FRIDAY DECEMBER 11, 2009
Check local listings for time and channel
What would you do if someone said you no longer had the right to see your child? Dr. Phil's guests say they feel helpless and hopeless because they've been shut out of their children's lives and are facing lengthy court battles to get their kids back. Carla says she placed her daughter for what she thought was going to be an open adoption. It's been six years, and she says the adoptive parents reneged on their promise and won't let her communicate with the child. Legal analyst Lisa Bloom and an adoption attorney weigh in on the case.
Then, John says he was looking forward to raising his baby with his childhood girlfriend, but when he got to the hospital to visit his daughter, he never got to meet her and nine months later still hasn't. Learn about the law that is keeping him from being a dad. This is Baby Emma's Story.
And, a woman paid more than $20,000 and was given an ultrasound of the baby she was supposed to adopt, but motherhood didn't happen as planned. Find out how not to get scammed and the precautions to take when adopting a child.
READ ABOUT OTHER
CASES LIKE OURS:
The Cody O'Dea Case
Searching for Emma: Father Fights for Daughter Given Up for Adoption
John Wyatt Said Ex-Girlfriend Had No Right to Give Daughter to Utah Couple
By SARAH NETTER
April 16, 2010
JJohn Wyatt never got a chance to hold his daughter. He's never even seen her. All he has are a few pictures.
He hopes that will eventually change.Wyatt, 21, is embroiled in a multi-state custody dispute after his ex-girlfriend gave their daughter, Emma, up for adoption without his consent.
"I talked about raising the baby everytime I saw her. To me there was never really an option," he told "Good Morning America" today. "I knew that I would do anything to be there for my child because I know what it's like to grow up without a father."
When Colleen Fahland got pregnant at 19, Wyatt said, he was very clear that he wanted to raise their daughter.
"Every time we talked together it was clear we were going to make a decision together," he said.
But Emma, now 1, was adopted by a family in Utah, a state known for siding with mothers in out-of-wedlock cases.Wyatt said that he told Fahland the night before the birth that he wanted to be in the delivery room. The next day, he couldn't reach her and panicked.
Wyatt said he went with the hospital, but was told she wasn't there. But she was there and had told the hospital not to list her as a patient. He tried to enter the nursery to see his daughter and was threatened with arrest.
He tried for days to find out what happened to Fahland and his baby and was devastated to find out Fahland had given the baby up to Utah couple.
Wyatt went to court in Virginia and won custody of the infant, setting off a legal dispute between Virginia and Utah.
"It's the worst experience I have ever been through in my life," he said.
Lawyers for Fahland told ABC News that she now has "regrets" about how the situation was handled.
JOHN WYATT AND HIS ATTORNEY APPEARED ON GMA, APRIL 16, 2010, WITH ROBIN ROBERTS TO TALK ABOUT BABY EMMA
JOHN WYATT AND HIS ATTORNEY APPEARED ON WJLA, MAY 26, 2010,
TO TALK ABOUT BABY EMMA
Father Fights for Custody of Baby Emma
By Malachi Constant
May 26, 2010
DUMFRIES, Va. - A local father is fighting for custody of his young daughter whom he's never met. The dispute is pitting him against the child's adoptive parents and the state of Utah.
John Wyatt is an unwed father. He is one of several unwed fathers whose babies are taken to Utah to be adopted without their permission. It's a battle between states, families, and in this case, baby Emma.
John Wyatt has the nursery ready to go. All that's missing is his daughter, Emma.
"All I know is she's got blue eyes and strawberry blonde hair," said John Wyatt.
He lives with his mother in Dumfries. For the last 15 months he has been fighting to get custody of the daughter his childhood sweetheart, Colleen Fahland, gave up for adoption in February 2009, over his objections, to a couple in Utah.
Now 22, Wyatt has never seen his daughter. Fahland secretly delivered the baby at potomac hospital. Wyatt found out and rushed over.
Wyatt said, "And I was like, 'excuse me, I'm just trying to see my daughter. I'm the father. My name is John Wyatt. Can I please see her?' And they were like, 'no, if you don't leave, we're gonna call security on you right now and the police.'"
He alleges Fahland snuck out of the hospital and stayed at a nearby hotel, where the baby was given up and flown back to Utah.
"This is not a legitimate adoption. This is, in fact, a kidnapping," said Wyatt's attorney Stanton Phillips.
Wyatt's attorney says Utah is violating federal parental kidnapping laws and even though a Virginia court has awarded custody of Emma to the father, Utah says Wyatt missed the deadline to seek custody.
"My heart breaks for him, and my heart breaks for Emma. I just think it's cruel. It's cruel to do this to somebody," said Jeri Wyatt, Emma's grandmother.
Wyatt knows the longer it drags out, the harder it will be to get Emma back. Wyatt's dad died when he was 10 and Wyatt says he'll be there for his daughter no matter what.
"I would tell her that I love her very much and that one day we will get to be together and be like a happy family," he said.
He continued, "It's consumed my whole life...but I'm just hopeful...that she will be returned home where she belongs."
A court hearing is scheduled in Virginia this Friday over Utah's refusal to grant Wyatt custody.
The Utah couple's attorney, Larry Jenkins, meanwhile, told me his clients are also suffering and that baby Emma can't be officially adopted or returned to her father until the situation is resolved.
JOHN WYATT APPEARED ON TBD.COM / ABC 7 NEWS, SEPTEMBER 9, 2010,
TO TALK ABOUT BABY EMMA