in New York where, after months of the father being active in mother’s pregnancy and even saying he would raise the child alone if he had to, the mother took the child away to be adopted. Again, in Utah. Want to know how she was able to sneak away? She cut off contact with the father and went to a hospital to give birth and when the father tried searching for what hospital she went to he was blocked by privacy red tape that prevented him from finding her.

      Well since father’s don’t have quite the biological connection to a child that the mother does the mother is free to turn that biological connection into a female privilege that allows her to quite literally decide how much of a role a father will or will not take in a child’s life. And if you don’t believe me on that bear this in mind. When anyone takes a child away from the mother like that it’s properly called kidnapping. When the mother does it to the father it’s called…..?

      While your gender swap questions may have some validity I think there may be something even more to this whole “poor adoptive parents” thing.

      This appears to be a case involving an adoption done by a Utah agency. Adoption agencies in Utah are notorious for being a haven for mothers that want to put children up for adoption behind the father’s back (seriously look in the archives of the Fathers and Families site). There have been cases where the mother, father, and child start off on the east coast and mother somehow decides that a Utah adoption agency is the place she wants to go put the child up.

      There were no other adoption agencies between the east coast and Utah? Sure there are but Utah agencies have a tendency to actively help the mother decieve the father. That’s definitely something for the brochure.

      Also when it comes to the adoptive parents.

      They seriously couldn’t find any other child in the entire state of Utah to adopt so they have no choice but to fit against an father that is trying to be active in his child’s life? (Yes I know there is a matter of adoptive parents forming a bond with the child they are going to adopt and all that but at the same time is that bond so strong that they really think it should override the bond of a decieved and apparently active father? How arrogant is that?)

      Apparently there are no children in the entire state that need a family to go home with so Utah adoption agencies have to pull in children from other states or something.

      • John Anderson says:

        “Chances are they would say yes and it would an empty yes because of one thing. What’s the likelyhood of someone being able to get a child away from their mother and get them to an adoption agency to put them up for adoption against the mother’s consent?”

        It’s not just adoption. What if a child is kidnapped? If a child is kidnapped, do we forget about the crime if say two years passed before they were caught because the best interests of the child would be served by staying with the only family they knew?

        • Unfortuneatly “forget” (more like give a free pass) is just what is done.


          If a child is kidnapped, do we forget about the crime if say two years passed before they were caught because the best interests of the child would be served by staying with the only family they knew?

          It’s not just an expectation, its a strategy.

          When a mom whisks a child away to put them up for adoption along with the primary hope that the father will never be able to find what happened there is a secondary hope. That hope is that even if he does find out and tries to take action, the mother and the adoptive parents (and their attornies) will try to stall the case long enough so that a relationship can form.

          That bond is then show to the judge in hopes the judge will basically tell the dad, “I’m sorry but the child has clearly bonded with the adoptive parents. It would be too traumatic to break that bond.”

          We aren’t so much supposed to forget as much as go, “But awwwwww. Look at how the child has bonded with the adoptive parents. We can’t break up that family now.” At that point the father is turned into the enemy and it’s no longer “he is trying to get his child back” but instead becomes “he is trying to break up that family”.

          And it’s pretty damn scary that this shit has consistently worked in the court system. (Oddly this is the some of the same logic that goes behind those that don’t think false rape accusers should be punished or held responsible for their crimes. Logic being that when you do so you aren’t holding a false accuser responsible you’re scaring women who have been raped into not speaking up. Which goes a VERY long way to demonizing those that would like to see false rape accusers held responsible for their crimes. It’s all about spin.)

          It’s a VERY selective application of “best interests of the child”. Notice that the “best interests of the child” is usually not brought up until that interests also align with what the mother (and adoptive parents) want. So it’s not in the “best interests of the child” to see to the dad and child being reunited as soon as possible but as soon as it’s beneficial for the mother (and adoptive parents) all of a sudden the ‘best interests of the child” become number one priority.

  6. Yes, the correct response would be.

    I’m so sorry, I was told she was unwanted. Here, have your daughter back. This would have been sorted out in 1 month.

    The Judge’s ruling will mean that when this happens again the adoptive parents will know that they cant win, so future children will be re-united more quickly.

  7. John Anderson says:

    Not only should the mother (and possibly the adoptive parents) be prosecuted, why shouldn’t the mother be required to pay child support, whether they call it child support or the father gets financial compensation in a civil suit? She shouldn’t be allowed to just avoid her financial obligation to the child.

    • @John,

      By doing that he opens up a can of worms where she can fight for visitation and custody. I would leave it be. Karma always comes back to bite you when you least expect it.

  8. Mrs Teiban says:

    By birth parents are entitled to visitation and custody of their children. Child support and visitation/custody are mutually exclusive. The father should go to family court to obtain sole custody of his daughter which legally gives him the authority to make all decisions for the child and maintain physical custody of the child. Without that, the mother at any given time can take the child and would not be considered a kidnapper.

    • jaggirl47 says:

      @Mrs Teiban

      The egg donor signed her rights away and he already was awarded sole custody of his daughter. However, if he chooses to attempt getting child support, the courts can choose to reverse that and allow her visitation.

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