Subsequently, the woman placed an adoption advertisement in a newspaper and a mother responded to it. The woman sent the mother an adoption profile and they communicated regularly via telephone and e-mail. The mother found the woman to be warm and chose her to be her child’s adoptive parent.
The father of the child was in agreement that the woman would name the baby, and be present at the birth. Prior to the birth of the child, the mother met with an adoption attorney referred by the woman’s attorney. The adoption attorney explained the private adoption process to the mother and provided her with initial paperwork for her to complete.
Afterward, the mother called the woman stating that she was in labor. The woman and her family arrived at the hospital and were present for the birth.
After giving birth to the child, the mother described a feeling of pain inside her body and heartache as she held her child in her arms for the first time. The father of the child also stated that after he saw his child, he fell in love with her.
The criminal adoption attorney came to the hospital and reviewed the terms of the extra-judicial consent forms with the parents of the child and they both ultimately signed the consents.
Later that same evening, the child’s parents had regrets about signing the consents and decided that they did not want the child to be adopted. However, they did not act on their reservations. The child was already discharged from the hospital to the care of the woman. That same day, the mother called the woman to see if the woman was still in the hospital with child because the father of the child wanted to see the baby one last time. But, the woman already left the hospital, however she promised to e-mail photos of the child that night, which she did.
Over the next few days, the parents of the child consulted with their respective families about the child and they discovered that, contrary to their beliefs, they had the full support of both families in raising the child, and concluded that they had, indeed, made a grave mistake in signing the consents.
The mother subsequently called the woman to inquire about how the baby was doing.
However, she did not ask for the child’s return. Afterward, the mother contacted their adoption attorney, informing him that she wanted the child back. The criminal attorney explained to the mother that he would not act on their behalf and that she and the child’s father had to write a letter to the court revoking their consent.
As soon as the mother got off the phone with her attorney, she began writing the letter. The final, notarized letter revoking their consent was then completed.
Shortly after the revocation letter was sent, the child’s parents and the paternal grandmother all wrote e-mails to the woman pleading with her to return the child to them.
The woman however exercised her right to oppose the revocation of consent, triggering the instant best interests hearing.
But, the mental condition of the woman as well as the child’s parents has been placed at issue during the proceedings. The evidence shows that the child’s parents have never suffered from any mental illness and have never used drugs. On the other hand, the mental health of the woman is of some concern. The treatment records of the woman’s treating psychiatrist show that the woman was diagnosed with major depressive disorder and marijuana abuse previously, and she was prescribed the psychotropic medication to treat the depression.
The woman’s reporting of her use of marijuana also calls her credibility into question. The woman however acknowledges that she has been using the aforesaid drug since the age of sixteen. During her testimony, she admitted that she was not truthful about the extent of her drug use when she was deposed previously. But, she testified that she had not used it for fifteen years. But, the evidence shows that the woman has been using the criminal drug for over twenty years, and that at times she was using it on a daily basis.
Since the woman has been evasive with the court, the court didn’t rely on her assertions that the depression and marijuana use are vestiges of the past. In contrast, the child’s parents have been truthful with the court. Evidence revealed that the child’s mother has no history of drug or alcohol abuse, has never been diagnosed with a mental illness, and has never been on psychiatric medication. Outside of a minor criminal conviction for stealing a pack of socks, the mother has no criminal record. The child’s father also has no history of drug or alcohol abuse, has never been diagnosed with a mental illness, and has never been on psychiatric medication.
Based on records, in making the best interests determination, the court is required to consider the effect of domestic violence on the child, together with other factors and circumstances the court considers relevant.
With regards to financial status and ability of each parent to provide the child, the court found that the child’s biological parents and the woman have the financial ability to meet the child’s needs. The woman testified that she has more financial stability to provide the child with the best opportunities in life. She stated that she was the vice-president of event marketing of a large company and she rents her own apartment. She further stated that she has substantial savings and possesses assets such as stocks, mutual funds, and a retirement plan.
On the other hand, the child’s biological parents are not impoverished. The child’s biological parents may not yet have college degrees, but they both reside in adequate, spacious, suburban homes, where the child is welcomed. While they are not financially independent, as are many young adults, they both have the support of their families.
Furthermore, despite of the child’s biological parent’s limited financial resources, both of them are traveling on a consistent basis to visit the child. They also managed to comply with the court ordered visitation schedule which began with one overnight visit per month and then increased to two overnight visits per month. Clearly, both the child’s biological parents have demonstrated that they are committed to having the child returned to their care.
As a result, the criminal court found that the best interest of the child will be best served by giving full force and effect to the revocation of the consent and it is ordered that the custody of the child be returned to the parents, with primary physical custody to the mother and visitation to the father as the parties may agree.