exposing the dark side of adoption
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Student fought long for right to be a father


By Gracie Bonds Staples

You may or may not remember Rashad Head, the 17-year-old father who a few years ago was waging a fight to see his son.

It seemed a small thing to ask, but five months after his birth, the court was still siding with the infant’s mother even though Head had done everything the law required.

He was registered as the baby’s father with the state Department of Human Resources, and five days after the infant was born on July 15, 2006 he filed a petition claiming him as his own.

Despite his efforts and those of his parents, Geoff and Pam Head of Lawrenceville, Rashad’s boy had been placed for adoption out of state before he even laid eyes on him.

But let me back up.

Just days after Rashad’s ex-girlfriend gave birth, an adoption agency called Rashad’s father, Geoff Head, requesting consent to let his grandson be adopted.

Geoff Head refused. He wanted Rashad to do what he’d always tried to do, take care of his son.

Indeed, from the moment Rashad learned his girlfriend was pregnant, he had stood by her. When they told their parents, the Heads supported Rashad.

“What we did was a mistake, but I don’t look at my son as a mistake,” Rashad said then. “I don’t ever want him to feel he doesn’t have a real place in this world.”

The Heads decided to fight. Leslie Graham took their case pro bono and on Feb. 24, after almost three years of legal wrangling, got some good news.

Gwinnett Superior Court Judge George Hutchinson awarded Rashad joint legal custody of his son, three consecutive weeks of summer visitation plus every other weekend and the right to change the toddler’s name to Trey Rashad Head.

“I’m really happy all the court proceedings are over and I can concentrate on getting my education and being a dad,” he said.

When this all started, Rashad was a junior at Suwanee’s Collins Hill High School, where he played football. Now 19, he’s a freshman on a full scholarship at Albany University in New York, majoring in business.

He’ll soon give that up and transfer to one of five state universities he’s applied to including Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia.

“I want to be near my son,” he said.

2009 Mar 18