Shannon O'Dea's story
Cody wants nothing more than to be a father. The state of Utah and Ashley (birth mother) are trying to take away Cody's rights to be a father. Cody got Ashley pregnant, (both over 19 not in a relationship or married) and when she told him, he made it very clear he wanted her to keep the child,
He said he would take care of her financially and provide her with a place to live if her family kicked her out due to the pregnancy. She had told him that her family was going to 'disown' her. He stressed at that time, he wanted the baby and was intent on raising the child.
A few months later, Ashely told Cody the child had died, she had a miscarriage. Shortly after, Cody left Wyoming and came up to Idaho to relocate and get his life in order. At this time, he was under the assumption there was no pregnancy. The entire time Cody still had his cell phone and e-mail address, which Ashley had both. She never called again.
When Ashley was 8 months pregnant, Cody's friend Nichole called him on his cell phone stating Ashleys friend told her (Nichole) that Ashley was still pregnant and was giving the child up for adoption already having the adoptive parents picked out and actively involved in this pregnancy. Cody then called Ashley to see if this information was true, leaving a message on Ashleys phone.
Ashley returned the call stating that she wanted Cody to talk to Adam Barnes. Ashley never stated Adam Barnes was with the LDS Family Services, Ashley had given Cody Adams personal cell phone number. His mother did a google on Adam Barnes and found out he was with the LDS services in Helena and got the office number and told Cody Adam was with the LDS agency.
Cody contacted Adam, and Adam tried to talk Cody out of pursuing his fathers rights. Cody stated to Adam emphatically he had NO intentions of giving up his fathers rights, in fact, was going to be exercising them in raising his child. Adam tried to 'counsel' Cody even after Cody stated he did not want any counseling, this was not up for discussion. At this time Adam told Codys mother there was no fathers putative registry in Wyoming. She had already sourced the information and knew there was. (yes cody did sign up on that)
Cody's mother decided to go higher and speak to his supervisor Cary Shelton, telling them Cody has backing (his family), wants to be in this childs life, and they best follow the law. She also talked to Dennis Ashton who is the Director of LDS Family Services in Utah. She told him they have done nothing but lie, manipulate, and threaten (to sue Cody's mother) and she would get every agency involved if she had to with the purpose of putting the pressure on them and exposing what I see as a possible baby brokering ring in the mormon church.
At this time she talked to Ashleys mothers and tried to reason with her, that since Ashely has stated over and over she does not want this child, we are more than willing to help Cody raise this child. She kept saying to her, Ashley has to give this child to a married Mormon couple, that the child needs both a father and a mother, and they will do everything to follow this through.
At that time she also made calls to CPS in Montana, Linda Korth who licenses child placing agencies in Montana, CPS Sheridan and Buffalo, Police Department, Chris Wages Prosecuting Attorney Buffalo, FBI and the Attorney Generals Office in Wyoming soliciting help. Some were co-operative and some were not. In the end, everyone did a hands off. Cody kept calling Ashley phones (home and cell) BEGGING Ashley to please let him know when the baby will be born and ANY information and kept pressuring the Mormon church to have this girl and baby surface since she had disappeared from site and was no longer in Buffalo. She finally called Cody stating she was in Utah, Cody will never father the child (her words) and he will pay child support until the child is in college. Then he was asked, did he understand? He said no, he wanted to know if she planned on keeping the child or gave it up. She would not answer, she repeated the three things she said, and then said, 'quit harassing me and my family and have your mother stop calling and harassing us'. Then she hung up. That's the last time she returned his phones calls.
Ashley nor her family ever contacted Cody to let him know the baby had been born. Cody found out the child was born by a friend seeing Ashley at a party in Sheridan no longer pregnant. Cody called the hospital in Buffalo, and they said the child was not born there. Cody contacted the police department to have them do a welfare check on the baby. This is the second time we have sent them over. Cody talked to Officer Duncan who at first refused to go over, stating he did not want dragged into a civil matter. Cody stated this was a welfare check, and debated with Officer Duncan until Duncan relented. He was very condescending calling Cody 'bubba', but went over to the house. He called Cody after the welfare check telling Cody Ashley was there, the child was not and she would be calling him that night. He also said Ashley told him to tell Cody, 'If he thinks hard and long enough, he'll know where the baby is.'
Cody called Ashley that night left two messages, she never returned his call. Earlier we got the LDS family services to write a letter stating they were pulling out,. Cody had sent a letter of intent to the LDS family services much earlier. Everyone has always known Cody wants this child. Later we found out Ashley had indeed had the child in Utah and had gone through an adoption agency there. The child was already with the adopted parents (Cody had already stopped an adoption in Wyoming and in Montana) We could get no information because they claimed cody had not 'established his parental rights' in Utah because he failed to do some unknown paperwork within 20 days of the baby being born (remember, we don't know exactly WHEN the baby was born because ashley would not communicate with Cody)
In Jan of 2007 Cody was granted a 'hearing' to attempt to reverse the adoption in utah before it was finalized. The commissioner denied that reversal.He is currently appealing.
The adoption agency, or whoever it was on the other side, stated in court that ashley had called Cody and let him know that she was giving birth in Utah and giving up the child there for adoption. Do you really think with that kind of knowledge Cody would have done nothing when he did so much to stop the adoption in the other states.
My question is - should one parent be allowed to give a child up for adoption when the other parent CLEARLY is actively against it and has stopped other ones from going through? We need to revisit fathers rights and make new laws to protect them.