According to an article published onOctober 22, 2008, in the Ventura County Star newspaper in California, the Ventura County Juvenile Court of California, denied mother Misty Lopez the right to choose the family for her newborn daughter. (Read it here)
Lopez signed over her newborn daughter to Luke and Jozette Jacobellis of Newbury Park in late September. However Lopez, who already has eight children, is under investigation by the County Human Service Agency, for 10 cases of reported child neglect, general neglect or child abuse, and therefore has lost her rights to make decisions about what is best for her child, according to the Court.
Lopez argues that no evidence has been found to support the claims and she doesn’t want the child anyway and is trying to do what is best for her. A hearing has been set for Nov. 19th.
The article does leave out one key issue to be addressed, and that is whether investigations or assessments have been done with regard to the foster parents selected by Lopez.
Considering that Lopez already surrendered the rights to her other eight children and is making efforts to do so with her ninth, I think the mother should have a choice on which family can provide best for her child, rather than having the child get lost in the system and rotate from house to house.
According to the California Senate research, about 77,000 children in California live apart from their families in child welfare supervised out-of-home care; and nearly half of them remain in the system for two or more years. (Source) So instead of allowing for the baby to be adopted and become attached to a foster family immediately, it is possible that the infant will instead be placed in foster care until two years of age.
However, according to Hill v. Patton, 85 P.2d 75 (N.M. 1938), “consent that one person may adopt a child does not give the court jurisdiction to aware it to another,” and “In adoption proceeding mother who has abandoned her child cannot limit court’s selection of foster parent to any particular petitioner.” Comp.St. 1929, §§ 2-105, 2-112.
The Court should find that the contract between Lopez and the Jacobellis is void. Nevertheless, it will be very interesting to see how the Court rules. We will see.