Terry Achane is battling for custody of his baby daughter after his now ex-wife, Tira Bland, gave her up for adoption without telling him.
To complicate matters, the family that adopted the child now refuses to give her up, reports the Daily Mail.
Just days after Achane left his pregnant wife in Texas for a new job in Fort Jackson in South Carolina, she signed over their unborn baby to Jared and Kristi Frei in Spanish Fork, Utah.
Achane said that he and Bland were having problems not long after learning she was pregnant in 2010, but he was stunned to learn what she had done.
Achane told the Salt Lake City Tribune: "I was like, 'Utah? Where is Utah?' I’d never been to Utah. She's never been to Utah."
Jared and Kristi Frei, who already had five children, wanted to expand their family but had to adopt because Kristi has advanced endometriosis.
The Frei family adopted a baby boy named James and then adopted Bland's daughter, whom they named Leah.
Adoption Center of Choice told the Freis that Achane wasn't aware of his daughter's placement with them and would likely contest the adoption if he had found out.
Achane tried to track down his baby, but the Adoption Center of Choice refused to disclose any information.
Now caught in a legal battle with the Frei family to get his child back, Archane said: "If they prolong it, that is more time away from my daughter. There are precious moments I can’t get back. ... It has been a year and a half now. There is no court order saying they have the right to my child. I just won the case. I want to get my daughter and raise my daughter."
The Frei family wrote in their blog: "Over the last 19 months, despite the law requiring that a father show interest in his child and at least attempt regular communication to establish a bond, the father has never shown any interest in Leah other than to hire an attorney."
Despite a judge's order to return the child within 60 days, the Frei family is now asking that Achane's parental rights be terminated because he allegedly abandoned both the mother and baby.
However, Judge McDade wrote in his decision: "The right of a fit, competent parent to raise the parent’s child without undue government interference is a fundamental liberty interest that has long been protected by the laws and constitution of this state of the United States, and is a fundamental public policy of this state."
"Once Mr. Achane contacted the Adoption Center of Choice ... to let them know he opposed the adoption and wanted his daughter back, that should have been the end of this case."
The Freis are going to appeal the judge's decision, and are asking friends and family to support their case financially through their blog. So far they have raised more than $20,000.
A hearing has been set for January 16, 2013.
(Kristi Frei and Leah)