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Adopt New Laws, Utah


I want to commend you for Jesse Fruhwirth’s article on the loopholes in Utah adoption law that are being exploited to defraud unsuspecting fathers of their babies, from coast to coast [“Some Call It Kidnapping,” July 29, City Weekly]. This is injurious to the entire adoption community nationwide and gives the false impression that all adoptions are unethical—an affront to all who handle adoptions the right way and for the right reasons.

Utah’s laws, and the blatant marketing done by its baby brokers, entice women to hopscotch across the country, enabling attorneys to engage in “cherry-picking” to find laws most favorable to their legal and financial needs. One of Utah’s more prolific agencies is reportedly supplied a steady stream of babies through lucrative referrals from a notorious baby broker who has been investigated by the FBI. That agency has also had its share of placements disputed by disenfranchised fathers, yet they prevail.

I recently sent a letter titled “Utah: Rein In Your Baby Brokers!” to more than a dozen Utah lawmakers and regulatory agencies, detailing a host of abuses and listing publicly reported cases of contested placements. Only one recipient responded.

Working in adoption for more than 20 years, I know the conflicts that arise when birthparents disagree about their child’s best interests. I have gone to court to fight who we considered to be unsuitable fathers for the termination of their rights—sometimes rightly and sometimes wrongly, as it turned out. I know how stressful it is for mothers, adoptive couples and adoption professionals when we have to hunt down an alleged father who doesn’t want to be found, only to find out that he has no interest in a coming baby but one of his relatives does.

I realize that some men fight for custody just to retaliate against a mother’s decision to walk away from the relationship, or to exercise their rampant control issues. But, I also know plenty of birthfathers who were stand-up guys and phenomenal fathers.

Please stay on this story, and keep digging. I realize it may be perceived as a threat to those who have an investment (pun intended) in the status quo, but there are scores of yet-unidentified men across America whose infants have been lost to the Utah adoption system and who have no voice, save for your courageous reports.

E.A. Jurenovich
Abrazo Adoption Associates
San Antonio, Texas