Many Texas parents go through incredibly difficult custody battles, emerging stunned and shocked at how rough and impersonal the legal system can be. For others, a child custody case can initiate a lifelong commitment to raising awareness of certain issues. For one man, an unusual court case has prompted him to bring attention to a serious fathers' rights issue.
The man fought hard to win custody of his daughter after the child's mother placed her for adoption. The mother and father were unmarried when the woman became pregnant, and the man believed that they would raise their child together. The father is African-American, and the mother is white. The fact that their child would be of mixed race apparently posed an issue for the woman's family.
When the father suddenly began being excluded from doctor's visits and other events, he suspected that something was wrong. He took the step of signing the Responsible Father's Registry in his state of residence. That program was put into place to ensure that fathers would be notified of any legal proceedings regarding their children. In this case, that step paid off, because the father was notified that his girlfriend had placed his daughter for adoption.
In the subsequent legal battle, the man fought for the right to raise his baby daughter. The child's mother and the adoptive family eventually agreed to stop the adoption, and the father was able to take custody of his little girl. She is now 2 years old, and her dad shares the same joys and challenges of any single parent.
He has also vowed to use his case as an example of the risk that unwed fathers face. Many states do not have a father's registry, and some that do have very strict requirements for the timeline that fathers can sign up. For many in Texas and across the nation, that poses a serious challenge to fathers' rights, and is an issue worth bringing to the forefront of child custody debates.
Source: ebony.com, "When a Daddy Fights the System for His Little Girl", Grant Clark, Dec. 7, 2016