Judicial Insanity re: adoption

  1. Ok, I had heard snippets of this story last week but read this article today and I'm furious.

    When love matters more than blood
    Jeff Jacoby (archive)


    January 3, 2005 | Print | Send

    From the moment my wife and I decided to adopt a child, we planned on an international adoption. Adopting a child from another country is more complicated, time-consuming, and expensive than a domestic adoption, but we didn't want to take any chances. We had heard too many heart-wrenching stories of adoptive parents forcibly separated from their child years later -- not because they had done anything wrong, but because the biological mother had changed her mind, or the biological father had decided to assert his paternity, and an American court had elevated the claim of blood over the claim of love.

    It had happened in Illinois, when 4-year-old Danny Warburton ("Baby Richard") was pried, sobbing, from the only parents he had ever known and given to the stranger who happened to have sired him. It had happened in Michigan, when a screaming and terrified Jessica DeBoer was taken from her mother and father and sent to a couple in Iowa because judges had concluded that the biology involved in conceiving Jessica counted for more than the love and sacrifice involved in raising her. We wanted to be sure such a horror-show never happened to our adopted child.

    The way it is happening now in Florida to Evan Parker Scott.

    Evan was born in Jacksonville to Amanda Hopkins on May 5, 2001. On hand to witness the blessed event were Dawn and Gene Scott, the childless couple with whom Hopkins had agreed to place the baby for adoption. Two days later, the Scotts took Evan home. They have been his adoring parents ever since.

    "We never really knew just how . . . blown away we would be by the love we feel for this very special child," Dawn Scott would later write. "We can't even describe it in words. . . . Evan completes us."

    Now that completed little family is being torn apart. By order of Florida Circuit Judge Waddell Wallace III, Evan is about to undergo something most small children experience only in nightmares -- he is going to be sent away from his parents forever.

    At 3, of course, Evan is too young to be aware of the circumstances swirling around him. He has no idea that his biological mother was an unmarried 21-year-old who had moved to Jacksonville to get away from Stephen White Jr., the unstable 33-year-old who had impregnated her. He doesn't know that White "has a history of drug use and violent behavior," as Judge Wallace wrote in his Dec. 16 order, or that he was convicted of criminal assault for beating Amanda early in her pregnancy -- a beating severe enough to send her to the hospital.

    Evan has no idea that Hopkins willingly placed him with the Scotts for adoption because she knew they could give him a better life than she could. He doesn't understand that White was notified of the pending adoption before he was born, but waited months before taking the legal steps necessary to establish his paternity. He has no sense of the tortuous legal odyssey that ensued when a judge nonetheless allowed White to block the Scotts' adoption and demand custody for himself -- an odyssey that has involved nine judges, endless trips to court, and a blizzard of motions, cross-motions, affidavits, and orders.

    All this little boy really knows is that Dawn and Gene Scott are his Mama and his Daddy and always have been. They are his rock -- the one true thing he has always known. Now Evan's rock is about to crumble.

    The Scotts have been terminated as his guardians and removed as parties to the case. Hopkins, who freely placed Evan with them for adoption but now says she wants him back, is to have primary custody. The biological father -- who never married the mother or supported her when she was pregnant, and who has a criminal history and what even the court calls "a temper that he has difficulty controlling" -- is to enjoy liberal visitation rights. Soon, probably this week, Evan is to begin the transition from his home in Florida to the Illinois naval base where his birth mother now lives. Once he is in her custody, the Scotts don't know if they will ever see him again.

    This is what comes of attaching more importance to DNA than to years of devoted parenting. Only a legal system that believes ties of blood are the truest expression of parenthood could order a boy stripped of the parents who have raised and cherished him from birth. The universe as Evan Parker Scott has known it is about to implode. He is going to believe that his Mama and Daddy sent him away. What did he ever do to deserve that? And who among us would wish the confusion and heartbreak he will suffer on any child we loved?

    http://www.townhall.com/columnists/j...20050103.shtml
    *******************

    I just wonder what can be done about this? A letter writing campaign? Prayer? What can this judge be thinking? I'm so heartbroken for this child.

    steph
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  2. 30 Comments

  3. by   SusanJean
    I believe there are more than 30 cases seriously being considered by our courts, across this country, for similar rulings.

    I will try to find the link -- there is a non-for-profit that tracks these cases, but it is buried in one of my old computers...
    SJ
  4. by   Spidey's mom
    Quote from SusanJean
    I believe there are more than 30 cases seriously being considered by our courts, across this country, for similar rulings.

    I will try to find the link -- there is a non-for-profit that tracks these cases, but it is buried in one of my old computers...
    SJ
    It seems like there should be some way this could be worked out without tearing a child away from the only parents he has ever known.

    My 3 year old would be terrified . .. I just walked outside to take the dog out and forgot to tell my son and as I walked back in he was standing in the middle of the living room sobbing and calling out "mommy".

    Logic and common sense and compassion tells you that children should not be torn away from their parents in favor of some DNA.

    steph
  5. by   SharonH, RN
    That really is heart-breaking. And the fact that his biological mother is willing to hurt her own child so her own selfish needs can be fulfilled is a testament to how much she really does (not) love him. This reminds me of the biblical story of King Solomon. Too bad, the judges in this case don't have that wisdom.
  6. by   Spidey's mom
    Quote from SharonH, RN
    That really is heart-breaking. And the fact that his biological mother is willing to hurt her own child so her own selfish needs can be fulfilled is a testament to how much she really does (not) love him. This reminds me of the biblical story of King Solomon. Too bad, the judges in this case don't have that wisdom.
    Yeah but the biological mom would still get the child because she wouldn't choose to give up the whole child and so then would make the judge split the child in half . .whereas I'm sure the parents who have raised him would save his life by giving him up. And the judge would GO ALONG WITH IT!!! Instead of giving the child to the parents who actually know what love is like the story in the bible.

    steph :angryfire
  7. by   fergus51
    It's disgusting. I can't even imagine. These are not the only parents that child has ever known, they're his only parents period. His biological "parents" are obviously not true parents or they would never put him through this. Real parents biggest responsibility in life is to do what's best for their children. I am so glad my birth mother has always been more sensible and even now is careful not to downplay my relationship with my parents (she would never introduce herself as my mom).

    One thing I'm not clear on is WHY this adoption was invalidated? Was it because the father hadn't consented? A friend of mine had planned on giving her child up for adoption, but the father wouldn't consent so she wound up keeping the child rather than letting his father raise him.
  8. by   Thunderwolf
    This breaks my heart too, Steph.
    It really does.
  9. by   debbieGa
    The adoption was invalidated becuase the biological father did not consent to the adoption. This case has been in the courts for 3 years now (begun when Evan was 5 months). A new law that started in 2003 makes cases like this almost impossible. However, since this case started in 2001 it does not fall under the new law. It is horrible that Evan has to go through this. Here is a story about Evan's case. http://www.news4jax.com/news/4035574/detail.html
  10. by   jnette
    Heart shattering.. just too sad for words. This child may now well suffer irreparable emotional damage due to the selfcenteredness and ignorance of his his birthparents... :angryfire

    How could a judge see this as legitimate or profitable to the child?

    Too sad, Steph.

    I agree... go elsewhere. There will be thousands if not hundreds of thousands of children available for adoption very soon due to this tsunami catastrophe.
  11. by   mercyteapot
    Quote from jnette
    Heart shattering.. just too sad for words. This child may now well suffer irreparable emotional damage due to the selfcenteredness and ignorance of his his birthparents... :angryfire

    How could a judge see this as legitimate or profitable to the child?

    Too sad, Steph.

    I agree... go elsewhere. There will be thousands if not hundreds of thousands of children available for adoption very soon due to this tsunami catastrophe.
    Unfortunately, under the previous law, the judge really didn't have the option of considering what was best for the child. He was obliged to rule which party had the "right" to raise this child under the law as it is/was written. Hard to believe, but true. It seems as though a judge finalizing an adoption is able to consider the best interests of the child, but once that adoption is called into question, all of a sudden, the child's rights are no longer tantamount. I'm glad to hear that all this is being changed, because it is/was a perverse system. I worked with our County foster care program for a short while years ago (when I was young and idealistic) and the decisions that judges had to render because of antiquidated laws were enough to make me sick.
  12. by   Spidey's mom
    Quote from debbieGa
    The adoption was invalidated becuase the biological father did not consent to the adoption. This case has been in the courts for 3 years now (begun when Evan was 5 months). A new law that started in 2003 makes cases like this almost impossible. However, since this case started in 2001 it does not fall under the new law. It is horrible that Evan has to go through this. Here is a story about Evan's case. http://www.news4jax.com/news/4035574/detail.html
    My God, he is my son's age. There is no way my 3 1/2 year old would NOT be traumatized.

    This is truly breaking my heart. Little Evan will be in my prayers. Hopefully his bio-mom will try to work something.

    steph
  13. by   fergus51
    I would still adopt in this country as long as BOTH birth parents consented. If the father didn't consent, then his rights were violated and I can't believe the adoptive parents didn't know he could contest the adoption. I don't think that should invalidate the adoption, but it should have been resolved when he was 5 months old not dragged out for another 3 years.
  14. by   Spidey's mom
    Fergus - I could see your point if the guy was truly being kept from his son through no fault of his own but, as the article stated:

    "At 3, of course, Evan is too young to be aware of the circumstances swirling around him. He has no idea that his biological mother was an unmarried 21-year-old who had moved to Jacksonville to get away from Stephen White Jr., the unstable 33-year-old who had impregnated her. He doesn't know that White "has a history of drug use and violent behavior," as Judge Wallace wrote in his Dec. 16 order, or that he was convicted of criminal assault for beating Amanda early in her pregnancy -- a beating severe enough to send her to the hospital.

    Evan has no idea that Hopkins willingly placed him with the Scotts for adoption because she knew they could give him a better life than she could. He doesn't understand that White was notified of the pending adoption before he was born, but waited months before taking the legal steps necessary to establish his paternity. He has no sense of the tortuous legal odyssey that ensued when a judge nonetheless allowed White to block the Scotts' adoption and demand custody for himself -- an odyssey that has involved nine judges, endless trips to court, and a blizzard of motions, cross-motions, affidavits, and orders."
    *****************

    The bio father was notified before Evan was born. He also had plenty of time to make some decisions to help his son avoid being hurt.

    Regardless, Evan is now 3 1/2 years old and knows only his parents, the Scott family.

    I'm not arguing with you by the way; I know what you are saying.

    There are too many stories about kids being reunited with abusive parents and being abused or killed . . giving this father any credibility is just beyond comprehension to me.

    steph

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