SALT LAKE CITY — A drill sergeant who reclaimed custody of his young daughter after a wrenching legal fight with a Utah couple will take a desk job with the U.S. Army as part of his transition to single parent, his lawyer said Wednesday.
“You don’t see a drill sergeant cry very often,” attorney Mark Wiser said. “He’s a man who had tears in his eyes when he got custody of his daughter after a two-year fight.”
Terry Achane won custody of the 2-year-old girl in January after a judge ruled the Utah-based Adoption Center of Choice ignored his claims of parental rights.
The Utah couple, Jared and Kristi Frei, said in a legal filing Monday that they were putting the toddler’s needs over their own feelings. The filing ended their appeal before the Utah Supreme Court.
The couple “would rather drop the appeal than risk the child suffering potential psychological and emotional consequences,” the document said.
The couple’s lawyers, Lance Rich and Larry Jenkins, didn’t immediately return phone and email messages Wednesday.
Achane has said his ex-wife, Tira Bland, traveled from their Texas home while he was away on military service and arranged to give birth in Utah. She placed their daughter for adoption without his knowledge or consent, he said. The two divorced in March 2012.
Achane is transferring from Fort Jackson, S.C., for the new job in Hawaii with support of Army officials who have been willing to work with him, Wiser said.
“It’s like a big family that he has,” Wiser said.
A court-approved transition authorized visits with the girl for the Provo-area couple. The Freis had raised the girl since birth.