father embracing daughter

Mother Secretly Gives Daughter up for Adoption — Father Finds Out and Fights to Win Her Back

Imagine if you were a new parent, only to one day find out that your partner put your child up for adoption without ever consulting you first. This is exactly what happened to Emanuel in Aikens, South Carolina in 2014. Then one day, a messenger showed up at his house to tell him not only had the mother put their baby girl up for adoption, but that it had already gone through. Emanuel didn’t even know she had been born. This is the story of how he fought to get her back.


The Adoption That Shouldn’t Have Happened

When 25-year-old Emanuel first met his daughter Skyler’s mother, he was really excited. She was unlike anyone he had ever met before. The pair met through their mutual job as forklift drivers. They began as friends, until their relationship quickly changed into something more. Three months later, the woman who he now calls “the egg donor” informed him that she was pregnant. Emanuel was completely overjoyed. (1)


“I was happy, who wouldn’t be happy?” Emanuel said. “It was my first child and at the time, you know, I’m going to be there. We’re going to do everything we got to do.”

Emanuel was very involved as a prospective father. He and his daughter’s mother even talked about getting married. When their two families finally met, however, Emanuel quickly realized that his partner’s parents would never accept him. He accused the family of racism and described the feeling like getting punched in the gut. His girlfriend, however, reassured him that they would continue to raise this baby together.

Christopher Emanuel and his daughter Skyler
Christopher Emanuel and his daughter Skyler. Image Credit: Christopher Emanuel via WACH

The Shift

At first, Emanuel was there for everything. One day, however, the girlfriend started texting him telling him not to come to appointments. She would say that her mom was coming so he didn’t need to be there. She also started avoiding actually seeing him in person.


“I was like, ‘Dang, why can’t I come to the doctor’s appointment?’ If I can’t come to the doctor’s appointment, I can’t even think about being there to witness my child’s birth.” Emanuel said.

Family Concern

About six months before Skyler’s birth, Emanuel’s half-sister and her best friend began feeling quite worried. They were worried that this woman was going to give the baby away. Emanuel told them, however, that they were wrong. The pair had plans to move in together and get married after the baby was born. 


“They had plans and I was like, ok, but I still went home and started researching, started looking up fathers’ rights in South Carolina.” said his half-sister.

She found out that South Carolina is one of 25 states that has something called a “responsible father’s registry”. This is where unmarried fathers can put in their information in order to be notified if their child is put up for adoption. At first, Emanuel didn’t think it was necessary. When the woman didn’t show up to the baby shower he and his family planned for her, however, he changed his mind and registered.


Your Daughter Has Been Put Up For Adoption

A few days later, a messenger showed up at his house with some papers. The papers informed him that not only had his daughter been born over a week ago, but the mother had already put her up for adoption. On top of that, she’d already been placed with a family in another state.

He immediately confronted the egg donor, who admitted to what she’d done and said that nothing could be done to change it now. It seems likely that Emanuel was likely correct that race had something to do with it after all. His former girlfriend and her parents had been able to send the baby over state lines thanks to an old South Carolina law. This law states that difficult-to-adopt children can be adopted across state lines. To qualify, a child needed to have a disability, be six years old or older, or be mixed race. (2)

Read: Firefighter Delivers Stranger’s Baby Not Expecting To Become The Girl’s Father


Emanuel Put Up A Fight

The family had lied to the adoptive parents, telling them that the father was out of the picture. They learned of Emanuel’s existence when he began fighting for custody. The family, who cared for and continued to bond with Skylar, sent him a letter pleading for him to back down. After all, they, too, had wanted a child and couldn’t have one. They told Emanuel that they would ensure Skylar went to all the best schools. Unfortunately for them, Emanuel refused to back down.


“No one can love my daughter the way I can,” he said. “It don’t matter what type of title you have, that’s my daughter. You can’t take my daughter, give me my daughter, that’s all that mattered.”

The egg donor said she did it because she did not believe that Emanuel could provide for them or provide a loving, stable home for Skylar. Thankfully, Emanuel had pages of text messages proving that he had a plan and was a devoted father, even before the baby was born. After a three-month custody battle, he was finally granted custody.


“All I could do was break down on my knees, and I cried and I thanked God for bringing my daughter home because all I needed was for her to get in my arms,” Emanuel said.

Since then, Emanuel has started the Sky Is The Limit Foundation. This is a place where fathers can go to find information about their rights as parents. He also travels across the country educating fathers on their rights. He provides them with resources to understand and get through custody battles. His goal is to ensure that more fathers know their rights so that their kids can be raised in their rightful family who loves them. (3)

Keep Reading: Pregnant Teen Chose Adoption – 33 Years Later, She Reunites with Her Son


  1. A Father’s Fight to Win Back His Daughter Secretly Put Up for Adoption.” ABC News. Juju Chang, et al. September 15, 2015.
  2. SC man wins custody of his daughter, after she was adopted without his permission.” WACH. Fraendy Clervaud. February 16, 2021.
  3. Sky is the Limit Foundation
Julie Hambleton
Freelance Writer
Julie Hambleton has a BSc in Food and Nutrition from the Western University, Canada, is a former certified personal trainer and a competitive runner. Julie loves food, culture, and health, and enjoys sharing her knowledge to help others make positive changes and live healthier lives.