Adoption and custody cases can be some of the most emotionally charged and difficult ones to ever darken the doors of a courtroom. For most adoption cases, there is a happy ending for all involved. Sadly, however, there are some adoption cases which end up as custody cases. Such is the story of one three-year-old girl, her birth father and her adoptive parents.
The child, a South Carolina resident, has found herself in the middle of a very entangled custody battle that could have an effect on adoptions in Florida and all over the US. After adopting their daughter at just three weeks of age, her adoptive parents were told that she would be taken from them. Though they'd had custody for all of the child's three years of life, their adoption had been vacated, and she would be given to her biological father.
When the baby was born, she had cocaine in her system. Her biological mom admitted that she had a drug problem and could not properly care for her child. The state took the baby and placed her in the home of her adoptive parents in 2013.
They took the baby in as a foster child at first, hoping to allow the biological mother to regain custody at some point. Because of the many medical issues which the baby had at birth, however, the baby's mother relinquished parental rights so the foster family could adopt her. Foster parents cannot make the medical decisions that were needed for this child.
At the time of the baby's birth, her biological father was excited at the prospect of becoming a dad. He was wanted by police but was hoping to serve his time, then get out and raise his child. He contested the adoption from his jail cell, but a judge ended his parental rights in 2015 for various reasons.
The birth father feels that he has a right to custody of his own child. The adoptive parents feel that it is in the best interests of the child for them to retain custody because she has known only them as parents for three years. There are likely to be more such cases in Florida and the US. Regardless of which side of the case one is on, retaining assistance from an experienced family law attorney can greatly increase the odds of a favorable outcome for anyone with child custody issues.
Source: ABC News, "This 3-year-old is at the center of a custody battle between her adoptive parents and birth father", Candace Smith, Steve Osunsami, and Alex Valiente, March 4, 2017