Oh my friggin God, what the hell are we doing? The mother revoked her consent. Entitled adoptive parents abound. Sick Sick Sick.
Adoption ruling Court transfers custody of 19-month-old girl
Birth mother must return her to S.C. couple who want to adopt her
By RICK BRUNDRETT - firstname.lastname@example.org
A 19-month-old girl is caught in a back-and-forth legal battle between an S.C. couple who want to adopt her and the girl’s birth parents in Illinois.'
The S.C. Supreme Court on Monday unanimously ordered the birth mother to return the girl to the couple within 15 days.
The couple had custody of the girl four days after her June 2006 birth, but last February, courts in Illinois and Richland County ordered them to return her to her birth mother, the ruling said.
“We note that this is a difficult case,” state Supreme Court Justice John Waller wrote for the high court. “It is complicated, both factually and legally, and of course, it is an emotional issue for all the parties involved.
“Most significantly, the ultimate decision impacts the life of a very young child.”
The identities of the S.C. couple, the girl and her birth parents were not disclosed in the ruling.
Efforts Monday to reach the S.C. couple’s attorney, Raymond Godwin of Greenville, were unsuccessful. Columbia attorney Robert Jackson, who represents the birth mother, had no immediate comment, saying he had not reviewed the ruling or talked with his client.
Columbia attorney Earl Ellis, who represents the child, said Monday he has not recommended to any court who should have custody of the girl, explaining that the courts have “not yet gotten to the issue of whether either of these parties are appropriate parents.”
The S.C. couple returned home with the girl June 20, 2006, after the birth mother initially agreed in an Illinois circuit court to relinquish her parental rights and consent to the adoption, Monday’s ruling said.
In court papers, the mother said she did not know the identity of the girl’s father, contending she was raped and knew the father “through friends of friends,” the ruling said.
But in July 2006, the father asked the Illinois court to throw out the original order, contending the mother knew his identity and his whereabouts at all times and had told him the child was born dead, the ruling said.
The mother also asked the Illinois court to vacate her consent to the adoption and to return her daughter to her. She contended then that the father had been living with her before the birth and had been arrested on charges of assaulting her, the ruling said.
She said when she found out she was pregnant, she contacted an adoption agency, which put her in contact with the S.C. couple, the ruling said.
The Illinois court in September 2006 ordered the S.C. couple to return the girl to the birth mother. Richland County Family Court Judge Dorothy Jones last February upheld the September ruling.
But the S.C. Supreme Court said Monday that under federal law, South Carolina retains jurisdiction in the case; that the September ruling was “flawed” because the S.C. couple were not named as parties and were not given the opportunity to be heard; and there was “no evidence” the girl’s placement with the S.C. couple had “become unsafe in any way.”
Reach Brundrett at (803) 771-8484.