Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Harvey's Story (Update) / Michael's Story

This adorable boy is named Harvey. As reported earlier, he was kidnapped from his biological father, and unjustly adopted by a Mormon couple.

The father of the baby has been going through legal battles in order to get him back, while Harvey lives with the Neilsons, his "adoptive" parents.

Last week, a judge ordered that Harvey's father should have temporary primary custody of him while the whole affair is sorted out. But the Neilsons are refusing to give Harvey back.

From Deseret News:

"During a court hearing last week, an Idaho judge gave the birth father, Matt Tenneson, 20, temporary primary custody of the 5 1/2 month old baby.

But Jed and Callie Neilson, who have had the baby since June, say they won't give baby Harvey back without a legal fight. In fact, they say they are thinking optimistically and have been buying Christmas presents for the baby."

"The Neilsons are now being represented by adoption attorney Larry Jenkins, with Wood Crapo LLC, of Salt Lake City. "

" LDS Family Services, which handled the Neilsons' adoption, is appealing the custody issue to the Idaho Supreme Court. LDS Family Services has employed Idaho Falls adoption attorney Kent Foster.

As an agency, LDS Family Services is reserving public comment until after the court case is resolved. "

To read the entire article, click on the LINK.

The article does mention that the father had a nursery ready, had taken child-development classes and read books in preparation. It also states that the magistrate who ruled in Matt's favor believed that the Tenneson's could provide a good home for Harvey.

Deseret cynically contacted Matt to ask "why" he wants custody of his own son, and then reports, "Tenneson declined to comment on why he wants custody of the baby. Knight says she believes Tenneson's mother is the driving force behind the fights for custody."

Why the paper needs to ask the father why he wants custody of his own baby is beyond me. It doesn't appear to be rocket science, does it? Also, since Knight has done everything in her power to help the Nielson's I don't think we need to believe her statement about Matt's mother. What good mother wouldn't help her son try to gain custody, and wouldn't want to see her own grandchild?

I imagine that the Mormon church is the one paying all the legal costs associated with this, for the Neilson's. And that LDS Family Services and the Mormon church will arrogantly and despicably do everything in their power not to return Harvey to his own father who wants him!

Also in the article, they mention about the Idaho Putative Father Registry. The Father Registry is for fathers who are not married to the birth mother and who have not established paternity through legal proceedings. All men should be registered in case any legal dispute should occur in the future.

My comments on this are the following: most fathers do not know that they need to register, and have no idea what the PFR in any state/province is, or its importance.

Also, as the LDS Family Services told me during my own personal ordeal ... most fathers do not know about it, will not know about it in time, and they can easily squeak by on the technicality that the fathers did not place their name and had no desire for the child. They literally told me this! So it was of no surprise to me to see this mentioned in the article.

Another Kidnapping: Michael Hunter

This is just so appalling and sickening. Shawn McDonald from north Texas, has also lost his son. His son was given up for adoption without his consent through (surprise!) LDS Family Services, and according to Shawn he didn't even know about his son's existence until 2 days before the birth!

His son is now 18 months old and he still is fighting through the courts. Imagine going every night and day through agony thinking about your own child (nearly two years old) who should have been with you in the first place. Thankfully so far he has at least been awarded visitation and $100,000 to cover legal expenses.

Here's a story from CBS:

North Texas Father Fights For His Parental Rights Jack Fink Reporting (CBS 11 News)

DALLAS -- Shawn McDonald says he only found out about his baby two days before the child was born. He says he was powerless to stop the mother from giving the baby up for adoption. This legal battle is now being fought here at the Henry Wade Juvenile Justice Center.

A jury must decide if the father will lose his parental rights for good. “I'd love to be a father to him,” McDonald said. McDonald says he never got the chance to be a father to his son, Hunter. The boy is now 18 months old and since birth, has lived with his adoptive parents, Travis and Sabra Hess, in Idaho.

"[It] Really hurts emotionally... work time... every thought is nothing but this," McDonald said. Now a Dallas County jury will decide whether the Hess’ can keep Hunter and terminate McDonald's parental rights.

Kathryn Lanigan-Wieser is McDonald's attorney. "This case involves a kidnapping,” she said. “They stole Shawn's child." McDonald's attorney accuses the birth mother Samantha Myers and Eric Larson, of Latter Day Saints Family Services, of conspiring to keep the birth and adoption a secret.
McDonald says he had previously broken up with Myers, and that they share custody of a three and a half year old girl. McDonald says he only found out about Hunter on July 2, 2005, two days before he was born in Fort Worth.
"The baby was shipped off to Idaho before Shawn could do anything,” Lanigan-Wieser said. “In fact, they hid the identity of the Hess’. Shawn didn't know where the baby was until the Hess’ intervened in the lawsuit in September, 2006.”
The Hess’, LDS Family Services and the birth mother all declined comment. But in court papers, LDS Family Services and its social worker, Eric Larson say McDonald knew Myers was pregnant and abandoned the child.
But the adoptive parents said in court papers that LDS told them McDonald was "out of the picture" and "could not be located." The Hess’ want to keep Hunter. They say that changing his home now could negatively impact the baby.
That's not something Shawn McDonald wants to consider. "I would have to think about that for the rest of my life,” McDonald said. Among the options for the jury include terminating McDonald's parental rights and leaving the child with the adoptive parents, giving McDonald sole custody, or giving primary custody to one of the parties with the other getting visitation.
Keep strong Shawn, keep strong! We're all rooting for you.

Visit Shawn's MySpace page and show your support:

http://www.myspace.com/babymichaelhunter

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