AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WIS) - Christopher Emanuel and his five-year-old daughter Skyler are inseparable.
But there was a time they weren’t together. “The only way I wasn’t going to see my child was if I didn’t want to see my child,” Emanuel said.
Emanuel and Skyler’s birth mother were together but weren’t married. Skyler was born in 2014. Her biological mother put her up for adoption without telling Emanuel. “I was notified with an improper notice of adoption proceedings,” he said.
Emanuel received the notice because he was registered in the state’s Responsible Father Registry. He decided to do this during the pregnancy. “If an unwed responsible father doesn’t register he is revoking his right to be a dad.”
According to the South Carolina Center for Fathers and Families, 50% of children born in the Palmetto State are born to unmarried parents.
The Responsible Father Registry gives a man who has fathered a child with a woman to whom he is not married to the right to be notified when an adoption or a termination of parental rights action occurs, according to the South Carolina Department of Social Services. South Carolina is one of 33 states that has something like this.
Emanuel said, “Fathers still have to prove themselves but it gives them an opportunity to fight for his child.”
There is no national registry, so fathers have to register in multiple states if the biological mother could potentially have the child in another state.
When Emanuel got the notice, Skyler was already in California with an adoptive family.
Emanuel fought in court and was able to get full custody of his daughter. Now he is using his story to educate other fathers about this through his Sky is The Limit Foundation. “You want to focus on preventative measures to remain engaged in your child’s life because anything can happen at any given time. It’s easy to get outmaneuvered.”
Emanuel said through his non-profit they’ve helped more than 100 fathers register for their state registries.
You can find more information about the registry here.
You can find more information on Sky Is The Limit Foundation here.