(AVFM News) Washington D.C. May 10, 2012 – The president of Utah Adoption Council, a Utah based non profit organized in 1981 to assist in lightening the load of the foster care system in that state, resigned on Tuesday amidst widespread claims that its members were actively undermining the interests of biological fathers who’s children are adopted in Utah. Wes Hutchens, an adoption lawyer who has facilitated over 1000 adoptions in his career had only one more month to serve as president. Yet at a council meeting on Tuesday he announced he was leaving to start his own non profit that will advocate for a more ethical approach to adoption that respects the rights of all those involved. Members of the council, comprised of lawyers, adoption agencies and parents, accused him of having his own agenda but Hutchens shot back, asserting that members were not acting ethically when administering adoptions.
Utah’s adoption laws and the practices of it’s adoption agencies have been the center of much controversy when it comes to the rights of biological fathers over their children. The state has become a veritable Mecca for birth mothers who want to exclude the biological father from the decision process when it comes to adoption. Recently, a ruling was handed down by the Virginia Supreme Court that a biological father, John Wyatt of Virginia, could sue both the adoption agencies and the lawyers who handled the surreptitious adoption of his daughter to a Utah couple shortly after her birth. On April 27th, a Colorado judge ruled that biological father, Rob Manzanares, should not have his parental rights terminated after a four year long battle to gain access to his daughter after his ex girlfriend gave the child up for adoption in Utah under similar circumstances.
News agencies in both Colorado and Virginia have reported on dubious practices of Utah adoption agencies and lawyers which include coaching birth mothers to mislead biological fathers and giving cash incentives for mothers to give birth within the state. Chanel 9 News in Colorado published audio recordings on their website of investigators posing as the sisters of expecting mothers when calling adoption agencies asking for advice on how to exclude the father from the process. “We can have him not be involved at all,” one agency employee was recorded saying, and another suggested that the mother tell the father that their was an accident and the baby died.
The way some adoption agencies handle birth mothers Hutchins claims “is an invitation for birth mothers to lie, cheat and defraud birth fathers into thinking they don’t have anything to worry about.”
“The idea that the birth mother can travel from any state to Utah and be in Utah for two or three days and then give birth to a child and then leave the state with the sole purpose of cutting off the rights of the biological father has to stop,” Hutchins said.