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Adopted Toddler Reunited With Military Father

Adopted Toddler Reunited With Military Father


Airdate: 01/28/2013

It's the moment a father has been waiting nearly two years for.

Army Drill Sergeant Terry Achane is overjoyed to be holding his baby girl in his arms.

It's the end of a bitter custody battle that found little Teleah stuck in the middle of a tug-of-love between her biological dad and the family who adopted her right after she was born.

Terry was stationed in South Carolina when his daughter was put up for adoption without his knowledge. He didn't even know he had a child until his estranged wife told him.

Terry said, "She said if you want to know about your daughter, here's a number you need to call. I gave her up for adoption. I was like 'Wow'."

The baby's mom, Tira Bland, told INSIDE EDITION's Diane McInerney, she had no choice.

Bland said, "He left me with nothing. I was left to survive and figure it out all on my own."
Diane McInerney asked, "Why didn't you tell the baby's father?"
Bland replied, "We tried to reach out to him. I had family reaching out to him. He didn't respond back."

For 22 months, Jared and Kristi Frei of Provo, Utah, raised Teleah as their own. They have four biological children, and an adopted son. The Frei's fought hard to keep the toddler. 

But, just last week, a judge ruled that the Frei's would have to give Teleah back to her father. We spoke with their attorney, Lance Rich.

Rich said, "This has been an extremely difficult time for the Frei's and all the Frei family including most importantly, the little girl they've considered a part of their family for these past 22 months."

Terry said, "I have nothing negative towards them. They love my daughter just as much as I do."

Mark Wiser, Terry Achane's attorney, said, "We're very excited about Teleah being able to go back to South Carolina and meet all of her family and friends out there waiting for her."

The handover took place shortly after last week's court hearing. The army Drill Sergeant waited nervously the living room of his attorney's home.

Then, the big moment came and Teleah was handed over to her biological father.

Toys were scattered about to make the transition easier for Teleah. Fortunately, Terry is a familiar face to her. While fighting for custody, he was given regular visitation rights.  

Dad and daughter get to know each other and, after an exhausting day, this little girl is leaving the only family she's ever known to begin a new life with her father.


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