NBC News on Tuesday carried the story and struggle of Jake Strickland, whose boy Jack was born in 2010. This December marks the third year of Jake’s battle to get Jack returned, and Strickland’s lawsuit looks to challenge the restrictions of a biological father’s rights in Utah.
The lawsuit, filed Friday in U.S. District Court, claims the entire process of custody and adoption was illegal and done “through gross misdirection and… clandestine conduct.” The suit claims that parenting laws in Utah, which have hamstrung efforts by Strickland and his family to even see his son, are “pro-adoption and anti-birth father.”
Attorney Wes Hutchins says the emotional battle is “pulling [Jake] apart… They still think about Jack even though they don't have contact,” adding that for the third straight year, Jake and his family gathered around a lone candle to sing Happy Birthday.
Jack’s mother, Whitney Pettersson, conspired with the adoptive parents, Jake says, and with the adoption agency, LDS Family Services, operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Strickland and Pettersson met in 2009, dated, and three months later, she texted him that she was pregnant. Jake says he assured Whitney from the start that he wanted to be involved in his son’s life, even after their own relationship began to dissolve.
In early 2011, Strickland said he found out the shocking truth –Pettersson had given birth a week earlier without his knowledge, and she was still legally married to another man. The most devastating part of the discovery however was that Pettersson had given Jack up for adoption.
According to NBC, “Strickland’s federal lawsuit is seeking $30 million for the loss of the parent-child relationship caused by the adoption and $100 million as a deterrent to ensure another dad doesn't suffer his fate.”
Head over to NBC for more on this story.