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Father could have lost child custody and adoption battle

An unusual case has led to awareness of a fathers' rights issue that is often overlooked by Maryland residents. A young man fought hard for the right to raise his daughter after the child's mother placed her for adoption. He is now sharing his story in the hopes of helping other men understand the steps that must be taken to secure child custody rights. 

The man's ordeal began when his girlfriend's parents learned that the child she was carrying was of mixed race. The man is African-American, and his girlfriend is white. Although the couple had talked about raising their daughter together, it appears that the woman caved in to her parents' pressure and decided to place the child for adoption. When the man found himself cut out of any involvement in the pregnancy, he turned to his state's Responsible Fathers Registry. 

By signing that registry, he was able to be notified when his girlfriend placed the child for adoption. That led him to begin fighting for his rights. A prospective adoptive family had already been found, further complicating matters. Once the man took a DNA test to confirm that he was the child's biological father, the adoption was halted. 

This story has a happy ending, but many men find that their child custody rights are not always so easy to defend. In some states, no registry exists to allow fathers to claim paternity. That can leave a man with no knowledge that his child may be placed for adoption. When a child is legally adopted and spends time living in an adoptive home, child custody matters can become incredibly complicated, and the end result is not always in the biological father's favor, in Maryland and elsewhere. 

Source: ebony.com, "When a Daddy Fights the System for His Little Girl", Wallace McKelvey, Dec. 7, 2016 

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