The case reported here is more egregious than most (Deseret News, 7/30/09). It vividly shows the power our laws grant to mothers in adoption cases at the expense of fathers' parental rights and children's rights to their father. As the case amply demonstrates, if a mother wants to place a child for adoption, she can, pretty much regardless of what a father desires or what he does. To find out more about the case, click here.
Cody O'dea and Ashley Olea had a brief sexual relationship when they lived in Wyoming. At age 18, she turned up pregnant. Cody immediately told her that he wanted to help raise the child. A few months later, Ashley told Cody that she had miscarried. They split up and he moved to Idaho. Still more months later, a friend informed Cody that Ashley was then eight months pregnant and making plans to place the child for adoption. She was still in Wyoming, but working with an adoption agency, LDS Family Services, in Montana.
Cody immediately contacted Ashley and reasserted his desire to have custody of the child. He also filed the appropriate form with the Wyoming Putative Father Registry. He also filed with the Montana Putative Father Registry. He wrote a letter to the adoption agency telling them that he would not waive his parental rights. Cody spoke with two people including a supervisor at LDS Family Services, informing them of his intention to get custody of the child. Eventually, LDS decided to not continue with the adoption process and wrote Cody a letter saying so.
On July 15, 2006, Cody received a strange call from Ashley which, according to him, went as follows:
Ashley: You will listen and you will not speak. First of all I want you to stop harassing me and that includes your mother. I am in Utah. You will not father this child. You will pay child support until the child is in College. You will never see this baby. Do you understand?Then she hung up. Notice that she mentioned nothing about placing the child for adoption. In fact she strongly suggests the opposite. And the ruse worked. Cody thought that, since he had filed with the registries of Wyoming and Montana, and gotten LDS to back off, that he had successfully blocked the adoption. To him, Ashley's phone call meant that she'd changed her mind and would keep the child.
Cody: No, I do not understand, does this mean you are planning to keep the child?
Ashley: Do you understand what I’m saying?
Cody: No, I don’t understand, does that mean you are keeping the child and not giving it up for adoption?
Ashley: If you understand what I have told you, that is all I have to say.
But that was wrong. Ashley's call was almost certainly prompted by an attorney. Her statement that she was in Utah constituted legal "notice" to him that, perhaps an adoption would occur there. Therefore, he then became obligated to file with Utah's registry and begin paternity proceedings. In fact, unknown to him, he had only 20 days to do so.
Despite Cody's repeated efforts to comply with the law and assert his parental rights, a Utah court approved the adoption in 2006. A different agency, the Adoption Center of Choice, provided the adoptive parents. Neither they nor Ashley notified Cody that the adoption had taken place. The Adoption Center of Choice contacted the Wyoming Putative Father Registry and ascertained that Cody had registered there and was asserting his parental rights. Apparently, that made absolutely no difference to the Adoption Center of Choice.
Cody then filed a paternity suit in Utah, but it was too late. His twenty days had passed. The Supreme Court of Utah has just ruled that all his efforts to be a father to his child were meaningless. It was solely his failure to comply with Utah's 20-day period that destroyed any hope he had. He will never see his child; he will never be her father in more than the biological sense.
The United States Supreme Court has called parental rights "far more precious than property rights." But when it comes to a father's rights, those are mostly just words. In the real world of family law, in this case, adoption law, they have next to no meaning.
Let's look at what happened in the Cody O'dea case. His child's mother decided she didn't want the child with whom she was pregnant, so she lied to Cody, telling him that she had miscarried. That Cody discovered her lie, was, for Ashley, an inconvenience, but little more. She shopped for an adoption agency in one state, abandoned that idea and located another in another state. The new agency was willing to overlook the fact that it knew perfectly well that there was a father who wanted custody.
In short, a few well-placed lies, an unscrupulous adoption agency, an unscrupulous attorney combined with a young father who failed to know the laws of an anti-father foreign state, added up to the denial of his parental rights. You remember those; they're the ones that are "far more precious than property rights." But when those rights are placed, not in the father's hands but in the mother's, abrogating them turns out to be simplicity itself.
I've written before about adoption laws in this country. We bend over backwards to deny fathers even the most minimal opportunity to assert their rights. The "due process" that is routinely accorded fathers in adoption cases would be laughed out of criminal court. The most heinous mass murderer receives far more due process than the most upstanding father.
Can you imagine a DA explaining to a judge why a murder defendant isn't in court for her trial, "Judge, it's OK for her to not be present. We called her last night and used the word 'Utah' in our conversation, so she's been notified of the proceedings against her." The judge would never stop laughing (or screaming), but that's basically what happened to Cody O'dea.
As I've said before, when a child is adopted who has a father who desires to- and is capable of- caring for it, another child who needs adoption is denied parents. That's because there are far more children in the United States and in the world who need adoption than there are qualified adoptive parents. So the Utah courts, by forcing adoption on a child who didn't need it, denied parents to another child who did.
If you're still not convinced that the adoption of Cody O'dea's child was an outrage, consider Ashley Olea's myspace profile. What did she list as her occupation? "Baby Seller."
The Straight Talk On Islam
I suspect that because George Bush and Condoleezza Rice were so respectful of Muslims, constantly telling us that theirs is a religion of peace, some otherwise sensible Americans actually began to believe it. Now we have a president who not only kowtows to a Saudi prince, but carries on as if Israeli homes are more threatening than Iranian nukes.
What is wrong with our leaders? Are they worried that they won’t be invited to those cool Ramadan parties? The Islamics have been actively at war with us for 30 years and generally at war with western civilization for well over a thousand years, and still we pay lip service to these people in a way we never did with Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan or the Soviet Union. Is it because the Muslims commit sadism and murder in the name of religion and not country? If anything, I would think that would make their evil acts all the more contemptible.
Still, I would contend that Hezbollah and Al Qaeda are not as dangerous as America’s liberals. The Islamic terrorists can only kill so many people, but those on the Left are doing everything in their power to eviscerate America. Cap and Trade can destroy our industrial might; Obama’s trillion dollar stimulus programs combined with his delusional health care plan will not only bankrupt our nation, but lead inevitably to a rate of inflation that will impress even Jimmy Carter; and the budget cuts directed at our military and our missile defense system will make us increasingly vulnerable to our various enemies.
The problem is that liberals are not only nuts, but inconsistent. They very much want to send our military to Africa to stop the savagery in the Sudan, but didn’t want to see it employed against the equally barbaric Saddam Hussein, Pol Pot or Ho Chi Minh. Funny how you never hear them insist that we have no business in Darfur because Sudan didn’t attack us on 9/11 or point out that we have no compelling interest in sub-Sahara Africa. But that’s to be expected when people get their information from Bill Maher and Jon Stewart and their talking points from the likes of Bono and the Dixie Chicks.
Clearly, the Left wants America to be a toothless tiger, rather like the U.N. What they fail to grasp is that as America goes, so goes freedom everywhere. Or perhaps they think the French will do a better job of policing the world. The French, alas, can’t even police Paris.
Speaking of liberals, the irony is that so many of them who never believed God even existed are now convinced that He is alive and well and going out on date nights with Michelle.
Getting back to Muslims, there are people who would insist that we should distinguish between those who cut off the heads of their innocent victims and those who, rumor has it, just want to live and let live. Well, I keep trying, heaven knows, but it’s not as easy as it sounds.
For instance, recently I read about a stomach-turning incident that took place in Phoenix, Arizona. It seems that four boys between the ages of nine and 14 lured an eight-year-old girl into a shed and took turns raping her. While that was pretty damn loathsome, what was even more disgusting is what took place afterward. In the little girl’s presence, her father, a Muslim refugee from Liberia, told the police, “Take her. I don’t want her.”
It seems that in what passes for their culture, the child had brought shame on the family.
Now I understand that any country that keeps electing people like Bill Clinton, Barney Frank, Barbara Boxer and Barack Obama, the killer B’s as it were, doesn’t have terribly high standards, but assuming we have any at all, will someone please explain why we’re allowing these degenerates into the country?
A request to snoop on public every 60 secs in Britain
Councils, police and other public bodies are seeking access to people’s private telephone and email records almost 1,400 times a day, new figures have disclosed. The authorities made more than 500,000 requests for confidential communications data last year, equivalent to spying on one in every 78 adults, leading to claims that Britain had “sleepwalked into a surveillance society”. An official report also disclosed that hundreds of errors had been made in these “interception” operations, with the wrong phone numbers or emails being monitored.
The figures will fuel concerns over the use of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act by public bodies. The Act gives authorities – including councils, the police and intelligence agencies – the power to request access to confidential communications data, including lists of telephone numbers dialled and email addresses to which messages have been sent.
Councils have been accused of using the powers, which were originally intended to tackle terrorism and organised crime, for trivial matters such as littering and dog fouling. Only last month, it emerged that councils and other official bodies had used hidden tracking devices to spy on members of the public.
The latest figures were compiled by Sir Paul Kennedy, the interception of communications commissioner, who reviews requests made under the Act. They relate to monitoring communication “traffic” – such as who is contacting whom, when and where and which websites are visited, but not the content of conversations or messages themselves. Sir Paul found that last year a total of 504,073 such requests were made. The vast majority were made by the police and security services but 123 local councils made a total of 1,553 requests for communications data. Some councils sought lists of the telephone numbers that people had dialled.
Amid growing unease about surveillance powers, ministers issued new guidelines last year about their use. Despite the promised crackdown, the 2008 figure is only slightly lower than 2007’s 519,260 requests.
In April, the Home Office said it would go ahead with plans to track every phone call, email, text message and website visit made by the public, in order to combat terrorists and other criminals.
Chris Huhne, Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, said: “It cannot be a justified response to the problems we face in this country that the state is spying on half a million people a year. “We have sleepwalked into a surveillance state but without adequate safeguards.”
Sir Paul found 595 errors in interception requests last year, including mistakes by MI5 and MI6, the intelligence agencies. However, he defended councils over their use of the Act, concluding: “It is evident that good use is being made of communications data to investigate the types of offences that cause harm to the public.” His report even encourages councils to acquire more communications data, saying that “local authorities could often make more use of this powerful tool to investigate crimes”.
A Home Office spokesman said: “It’s vital that we strike the right balance between individual privacy and collective security and that is why the Home Office is clear these powers should only be used when they are proportionate.
Paranoid, suspicion, obsessive surveillance - and a land of liberty destroyed by stealth
Britain is slowly becoming a police state
Returning to Britain from a summer holiday abroad, you begin to notice things that perhaps escaped your attention before - the huge number of CCTV cameras that infest our public spaces and, much less obviously, the atmosphere of watchfulness and control that has now become a way of life. This is the regime that 12 years of New Labour have imposed on Britain, a place of unwavering suspicion, paranoia - and obsessive surveillance. We have become the sort of society that we would unhesitatingly have railed against a few years ago. But, because the change has been brought about with such stealth, we are the very last to see it.
The latest figures, in a report by the Interception of Communications Commissioner, Sir Paul Kennedy, are truly terrifying. They reveal that a request is made every minute to snoop on someone's phone records or email accounts. Last year alone, there were 504,073 new cases of state-sanctioned surveillance, the equivalent of one adult in 78 being watched - and a rise of 44 per cent over two years. Whatever happened to our centuries- old traditions of freedom?
Voltaire called England 'the land of liberty'. Until New Labour materialised, with its intrusive and 'character improving' agenda, that description rang true. The English preferred freedom and tolerance to ideological and religious fanaticism. The currency of our society was common sense. No longer. Common sense has been replaced by officially sanctioned mistrust, mistrust that allows anyone invested with the tiniest bit of authority - often in the form of a high-visibility jacket - to throw their weight around. Britain is now a place where terror laws have been used by councils to spy on people breaching smoking bans, making a fraudulent application for a [school]. Police routinely stop anyone who photographs a public building, in one instance deleting the pictures taken by a 69-year-old Austrian tourist who admired the architecture of Vauxhall bus station.
And if the authorities are behaving like this today, what will they subject us to in the run-up to the 2012 London Olympics? Wardens in Brighton already habitually seize drink from people on the mere suspicion that they plan to consume it in a public place. And in Edinburgh, a swimming pool attendant stopped the 85-year-old mother of TV presenter Nicky Campbell from taking pictures of her grandchildren.
These stories have become part of our national life - and there are thousands of them each year. I know this because my researcher trawls local and national newspapers for examples every morning. What they add up to is a depressing account of a nation infantilised by micro-management and fear. We are losing something essential to our national identity. Foreigners who know what is going on here cannot believe that the British show such little regard for their freedoms. Even Americans, the most jumpy people in the world, are unsettled by Britain's paranoia.
Government policy is largely to blame. Labour has instilled an endemic culture of suspicion in Britain, which is manifest in the 3,500 new criminal offences brought in over its 12 years in office. Labour is also behind a flurry of new databases that either leech personal information from each one of us or require innocent members of the public to go through an endless rigmarole of proving themselves to the state. The scale of this project is vast. 'The state and its agencies are amassing increasing quantities of data about its citizens,' writes Jill Kirby, the director of the Centre for Policy Studies, in a recent pamphlet. She lists them as including the DNA database, centralised medical records and the children's database Contact-Point. This data, she says, has 'proliferated to levels previously unseen in peacetime Britain'.
An institutionalised pessimism has taken over. The clear message of Government is that we are incapable of managing our lives and must be watched and regulated by ministers and civil servants from dawn to dusk. More sinister is the assumption that we are all in some way guilty of harbouring the worst intentions. Up to 11 million people who work with children - music tutors, babysitters, football coaches and even parents who have exchange students to stay - will now have to join a new database at the cost of £64 and undergo criminal checks. Writers such as Philip Pullman and Anthony Horowitz, who regularly visit schools, are among those who have roundly condemned the scheme. You can see why - the other day I heard of a retired canon who was told that he could only baptise his grandson in his local cathedral if the church authorities first saw proof of his criminal records check.
But it is the Government's obsession with surveillance that poses the greatest threat to our liberty. Earlier this year, I calculated from published figures that Britain's expenditure on databases and surveillance systems would amount to a staggering £32 billion. Thanks to the economic crisis, some projects have been scaled back. But plans still include a £1 billion system that will give the Government access to data from all emails, text messages, phone calls and internet usage - a proposal that has even been savaged by companies expected to collect the information.
Additionally, the e-Borders scheme, which will take 53 pieces of personal information from anyone travelling abroad - including phone and credit card numbers, details of an onward journey and history of cancelled journeys - will cost over £1.2 billion.
But the absurd amounts spent on these schemes are not the only concern. The threat they pose to our privacy - and the incompetent way in which the Government handles our personal data - are even more worrying. We know, for example, that more than 30 million separate personal files have been lost by government agencies. Recently, a Freedom of Information request by Computer Weekly magazine revealed that nine local authority staff have been sacked for accessing the personal records of celebrities and acquaintances. This largely unpublicised breach should warn us that a government obsessed with hoarding our information and watching us cannot be trusted to keep our details safely.
A similar security lapse in ContactPoint could be disastrous. But even this doesn't compare to the real possibility of the systems that watch our movements, monitor our behaviour and tap into the communications data linking up into one great apparatus of surveillance. This would allow the authorities more or less to monitor our every movement and transaction in real time. Nothing would remain private.
If this happens, we can kiss goodbye to a functioning free society in the United Kingdom. We are not there yet - but we can see the seeds everywhere, from the spread of CCTV, and the flood of government regulations to the expropriation of our personal information. We have to consider the distinct possibility that the obituary for the 'land of liberty' is being composed at this very moment.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.