14/08/2014 12:57 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Dad Demands $130 Million Compensation After Baby Son Was Adopted Without His Knowledge


A dad is demanding $130 million (£78.5m) in damages after his baby son was given up for adoption without his knowledge.

Jake Strickland's ex-girlfriend Whitney Pettersson gave birth to Jackson in 2010 and soon afterwards put him up for adoption.

Mr Strickland, 27, from Utah, claims he was not given the chance to seek custody despite the fact he wanted to be fully involved in Jack's life.

He claims that Miss Pettersson conspired with the adoptive parents' adoption agency, LDS Family Services, operated by the Mormon Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to give up his son.

The case has gripped America after Mr Strickland launched a website – – to document his fight.

Mr Strickland said he and Miss Pettersson met in 2009 while working at a restaurant. She was married but told him she was getting a divorce and they began a relationship. Three months later, Miss Pettersson was pregnant.

Mr Strickland says he assured her that he wanted to be involved in his son's life and provided emotional and financial support, even after their own relationship began to break down.

But in early 2011, Mr Strickland found out that Miss Pettersson had given birth to a boy a week earlier without his knowledge.

It also emerged that she was still legally married to another man and that under Utah state law, he would be considered Jack's father.

But Mr Strickland said the most devastating part of the discovery was that Miss Pettersson had given Jack up for adoption.

Mr Strickland began a paternity claim to get his son back but was hindered because he had not registered for paternal rights.

Despite his attempts to get his son back, the father learned in November 2011 that Jack had been given up for adoption.

His battle for paternity rights is currently under review by the state.

According to NBC: "Strickland's federal lawsuit is seeking $30 million for the loss of the parent-child relationship caused by the adoption and $100 million as a deterrent to ensure another dad doesn't suffer his fate."

This is the third year of Mr Strickland's fight to have his son returned to him. Each year he and his family gather around a lone birthday candle to sing Happy Birthday to his absent son.

Mr Strickland's lawsuit challenges the restrictions on a biological father's rights in Utah.

The lawsuit, filed last Friday in US. District Court, claims the entire process of custody and adoption was illegal and done 'through gross misdirection and ... clandestine conduct'.

The suit claims that parenting laws in Utah, which have prevented Mr Strickland and his family from seeing his son, are 'pro-adoption and anti-birth father'.