Fathers are Needed for Family Restoration

Children growing up without a loving father in their home have, sadly, the greatest likelihood of juvenile delinquency and difficulties in the transition to adulthood.

"Have You Seen My Daddy?" by Sammy Ayer, Regent University School of Law 2011 Juris Doctor Candidate, and Honors Graduate from Christopher Newport University (2008) has written a comprehensive review of this dilemma in the context of Virginia's Putative Father Statute. He writes:
"Imagine waking up and anxiously awaiting a phone call that you know will change your life forever. You know you are about to be a proud father, so you are frantically sitting by the phone and waiting for it to ring, but the phone never makes a sound. You then decide to call your significant other to see what’s going on, but her cellular phone is off. You get out of bed, brush your teeth, and rush to the hospital for the moment you have waited nearly a year for. When you finally arrive at the hospital, full of emotions, you are told by administration that no such baby and no such mother are currently there. You spend the next several days searching for your child, but can’t track down her or her mother. When you finally discover the whereabouts of your first born child, it is too late, because she has been adopted by a family on the other side of the country, and you are told that your paternal rights have been terminated, and someone else now has custody of your child. Sadly, this is exactly what happened to John Wyatt in February of 2009. [1]"
Ayer's article examines whether Virginia's putative father statutes violate a father's constitutional rights when all of his parental rights are terminiated by waiving his right to an adoption proceeding without his consent with the use of a ten-day letter as the code allows, and even requires. Section I discusses the relevant background information for putative father statutes, and it will discuss the recent case history of this dilemma. Section II examines and analyzes the statutes, statistics, and cases pertaining to putative father statute. Section III then presents and discusses some possible solutions to the problems that currently exist with putative father statutes, and it recommends that we create a national putative father registry.

Read the entire article here.

[1] The baby he’s never met, Va. Father fights for child his girlfriend sent to Utah for adoption, Jerry Markon, The Washington Post, April 14, 2010.


  1. I think one of the great tragedies in America is our degradation of fathers. In movies and television shows, fathers are often the comedic relief and spend their time golfing and hanging out with their buddies instead of playing an active role in their families. The media often portrays mothers as the familial leader, while the father is just a sidekick. What happened in this case is extremely unfortunate given the popular view on fathers. A father is willing to step up to the plate and raise his child, yet could not because he did not register on the putative father registry early enough. Even though the registry is designed to protect paternal rights, most people do not know about it. Thus, it is up to lawyers to really educate the public about the registry to avoid scenarios like this in the future.

  2. From first hand, admittedly subjective, observations I have seen the powerful effect of a fatherly presence on a family - my own !!

    Law school keeps me away from my family for typically 4-5 days a week and the reaction of my children when I return speaks volumes. Besides the obvious, "Hooray, Daddy's home!" hoopla there are more subtle effects of my absence. The way my children interact with my wife, the way they interact with their peers, and the way they interact with me are very instructive.

    My older daughter (9) goes out of her way to spend time with me and it has a slight calming effect on her normal childish exuberance and irrationality. She does not run to 'Mommy" for every little inconsequential thing as she does, I am told, when I am absent. Her decision making is more mature. My younger son (7) displays a more dependent baby-ish persona and is decidedly more clingy to his mother when I am absent and upon my immediate return. Once I am back in the equation for awhile he displays more independence and maturity.

    This was never more obvious than this past summer when I returned from a month long trip to England, where I was studying and traveling a bit. The above described behaviors were magnified greatly and took about a week to revert back to, what I perceive as, the normal family dynamics.

    It is clear to me that having a mom and a dad or mom and dad role models or archetypes in a family unit on a consistent basis are important to child development. There is no doubt that many of the social problems we face as a country and their inherent costs could be greatly reduced by working hard to create a stable home life for children.

  3. I feel so fortunate that I grew up in a loving household with both of my parents. My father has been a strong, lasting role model for myself and my two younger brothers.

    I agree with Ms. Girani that one of the tragedies in America is our degradation of fathers. It was unfortunate in this particular case that a man was willing to take on the responsibility of fatherhood, but missed his opportunity due to a lack of guidance regarding the putative father registry.

    I hope that family law attorneys are aware of these dilemmas. It is important to place a strong emphasis on the paternal role in families. These young men need to take responsibility for raising their children and families; the law should cater towards this ideal.

    I encourage young men to read J.C. Ryle's book, Thoughts for Young Men. The book addresses the four great temptations that plague most young men: sloth, lust, love of pleasure, and peer pressure. Ryle addressed each subject and trys to guide young men towards a world of tremendous possibility through following the teaches of Christianity. This book is an easy read filled with advice that can be applied for young men to grow strong in character.