Teen dad says adoption agency stands in the way of raising his baby

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - A teen boy claims his baby is being `legally` stolen by a reputable adoption agency.

He`s fighting to get his child back and has the support of his parents.

Cody Deadmond told us, 'I may not be ready for it.  Who`s ready for a kid at 16-years-old before you even graduate high school.'

Deadmond said he didn't believe it at first, when his ex-girlfriend told him she was pregnant.  He explained, 'She told me on an instant messaging service, which could`ve been her, could`ve been one of her friends messing with me.' He added that his ex-girlfriend hid any appearance she was pregnant by wearing sweatshirts and loose fitted clothing.

He continued to deny it until he got a letter from Lutheran Social Services of Illinois.  It arrived less than a month before his ex-girlfriend gave birth. It reads '...you have been named the father of a child... If you would like to parent this child, you will need to obtain an attorney.'

He decided to fight for his baby.  Deadmond said, 'Just because you`re not raised around a lot of money or around a father who doesn't have a lot of money doesn't mean you don`t have the support or motivation and you`re not given the courage.'

His entire family stands behind him, including his mom Angie, who was unavailable for this interview.  When his stepfather talked with me, he seemed honest about his emotions.  Bo Stell said, 'I was pretty upset with him, because I wanted everything for him, then he told me `Dad, I can do this.`

They`re thankful the young mom carried the child to term.  The birth mother is an 18-year-old who also attends Nashville, IL High School.  I talked to her by phone and she declined to talk on camera.  Deadmond said she called an adoption service because she wants the baby to have both a mom and a dad.

Deadmond said he arrived at the hospital for the birth February 4th.  He showed me a picture of him holding the baby.   He said the adoption agency had already placed his child with a family in Rockford, IL.

Deadmond said, 'It was illegal to send the baby home with me.' I asked 'Why?'

Deadmond answered, 'Their reasoning for that is that they have no legal proof that I`m the father of the baby.'

So Deadmond said he went to get that proof.  He said, 'I`ve taken my DNA. I had to pay $450 to pay for it.'  Meanwhile, he said the adoption agency won`t take the baby for a DNA test.  He added, 'Every time the baby was requested to take a DNA test, they`ve denied it.'

The hearings are North of Chicago, in Rockford, IL where Deadmond`s family hired attorney Lucinda Bugden.  She told me, 'I can`t understand why they`re not just saying ok, lets determine if you`re the father.  My concern is, time is on their side. The longer they prolong this, I mean there`s been several court dates in Winnebago county and it`s just been continued.  Meanwhile this baby is bonding with these people who have no legal right to this child.'

Stepdad Stell said, 'We`re going to keep fighting for him and get him home.'

I asked Deadmond, 'What do you want this baby to know when he`s old enough to understand?'  He answered, 'That I was there for him and that I fought for him as much as I could whether I get him or not and that I care about him.'

We found out after our interviews that Deadmond is also expecting another child with a different girl.  The baby is due in September.  I talked today with that young girl and she told me she supports Deadmond in his fight for his other baby.

Lutheran Social Services response could not address specific questions because this is a private adoption.  A spokesperson said the agency has `facilitated thousands of adoptions and it encourages the public to `look at its track record.`  The spokesperson added that

Lutheran Social Services has been around for 140 years and would not be able to survive if it did not follow `the letter of the law.`

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226 comments

  • Rose King

    poor guy i don’t think it matters if he has another one on the way or not at least he is being a man and stepping up not allot of young men would do that most will say its not his so if he is willing to take care of his child i think he should be able too

  • Jennifer

    The DNA test shouldve been given by the adoption agency before representing the mother and child. This is gross neglegence. As well as liable. They make sure that the mother is in fact the mother of the child and not some pyscho who stole a child right. The same consideration should go to the father as well. A DNA test takes literatlly less than a minute to do. Just a swap in the mouth. The fact that the father paid for the DNA test then the agency should comply and have the baby tested. If she was gong for child support, they would do a DNA in a heartbeat. But the fact that he is 16 raises a bunch of issues that i bet will be brought up in court. If he were 18 then that would tie the hands of the judge and give him no choice but to award custody to the father. Good luck. I do hope everything works out.

  • Caspian

    I’m an adoptive parent and I would never have moved forward in an adoption if one of the parents wanted to parent. The adoptive parents should do the right thing and give the baby to his Bio Father. Adoption should be for children whose parents are not willing or able to parent for some reason or another, the Father is obviously willing.

  • Hopeful for A Child

    @OrphanedHeart – I am sorry if you have had a hard life being adopted, but it offends me to hear you make generalized comments about adoptions being the worst thing and that adoptive familiies are abusers. My husband and I have been trying for years to have a baby of our own and you cannot imagine the heartbreak every time we have a negative test. We have gone through two In-Vitro attempts which cost thousands of dollars and still have not had a child. We are now looking at adoption and are hopeful this is our answer to have a child to love. The adoption process takes a long time and alot of money, typically around $50,000 and it takes alot of dedication to go through the steps. I have a hard time believing people are spending this amount of time and money just to abuse the child they receive. I know others through my support group that have infertility problems as well and each one of us would do anything to have a child whether it be our own or adopted. I’m not saying abuse doesn’t happen, but who says it will not happen with the biological parents too? I have a hard time watching the news anymore as I constantly see reports about abuse and children dying at the hands of their abusive biological parents.

    My concern lies with the child and the adoptive parents in this case. No one considers how the adoptive parents thought that they had their dreams answered and now have a child to love but are now caught in this tug of war. Cody seems like a well-meaning person, but I seriously doubt he has any idea what he’s getting himself into whereas the mother was thinking more about the child’s welfare and realized that adoption would give the child a better chance at life. I also question Cody’s maturity if he’s already fathered another child.

    • orphanedheart

      Actually, as life goes, I did not have a hard life being adopted. I did not even know I was adopted until 48. The general comments I make are based upon solid studies done on the effects of relinquishment on adopted persons, many of which I still went through even not knowing I was adopted consciously. If you want to learn more about it, I would suggest you read a book called The Primal Wound. Relinquishment through adoption is a trauma for an infant that causes a narcissistic wound. It is a documented fact. Infant adoption is a trauma…not just for me, but for EVERY infant and it finds ways out in life.

      I actually had secondary infertility after my first child…while I do not understand exactly what it is like to not have a child, I do understand the disappointment and sadness of not being able to conceive. I am sorry for your sadness, but I do hope that you get the grief counseling you need to come to terms with that. Please understand that adopting another woman’s infant will not cure your grief. It is a lot to place on a baby to make them your salvation from your pain. I do not believe that you would abuse a child, but I do believe that the act of being relinquished causes a trauma that you will not be equipped to handle unless you understand that it exists and have been through the grief counseling you need for the loss of your ability to have your own child.

      The problem I find with the adoption industry is that they do nothing to acknowledge the pain of adoptive parents and relinquished infants…and do nothing to equip adoptive parents for the ways that the early trauma of relinquishment might be acted out in their adopted child. Please understand that I am not blaming you. I want you to have a full understanding that this is not a “dream come true” for a relinquished infant….it is a painful thing to be taken from your mother at birth or shortly thereafter and essentially placed into the arms of a stranger and then told that there is no trauma in it and that you should feel special, chosen or lucky and grateful that you “were not an abortion:.

      I do not believe that the mother was thinking of the child’s welfare when she is not even aware that relinquishing this child has caused a deep wound to this child’s self that cannot ever be removed. Please do some research for your own sake and the sake of the child you plan to adopt. Be well equipped. Check out The Donaldson Adoption Institute and read books like The Primal Wound and maybe even The Girls Who Went Away…since this mother will no doubt never forget this child and may come to regret her decision some day… She will forever wonder if the child is ok…and that is a hard thing.

      I do not believe that stranger infant adoption is a good thing because all the evidence suggests it is not. I believe family preservation is the first and best option and that adoption should only be used for an infant as a last resort. Taking a child from their family who wants to raise them (even Cody and his family as a young father and his family) is not appropriate or in the best interests of the child unless there is documented evidence that they cannot or will not be able to raise the child in a safe and loving environment. In my opinion, that has not been established so the child should be given an opportunity to be with its biological family…It is sad that the adoptive parents will have to give the child up, but the child is not a belonging…it is a human life with feelings and a strong natural desire for its biological family and that must be respected first and foremost. All the best to you.

  • jad

    He needs to get in touch with actor Jason Patric’s organization that helps fathers get there kids back and helps change fathers rights laws…it is call gus something…sorry I don’t remember the whole name.

  • Sandy

    I was raised by teen parents. I didn’t have much growing up, but I grew up happy. I love my parents and I am proud of them for the struggles they had as teen parents. Most people in life are not ready to be parents, but they figure it out along the way. This kid had the support of his parents and he has every right to raise his child.

  • Mel

    I am so sick of seeing people say he’s irresponsible and stupid and these different things because he’s 16 and has 1 kid and another on the way. He is NOT “leaving a trail of fatherless kids. I personally know him, as my boyfriend and I am the mother of his second child. Mistakes get made, things happen. I know good and well he’s not the only teenage boy to get more than one girl pregnant in high school. He is stepping up and taking responsibility for both of his children. He is here for me and our baby, and he’s doing everything he can to get Dane. I know he cares about him, and he truly wants to raise him. People need to stop looking at the bad side, and realize he’s ready to take on something that any guys our age, and a lot of older guys would not do.

  • j lowery

    if they wanted child support from him they would send him a bill and make him prove it wasn’t his but if he wants to support and raise his child it is his the adoption agency just is worried about not getting the adoption fees

  • Stacey Boyer

    He’s the father of the child he shouldn’t have to fight with an adoption agency. People should stop thinking negative about him because I think he’s one heck of a person wanting to raise his own child at the age of 16!!

  • CHERYLE

    i don’t see why he could’nt keep his baby .there’s alot of single fathers out there doing it you just don’t hear about it like you do mothers. he diffently sounds mature enough and willing too .i think the adoption agency should back pff and only go for the ones who don’t want or don’t deserve to keep their babies.so my vote for him and GOD BLESS HIM AND THE BABY,BEST WISHES.

  • max

    i myself was a 16 year old father that goes to the same school as mr deadmond here. 90% of the student population at nashville know the real story he claimed the baby wasnt his and bad mouthed the mother for 9 months on top of this child he has two more childeren on the way he has said he doesnt believe in protection because ” the girls open their legs”

    • Mel

      He has ONE more child on the way. I am his girlfriend, and the mother of the second. Just because you go to school with him, doesn’t mean you know everything. I saw text messages between Brittany and him and he did tell her he would be there for both of them. You obviously just listen to rumors.

  • hunter97

    It happened to my nephew when he was 19. He and his parents have been fighting for 2 1/2 years. The best that they can hope for is visitation rights. The laws are so skewed. The fathers have no rights.

  • Ernest Harvey

    The biological dad must be given the first priority to gain custody of his child via of legal means: adoption, judge ruling, etc. there are too many child left behind without either parent having custody. It’s cruel to the innocent child not to know his real mom or dad as well as to be with one of them. We’re human, so let us like one.

  • Cattyshack

    This boy has no idea what its like to care for an infant. Feedings every 3-4 hours around the clock, and they don’t always sleep between their feeds. Endless diaper changes and laundry. Who is going to take care of this baby when daddy’s at school or work or out making more baby’s? No job is going to pay a 16 year old enough money to raise a child so here is one more child to add to our overburdened welfare and medicaid programs.
    This boy needs a taste of reality….get him one of those lifelike infant dolls that cry when its time to eat, change a diaper, or just for no reason at all, and let him care for it 24 hours around the clock for a couple of weeks. A lot of schools are now incorporating these dolls in their health classes in order to make teens aware of the real commitment it takes to raise a child.
    If he was really interested and wanted to take custody of the child he would have read the documents a little more carefully and made his wishes known within the 30 day timeline.

    • orphanedheart

      The scary thing about open adoptions is that the open agreements are not legally enforceable. Most open adoptions are closed by the adoptive parents within the first few years, and there is nothing that the natural parents can do about it to enforce them. The concept is great, but unfortunately, we as a society have not gone far enough for them to be a good viable option.

  • Sabrina

    Well, being an adopted child who will never know her birth parents, I would want to be raised by a loving family. Whether it would be the “adopting people” or my birth people. I would prefer my birth people first. Even if they were young and I had many half siblings. As long as I was loved and knew who I looked like and medical history, I would be happy. I was always told “blood is thicker than water”. Well, I have no “blood” past. So, as all Families are dysfunctional, I would like to have been raised by family.

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