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Unwed Fathers Fight for Babies Placed for Adoption by Mothers
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.
"I said absolutely not," said Mr. Jones, a 23-year-old Arizona man who met his ex-fiancée at Pensacola Christian College in Florida. "It was an awkward moment, hearing for the first time that I would be a father, and then right away being told, 'We want to take your kid away.' But I knew that if I was having a baby, I wanted that baby."
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.
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.
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.
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.
Originally posted by loam
I think it's deplorable how there is a presumption that fathers are inferior in this country...
Originally posted by intrepid
Edit to add: OK, we have unwed mothers, what's wrong with unwed fathers?
[edit on 19-3-2006 by intrepid]
Originally posted by nazgarn
Why doesn't the law treat the male and the female parents equally? It takes two to conceive a child, not one.
Originally posted by LazarusTheLong
I have seen loving determined fathers beg for the smallest custody of children that love them...