John Wyatt, Father Fights For Custody Of Daughter Who Was Given Up For Adoption Without Consent
On February 10 2009, John Wyatt rushed to the hospital when his girlfriend went into labor, excited to meet his new baby girl. The couple was 19, but he says he couldn't wait to be a dad.
When Wyatt arrived at the hospital, though, his girlfriend was already gone. "Colleen was being snuck out the side exit maybe like 50 feet to my left," he told the 'Today' show. The young mom gave the baby up for adoption without his consent.
Almost three years later, Wyatt is still fighting to get his daughter back. Her nursery is set up and ready for the baby he calls Emma to come home.
Right after the baby was born, Wyatt hired a lawyer in Virginia to seek custody of his daughter. What Wyatt didn't know, was that the baby was already in Utah, 2,000 miles away. And although a Judge in Virginia granted him temporary custody of his daughter, Wyatt says he never got her back.
Under Utah law, he only had 20 days to file for custody -- a deadline that expired before he even was aware that his daughter was in Salt Lake City. In July, Utah's supreme court ruled against Wyatt, saying he failed to exercise his parental rights.
The Utah Attorney General said, "In a situation where the birth mother who carried that child for nine months and has made a decision that is in the best interest of her child to go to an adoptive family, that we ought to have the same interest in the father, he ought to have to step up and show the same type of commitment to that child to resolve that."
And, although his daughter is almost three, he says he is never going to give up trying to gain custody. He does not think it is in the best interest of the child to stay with the only family she has ever known.
Wyatt doubts the integrity of the adoptive family. "They have done so many wrong things to steal this child, like from me. They've known that I wanted -- who the father was and that I wanted to raise my child from the beginning because Colleen told them from the beginning that I wanted to raise the baby," he told 'Today.'