How Baby Hailey was Sold Through Fraudulent Adoption
Sun, 04/12/2011 - 15:39 — Lukes Dad
Anthony Lingle- My Story
I met a girl named Kari. We fell in love. As with most couples, we spent every waking moment together. In a very short time, we found out she was pregnant. I was very happy and asked her to marry me. She said yes, and everything was great. I accompanied her to every doctor’s appointment and supported her every way I could. We knew that as soon as Kari’s dad found out she was pregnant, he would kick her out of his house. As a result, I moved from my one bedroom apartment to a two bedroom to accommodate the growing family. She moved in, and everything was still great.
Then things were not so great. When Kari was just over 6 months pregnant, I caught her drinking on a few occasions. Every time I inquired about the alcohol, she got very mad and left. When I became overwhelmed with concern, I showed up at the next doctor’s appointment, unannounced. I discussed this concern with the doctor, thinking prenatal exposure to tobacco and alcohol could harm our growing baby. My intentions were good, and I hoped the doctor would take necessary measures by discussing the importance of a “clean and sober” pregnancy with Kari and perhaps contact DHS, CPS, or similar organizations if the neglect continued. However, my efforts were either dismissed or not enforced, as the drinking continued. When Kari found out I spoke to the doctor, she became angry again, screaming for me to go away and leave her alone. I knew it would be best if I did as she asked.
Soon after, I filed for joint custody and a paternal test through the Sacramento Court System. In return, Kari filed a restraining order against me for being overly controlling. This claim was based on her false account of my previous actions, of me pleading with Kari and the doctor for things to change, for the neglect to cease. In addition, she fashioned lies on the restraining order in attempt to have me arrested and removed from my obstructing position. Rightfully, the restraining order was dismissed when the judge found her claim untrue. The judge also required that we return sometime after the child’s birth for case revision and a paternal test, upon my request.
On January 1, 2010, my daughter Hailey was born. Responsibility for her care was immediately given to the prospective adoptive parents at birth. Unfortunately, Hailey’s birth was kept secret from me, despite the court’s word that I would be informed. I found out on my own by calling the hospital every day. And due to privacy laws, I was not allowed much information. At my next court visit, I was notified that the case was transferred to Placer County, the location of the adoption. The paternal test results were revealed at the next court date, which showed 96.9% probability of my paternity. It was also at this court date that Kari’s lawyer informed me of her intent of adoption. I was unaware she could commit such a selfish act without my consent.
I obtained an attorney to fight the adoption, and it was during the first trial hearing that the truth was revealed. To my dismay, the continued alcohol and tobacco use during pregnancy showed their effects in multiple ways. I was horrified when I saw the photos of Hailey from birth, as she was scratched and bruised from head to toe. Some battle wounds from birth are not uncommon, but the extent of her injuries seemed beyond normal, and I suspect were due to chemical dependency and withdrawal. She was in the hospital on a respirator for about nine days after birth to allow her undeveloped lungs to reach full potential. Hailey was also born with “Intrauterine Retardation,” a condition that can be caused by long-term exposure to alcohol and nicotine during pregnancy. This caused Hailey to be born with a low birth weight, less than six pounds at full gestation. My prior efforts to prevent fetal harm were apparently useless.
Despite having spent $75,00 ($150,000 as of Dec. 2011) towards the attorney fees, I lost my counsel when more money was required. A court-appointed attorney resumed fighting on my behalf. During the trial, the judge called me unfit as a parent for a few reasons; one being that I was attempting parenthood solo, where the adoptive parents could provide twice the support and care. In addition, the judge was concerned about my rocky past. I had a drug problem many years ago, but have since completed the Salvation Army’s 12 month live-in program, volunteered an additional 12 months there, and completed an eight-month EMT course through the Charles Jones Skill Center. I have remained clean for nearly 7 years. All this happened long before I met Hailey’s mother.
During these adoption hearings, the prospective adoptive parents revealed they were filing for divorce. The judge then put a stay on the case decision until he could investigate and gather details. The resulting deposition exposed another truth, that the prospective adoptive mother had been cheating on the husband with six other people since the court hearings began, four men and two women. One of these men had been the best man at their wedding. She also had a medical marijuana card for anxiety, which is still current today. I surmise this is just a cover to obtain a “legal” front for previously illegal drug use. My concern is that she won’t give 100% to Hailey’s care while under the influence or may not be alert in emergency situations. And what affect would this have on Hailey? She may grow up thinking this behavior is acceptable. Surprisingly, the adoptive mother filed for sole adoptive custody to raise Hailey as a single parent. Back when the adoptive parents were together, my request for adoption was rejected for this very reason. And yet the prospective adoptive mother was succeeding where my argument failed.
I was given visitation with my daughter when she was five months old. I saw her every Tuesday and Thursday for two hours each day, and I did not miss a single one. May 1st of this year was the day of reckoning, when the judge made his decision. My court-appointed attorney’s opinion of my case was bleak; he didn’t think I stood a chance. He said if I had 20 years clean, perhaps, but after only 6.5 years, the chances were slim-to-none. It was a classic case of “A parent with a scarred history” versus “An adoptive parent with no record”. This case was very unique due to the unexpected divorce during the adoption case. I prayed every day not to lose my daughter. I did not believe the courts possessed any reason to remove my influence from Hailey’s life. I wanted to be in her life, to raise her, since I first learned of her conception. She is my daughter, I Love her with all my heart. When I first laid eyes on her at five months, I fell in love. She became my heart, she was my daughter. I never turned my back on her. I believed I had a right to raise my daughter, believed she deserved me as a father, but at that point I did not know what to expect of the outcome. The courts were attempting to revoke my rights as Hailey’s father, saying I was unfit, despite my “Kelsey S Father” status that proved I was responsible, reliable, and supportive. True, I had been addicted to drugs for 12 years, ensued much trouble during this time, and have been punished greatly as a result. But I have been clean for almost 7 years, learned how to live sober, improved my way of life, and tried my hardest to ensure only the best for my future.
As of May 2nd, 2011, the court terminated my parental right to be Hailey’s father, and in doing so, deprived Hailey’s life of her fatherly experiences. I fear I have lost my daughter completely, that the adoptive parent might move away and never tell Hailey about me, about my love for her, my devotion to her, and my valiant fight for her. I am currently in the process of appealing the court’s decision in hopes I can gain my daughter back and provide her with a better life. I have been keeping everything pertaining to Hailey and the custody case in a safe box. If I do not win the appeal, my only wish is that one day Hailey will ask where she came from and will receive the truth. I hope she will look me up, come find me, and I will pull out the box. I will share it with her and share my wonderful memories. I will share my noble fight and tell her I never wanted to give her away, that I have always loved her.
I am sharing my story with you today because it may be the only way to return Hailey where she belongs – in my arms – and to be involved in every part of her life, not just to be her weekend father. I feel like the judge’s decision was unfair, a violation of constitutional rights, and I hope that those who believe me could help make that difference. As you read this, please pray for us.
Anthony Lingle, Hailey’s loving and devoted father