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Phillips Esq.
Phillips Esq., Attorney-at-Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 13067
Experience:  B.A.; M.B.A.; J.D.
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we are loving/caring for a 9mo baby boy, placed with us as

Customer Question

we are loving/caring for a 9mo baby boy, placed with us as a pre-adoptive foster home on his 4th day of life, as he was 11th child in a row born addicted to cocaine/marijuana to birth mother. first 8 children all raised entirely in foster homes, each now has either criminal or drug problems or their own children in foster care or all three. last 3 children, incl this baby, were born to a new father, also an addict. the last two of those, instead of being placed in foster care, were placed in pre-adoptive homes like ours. no families showed up in court for any dates and children swiftly had their adoptions finalized. it was assumed the same would occur here.

baby brought to us w/adoption in mind and assumed, 5w premature, mother having no prenatal care, and he was still going through withdrawal. you could hold him in one hand. about a month after placement, we met parents, who seemed ok w/adoption. on second visit w/ them/baby, they were joined by baby's paternal grandmother, here on extended vacation from trinidad, to which she'd recently retired, and was here staying with friends. told us she had been offered the baby at birth, before us, and refused since she'd no place to bring him, was done raising children, didn't want to enable her son the birth father, and would soon be returning to trinidad. she wasn't thrilled that the baby is black and we are white and my husband is nypd to boot.

after several months of parents not showing for visits, paternal grandma started to show for their visits on her own and began to become hostile toward us, saying outright that we had bought the baby on the black market. when the baby was 6 months old, she filed for custody, but didn't show up for court, sending a message with her son that she wasn't going to bother as she thought the court was prejudiced. case was dismissed without prejudice, ironically. at the same time, grandma established residence and became licensed for foster care, telling us she didn't want to adopt him, nor care for him long, but use the baby to get her son off drugs and take responsibility in his life. son is still on drugs. she has not made this statement to authorities, nevertheless, they did not move the baby.

she has made some odd ravings in visits but these are never reported to court by agency in permanency reports. baby's court appointed lawyer is in favor of us adopting, as is children's services. agency seems to be afraid of grandmother and bows to every ridiculous whim.

now baby is 9 months old and suddenly paternal grandma has filed again for custody, specifically citing race and cultural interests as her reason for requesting transfer to her. this time she showed up for court, which seems to be taking her very seriously now, and court has suggested we hire a lawyer for ourselves.

this is likely to cost us a great deal of money. we have a 3 1/2 year old (also black) whom we also adopted from foster care. i had left work to care for her when she arrived and now that she was in school, was about to go back when this baby arrived. meaning we don't have a lot of money at this point. if we lose the case and the baby, we are out a lot of money which could've been spent on her. if we win the case, we get to keep the son we love and have fought to keep alive and healthy and my daughter keeps her brother, with whom there is a mutually deep attachment.

we never imagined when we went into this that we would be arguing with a child's family for him. we wanted to help give a home to a child who didn't have one. when he arrived, it seemed that was the case. now i'm trying to gauge our odds of winning before i blow my first kid's college fund on this case. do we have a case?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to assist you. Kindly use CONTINUE or REPLY button to ask for clarification or follow-up questions.



First and foremost, I commend you for caring and for your kindness towards this child. This child is one lucky child for having you on his side and the Court should recognize that. His grandmother's protestation notwithstanding, this is a case that you can and you should win based on what is in the best interest of the child.


I have carefully reviewed your post and did not read or feel any inkling that the grandmother wants the child because she really wants to help her grandchild. Rather, grandmother is doing this so that she can help her own son. I do not see how getting custody of a child she does not care for and does not want to take care of would make her drug addicted son change his ways. Also, it would not be in the best interest of the child to be potentially exposed to a father who is still struggling with substance abuse. This may happen if the grandmother gains custody of the child. So, this is a fight worth fighting.

You apparently care for the child and has bonded with the child even if you are not the "right race" and your husband is a NYPD. I am not sure how that is even relevant in the case. In any event, this is a fight worth fighting and I am confident that the Court would eventually see it your way after hearing from the parties including the bond between the child and your daughter, who also happens to be the same race. That should account for something, but it should not outweigh the fact that you took the child in based on the understanding that you would eventually adopt him. You have cared for the child and bonded with the child. The Court should respect that and not take him away from a stable environment and from a family who loves him.

I wish you best of luck with the case,

Customer: replied 1 year ago.


thanks for your response and opinion.


 


to clarify, nypd relevance is, in her mind, due to the fact that white cops, in ny anyway, are all racist and therefore should not be raising a black child. she actually asked us why we were seeking a black child to raise. of course, when acs called us and told us they needed an adoptive home for a baby who was languishing unvisited in the hospital we not only forgot to ask the gender, but the race as well. didn't matter. when he arrived an hour later, we were pleasantly surprised to see he looked more like our daughter than us, which is great, as its nice neither child has to be the odd man out, as would be the case if one looked like us and the other didn't. however, this only occurred to us after placement when strangers started marveling at how much my children resemble one another.


 


while i have found one legal precedent of foster parents winning adoption rights over grandparents recently in another state, i have to say there is an ethical issue here - one i'd have to answer to my son someday if i were to take him from family looking to lovingly raise him, so with a broken heart, i might consider bowing out in that case, but whether or not she says so on the record, this grandma has said many times to and in front of me, adamantly, that she has no intention of raising this child, so we press on.


 


with your advice and our hearts in mind, we are nervously moving forward, worried this could go on for years and break our bank, but i'd rather be raising him with less money and a sound family unit than not raising him at all.


 


again, thank you for expertise and good wishes.


 


 


Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 1 year ago.


thanks for your response and opinion.

to clarify, nypd relevance is, in her mind, due to the fact that white cops, in ny anyway, are all racist and therefore should not be raising a black child. she actually asked us why we were seeking a black child to raise. of course, when acs called us and told us they needed an adoptive home for a baby who was languishing unvisited in the hospital we not only forgot to ask the gender, but the race as well. didn't matter. when he arrived an hour later, we were pleasantly surprised to see he looked more like our daughter than us, which is great, as its nice neither child has to be the odd man out, as would be the case if one looked like us and the other didn't. however, this only occurred to us after placement when strangers started marveling at how much my children resemble one another.

while i have found one legal precedent of foster parents winning adoption rights over grandparents recently in another state, i have to say there is an ethical issue here - one i'd have to answer to my son someday if i were to take him from family looking to lovingly raise him, so with a broken heart, i might consider bowing out in that case, but whether or not she says so on the record, this grandma has said many times to and in front of me, adamantly, that she has no intention of raising this child, so we press on.

with your advice and our hearts in mind, we are nervously moving forward, worried this could go on for years and break our bank, but i'd rather be raising him with less money and a sound family unit than not raising him at all.

again, thank you for expertise and good wishes.

Response: Thank you so much for the clarification and for deciding to move forward. You are doing a very generous thing here and your son would thank you for it. The grandma is being very selfish and does not have the best interest of her grandson in mind. If she did, she would not be fighting you for custody of the child. I fervently hope that she changes her mind and apologize to you for making you spend money for something that you could have been easy to do with little or no Court costs. Nevertheless, when frustration mounts, you are more than welcome to write back to me.


I truly wish you success in this case and hope that the Court would see you as the best parent for this child.

Phillips Esq., Attorney-at-Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 13067
Experience: B.A.; M.B.A.; J.D.
Phillips Esq. and 7 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


Hi! Me, again... so we had court today. didn't leave feeling good about things, and have another question:

 

baby came to us 4 days old, uncircumcised. My husband's family is eastern european and they do not circumcise. after researching, wwe had decided before we met this baby that if we were ever given an option we would not. I have not let on my preference, but several months in, the birth dad, who isn't looking for custody but hasn't been terminated yet, asked me to ask the doctor about doing it, that it was an accident he hadn't been (most likely because both parents were on drugs when he was born and not paying attention to baby after birth any more than before). i looked into it and came back to them and told them it would now be an elective (non-insured) procedure, riskier as anaesthesia was involved and not recommended unless a medical need (ie infection) arose. dad has today asked court to go ahead with circumcision (baby is now 9 months old), that he will pay the cost. my research shows b/w 2000 and 3000 $ and the guy is receiving legal aid. i would like the procedure to be put off til custody is decided. is there precedent for this?

 

-jenny mayer

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