Almost two months ago, we reported on a heart-wrenching story about a Texas man who found himself in the midst of a very bitter, rather emotional custody battle with complete strangers after his wife put his infant daughter up for adoption without informing him. Back in 2010, Terry Achane and his pregnant wife, Tira Bland were experiencing some pretty serious marital problems. Achane left town for a few months to take a temporary job out of state, but expected to return to Texas a new father. Ten days following his departure, Bland went into labor prematurely and gave birth to a baby girl. With the help of the Adoptive Center of Choice, the child was placed in the care of an adoptive family.
Terry returned to Texas devastated to learn what Bland had done. He’s been in the midst of a complicated custody battle with his daughter’s adoptive family ever since. Until now, that is. ABC News is reporting that after almost two years of fighting for custody of his baby girl Leah, Terry Achane has finally gotten his wish. This past weekend, Terry was united with Leah for the first time since her mother gave birth to her 22 months ago.
“I’m just happy right now. I’m with my daughter. It’s about time,” the drill sergeant told ABC.
Darold McDade, the Utah judge who ruled in favor of Achane in a prior hearing, ordered the child’s adoptive family to return her to her biological father immediately. He went on to express that he was “astonished and deeply troubled” by the underhanded actions of the agency that handled this adoption. The child’s adoptive family and the agency were aware that Achane had no knowledge of the adoption, yet they proceeded with it anyway.
“This is the first known case where the Utah State Supreme Court has removed a child from an [adoptive parent's] home and returned the child to the … legal father,” expressed Achane’s lawyer.
Jarred and Kristi Frei, Leah’s adoptive family, who spent about $25,000 to adopt her, fought tooth and nail to keep Leah in their family, stating that she was sent to them by God.
Terry says now that the battle is over, potty training and learning to comb hair are next on his to-do list. The final hearing for this case will be in March. Despite the ugly custody battle, Terry is open to allowing the Freis’ to visit Leah. He expressed that they took good care of his daughter and that he completely understands that they love her also.
Watch Terry express how excited he is to be united with his daughter on the next page.