An Army Drill Sergeant has been reunited with his daughter after his estranged wife gave her up for adoption without his knowledge or permission.
According to ABC News, Sgt. Terry Achane has spent nearly two years trying to get his daughter back after she was adopted while he was stationed in another state.
The Utah Supreme Court earlier this month overturned a request by the toddler’s adoptive parents to stay a lower court’s December order that the child be returned to Achane, her father.
On Friday, the original trial judge, Darold McDade, who ruled in Achane’s favor, held a transfer hearing that resulted in the little girl and her father being united this weekend for the first time since she was born 22 months ago.
Achane’s lawyer Mark Wiser said:
“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.”
Wiser also called Achane’s case a “huge victory for equal parental rights,” meaning one parent can’t put a child up for adoption without the other’s permission.
“Terry Achane believes that justice is finally taking place,” Wiser said, adding that his client remains “heartbroken that he has missed 22 months of his daughter’s life because of what happened. This is time that he and his daughter can never replace.”
According to Huffington Post, Achane tried to block the adoption of his daughter he calls Teleah as soon as he learned what his ex Tira Bland had done.
In his 48-page opinion, Judge McDade wrote that he was “astonished and deeply troubled” that the agency proceeded with the adoption anyway:
“Once Mr. Achane contacted the Adoption Center of Choice … to let them know he opposed the adoption and wanted his daughter back, that should have been the end of this case. Likewise, when the attorney for the Adoption Center of Choice contacted Mr. Achane and confirmed that Mr. Achane would not consent to the adoptive placement, the very next conversation they should have had was what arrangements the adoption agency would be making to return Teleah to him with all due haste. That did not happen.”
Even though it has taken two years to be reunited to with his daughter, Achane is just glad it’s over.
“I’m just happy right now. I’m with my daughter,” Sgt. Terry Achane said. “It’s about time