A man from South Carolina has won custody of his daughter after she was put up for adoption without his permission.
Christopher Emanuel said that his girlfriend placed their newborn daughter, Skyler, up for adoption without notifying him of her plans.
“I was lost … I was hurt, I was confused because I wanted to ensure that I could be there for my child,” he said during an interview.
Under South Carolina law, unwed fathers can sign up on the responsible fatherhood registry – an online database that lets the state know that you fathered a child.
According to the court documents, Emanuel added his name to the registry on February 4, 2014, and the adopted parents filed a motion to adopt Skyler on February 19, 2014.
Despite Emanuel filing to be added as Skyler’s father on the registry, their paperwork did not list him when a family from South California filed to adopt her.
“I didn’t know if I would ever see her again,” said Emanuel.
“My daughter was in San Diego, CA with the prospective adoptive couple where her name is changed,” he added.
“I have medical documentation calling my daughter another name and she was never legally adopted.”
Emanuel fought a court battle to contest the adoption in Aiken County, where Skyler was born.
“This was my opportunity to prove that I was deprived of that my constitution and state rights were violated,” he said.
Court records reveal that Emanuel’s paternal rights were terminated without his permission.
It took a year for the judge to side with him, and granted him sole custody of his daughter.
“Aiken County Judicial Center, this is where it went down at. But when I’m here being in this space, it fills me with joy, I feel safe because Aiken County brought my daughter home where she belongs,” he shared.
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