Two young sisters from Minneapolis have an uncertain future because of a malfunction on the part of the state’s adoption system coordinating with Mississippi authorities. The girls, now aged two and a half years old and 21 months old, are in the process of being adopted by both their current foster parents and their grandmother who lives out of state.
An appeals court will hear the case and decide which family will ultimately be awarded custody of the children. Problems began for this case when Minnesota authorities neglected to do a kinship search within 30 days of the older child’s birth as required by state law. Since the grandmother lived in a different state and was not aware that her son had recently had a child, she was not able to volunteer to take custody at that time.
Instead, the child was based in foster care because her biological parents struggled with substance abuse and were deemed unfit by state authorities. Two months later the grandmother learned whether her granddaughter was and began pursuing an adoption, expressing a desire to adopt a second child when she discovered her son’s girlfriend was pregnant again.
However, the request was not properly recorded with state authorities despite the grandmother’s best efforts. After a delay, adoption agencies began the formal process, conducting a background check and home visit. Unfortunately Mississippi authorities were not in contact with Minnesota authorities and Minnesota officials requested that the foster parents seek to adopt the girls.
The case has recently been heard by the Minnesota Court of Appeals and the families will be able to expect a decision soon.
These issues highlight the importance of attention to detail and the advice of an experienced family law attorney in complex adoption matters.
Source: Star Tribune, “Rosenblum; Loving families pitted against each other in adoption case,” Gail Rosenblum, June 23, 2012