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A Utah couple has returned a baby they were in the process of adopting to the girl's biological mother after her biological father took legal action to keep her.
Baby Kaylee was born on November 4 and was turned over to adoptive parents last week after her biological mother signed papers relinquishing custody of the baby.
Colby Nielsen, the biological father, however, didn't sign those documents and wanted to raise the child himself. Nielsen, who is not married to the biological mother, has since retained attorney Wes Hutchins to assist him in gaining full legal parental rights.
The 20-year-old Nielsen had been taking care of the child until she was turned over to the former adoptive couple, and said giving her up was the hardest thing he's had to do, according to Fox 13.
"My favorite moments is when she would just lay on my chest and we would watch TV and she just slept," Nielsen told the site.
However, Utah Adoption Law allows biological mothers to put their children up for adoption without informing the biological father. This happened despite Nielsen filing for paternity and getting Kaylee's birth certificate amended to name him as the biological father.
The problem is that he didn't file in time, he says, because the biological mother only gave him hours' notice when he needed at least a day.
This comes after Nielsen saying that his then-girlfriend had been influenced by her "religious parents who were upset that the child had been born out of wedlock," according to Fox 13. And despite telling the biological mother that he wanted to raise the baby, she still turned Kaylee over to friends of her parents.
Nielsen's sister has since set up a GoFundMe page to help cover legal costs. So far they have raised more than $20,000 of a $30,000 goal.
The former adoptive parents, however, have relinquished their rights and said in a statement that they want what is best for Kaylee.
"Sadly, misinformation has caused immense pain and suffering by all parties involved," they wrote. "Our hearts go out to both biological parents. We are formally relinquishing all custodial rights."
While the baby was returned to the biological mother despite having waved her rights to the child, Nielsen's lawyer says he believes this can be resolved outside of a custody trial.
"We want open lines of communications, we want to resolve this if we can," Hutchins tells the news site. "We're not interested in running off to the court."
While fighting tears, Fox 13 reports, Nielsen was firm in his position.