Nightly News | August 19, 2011
>>> there are tens of thousands of babies adopted in this country every year and most of the time when the baby leaves the birth family and goes into the arms of a loving, adopt tiff couple, it is a smooth process. but every state has its own laws governing adoption and one state lay r laws in particular are coming under fire from a group of birth father who is say utah isn't doing enough to protect their rights. nbc's kate snow has the story.
>> reporter: john wyatt has been fighting an uphill battle since his daughter was born in virginia 2 1/2 years ago. do you have a picture of her? when his girlfriend colleen got pregnant at 19, john says he thought they would raise the baby together. but later in the pregnancy, come less than sent john a text message said she had been in contact with a utah adoption agency and when come less than went into labor, he says she never told him. when you walked into the hospital, how are you acting?
>> i'm walking like my hair on fire.
>> reporter: weeks later he would discover that the baby was in utah with an adoptive baby. under utah law, john had 20 days from that text message colleen sent for him to fire for his pat paternal rights . he said the deadline expired before he even knew his baby was in salt lake city .
>> biological fathers are essentially set up to fail.
>> we spoke with several other fathers whose children were adopted by utah couples. cody o'day's girlfriend lied about having a miscarriage and then called to say she was having a baby in utah , the 20 days to file clock had started ticking, but cody says he didn't know it.
>> you missed the deadline?
>> i missed the deadline.
>> this utah attorney general is not involved in the cases but he defends the current law but is willing to take another look.
>> as attorney general, you would be willing to look another this issue closer and see if there's something that's happening inadvertently to hurt birth fathers?
>> i think our legislature would be willing to look at it.
>> reporter: it may be too late for john wyatt , the utah supreme court ruled against him in july. in a statement, the adoptive parents said their primary concern has and always will be the best interests of the child . the birth other made the difficult and courageous choice to place the child with adoptive parents because she believed that the child deserved a loving, stable, two-parent home. wyatt's only hope of gaining custody now, the u.s. supreme court .
>> until my heart stops beating, i will never give up. until the day i die, i will never give up.
>> kate snow , nbc news, salt lake city .