Tira Bland, the Utah mother who gave up her baby for adoption, only to have a judge order the girl returned to her biological father, says that she feels sorry for the couple who adopted her daughter.
A judge has ordered Utah couple Jared and Kristi Frei to return the adopted toddler to her biological father, Terry Achane, after it was revealed that Bland gave up the child without the father's knowledge or permission.
"Her well being is all that matters to me," Bland told ABC News referring to her child. "I want to see her successful. I want to see her in a home, a good home."
She is sorry that her ex-husband is challenging the adoption.
"I'm hurt for the Fries," Bland said. "They're great people."
The question of who will provide that home is now at the center of a contentious custody battle.
Achane, 31, a staff sergeant in the Army and Bland's ex-husband, was transferred from Texas where he lived with Bland to South Carolina. The staff sergeant claims that in 2010, without his knowledge, Bland put the child up for adoption through a Utah agency.
When Achane learned last year that the child, who he calls Teleah, was being raised by the Freis, he asked a court to give him custody.
Last month, a judge did just that. The Freis now have less than 60 days to return the 21-month-old girl, who they call Leah, to her father. But a lawyer for the Freis told ABC News earlier this week that they don't plan to return the toddler, and will appeal the judge's ruling.
Bland says the Freis took her in, and agreed to the adoption after Achane left Texas and moved to South Carolina with the Army. Both sides agree he knew Bland was pregnant, and that he still had to move for work.
Bland says that the she and Achane had discussed adoption, but in the end, she says, he abandoned her and that's why she turned to the Freis.
"They cared about me and the well being of Teleah when he wasn't there, when he didn't care," Bland said. "He showed no interest in me being pregnant. When he left me, he didn't leave me with an address. I didn't have a home address on him."
Achane's lawyers deny that, saying he was paying Bland's bills, and wanted to take care of their unborn daughter.
"The judge heard [Bland'] story, and completely ruled against her. He did not find that her story was credible," Wiser said.
Bland now says that she wants what she thinks is best for the baby.
"My heart was comfortable with her being with the Freis," she said. "I'd rather see her with me struggling first before she goes with him."
Achane is now thrilled with the judge's ruling and the prospect that he will be united with his baby.
"He is extremely pleased with what [the judge] ordered," his lawyer, Mark Wiser, told ABC News.
- Family & Relationships