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Soldier Fights for Custody of Baby Wife Tried to Give Away

Army Sgt. Steven Garcia is not the baby's biological father
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 21, 2018 4:29 PM CDT
An image from the GoFundMe campaign.   (GoFundMe)

(Newser) – Army Sgt. Steven Garcia was deployed in South Korea when his wife, Marina, told him she was pregnant. In January, she told him the baby, a girl, had died at birth. "It was devastating," Steven tells KVOA. "We cried quite a bit together over the phone." But, as he later found out, Marina Garcia didn't actually give birth until weeks after that phone call, on Feb. 2. She delivered a baby boy who, DNA tests have shown, was not fathered by Steven Garcia—and then, authorities say, tried to sell or give away the baby. Three days after the birth, Alex and Leslie Hernandez were stopped for speeding with the newborn boy in the car; the officer noticed they seemed nervous and they eventually admitted they were not the baby's biological parents. Since then, Steven Garcia has been dealing with his wife's betrayal (he has filed for divorce)—and fighting to adopt the baby boy.

The infant was placed in foster care, and Steven Garcia, who was also adopted, has traveled to the US to meet him. "My adopted father completely changed my life. Without him I would not be where I am today. And for the opportunity to do that for someone else, I believe it's important," he says. Marina Garcia pleaded guilty to an attempted scheme to defraud by forging the birth certificate, listing Alex Hernandez as the baby's father; she says she does not know who the baby's father is, Stars and Stripes reports. The Hernandezes pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit forgery and were sentenced to four years of supervised probation each. As for Steven Garcia, a GoFundMe campaign is raising money to help with his travel expenses and legal fees, which the campaign says have hit at least $14,000 so far. He has so far been granted just eight visitations with the baby. (Read more adoption stories.)

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