Woman adopted in 1955 finds her biological mother in Virginia

On behalf of Jarrell, Hicks & Waldman, PC posted in Child Custody on Tuesday, October 23, 2012.

When a Virginia couple finds out that they are about to have a child, the news can come with a flood of mixed emotions. Sometimes the couple is ecstatic and welcomes the news, other couples may have doubts whether parenthood is right for them and may consider adoption. In other instances, a couple may have relationship issues and news of a pregnancy may stir up a child custody dispute, particularly when the couple is unmarried and a father's parental rights become an issue.

Many of these questions and issues rose to the surface for one Virginia woman in 1955 when she discovered that she was pregnant. At the time, the Virginia woman was married. She had planned to divorce her husband, however, and did not want him to know about the pregnancy. As a result, she fled to Michigan to hide the pregnancy. There was no discussion of a parenting plan or fathers' rights with her husband. When she gave birth, the woman then decided to place her daughter up for adoption.

Her daughter always knew that she was adopted but did not know her biological parents. When her adoptive mother died in 2011, the daughter decided to search for her biological mother. Recently, the Virginia mother and her daughter were reunited.

It is unclear whether the daughter will ever discover who her biological father is. This sad reality is unfortunately real life for many children. Parents become overwhelmed by the responsibilities of parenthood and relationship issues, which make it difficult for them to identify the best interests of the child. And sometimes, like in the Virginia mother's case, they keep a child from her father denying him his parental rights.

Under the law, however, all biological parents have a right to be consulted before an adoption, and they have rights to visitation and custody with that child. This is true both when a couple is married and when they are unmarried.

It is especially important for Virginia fathers to recognize the extent of their rights as a biological parent. With the right information early on in the process, fathers can navigate the legal system and ensure that they have an active role in the decision to either place their child for adoption or seek custody of their child if that is their goal.

Source: mlive.com, "Nearly 60 years after adoption, woman meets mom," Oct. 11, 2012

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