A South Carolina man who lost his daughter after she was unlawfully adopted has won his case to regain full custody.
Here's the full story...
It's every father's worst nightmare.
Christopher Emanuel was delighted when his daughter, Skyler, was born - but his joy was soon shattered when his girlfriend and the mother of his child put her up for adoption without notifying him.
He had filed to be added as Skyler's father on the state's responsible fatherhood registry...
Which was supposed to notify him if her mother puts her up for adoption.
But when a Southern California family filed to adopt her just days later, their paperwork didn't list him.
And, therefore, Emanuel wasn't notified.
Obviously, he was crushed.
"I was lost man I was hurt I was confused because I wanted to ensure that I could be there for my child," Emanuel told FOX 57.
But he decided to fight back.
And people have dubbed him as an inspiration for it.
Emanuel turned to the court system in Aiken County, where Skyler was born.
My greatest prayer is to make it home to my daughter every night! That’s it, That’s all! 🙏🏾— Christopher Emanuel (@MrFatherRegistr) November 24, 2020
"This was my opportunity to prove that I was deprived of that my constitution and state rights were violated."
It was a long and grueling battle...
Because, despite Christopher adding his name to the registry on February 4th, 2014, the adopted parents filed motions on February 19th to adopt Skyler, and he was not added on the documentation as the biological father even though he was listed as such on the registry.
I registered on the RFR February 4, 2014.— Christopher Emanuel (@MrFatherRegistr) February 22, 2021
Pay attention to the underlined verbiage and the date Sworn and Subscribed at the bottom of the photo.
A mother has a discretion not to name the Putative Father.￼
My daughter was born in Aiken, SC by the way! pic.twitter.com/qNgtDmICKx
"My daughter was in San Diego, CA with the prospective adoptive couple where her name is changed. I have medical documentation calling my daughter another name and she was never legally adopted."
Senator Katrina Shealy told FOX News that, at the time the adoption code was written, it was more because of the public's unwillingness to want to adopt mixed-race children or children with disabilities.
She says the out-of-state option was added so that South Carolina children could find a forever home. She also admitted that with changing times, it might be a good idea to review and update that portion of the adoption code.
Emanuel contested the adoption, with court records showing that his paternal rights were terminated without his permission.
He continued to push for custody, at one point even expressing willingness to adopt Skyler back.
And, after almost a year, a judge finally sided with him.
Baby Skyler was sent back to South Carolina and the courts granted Christopher sole custody of his daughter.
On his victory, Emanuel said:
"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."
And, after his experience, Emanuel launched the Sky Is The Limit Foundation...
Where he travels across the nation educating father's on their parental rights.
The website description reads:
"Sky Is The Limit Foundation is a 501 (c) 3 tax-exempt non-profit dedicated to educating, empowering, and equipping willing Fathers, Families, and professionals on nonmaterial paternity, parental rights, and adoption in relation to the Responsible Father Registry (RFR) to combat adoption trafficking and promote ethical adoption practices."
What an incredible father.
We wish Emanuel and Skyler all the best in their life together.