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December 7th, 2012
11:00 PM ET

Dad: My focus is to get my daughter back

Army Staff Sergeant Terry Achane was away on duty when his wife gave birth to their daughter. Tira Bland put their daughter up for adoption behind his back while he was gone, and he spent months searching for her when he returned home.

Six months after baby Taleah's birth, Bland admitted what she'd done. When the father called the adoption family, instead of directing him to his daughter, court records show the agency refused to help.

Mr. Achane's lawyer sent a letter to the adoptive parents, Jared and Kristi Frei, asking his client be allowed to spend time with his daughter, and that letter was ignored. The Freis then filed another adoption petition. A Utah court judge found that "Mr. Achane's opportunity to develop a relationship with his daughter was deliberately thwarted,” and the court ordered the adoptive parents to turn over the child to her father by January 16th, 2013.

The Freis have requested a stay of the judge's order and are planning to appeal.

Terry Achane says his battle has lasted 18-19 months so far. He has been able to see his daughter twice and says he was very happy the first time he saw her. "The only hurtful part about it is when it's time to go, when I am giving her back, meaning she's not coming with me...that's the only hard part of it."

Court documents show that the adoptive parents were informed by the adoption agency that the father was not informed about the adoption.

Mr. Achane says that the Freis are also victims, but at the same time they did know that he didn't know about the adoption, adding "once I asked for my daughter back it should have just happened then and there, instead of prolonging this, taking me all through this.”

The father states, “I’ve been going through it for awhile now, my main focus is just to get my daughter back.”

Watch this AC360 interview with Terry Achane.

Click here for more about the adoption case

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Filed under: Adoption
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. sara

    How can an adoption go through without the legal father signing off? They were married according to the article and so this should never have happened.

    December 17, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
  2. Christine Cox

    This is wrong. The politicians and groups who have worked to restrict reproductive freedoms have created this mentality of treating children like puppies "well if you can't or don't want to take care of it, we'll just find it a "good home"". Children are not pets or commodities, they are human beings and belong with their biological family if at all possible.

    December 11, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
  3. Pat

    I have two major issues with this situation; one as an adoptive parent and the other as a member of the military.

    The adoption scandals that make the news over the years are because proper legal processes were not followed in the first place, and this one is no different. The adoption agency and adoptive parents knew full well what they were doing was wrong. Unfortunately, its stories like these that rally the nay-sayers and make proper, legal adoptions so difficult. As commenter David mentioned the Salt Lake Tribune has many more details that paint a much clearer picture than what is in this CNN article.

    As a member of the military I am appaled at the number of stories I hear about spouses feeling like they are abandoned when their husbands deploy or get transferred. There is a vast military support structure available to spouses and, in my experience at least, it doesn't take much to trigger it into action. Its not like Achane and Bland were just cohabitating; they were married which means she has his testicles in a proverbial vise, and she only needed to make a phone call or two before it got tightened to the point of making his life very uncomfortable for leaving her in the situation she was in. His military chain of command would have sprung into action at the slightest hint of abandonment – all she had to do is say the word. Instead, there are now two families and an infant who's lives are being completely disrupted because of her dishonesty.

    As an adoptive parent I can sympathize with the Freis who have to give up Leah after being her parents for 18+ months, but I despise them much more for being part of deceptions like this that will continue to make the adoption process so much more difficult than it needs to be.

    December 11, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • chelle

      Not to mention the fact that as soon as they found out that the natural father wanted his daughter they should have turned her over at once. They knew upfront that he did not even know she was being given up. For supposed Christians, this is NOT a very Christian way to behave!!! This is not a situation where two years into an adoption a birth parent changes their mind.

      December 12, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • YH

      Agree about the adoptive parents being a fault, as well as the adoptive agency (which should have understood the legality of the situation). Agree with others who have said it is basically human trafficking at this point. Also, hate to break it to the adoptive parents, but kids don't remember who they were bonded to at 18 months. Sorry.

      December 14, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  4. Liz

    Shame on the judge who approved the adoption without the father's consent!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is so heartbreaking for the father! This is not a case that is subject to appeal, the court should order that the child be returned immediately to the father and impose stiff fines to both mother and a-parents if they don't comply.
    Thank you Anderson for bringing this out in the open, once again, it illustrates that our legal system is 'SERIOUSLY FLAWED'.

    December 11, 2012 at 7:33 am |
    • YH

      I don't think the adoption was every legally approved. The judge stopped it.

      December 14, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  5. william

    So let me understand this correctly. Dad is overseas by order of military command, comes back, the baby is nowhere to be found and finally the mother decides to tell him that she had the child adopted out to another family without his consent? And the adoptive family knows about this and still does not want the biological father to have access to the baby?. First of all shame on the momma. There should be some sort of criminal/ negligent penalty she should be held too. Where are her mores and values? Secondly, the adoptive family should give the child back immediately after finding out about this faux pau. They are basically trying to steal another man's child without his consent. I understand that they must be heartbroken over the situation, but they are effectively trying to STEAL ANOTHER PERSONS CHILD! Where are their Christian morals? Kudos to the judge who issued the order to have the child turned over back to the dad. Justice is being served. Is this is what it has come to? Legally trying to take another persons child? There are millions of children in the United States of America alone who would benifit from the adoption of good parents who will love and support their foster child. But do it the RIGHT WAY!

    December 10, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • Bren

      Totally agree, and to add to it? The adoption agency should lose its license to operate. What a horrible situation.

      December 11, 2012 at 7:43 am |
  6. Akiana

    These people should be punished for knowing they took a baby when both parents did not agree. Any agency involved who continued with services knowing the facts should be penalized. There are plenty of children who are not wanted by both parents. This is a shame and makes me very upset!

    December 10, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • Bren

      Agree. The mother did not want the baby, and wanted to punish the father by robbing him of his child. Shame on her, the agency, and the adoptive parents should have already returned the baby. Awful.

      December 11, 2012 at 7:45 am |
  7. David

    There is really more to this story than what is being given. The Salt Lake Tribune posted a pretty comprehensive article on this (you can find it by searching for the father's last name). It is sad because he really didn't deserve what the wife and adoption agency did to him. The adoption agency should be shut down by the state and the father should sue. It's possible the wife was having a hard time, but the story about him abandoning her is not true. This could turn out to be like the baby Jessica story years ago where there is a protracted legal battle.

    December 9, 2012 at 7:23 am |
    • chelle

      It's my understanding the wife told him the child had died!!!!!! So he's overseas, doing his duty and gets the news his child has died. This woman is sick. Then he gets wind of the fact that the child was not dead but given up for adoption and he immediately starts the hunt for his baby. The adoptive parents should never have accepted a child who was not given up by both parents in the first place and then to compound the situation by refusing to give her back when they found out that he did in fact want his child.

      December 12, 2012 at 2:47 pm |