The issue before the court is whether a parent who adopted out her children had the right to seek custody of them upon learning that the children were being sexually abused by the adoptive father.
The petitioner voluntarily surrendered her parental rights to her three children, 2 daughters and a son. As part of the post-surrender agreement, the mother retained the right to visit with the children, and she did so regularly. The three children were subsequently adopted. A few years after the adoption, Biological Mother found out that the children were not living in a safe environment. One of her daughters was being sexually abused by Adoptive Father. The other daughter was being sexually abused by an unrelated person. The son was being bullied in the adoptive home. In response, Biological Mother sought custody of the children. Adoptive Father admitted that he sexually abused one of the daughters and was in jail. Adoptive Mother filed a motion opposing Biological Mother’s petition, arguing that she had no standing to file for custody. Adoptive Mother also stated that she wanted to keep the children and that she was divorcing the adoptive father. In addition, the attorney representing the children opposed Biological Mother’s petition for custody.
The question before the court is whether a biological mother who previously surrendered her children has standing to bring an Article 6 custody petition against the children’s adoptive parents in a case where the adoptive father has admitted to sexually abusing one of the children.