South Carolina Sargent Terry Achane (pictured left) received a wonderful gift this past week: a judge granted him custody of his daughter who was given up for adoption without his consent or knowledge.
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After a judge ruled in his favor in a Provo, Utah, courtroom Friday, Achane took 22-month-old Teleah (pictured right, below) home.
“I got my daughter back,” Achane told the Salt Lake Tribune. “I’m very happy. It’s 22 months too long, but the wait was worth it.”
The end result was bittersweet for the couple Teleah was initially placed with. Jared and Kristi Frei reportedly exited the courtroom through the back to avoid reporters, because they were dismayed at losing the girl they’d taken care of for much of her short life. An attorney for the Freis noted that it was an “extremely difficult” time for them and that they were missing “the little girl whom they considered part of their family for these past 22 months.”
Watch Achane’s story here:
Back in 2010, Achane married Tira Bland, Tealeh’s mother. The couple’s marriage soon turned rocky and was strained further by Achane’s transfer to South Carolina from their Texas home to serve as a drill sergeant at Fort Jackson, court documents say. During their marital struggles, Bland apparently worried that Achane would abandon her and the soon-to-arrive Tealeah.
Shortly after Achane left in January 2011, Bland gave birth to Tealeah without his knowledge and contacted the Adoption Center Of Choice in American Fork. Bland didn’t notify Achane of what she’d done until June 2011, according to the New York Daily News.