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.
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