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.
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.
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.