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Adoption practices can lead to child custody challenges

When a Massachusetts couple chooses to open their hearts and home to a child in need of care, they often develop close bonds. In some cases, foster families make the decision to adopt a child in their care, and to provide a permanent home and forge a lifelong familial bond. There are cases, however, when such adoptions lead to a child custody challenge. An example is found in a current case making headlines across the nation.

The matter centers on the adoption of a 3-year-old girl. As an infant, she was placed into foster care when her mother was unable to overcome addiction. Eventually, the biological mother supported the desire of the foster family to adopt the little girl. The biological father was serving jail time when the adoption took place, and his parental rights were terminated.

When he was released from jail, the father appealed that decision. He was successful in that attempt, and the adoption was overturned. Now, the adoptive parents are fighting to retain their rights to their daughter, as her father struggles for the right to raise his child as his own.

This is a child custody matter in which there will be no true winner or loser. Both sides have valid points, and compelling legal arguments. As the matter moves forward, the adoptive couple may try to convince a court that it is in the best interests of their daughter to remain in the only home she has ever known. Her biological father, on the other hand, will likely argue that his daughter has a right to know her true family, and that he intended to fulfill his parental role from the very beginning. No matter how the case is resolved, it serves as a cautionary tale for Massachusetts residents who are considering a complex adoption.

Source: ABC News, "This 3-year-old is at the center of a custody battle between her adoptive parents and birth father", Candace Smith, March 3, 2017

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