This one is worse than most (Rockford Register Star, 1/31/09).
In this case the father, Ralph Lowery, Jr. was actually entitled under Illinois law to notice of the adoption and an opportunity to contest it. That’s often not true. Many states go out of their way to circumvent fathers’ rights in cases of adoption, usually via the enactment of putative father registries which they then neglect to publicize. But here, Lowery supposedly had the right to stand before a judge and try to convince him/her that he should have custody of his child. At least one court in Illinois said so.
But even that didn’t matter. Lowery never got the chance to convince a judge of his love and ability to care for his daughter. Why? Because the mother, Krystal Fulton (pictured) took his rights into her own hands. She decided to place the child for adoption, telling Lowery that it was stillborn and the adoption attorney that she had been raped by a stranger. Fulton also didn’t tell her own parents about the child until she had been sent to live in South Carolina with her adoptive parents, Mark and Mary Boepple.
As soon as he found out the truth, Lowery hired an attorney in Illinois, where he and Fulton lived, to try to get custody. The Illinois courts ruled that he had been wrongfully denied notice and an opportunity to establish custody, but South Carolina courts disagreed and ultimately prevailed.
As the Register Star article says “Lowery said he would have never given up the baby if it were his choice and would have loved to raise her.” But in this case, despite what Illinois law says, it wasn’t his choice.
What happened in this case happens often when fathers’ rights are involved – they’re exercised not by him but by the mother. Krystal Fulton lied to Lowery, lied to the attorney and lied to her own parents, all for the purpose of depriving Lowery of his child.
And if you think that’s laying it on a bit thick, consider this: Fulton said, “I knew what he (her son) had to go through without a dad, and I didn’t want that for my daughter.” But of course, had she told Lowery the truth, her daughter would not have been fatherless; Lowery was there and wanted to raise her. What Fulton doesn’t mention is that if she’d given the child up and Lowery had gotten custody, she could well be on the hook for child support. So she took matters - meaning Lowery’s parental rights – into her own hands.
Again, as in all these cases in which the fathers’ rights are shoved aside to pave the way for adoption, two terrible wrongs have occurred. The wrong of lesser importance is that Ralph Lowery’s parental rights have been sabotaged by the mother of his child. That’s a terrible wrong, but Lowery is an adult and he can have another child if he wants.
The greater wrong has been done to an unknown child somewhere, a child without parents, a child who needs to be adopted, a child for whom Mark and Mary Boepple would have been a godsend. But that child will never know the Boepples because they have Ralph Lowery’s little girl, a child who had a father who wanted her.
There are always more children in need of adoption than there are adoptive parents. That means that Krystal Fulton not only took a child from her father, she took parents from a child somewhere who needs them.