Searching for Emma: Father Fights for Daughter Given Up for Adoption

John Wyatt said ex had no right to give baby Emma to couple in Utah.

ByABC News via logo
April 16, 2010, 7:54 AM

April 16, 2010— -- John Wyatt never got a chance to hold his daughter. He's never even seen her. All he has are a few pictures.

He hopes that will eventually change.

Wyatt, 21, is embroiled in a multi-state custody dispute after his ex-girlfriend gave their daughter, Emma, up for adoption without his consent.

"I talked about raising the baby everytime I saw her. To me there was never really an option," he told "Good Morning America" today. "I knew that I would do anything to be there for my child because I know what it's like to grow up without a father."

When Colleen Fahland got pregnant at 19, Wyatt said, he was very clear that he wanted to raise their daughter.

"Every time we talked together it was clear we were going to make a decision together," he said.

But Emma, now 1, was adopted by a family in Utah, a state known for siding with mothers in out-of-wedlock cases.

Wyatt said that he told Fahland the night before the birth that he wanted to be in the delivery room. The next day, he couldn't reach her and panicked.

Wyatt said he went with the hospital, but was told she wasn't there. But she was there and had told the hospital not to list her as a patient. He tried to enter the nursery to see his daughter and was threatened with arrest.

He tried for days to find out what happened to Fahland and his baby and was devastated to find out Fahland had given the baby up to Utah couple.

Wyatt went to court in Virginia and won custody of the infant, setting off a legal dispute between Virginia and Utah.

"It's the worst experience I have ever been through in my life," he said.

Lawyers for Fahland told ABC News that she now has "regrets" about how the situation was handled.