Utah father Colby Nielsen broke down in tears on Monday, Nov. 23, watching helplessly as his infant daughter was given to her new adoptive parents without his consent.
After Kaylee was born on Nov. 4, the 20-year-old father claims he has never left her side.
%shareLinks-quote="My favorite moment is when she would just lay on my chest and we would watch TV and she just slept." type="quote" author="Colby Nielsen" authordesc="" isquoteoftheday="false"%
But all that changed when he was forced to give her up to adoptive parents, after Kaylee's mother decided to put her up for adoption, unbeknownst to Nielsen.
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So shaken by the idea of losing her, Nielsen said he "couldn't even get her out of her car seat."
Wes Hutchins, Nielsen's lawyer, said a technical reading of the Utah adoption law allows biological mothers to put their babies up for adoption without notifying the biological father.
In order to keep Kaylee, Nielsen needed to file paternity action, an affidavit and a commencement notice with Utah's vital records a day before the mother signed the adoption papers, relinquishing her rights. But in this case, as in many others, Kaylee's mother only gave him a few hours notice of what she intended to do.
%shareLinks-quote="They took this man's daughter without his knowledge or consent. That is essentially, by definition, stealing." type="quote" author="Wes Hutchins" authordesc="Nielsen's attorney" isquoteoftheday="false"%
Nielsen said his girlfriend was influenced by her religious parents, who were upset that the child had been born out of wedlock.
Even though Nielsen was sure he had convinced her to let him raise Kaylee on his own, she signed the the adoption papers without telling him, relinquishing parental rights to a couple that is friends with her parents.
Utah Senator Todd Weiler called this an "unfortunate situation," but he said "this is the way it has been for unmarried fathers in Utah for decades."
But Nielsen's lawyer is confident his client will get Kaylee back, either by changing the legislation, or even taking this case to the Supreme Court
%shareLinks-quote="A statute that allows this to happen is skewed against biological fathers," type="quote" author="Wes Hutchins" authordesc="attourney" isquoteoftheday="false"%
And neither Nielsen nor Hutchens plan to stand for that gross injustice.
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