Adopt Your Own Child?

Why in the world would a biological mother bring an action to adopt her own child?

In extreme cases of abandonment, abuse or neglect of a child, an action can be brought to terminate the legal rights of biological parent(s) to his/her own child. Usually the party bringing that drastic action is the state which has intervened to protect the child, and generally only after exhaustive efforts have been made to rehabilitate the parent’s parenting.

But an interested private party can also bring an action to terminate parental rights.

At the time that a child is legally adopted, all legal rights of the biological parents to that child terminate as a result of the adoption. An adoption case, in effect, includes a “streamlined” termination of parental rights case – without all the “rough edges”.

In a recent New York case, a child’s mother reportedly tried to adopt her own child – with the alleged intention of “quietly” terminating the legal rights of the allegedly abusive biological father of the child.

The New York courts disallowed the mother’s reportedly “sneak attempt” to terminate the father’s parental rights because they found that the mother didn’t comply with the stricter requirements of a full-blown termination of parental rights action. If the mother wanted to terminate the father’s parental rights, she couldn’t cut corners; she had to bring an action to properly do precisely that.