Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Biology is irrelevant, judge rules in gay custody battle

MILESTONE: Allison Scollar (left) won custody of her daughter in a legal battle with the girl’s birth mother, Brook Altman (right).
Schollar and Altman in better times
If there is any doubt that in the mind of some, being the biological mother doesn't count for much--particularly if you are a lesbian parent--consider this: A Family Court judge has awarded full custody of a young child to her adoptive mother, instead of her biological mom, in what is believed to be the first such New York state case involving a same-sex couple.

From the New York Post: "Manhattan Judge Gloria Sosa-Lintner said, 'Although . . . [Brook] Altman is the biological parent, this does not give her an automatic priority over the adoptive parent. This is analogous to a father getting custody of his own child, where only the best interests of the child are paramount.'” Custody was awarded to Altman's former partner, Allison Scollar, who had formally adopted the girl.


BIOLOGY IS IRRELEVANT. NOT
Wait one moment!  What we don't know yet from the story is whether Altman, 47, a former TV producer and now a life coach, is an inferior parent, as a divorcing father would have to show about the mother before the judge awarded the father custody, but in any case--he would still be a biological parent. So much is wrong here my head is spinning. More from the Post:
“Love doesn’t just come from biology,” a relieved Scollar, 50, said days after being awarded custody and decision-making authority for her daughter, who turns 6 tomorrow. [Today] “And the minute I saw this little baby, I knew she was mine.
Lorraine and daughter post reunion
“'It’s a step closer to the gay community being acknowledged as parents,” Scollar said in the offices of her lawyers Marilyn Chinitz and Brett Ward.... 'The law needs to catch up to diverse families — and it has.'”
Chinitz went on praise the judge for “a great decision” that focused on the fact that, under the law, “the biology of the child is irrelevant."
The law needs to catch up to diverse families? The biology of the child is irrelevant? Tell that to the thousands of adoptees of all ages who are trying to find their biological parents. Tell that to the mothers who are anxiously and hopefully awaiting to hear from the children they surrendered long ago to adoption. Tell that to the centuries of history that inform us otherwise. Biology matters. Genetics count.

And the minute I saw this little baby, I knew she was mine? You want to run that by us again, Allison? The baby that your partner gave birth to, whose genes she carries? You saw her and you knew she was "yours"?

In the ruling, Judge Sosa-Lintner stated that Altman acted more like a friend or a big sister, while Scollar was the more responsible parent. The girl was conceived with sperm from a then-close friend of Scollar, Robert Frame, who signed away his parental rights so that Scollar could legally adopt the infant. Although that was a legal contract, Frame continued to act as if he "had a say" over how the girl was raised, and Altman, the mother, took his side, causing friction between the couple. Altman is appealing the decision.

IMPACT ON THE BABY MARKET
These kinds of stories are difficult to read because they are incredulous to first mothers who--because of biology--so desperately want to have a relationship with their long-gone children. While we believe that gay and lesbian couples should have all the rights of straight folks, marriage and all, the impact this has on adoption is troubling. More gay couples adopting puts more pressure on the market to produce more children available for adoption. Just the other week friends were discussing that a son of another friend was possibly gay, but hadn't come out of the closet yet. The conversation went like this: How did his parents feel? Since he is an only child, would they be concerned about grandchildren?

Well, they can always adopt, said one of my good friends. (See, IRL I don't talk about adoption much.)

"Cue the birthmother, stage left," I forcefully responded, trying to make a joke of it. Ha ha.

Then I had to explain that there were not enough babies to fill the growing maw of a market for them, that the idea that "he can always adopt" serves to ratchet up demand, that because there are profits in adoption, agencies and surrogates look for a way to fill the market. The way to do that is to encourage teens and women to give up their babies to all these nice wanting couples. Oh, said everyone. Right. I made my point, but I don't think I made much of an impact.

FROM TV TO REAL LIFE and vice versa
Consider the new tasteless TV comedy, The New Normal, about a gay couple having a baby with a cute sweet surrogate. Or the nice gay couple of Modern Family, which wins Emmy after Emmy, including several for the actor who plays one of the gay parents. I can't help myself, Modern Family is funny. So is The New Normal. And while I'm not watching because I can't stand it, certainly I'm Having Their Baby must have included one gay couple by now. Adam Pertman and David Brodzinky (see below) have written a book about gay and lesbian adoption.

Attention such as this does impact the mind of the general populus, increasing acceptance of gay parenting, and there is nothing we can do about it. In the village where I live, I often see gay couples pushing babies around. It's not gay parenting per se that I object to; it is how the kids come to be available. Certainly gay couples giving love and a home to children who would otherwise be homeless is a good thing. But the overall acceptance of same-sex parenting adds more pressure all around to find more children available for adoption. Once again, it turns the original concept--finding homes for needy children--on its head, for now the market is finding babies for needy couples and single people.

Just as gay marriage, gay adoption is an hot button issue, particularly among conservatives. Recently sociologist Mark Regnerus published a study showing that same-sex parents put the children at a disadvantage, though many social scientists deemed the study deeply flawed. Most conservative organizations with "family" in the name oppose same-sex parenting. Openly gay Rupert Everett has reportedly been on the receiving end of hate mail and death threats after he criticized it, according to the Huffington Post. 

But we cannot turn back the clock and stop gays and lesbians from adopting; if they have the money and the will, they will proceed. What we must do instead is reach the baby-makers, the women, and convince them that the adoption option is not a good choice for a happy, satisfying life. That selling your eggs and creating a child who will never know you is not good for the mental health and well-being of that individual so created. That being a surrogate for cash is creepy, and no matter how you try to sugar-coat it, it is still creepy.--lorraine
_____________
See: Judge rejects birth mother & gives custody to partner
Allison Scollar, New York Adoptive Mother, Wins Full Custody Over Birth Parent In Same-Sex Legal Battle

Related Posts from FMF:
Response to The Adoption Option

Who's the IVF Daddy? Opps, I only have a 'second parent'
High number of adoptions in the US is a national disgrace
Adoption Posters at Abortion Clinics...Why Not Truth-Counselors at Adoption Agencies? We volunteer.
Corruption in International Adoption? Highly Over-rated. 

About the book above, Adoption by Lesbians and Gay Men: A New Dimension in Family Diversity? We have no comment at this time. At Amazon there are a bunch of positive blurbs from academics. We have liked a book about adoption that Brodzinsky co-authored, Being Adopted: The Lifelong Search for Self but about this one, we only present it as an example of a trend that is already here.

41 comments :

  1. "The biology of the child is irrelevant?"

    Ahhh, but if not for that "pesky" biology none of us would be here right now, especially the children who come from other people; that some certain entitled people think they have a sick, possessive right to.

    These people are so *&^&*(*($) in the head it is astounding...

    No, what is "irrelevant" is people who make off with other people's children and think it is okay, whom make statements like "as soon as I saw the child, I knew he/ she was mine". Irrelevant and psychotic, to boot..

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  2. I read this with a lot of interest because I cannot decide exactly how to feel about adoption and gay couples. On the one hand, I am adamantly pro-gay rights. On the other, I have felt concern over exactly what you say- that it almost becomes in this case about finding babies for families, not families for babies.

    I have such discomfort between trying to come to terms with all my feelings surrounding surrogacy and adoption and gay couples. My desire for equal rights for gay people clashes straight up against where I feel the adoption industry has gone awry, and it's difficult to grapple with these conflicting beliefs. Add in surrogacy and situations like this one, and it becomes a murky situation where I feel the best interests of the child are coming last in our (honorable) desire to improve the basic human rights of gay people.

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  3. This ruling scares me. It is the beginning of a slippery slope. It shows just how much the adoption industry has affected our national consciousness. Love is all you need to be a family. Or to quote Ms. Oprah Winfrey "biology is the least of what makes someone a mother" (I guess she would know).

    At the risk of flunking political correctness, I am glad I was raised by heterosexual parents. I think just being adopted is hard enough. I support gay rights and gay marriage. Whatever type of relationship people want to have as long as it's consensual and doesn't hurt others is fine by me.

    But same-sex couples cannot create a baby. Just like in previous generations, when a woman married past the age of forty it was assumed that the couple would not have children. They didn't expect to get someone else's kid. Of course for those children who really have no bio-family then a loving family is what they need.

    Australia is offering apologies while the U.S. is sinking deeper and deeper into the "biology doesn't matter" mindset. Scary doings in our part of the world.

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  4. Adoption is everywhere.

    1)This is the title of an article on Wetpaint about Sean Lowe, the next lead of ABC's 'The Bachelor".

    "Bachelor Sean Lowe Is “Looking for His Best Friend” — and Open to Adopting Children!

    Sean also wants a big family and would love to adopt a child, as well as have some of his own,..."


    2)The show Shark Tank had a husband and wife who were looking for a loan to get their cookie business off the ground. In their bio it was mentioned that they are the parents of an adopted daughter. The parents were talking about how desperate they were for investors since their unemployment compensation was running out and they were in dire financial straits. I couldn't understand how this couple was able to adopt. I thought adoption was supposed to mean a more affluent life for the child than her natural parents could provide. I certainly hope this little girl was adopted from foster care and was truly in need of a home. And not the daughter of some vulnerable first mother who was coerced into giving her child up so that she could get a 'better' life.

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  5. While I disagree that biology is irrelavant, I am glad that a non-biological mother was awarded custody of her child. I believe that in most cases, BOTH parents should be awarded joint custody, but that would obviously depend on the situation. It is precedent that needed to be set. Before you jump down my throat, understand where I am coming from. I am adopted (in a closed adoption in 1980), I am a birthmother (in an open adoption)and have done 3 second-parent adoptions with my wife of 13 years. I am currently raising 2 biological and 1 non-biological child as my own and to me, they are all the same. I am thankful to know that if something should happen between my wife and I, that I have the same rights to ALL my children.

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    1. In your case I can see how it is easier to treat all the children the same. I could not even comprehend your family situation on paper
      when you wrote it down.

      If anything were to happen I hope you have protected the children by legal methods and not by how much you love your wife and kids.

      Gale

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  6. Having known people with joint custody, I will say that it ONLY works when the two people are in agreement about most things before the divorce, particularly parenting issues, such as education, discipline, finances. If there is no agreement, joint custody is a continuing headache because someone has to have final say.

    Robin: I think it's best to leave a casual approach to the use of the term, birth mother re first mother. It's often impossible to tell when someone is new, and of course, as long as "birth mother" is in the name of the blog (though not the url), people will use it. But subtly we will march forward and influence language, as I feel we already have.

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  7. Wow! This is not a victory for adoptive gay parents. If anything it is a cautionary tale on why not to let your partner adopt your biological child. I am sure many will heed that warning after this court decision.

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  8. I too am surprised that the judge didn't order joint custody. In Oregon courts encourage joint custody where both parents are fit. (The laws today no longer give preference to mothers).

    Joint custody can avoid drawn-out court fights where judges end up making an arbitrary decision on the "best interests of the child."

    Of course as Lorraine noted, joint custody may just kick conflicts down the road. In Oregon judges may require parents to go to classes designed to teach them about resolving issues. Judges may also require parties to go to mediation to resolve issues that come up.

    I believe, however, that judges should give preference to natural parents. It's a fantasy to say that that blood doesn't matter--and it's scary. Denying the importance of blood is another step on the road to government redistribution of children from natural parents to those "experts" deem to be better parents.

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  9. The article linked to was in the New York Post, a paper only marginally more reputable and accurate than the National Enquirer, particularly on matters of adoption.

    However if one were to take the NY Post article at face value, the Judges position does not seem unreasonable. Once the non-biological parent adopted the child, she was a legal parent of that child with the same legal rights as the other parent. In most adoptions, both legal parents are adoptive and the biological parents are no longer the child's legal parents (and have almost no rights at all).

    The biological parent in this case appears to have lost most of her parental rights because of her behavior during this case. Aside from attempting a parental abduction, she appears to have mad many perjurous allegations (including accusations of child abuse). The child abuse allegations resulted in a traumatic experience for the child and made the birth mother seem indifferent to her child's best interests.

    Perjury is a crime which is seldom prosecuted but if proven during a case, it will severely weaken the case of the perjurous party.

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  10. You may not like the Post's politics--we don't--but for news stories they are as accurate as anyone else. I guess you, Anonymous, did not click the next link to the Huff Po.

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  11. I think that a custody dispute between two parents who were formerly part of a shared household (regardless of their sexual orientation) is just a very different thing from an infant adoption, personally. I don't think it necessarily ought to shake out the same way.

    In infant adoption, parental rights are being transferred from the (usually entirely fit) biological family to another family the child does not yet have any ties whatsoever to. The importance of biology is a huge factor in whether that transfer is a good idea - in my opinion it's not if there would be any way to help the original family raise their child.

    I wouldn't ever describe biology as "irrelevant" because it's a huge part of what makes us what we are, but I also think that when a co-parent relationship has [i]already[/i] been established, it becomes just one of a number of factors in play, not always [i]the[/i] deciding factor.

    Strength of the bond and parenting ability also come into custody situations in ways they don't in infant adoption, because the child already [i]has[/i] a parental relationship with both halves of the former couple. A custody dispute is not about whether to establish a parental relationship from nothing like an adoption is, so the rest of the situation matters too.

    To me, that there are other factors involved that also need to be weighed is more what the judge's opinion seemed to be getting at, although it wasn't worded as well as it could have been.

    If a parent doesn't want her/his partner to have the same rights, she/he shouldn't allow the partner to adopt her/his biological child. Equalizing those rights is exactly what a stepparent adoption [i]does[/i]. It's a binding legal agreement, not just an emotional gesture, and I think that's something a parent really ought to be thinking through carefully and taking seriously.

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  12. Biology matters TO THE CHILD!!!

    This ruling is so obviously only from the adult's perspective. I also think it's interesting that the biological father wanted to have a say even though he had willingly given up his parental rights. It sounds like he still felt a connection to the (his) child. Biology does matter.

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  13. Obviously the judge hasn't a clue re the biological links between parent and child. I was with you all the way on this--up to the point where you introduced the factor of gay couples "adding to the market" for babies. Yes, they do, but pretty certainly far less than do non-gay couples; why ask gays in particular to back down? This is not unlike saying too many Mexican immigrants are ruining the wages situation, or too many old people needing health care is ruining the country's budget. It's picking out a minority group as if it were the cause of a flaw that is systemic. And the flaws here are the ideas that babies are to fill a market neeed, and that a non-bio parent has the same rights to raise a child as has its bio/birth parent.

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  14. According to the laws of New York, a non-bio parent of an adopted child has exactly the same rights as a bio parent would once an adoption has been finalized. All Judges are required to follow the law.

    As for the New York Post, they have reported on an adoption case which I am familiar with. The "journalist" who wrote the article clearly didn't understand the case or the laws pertaining to it.

    I will check out the Huffington Post article but if the NY Post did manage to describe the case accurately, the Judge appears to have made the correct decision and the bio parent is unlikely IMHO to prevail on appeal. Appellate courts do not rule on the facts of the case, they rule on the Judge's interpretation of the law.

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  15. The Huff post article appears to be a rehash of the original NY Post article with a stock photo of a British birth certificate added, presumably they couldn't find a New York one.

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  16. Robin, I agrree ..biology does maater to the child. I am so tired of readingthe same old discussions from the parents view and the best in terst of the child being preverted to the best interst of the adults. It is so obvious to those of us that have been the child its almost glaring.

    I so this non biological mother acts as the mother and has the maturity to allow the childs bio into his/her life.this poor child has to deal with being born into an alternative sitution and then deal with the adoption, then deal with two mothers that hate each other and a sperm donor that really does have an interst and the child suppose to be ok and end up ok with it all....the world is crazy. Then there are all these academic arguments on the right or wrong of it...who really should win and who should lose..mom 1? mom2? dad1? and any other spouses..girlfriends or whatever that come into the picture.

    would people just back off from this baby lust and deal with your own issues before bringing innocent babies in? Child first...not moms, not dad..but that has become such a hollow comment...they will claim its for the child but being the adoptee i am... i tend to doubt it.

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  17. Interesting, nevertheless, that here we see again a nice example of the use of "Birth Mother" meaning, just "Mother by birth", not mother who relinquished.
    And yes, biology is to a large degree irrelevant under law, Dutch law for instance sees no problem with a child being acknowledged by a man who CANNOT be the child's sire (nice for moms with fatherless baby and loyal boyfriend, for instance).
    If biology was not largely irrelevant under (family) law, strong adoption would not exist, and marriage, if existing, would hardly matter, but that is not a reason to disregard nine months or so of most intimate family life, which might be seen as giving a stronger claim to parenthood than, either marriage or adoption.

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  18. Anon 9:44,
    I love your comment. It's so obvious that no one gives a $h!t about the child. First she has to deal with having 2 mommies and a sperm donor for a father and now thanks to our wonderful up-to-date laws she has lost all legal relationship with BOTH of her natural parents. This is in the child's best interest? Right! {insert sarcasm}

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  19. i am not any more anti gay adoption than i am anti straight adoption.

    it's just as exploitative. it has the same potential to be emotionally shattering for the dyad, over the long run.

    i couldn't care less what people do in their bedrooms with another consenting adult. it's just hard for me to care. but i do care what how everyone - everyone - comports themselves in our society. participating in the business of adoption is repellent to me no matter who does it.

    chinitz said "under the law, the biology of the child is irrelevant."

    charles dickens wrote "the law is an ass"

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  20. Paula: We are against any group which puts more pressure on the market to find more babies to adopt, because that does increase the pressure for agencies to tailor their tools to entice more women to give up their babies. So we are against any group-- career couples, people who wait to think about adding children to their lives until they are past their "fertile-by date"--that adds to the already big pool of people who want to adopt--a bigger pool than there are the infants they desire. Any additional group anxious for babies is an added pressure for the stork market. My eyes glaze over when I hear about the nice straight couple down the street--and they are nice, I know them--who want to adopt in the same fashion. So I am against them too, as any regular reader of this blog knows. This is made abundantly clear in our permanent page, Response to The Adoption Option. Link at top of home page.

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  21. I think it is not only the pool of potential adoptive parents but that there is a mindset in the gay rights community that there should actually BE a baby available to adopt. I see this mindset also especially among Hollywood actresses who think they can pursue their careers until their mid-forties and then JUST adopt (love ya Viola Davis but not your family planning approach). That, of course, someone else will be ready, willing and able to supply a baby for them.

    It really has nothing to do with being for or against gay rights or whether or not sexual preference has any bearing on one's ability to be a good parent.

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  22. I understand your frustration at the idea that biology is irrelevant. No, it's not irrelevant.

    But there's a bigger context here than biology versus adoption. Both of these women planned this child and were together for its conception and birth. This child knew them both as parents for her entire life--including prenatally.

    It is not a case of stranger adoption or a child losing its biological origins.

    Most importantly, this ruling is a huge change from previous rulings all over the country (and circumstances in which, with no legal standing, no court could intervene even if it wanted to) that have separated children from parents they have known since birth.

    This is an enormous problem in the world of lesbian parenting. It happened to me (no court involved as I had no legal standing).

    It's not just about adoptive parents claiming children that are not biologically related, it's about children losing parents. It is absolutely in the best interest of children that both partners in a lesbian parenting couple be regarded as "real" parents by courts.

    The question of third-party reproduction ("donor" gametes being bought and sold, "surrogate" mothers being hired, etc.) is a separate question from whether these parents, once they ARE parents, need equal treatment by the law. They do mainly because their CHILDREN need this.

    I am a strong believer in openness in all third-party reproduction and in the BANNING of money in exchange for third-party reproductive assistance. Need an egg? Ask your sister. Need a "surrogate" ask your best friend. Need sperm? Ask your partner's brother.

    And tell the kid from day one who everyone is and maintain strong relationships with them.

    But that does not mean that the people important to children--though not genetically tied to them--should be thrown under the bus when the adults can't get along.

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  23. Here's an example of an ugly case that went on for a few years. The kids won in the end, thankfully:

    http://lilysea.blogs.com/peterscrossstation/2009/05/behave.html

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  24. LilySea wrote:
    "It is not a case of stranger adoption or a child losing its biological origins."

    It is a case of the child no longer having any legal connection to either of her biological parents which, as a fellow adoptee, I can tell you is very significant. The adoptive mother who is now her only legal parent has every right legally to move the girl halfway around the world and to end all connection that the girl has with her biological families. She could very well grow up with her biological relatives no longer being any part of her life. This ruling has paved the way for her to be separated not only from her biological relatives but from her true ancestry as well. This is very significant and quite sh*tty.

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  25. from today's New York Times in a story about step relationships after a divorce:

    If you don’t talk to your brother for 20 years, he’s still your brother. Don’t talk to your ex-stepbrother, and he becomes just another former acquaintance.

    What makes the difference? Biology.

    Although it may be difficult to have this decision overturned, we can only hope there is a loophole somewhere that the natural mother can climb through.

    When you read the whole story in the Post, one of the complaints of Scollar (the adoptive mother) was that the biological mother did not treat the child's therapy appointments seriously. The judge wrote: "...or felt that play dates were more important than therapy..." At one point Altman, the biological mother, flew with the daughter to California without Scollar's (adopted mother) knowledge or permission.

    There were other allegations, but with the judge making that kind of absurd statement--biology is irrelevant--it is hard to accept the outcome. Robin is right, Altman will have no say about how the child is raised, where she will live, what school she will attend. I couldn't find out anything about visitation rights. LilySea does make some good points, however, and despite the acrimony between the two women now, they need to find a way to work together for the good of the child, and should have been ordered to do so.

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  26. Robin, judges cannot make rulings based on what the custodial mother *might* do. The same thing--and the same problem--happens with married biological parents all the time. They can only make a ruling based on the evidence regarding who is more fit to parent. Lilly was correct to point out that this is no infant-adoption/stranger-adoption case. This is more like a step-parent adoption case, where a new family form has been constituted. However, in this case, the family form was there from the outset, the non-biological mother was also there, and the child is no doubt equally attached to her. The two women are both real parents in every sense of the word. To deny this is to admit what I fear many of you on this forum believe to be true--that only natural is real.

    Agreeing with Lorraine's last point: one hopes the acrimony can be put aside for the sake of this child and that both mothers can be a part of her life. This seems to me a much more balanced approach than dismissing the adoptive mother outright as a force for bad stuff down the road (which we don't even know will happen).

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  27. Lorraine said "There were other allegations, but with the judge making that kind of absurd statement--biology is irrelevant--it is hard to accept the outcome."

    Some of the allegations were very serious and, along with the parental abduction, are probably what let to the Judge deciding that the best interests of the child were best served by awarding full custody to the non-bio parent (the GAL/attorney for the child apparently supported that position).

    There was nothing absurd about the Judges statement regarding biology. In this case it was irrelevant as far as New York law is concerned. Both parties were legal parents of the child.

    Even in a contested adoption case resulting from a revoked adoption consent, a New York Judge is required to rule based on the best interests of the child and disregard the child's biological connection to the birthmother. The adoptive parents and the biological parents are considered to have equal standing. In practice though, some Judges favor the biological parents.

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  28. Robin, this is just about custody. This birth mother keeps her full legal recognition as a mother, she only becomes a non-custodial one.

    Under law biology IS irrelevant.
    In biology US-law is irrelevant.
    In medicine, child protection, nature conservation, law enforcement and daily life both matter.

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  29. Anon,
    While I understand that as a matter of law, both parents were on the same footing, I would think that in determining "the best interests of the child," the judge would consider biology as well as other factors.

    Many child welfare experts would testify to the value of the biological connection. It appears, though, that either there was no evidence of the benefits of being raised by biological relatives or the judge chose to ignore it.

    Flatly denying the relevance of biology as a matter of fact is disturbing.

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  30. Anonymous:

    How about letting us know your incredibly close connection to this case? And why? Are you ...er, Schollar? Her attorney? Involved in the case in anyway? A friend?

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  31. "Robin, judges cannot make rulings based on what the custodial mother *might* do."

    "Robin is right, Altman will have no say about how the child is raised, where she will live, what school she will attend."

    Judges do rule on what they think would be in the best interest of the child in the long-term considering possible outcomes. I'm not saying that the outcome I outlined earlier will happen. My point is that the adoptive mother now has all the POWER. And she certainly can control how much or how little contact the girl has with her bio-families.

    Another reason I don't like this ruling is that I think it will cause conflict for the little girl. I can almost guarantee that she will feel a strong pull to her natural parents. By the judge's decision she is being told that biology is not important. This is going to be at odds with how she really feels and could set up a disconnect between how she really feels and how she thinks she SHOULD feel.

    Isn't this similar to what happened to us BSE babies? We adoptees weren't expected to have such a strong pull to our natural families. Biology wasn't supposed to matter so much. It wasn't true then and it isn't true now.

    This ruling further cements the erroneous adoption mindset that biology doesn't matter. I think it is both frightening and dangerous.

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  32. The point that everyone seems to miss is that no matter the circumstanses biology always matters to the child! If mom and dad were serial killers of the year the child(human) still wants to know their biology..not necessarily the serial killer parents but their biolgy and their ancestory is RELEVANT..its relevent to the adoptee and their children, their children and so one. So someone, anyone just dismisses it and it becauses a matter of law, it dimishes the child..every time. Even when adoptees state they don't care..their children might, their childrens children might. So for those that smirk when clueless people call biology irrelevant...just think of what the child aborsbs...non biology is beeter then biology. so then that means there is something wrong with me as my biology is no good...

    If biology is unable to parent....then the onus needs to be put on those particular people...not biology. Cluelss aparents and society needs to understand what they are saying when they say biology doesn't matter

    Biology is important...the the child. Its a huge piece of who they are. Judges, aparents, social workers need to get that its up to the adults to change themselves, their way of thinking and their expectations of adoption. Its in the best interst of the child...bbiology is aways relevant..if it was not there would be no need for families ...babies would be passed around all the time, there would be no need for infertitly clinics and we would all be disconnected robots. The funny thing is that I believe that everyone knows this...deep in their hearts they KNOW that adoption is sad but that knowledge gets pushed aside for whatever mindset they may be in at the moment. It is sad that a child NEEDS to be adopted and lose bio connections especially if its not really needed. Its does make it better for the child when it is REALLY needed...but it does not make it any less sad that a person loses what they lose when they are adopted.

    Biology is relevant...no matter what anyones says or thinks.

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  33. I have no connection to this case. I read the NY Post article and for the purposes of this discussion, I am assuming the article is accurate though the NY Post has written some incredibly inaccurate articles about adoption cases being litigated (one case they reported on I was very familiar with).

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  34. A few small facts seem to be missing from some of this discourse. Beyond the unfortunate "biology is irrelevant" comment, this is not a contested adoption but a divorce custody case. The child in this situation has been with both legal parents from birth. Would it all sit easier with some had it been a male stepparent who had adopted the partner's child?

    A non-custodial parent does not lose all rights to the child, they just lose custody. In most divorces there is still visitation, and the non-custodial parent is required to pay child support. Joint custody is not always the answer, and it has been a nightmare for some children shunted back and forth between contentious parents.

    The child will still know her biological heritage and any other relatives involved, unlike in a stranger adoption. Her history will not be erased or become a secret. Biology is not the ONLY thing that should be relevant in a custody case, just one of the things, in this case evidently other things were more important. I fail to see how this case relates to most adoptions of the more traditional kind.

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  35. In acrimonious divorces where one parent loses custody, it is very very easy to control visitation, such as visits to grandparents in a distant state; certain holidays and events that do not occur in the mandated visit period, schools, vacations, are totally under the control of the custodial parent, and it is extremely easy to influence a young child's reactions to the parent without custody, as access to the child is more limited.

    Having lived and married a non-custodial parent, whose bitter ex did everything possible to destroy relationships with children, I do have some first had knowledge of how this works.

    Anonymous, since you obviously have a pony in this race, unless you at least tell us where you are coming from--are you a non-biological lesbian parent, involved in the case listed here--your comments may be legally correct but they sure as hell lack heart. You really seem to be coming at this with a vested interest, and until we know that, it is difficult to take your comments seriously--except as someone who doesn't have the guts to say that you are Scollar, or her attorney.

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  36. Lorraine said "How about letting us know your incredibly close connection to this case? And why? Are you ...er, Schollar? Her attorney? Involved in the case in anyway? A friend?"

    Viktoria said "You really seem to be coming at this with a vested interest, and until we know that, it is difficult to take your comments seriously--except as someone who doesn't have the guts to say that you are Scollar, or her attorney."

    Just because anonymous doesn't tow the party line doesn't mean anonymous is Schollar or her attorney - or is in cahoots with either. Opinion doesn't have to be based on personal experience. It's not always all about us.

    The N.Y Post report states that Altman accused Schollar of sexual abuse: "The claims led to an Administration for Children’s Services investigation and a gynecological examination of the girl, with Altman’s consent, despite Altman’s later testimony that she “herself did not believe the child had been sexually abused. "
    That is pretty serious behavior, and certainly not "motherly".
    The judge also said "The evidence shows that the child was traumatized by the ACS experience and yet Respondent-Altman said she believed the chid had a ‘ball or ‘blast’ at the examination,” and that Altman "has continued to profess facts that are not proven or are outright lies . . ."

    I hope that the adults in this case get it together enough to undo at least some of the damage that has already been done to this little girl. Of course biology is relevant. I hope for her daughter's sake that Brook Altman gets visitation rights - and abides by them.

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  37. Thank you Anonymous for making us aware of your disinterested bystander status.

    Now I'm curious, though, what happened in the adoption case
    you are familiar with, and what did The Post do and get wrong? We have seen that in a lot of adoption stories. In publications such as the vaulted New Yorker.

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  38. Lorraine, it seems that your comment (11.35 A.M today) is in response to me. Contrary to what you seem to be implying, I am not Anonymous Oct. 6, 11.06 A.M or October 2, 11.42 P.M or indeed any other Anonymous commentating on this thread. Also, I am no more familiar with this case than you are. My information, such as it is, comes entirely from the N.Y Post and the Huff Po.
    As you said yourself, for news stories the N.Y Post is as accurate as anyone else.

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  39. No, Betty, I wasn't responding to you. I only saw that earlier comment from an ANON today and was responding to that.

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  40. The adoption case I am familiar with was a contested adoption. The NY Post got the basic facts of the case wrong and the "journalist " had no understanding of adoption or contested adoption laws in New York. The Post largely represented one parties version of events as fact but added embellishments of their own. As a result the article did not make any sense from either a logical or legal perspective.

    The case settled after pre-trial discovery under terms favorable to the other party because had it gone to trial they would have almost certainly won. Essentially the opposite outcome that someone reading the article might have expected.

    ReplyDelete

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