Alan Sears at TownHall.com says that some of Utah’s courts are “often more preoccupied with political correctness than parental rights” by favoring biologically unrelated persons.
Indeed, a great injustice was nearly committed in this case:
…the lower court judges, who assigned a Commissioners and a guardian ad litem to represent the child’s interests and evaluate all information relative to the custody situation. Bad enough to trample the constitutional presumption that a fit parent should decide what is best for her child; even worse, both the guardian and Commissioner brought a heavy personal bias to their responsibilities. They chose to ignore not only Barlow’s wishes for her own daughter, but the findings of a child psychologist (who reported that interacting with Jones caused serious emotional upheaval for the child).
Nevertheless, I don’t categorically agree with Sears’ statement. In fact, in case after case after case after case after case, courts have sided with biological parents over adoptive ones, even when the adoption is legal, final, and years in the past.
If anything it’s my opinion that there’s a pronounced bias in the U.S. judicial system in favor of biological parents, not against them.
In some of the cases linked to above you will note that there is a debate over who has authority to allow an adoption. In these matters the courts seem to have made the correct decision; that is, adoptions must be sanctioned by both parents to be legitimate. This is right and correct.
What is neither right nor correct is a presumption by the courts that the sperm and egg donors are necessarily the best parents for their offspring. I do not advocate interference in couples’ handling of their children in the absence of abuse. Neither is that at issue.
What is under wrongful attack in this country is the finality of a legal adoption. Courts have been retroactively restoring custody to biological parents in recent years and undermining the permanency of the adoptive relationship. This is absolutely the wrong thing to do.
While it is commendable to want to maintain the integrity of American families, our courts are too often doing just the opposite by breaking up adoptions years after they were performed. This places the children in question at risk. After all, the biological parents gave up their rights to the child for a reason. Time has passed, but has that reason been eliminated? Often the answer is yes. But that is no reason to restore rights that have long since been surrendered. It’s worse in cases where the biological parents’ issues remain, obviously.
Adopted children are also at risk of severe emotional injury as a result of a mid-life custody transfer. Imagine being 8 years old and being taken out of the only home you’ve ever known by police, only to be handed over to complete strangers who simply happen to share your genetic material. This is a great wrong that American justice ought not permit.
The principle involved is what is best for the children, not what social engineering model ought to be followed. Legal adoption must be final, binding arrangements. Anything less truly is unconscionable.