Adoptive couple devastated by child custody dispute

It takes a special New York family to make the decision to open their hearts and their home to an adopted child. Without such caring parents, many more children would be left to grow up in foster care or institutional settings, when their biological parents are unwilling or unable to care for them. When making the decision to adopt, however, it is imperative to have a full understanding of any and all potential challenges that could arise in the years to come. One couple is currently embroiled in a child custodycase that reversed their adoption, and led to the loss of their 9-year-old daughter.

The child was placed in their care as a foster child before the age of two. In 2008, the couple adopted her, and gave her what they thought would be a permanent home. Her biological father was a convicted felon serving a 15 year sentence in federal prison, which led to the automatic loss of his parental rights. Everything seemed to be in place to secure a permanent adoptive placement, and the adoptive couple were overjoyed.

The biological father, however, was able to negotiate a deal in which his sentence was reduced to less than eight years. That change allowed him to pursue his parental rights. When he made efforts to regain his child custody rights, a court allowed the child to remain in the home of her adoptive parents, as she had already established a close bond with them. Nearly five years later, her adoption was reversed, and a court ordered that she be placed in the care of her adoptive father.

This unusual child custody case has no clear winners, as both sides have been or will be deprived of a portion of their daughter’s childhood. The case does serve as a warning to all prospective adoptive parents of the need to have a comprehensive understanding of New York law before moving forward with an adoption. Understanding the potential challenges that an adoptive family could face is an important component to bolstering one’s parental rights.

Source: CNN, “Adoptive parents fight for custody of 9-year-old Sonya“, Randi Kaye, May 20, 2014