Statement provided by Jared and Kristi Frei to KUTV Twenty-one months ago the birth mother made

the decision to give her child up for adoption because she had been abandoned by her husband when she was seven months pregnant. He cut her off from all financial, physical and emotional support, leaving the mother with the sole burden of determining what was in the child’s best interests. The birth father took almost no efforts to determine the whereabouts of his child after her birth until the mother informed him of the adoption several months after birth. Upon being notified of the adoption, he took the step of hiring an attorney to oppose the adoption, but has taken no steps, other than one 3 hour visit with the child when he came to Utah for his deposition, to form any bond or relationship with the child. Despite the parties being in frequent contact with each other over the last 15 months during the adoption process, the father has never sent the child a letter or gift, even on her birthday and at Christmas. He has never requested any update on her health and well-being. He never tried to call her on the phone or video conference with her. The law requires a father to at least attempt to form a relationship with his child to show he is not disregarding his parental obligations. If he fails in this regard over an extended period of time, it is considered abandonment, regardless of the fact that he has hired an attorney to object to the adoption. The court’s ruling relies heavily on the determination that the adoptive parents were required to return the child immediately when the father requested. However, the Utah Adoption Act clearly states that once a child is placed with an adoption agency or adoptive parents, they shall have custody pending further order from the court. The father never sought custody during the adoption process so there was never a court order requiring either the agency or adoptive parents to relinquish custody. See UCA 78B-6-134. We are deeply saddened by the court’s decision in the case to give the child back to a father she does not know at all. We believe the court made serious legal errors in his decision and will address these concerns with the Utah Court of Appeals.

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