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A Black South Carolina man found himself in the battle of his life last year as he fought to keep his girlfriend from giving their baby up for adoption at the request of her parents, who refused to accept the child because she’s biracial.

According to The Atlantic, 25-year-old Christopher Emmanuel said things were going well with his girlfriend and the two of them were both very excited to learn that she was pregnant. They were apparently in the midst of family planning when the woman’s parents, who had been out of town for much of her pregnancy, returned home and were furious to learn that their Caucasian daughter was pregnant by a Black man. They reportedly told their daughter that she should be “ashamed of herself” for getting “pregnant by a n****r.”

Chris says the mother of his child then called him crying but insisted that she would give their baby to him before putting her up for adoption to an outside family. Unfortunately, he later learned that she’d lied and that she had already begun the adoption process without his knowledge or consent, which wasn’t needed under South Carolina law which took their unmarried status as an indication that he wasn’t interested in being a father to his unborn child. At the time that he was served with court papers notifying him of the adoption proceedings, Chris says he didn’t even know that his daughter had been born as his girlfriend had told him just the day before that she was still pregnant and had not yet given birth.

In the end and after a long, drawn out fight with his girlfriend’s parents and the courts to prove that he had been invested in his daughter’s life since learning of her pregnancy, Chris fortunately won his case in court and was awarded custody of his daughter. He later wrote about his ordeal in a piece for the NY Times to advocate for fathers receiving equal rights to the birth mother when it comes to decisions on outside adoption.

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