Thursday, October 8, 2009

Adopt Me, If You Can

Much of fatherhood is wending one's way through the gray areas. Among the places with the thickest fog is the island nation of Adoption.

Sometimes it is hard to even get to find the place as was the case of Alabaman Andrew Scott. The 20-year-old may have lost his child because he didn't put his name on a state registry claiming fatherhood within 30 days of the birth to his one-time partner of the baby boy. That he didn't know he was the father until after the deadline has proven — so far according to state courts — no excuse. His son now lives with adoptive parents a couple uncrossable miles away.

While Scott is fighting for his day in court, he might take some inspiration from South Africa's Jose Williams, who fought and won the right to his daughter's custody almost 2 years after his ex-partner offered her for adoption — approximately two months prior to going into labor.

He might also be happy to hear that an Irish court overturned the adoption of a man's 8-year-old by his ex-partner's new husband, when he had never been informed that it was even in the works. (Of course, one man's happiness can be another father's regret ... what's a not-even-step-dad to want and do?)

To the dads above who might miss out on their kids by not being married, it woudl seem that the "piece of paper" would be the key to being named father. In truth, even that is no guarantee. For example, two New York dads are currently fighting in a U.S. Appeals court against the state of Louisiana because, although married to each other, only one of them can be officially listed as the father of the child they are adopting out of the Bayou.

Admittedly, the best interests of the child should be premiere over those of the adult, but at least from the cursory review above, it does not seem to always be the GPS a father can use getting to and finding his way around the land of Adoption.

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