Jared and Kristi Frei struggled for years with infertility and miscarriage in an attempt to expand their family. In 2011, they found hope when Tira Bland gave up her daughter, Leah, for adoption. Unfortunately for Leah’s father, he was not notified by his wife, the adoption agency or the new family until after the adoption took place.
Terry Achane, a drill sergeant in Texas, and then wife, Bland, experienced marital issues shortly after she found out she was pregnant. Despite her desire to have an abortion or to give the baby away, Achane convinced her to keep it. Just over a week after Achane was transferred to South Carolina for work, Bland gave birth to a premature baby. Fearing her marriage would end and she would become a single parent, she’d already signed Leah over for adoption.
Knowing Bland had not notified Leah’s father of her plans, Adoption Center of Choice warned the new family that he may contest it if he found out. It wasn’t until June that Bland called him and let him know his daughter was given up for adoption, but when he tried to contact the adoptive family, they declined to disclose any information. According to the agency, this was standard procedure.
Judge Darold McDade, however, feels the adoption agency’s handling of the case is ‘utterly indefensible” and ordered the child to be returned to her father within 60 days. In response, the Frei family asked that Achane’s parental rights be terminated claiming that he abandoned his wife and unborn child. They have raised over $20,000 to help with legal fees to appeal the decision.
“If they prolong it, that is more time away from my daughter. There are precious moments I can’t get back,” Achane said. “It has been a year and a half now. There is no court order saying they have the right to my child. I just won the case. I want to get my daughter and raise my daughter.”
Read more about the case on the Daily Mail website.
BMWK– What would you have done as the mother or father in this situation? What are your thoughts on how the adoptive family and agency handled it?