I’m a longtime fathers-rights advocate. I write and edit the blog GlennSacks.com and am on the board of directors of the nonprofit Fathers & Families.
I’ve researched and written on putative-father registries (PFR) and adoption for a dozen years, and I found your piece to be the best single article on the subject I’ve ever read [“Some Call It Kidnapping,” July 29, City Weekly]. It’s informative and passionate at the same time. It’s not didactic, but has a definite point of view.
I have a couple of things I wish you’d included in your piece: First is the fact that what PFRs do, and what the State of Utah does, is force adoption on children who don’t need it. All of the children you discussed have capable, willing fathers, so they don’t need to be adopted. But, of course, there are millions of children worldwide who do need adoptive parents. There are many more of those children than there are parents wanting to adopt. Therefore, by forcing adoption on a child who doesn’t need it, Utah and other states effectively deprive a child who does need to be adopted.
The other point is how little is known of the statutes requiring registry with the PFR and the procedure for doing so. In Texas, the state budgets no money to publicize either the registry or the consequences of not filing. The statute requires that forms be maintained in a variety of public locations such as courthouses, justices of the peace, etc.
But, when I tried to locate the forms in a number of the required places, I struck out. They weren’t there, and no one knew what I was talking about. When I conducted an informal poll of Houston men, not one out of the hundred I asked had ever heard of the Texas Paternity Registry. In the year I was doing my research, about 110,000 children were born out of wedlock in Texas. The same year, fewer than 100 men registered. My guess is that Utah is similar.
Thanks again for an excellent piece.