Another father has had his child taken from him and placed for adoption without his knowledge or consent. And apparently it’s all perfectly legal. Read about it here (WWAY, 5/21/12).
In April of last year, North Carolinian Greg Johns learned that he had a six month old son. It was the first he knew he had a child at all. He’d had a relationship with a woman that broke up. She never told him she was pregnant, never told him he had a son. That’s because she decided she wanted the boy adopted, and the easiest way to accomplish that was to not tell the dad.
So she went to Christian Adoption Services in Matthews, North Carolina. Apparently she first told them the father’s real name, because it’s on an affidavit she signed. But someone scratched out that name and replaced it with “Gregory James.” The adoption agency now says it looked for a man named Gregory James, but to no avail. The agency and the mother apparently told the same lie to the court, because the adoption went through as planned. The only reason Johns knows about his son is that an acquaintance happened to mention that his ex had given birth.
There’s a crib, books to read at bedtime, toys. Items Greg Johns rushed to buy when he found out he was a father.
He has a nursery ready, but no baby sleeps in it.
“I’m already a father,” John said. “I’m just looking to be a daddy.”
Johns confronted the unnamed woman who only then decided to tell him the truth.
“The emotions of anger, sadness, the joy of being a father… I had all that compacted into a five-minute conversation by her just saying, ‘You have no rights.’ I just kept thinking, ‘What is she talking about? I’m the father,’ John said.
“You have no rights.” That’s the truth.
Johns got a DNA test showing him to be the father, but his efforts to intervene in the adoption have been met with a stone wall. The trial court denied his request; now he’s appealing.
The first one of these cases I ever wrote about was one from North Carolina back in the 199os. That man’s name was Rick Barmore and he found out about his child just a matter of days after it was born. He immediately hired a lawyer and did everything he could to get custody of his daughter, but it wasn’t enough. Then, in order to contest the adoption, he had to file a petition with the court with a copy of the birth certificate attached. He had 30 days to file, but there was a problem – the birth certificate had vanished. In the first place, Barmore’s ex had gone to a hospital in another county to give birth. She also refused to name him on the birth certificate. Even so, the certificate should have made it to the state’s Bureau of Vital Statistics in plenty of time for him to get a copy for his petition. But it didn’t. Barmore filed late through no fault of his own, and that fact alone deprived him of his daughter. At the time, fathers’ rights were a race to the courthouse with the mother and the adoption agency given a huge head start.
I don’t know if North Carolina law has changed since that time. I hope it has. But my guess is that Greg Johns will never get custody of his son. Of course there’s no finding of unfitness on his part, and the United States Supreme Court has ruled that a parent’s rights cannot be infringed by a state absent a showing of unfitness. But despite all that, my bet is that Greg Johns will never set eyes on his son.
In his case, as in so many other adoption matters, state law places fathers’ rights in mothers’ hands. In most states, it’s a simple matter for a single mother to keep a father out of the adoption loop with just a few well-placed lies. They don’t even have to be good lies. They don’t have to be lies that any sensible adult wouldn’t see right through. After all, putting “Greg Johns” on the affidavit, scratching it out and substituting “Gregory James” wouldn’t fool a reasonably sentient 9-year-old. But Christian Adoption Services wants us to believe that it fooled them, that they’d done their due diligence. And the courts were happy to approve such a transparent sham.
That’s adoption law in much of the United States. It’s all about “facilitating adoption” by cutting the dad out of the loop, and it works. Fathers sure can foul things up sometimes, and who wants them demanding their rights when (a) the mother doesn’t want them involved and (b) there’s money to be made if they’re not?
So another child has lost his father and another father has lost his son. The boy’s been adopted even though he didn’t need to be. And somehow this is supposed to make sense. Qualified adoptive parents are a scarce resource. There are far more children in this country and the world than there are parents who want to adopt. But knowing all that, the adoption industry and the courts manage to convince themselves that forcing adoption on a little boy who has a fit father who wants to care for him is both moral and sensible. It’s neither. It’s an abuse of the child’s rights to his father; it’s an abuse of the father’s rights to his child, and it’s an abuse of another child somewhere who could have had those parents, but who will now go without.
It’s a disgrace.