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Dedicated Father Wins Fight For Custody Over His Daughter 3 Months After She Was Adopted Without His Consent

Christopher Emanuel is a father from Aiken, South Carolina, who would do anything for his daughter Skylar. He first met the woman who is Skylar’s mother through their work as forklift drivers at a manufacturing company. They started off as friends before their friendship developed into something a bit deeper. Just a few months later, Emanuel found out that he was going to be a father.

However, his excitement quickly turned to frustration after finding out that the woman’s family was not a fan of him. Still, the pair planned on raising their child together. Their situation began changing as his girlfriend started avoiding meeting up with him in person and told him to not come with her to doctor’s appointments.

Emanuel’s friends were concerned for him, but he assured them that everything would work out with his girlfriend and his soon-to-be born child. However, after he planned a baby shower for his girlfriend, she never showed up. A few days later in February 2014, he found out that his daughter had been born more than a week earlier, and had already been given up for adoption without his permission and placed with a family in another state.

The father sprung into action, figuring out what he could do to get Skylar back. He had previously registered on the Responsible Father Registry in the state of South Carolina. He also hired attorneys and engaged in a custody battle to get his daughter back. Finally, after a three-month legal battle, Emanuel was granted custody of Skylar. Now, Emanuel is using his platform to help other fathers fight for their rights, too.

Be sure to reach the end of this article to see the full video 

Refusing To Give Up

When Emanuel first found out that he was going to be a dad, he was elated. “I was happy, who wouldn’t be happy?” he told ABC News. However, his happiness quickly dissipated as his girlfriend began to distance herself from him. She avoided meeting in person and even told him to skip doctor’s appointments. Emanuel admitted that he was concerned about whether he would even be present for the birth of his child.

His friends and family were worried, too, and feared that his girlfriend would give the baby away, according to ABC News. Fortunately, Emanuel’s half-sister, Chelsea McKnabb, and her best friend, Jill Thomason, helped him prepare for the worst. Thomason found out about The South Carolina Responsible Father Registry, where unwed dads can sign up to be notified if their child is put up for adoption. South Carolina is one of the 25 states that has this.

However, Emanuel wasn’t interested. As time went by, Emanuel noticed that his girlfriend was continuing to not include him in much of the preparations for the baby, and he decided to sign up for the registry. A few days later, he found out that his daughter, Skylar, had been born without him knowing. Skylar was given up for adoption with his permission, and already moved to another state.

According to ABC News, Emanuel contested the adopted and hired attorneys. “My daughter was stolen from me,” he said. “I asserted my rights. My rights were stripped of me. But not only that, now I’ve got to prove myself for my daughter.”

Seeing His Daughter

Skylar is mixed race, which made it easier to put her up for adoption out of state. According to ABC News, an old South Carolina law allows “difficult to adopt” children – kids with disabilities or who are mixed race – to be adopted across state lines. 

It turned out that Skylar’s adoptive parents were lied to and were told that Emanuel was out of the picture. They grew to adore the young girl and pleaded with Emanuel to keep her, but the father didn’t stop fighting for custody of his child. “No one can love my daughter the way I can,” Emanuel said. “It don’t matter what type of title you have, that’s my daughter. You can’t take my daughter, give me my daughters, that’s all that mattered.”

According to ABC News, Emanuel was granted custody of Skylar after a three-month legal battle, proving that his then-girlfriend deliberately lied to him about Skylar’s birth. He was also able to intervene with the adoption that he never consented to because he was registered on the Responsible Father Registry.

“All I could do was break down on my knees, and I cried and I thanked God for bringing my daughter home because all I needed was for her to get in my arms,” he said. Emanuel finally met his daughter two weeks later. “I felt whole again,” he said. “Having my daughter for the first time where she’s supposed to be. It’s a moment that is irreplaceable.”

He is now using his platform to share his experience and help other fathers maintain their parental rights through his Sky Is The Limit Foundation.