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Supreme Court declines to hear adoption case appeal

There are few things more heart-wretching for adoptive parents than to have their child’s birth parent try to regain custody. That’s what a family in the Midwest has been dealing with since 2009. Now, thanks to a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, their battle to keep the boy they adopted seven years ago as an infant appears to be over. The court opted not to hear an appeal by the child’s biological mother.

The boy’s mother, who is from Guatemala, was arrested in 2007 during an immigration raid on the poultry processing plant where she worked. The baby was taken care of first by one of her siblings, then another one before being given to a couple who agreed to let the boy be adopted by the people who have now been his parents ever since. The adoption was finalized in 2008. Meanwhile, the biological mother, who was incarcerated for two years, lost her parental rights for allegedly abandoning the child and failing to contact or provide for him while behind bars.

Attorneys representing the mother began challenging the adoption in 2009. An appellate court overturned the adoption the following year. The court determined that because she was not in the country legally, her rights were violated. The couple took the case to their state supreme court. That court determined that there should be a new trial to determine whether the adoption should stand. The judge in that case approved the couple’s adoption in 2012 and terminated the birth mother’s parental rights. When the case again went to the state appeals court, the justices unanimously upheld the adoption it had earlier overturned.

One of the biological mother’s attorneys argues that she “was punished for being an illegal immigrant." The U.S. Supreme Court, however, chose to let the appeals court decision stand. Even when adoptive parents strive to do everything by the book and perfectly legally, issues can arise if one or both of a child’s biological parents can make a case that the child was not legally available for adoption or that they were denied their parental rights. Louisiana attorneys with experience in handling adoptions can work to minimize the chances of a birth parent being able to reclaim a child and work to represent the adoptive parents’ rights if problems like this occur.

Source: Source: Beaumont Enterprise, " Adoptive mother applauds Supreme Court decision," July 2, 2014

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Commandments of Family Law

  1. The only truth your children need to know is that you both love them unconditionally, and that this isn't their fault.
  2. Take the high road — everyone wins when you do what's best for your kids.
  3. Negotiate but don't capitulate — if you are being pushed toward something detrimental for your children, stand your ground.
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