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Jeanne M. Hannah

Toni, it would be difficult for me to comment on what happened in your son Nick's case without reviewing the file. However, the constitutional right of a parent to raise his biological children is one of the oldest and most protected rights in the US. As Justice Sandra Day O'Connor wrote in Troxel v Granville, 530 U.S. 57 (2000):

The liberty interest at issue in this case -- the interest of parents in the care, custody, and control of their children -- is perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests recognized by this Court. More than 75 years ago, in Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390, 399, 401, 67 L. Ed. 1042, 43 S. Ct. 625 (1923), we held that the "liberty" protected by the Due Process Clause includes the right of parents to "establish a home and bring up children" and "to control the education of their own." Two years later, in Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510, 534-535, 69 L. Ed. 1070, 45 S. Ct. 571 (1925), we again held that the "liberty of parents and guardians" includes the right "to direct the upbringing and education of children under their control." We explained in Pierce that "the child is not the mere creature of the State; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations." 268 U.S. at 535. We returned to the subject in Prince v. Massachusetts, 321 U.S. 158, 88 L. Ed. 645, 64 S. Ct. 438 (1944), and again confirmed that there is a constitutional dimension to the right of parents to direct the upbringing of their children. "It is cardinal with us that the custody, care and nurture of the child reside first in the parents, whose primary [530 U.S. 66] function and freedom include preparation for obligations the state can neither supply nor hinder." 321 U.S. at 166.

In subsequent cases also, we have recognized the fundamental right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children. See, e.g., Stanley v. Illinois, 405 U.S. 645, 651, 31 L. Ed. 2d 551, 92 S. Ct. 1208 (1972) ("It is plain that the interest of a parent in the companionship, care, custody, and management of his or her children 'comes to this Court with a momentum for respect lacking when appeal is made to liberties which derive merely from shifting economic arrangements'" (citation omitted)); Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205, 232, 32 L. Ed. 2d 15, 92 S. Ct. 1526 (1972) ("The history and culture of Western civilization reflect a strong tradition of parental concern for the nurture and upbringing of their children. This primary role of the parents in the upbringing of their children is now established beyond debate as an enduring American tradition"); Quilloin v. Walcott, 434 U.S. 246, 255, 54 L. Ed. 2d 511, 98 S. Ct. 549 (1978) ("We have recognized on numerous occasions that the relationship between parent and child is constitutionally protected"); Parham v. J. R., 442 U.S. 584, 602, 61 L. Ed. 2d 101, 99 S. Ct. 2493 (1979) ("Our jurisprudence historically has reflected Western civilization concepts of the family as a unit with broad parental authority over minor children. Our cases have consistently followed that course"); Santosky v. Kramer, 455 U.S. 745, 753, 71 L. Ed. 2d 599, 102 S. Ct. 1388 (1982) (discussing "the fundamental liberty interest of natural parents in the care, custody, and management of their child"); Glucksberg, supra, at 720 ("In a long line of cases, we have held that, in addition to the specific freedoms protected by the Bill of Rights, the 'liberty' specially protected by the Due Process Clause includes the right . . . to direct the education and upbringing of one's children" (citing Meyer and Pierce)). In light of this extensive precedent, it cannot now be doubted that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children.

In a widely known Michigan case, In re Clausen, 442 Mich 648 (1993)[the famous "Baby Jessica" case], the father did not even know that his girlfriend was pregnant. He was what is sometimes called a "do-nothing" father. However, he could not very well do something to support the mother during her pregnancy or the child after its birth because the child was transferred almost immediately from Iowa to Michigan (to the prospective adoptive parents) in a direct adoption. Eventually, after years and years of litigation--expensive litigation--the father eventually got his child back.

It sounds to me as though the deposition was for the purpose of establishing that Nick was a "do-nothing" father, and yet his position wasn't any different, apparently, that the father in the Clausen case.

At the hearing tomorrow, he has to be asked on the record if he wants to consent to the adoption of the children. His signature on the papers isn't enough. However, he would have a rough go of it without an attorney.

I am sorry for your loss. Jeanne M. Hannah

Toni Richter

Someone sent me this article today, and I'm afraid it may to late to help my son.
My son, Nicholas Rogers, is going through this exact senario right now. Although, Idon't know if this may have helped his case had we recieved it before now, I'm afraid it's too late.
Just this morning, he signed papers giving the adoptive family rights to his twin sons, because his attorneys, Gomery and Assoc. told him he didn't do well at the deposition, and he wouldn't do well at his hearing, which was schedueled for tomorrow (Jan 13th, 2011), in Traverse City. They told him his best option was to go for open adoption. Said he could go with an court appt attorney, but, that probably wouldn't help.
He wanted his sons, he wanted to raise them. He's never even met them. They were given to the adoptive family, and wisked off to California before he could do anything. Before his attorneys would do anything. They had no idea they were gone until Nick told them. They 'thought' the adoptive family backed off when they learned that Nick wanted his sons, and never followed up to see if it was true. They didn't.
I feel our attorneys have procrastinate so badly in this case, that they feel the only recourse is to give up. Although, they said they could continue the fight for $1,500 more.
Nick is the father of 19 month old Brealon Rogers, and also fathered twin boys on Dec 3rd, 2011 by the same mother, Mallory Giles.
He is working, has a van, and is currently living here at home, knowing he'd need help with the first year or so of the babies lives. We have been preparing for the babies since we first learned of them. I do daycare in my home, so, all care of the children are covered by family, even while he works.
Nick is a loving, wonderful, thoughtful, dedicated, totally committed father, and makes me very proud of the man he is.
Yes, he's made bad decisions, his record isn't perfect (alcohol related incidents from 3 years ago) and he's stuggling like most of Michigan residents getting enough hours from his job.
He and my Grandsons will live here free, until he gets securely planted financially, and will always have a home here as long as they want and need.
He feels so defeated and broken, my heart breaks for my son. The attorneys let him feel useless and worthless, and in essence, like he is not good enough to raise his own sons.
Yes, apparently the adoptive family has tons of money, but, I don't believe money should be the deciding factor. The babies should not be given to the highest bidder. These Michigan babies should stay in Michigan, not reside across the country to California.
Nick does not fool himself thinking it will be easy to raise these little men, but, he is willing to do whatever it takes to keep them in our family, and always let them know they are loved.
He is a hard worker, and is willing to do what ever it takes to be the grown up, and take responsibility for his actions. He was so looking forward to accepting the consequences of his actions. He is hurting so badly that he did what the attorneys advised him to do. In my opinion..ill advised.
The thing that puts a twist in this whole saga, is that, just prior to the deposition (a day or two) Nick was informed that the mother was not only with him at the time of conception, but, also with one, possibly 2 other men. Now a paternity test is ordered.
Bottom line is...Nick had to give up because we are out of money to fight with, and we are heartbroken.
Thank you for reading this, I guess I just need to know...did he ever stand a chance?
I just can't stand by and wonder if we did everything possible to keep the boys in our family, with their father, although, as I said, he feels totally defeated. I'm seriously thinking of taking this matter to the media. Nobody we know or we talk to can believe this has gone the way it has. It's just wrong on so many levels.
Nick's Mother, Toni Richter,

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