I. Introduction: Identifying the Controversy The mythology of adoption involves a scenario in which a teenage girl gets pregnant, and neither she nor the father is ready to raise a child. Upon birth, these young parents voluntarily relinquish the baby to an upwardly mobile couple who have been waiting years to adopt. The adoptive parents become, in essence, the birth parents to the baby who grows up happy and well-adjusted. The birth parents vanish from the picture, perhaps eventually marrying and having additional children. No one looks back. But what happens to this myth when the birth mother changes her mind or misidentifies the father, when the adoptee is not a baby but a ten-year-old foster child, when the adoptive parents abuse the child, when the adoptive parents are the baby's grandparents, or when the adoptee begins asking questions about her family of origin? If ever the reality of adoption fit this myth, it certainly does not today. Adoption, as with every issue involving families, is much more complicated and diverse than the above scenario suggests. Indeed, most adoptions do not even involve infants, but instead concern older children who have lived with multiple families. 1 Moreover, it is now widely recognized that even children adopted as infants do not have just one family, but are always physically and existentially related to their birth families. 2 It is against this backdrop of contemporary adoption that courts are increasingly being called upon to resolve contested adoptions involving competing adults. ...
Annette R. Appell & Bruce A. Boyer,
Parental Rights vs. Best Interests of the Child: A False Dichotomy in the Context of Adoption,
2 Duke Journal of Gender Law & Policy
Available at: http://scholarship.law.duke.edu/djglp/vol2/iss1/5