Losing one's parental rights to his or her child is a drastic situation that has a significant effect on a parent's and child's life. Imagine not knowing that your parental rights were even in danger and then finding out that you lost child custody and your child has a new home with adoptive parents.
Such was the case for a mother who was living here illegally with her infant son. When authorities arrested the mother for identity theft, she was put in prison for about two years. While imprisoned, the immigrant mother's son was put up for adoption and quickly adopted by a Missouri family.
Did the family have the right to adopt the child while his natural mother was imprisoned? Now out of prison, the mother's attorney argues that no, the boy should not have been able to be legally adopted. His client's rights as a parent were violated when the court decided that being imprisoned is the same thing as abandoning a child.
Also, the legal documents regarding her son's adoption were never presented to her, and even if they had been, the mother could not have read them since no one ever translated them into Spanish. Her lawyer argues that not only have the mother's parental rights been wrongly terminated, but the system has worked against the norm in this specific case when it comes to child custody cases.
Courts dealing with family law cases involving children always keep the best interest of a child at heart when making decisions. According to the immigrant mother's attorney, it is unusual to take a child away from his or her natural mother, as keeping that connection intact is generally seen as favorable to the well-being of a child.
The Missouri Supreme Court began hearing this complex child custody case on Tuesday and is yet to make a decision. No matter how the court rules, however, the love for a child - adopted or natural - is strong, and at least one party will end up mourning its loss.
Columbia Missourian: "Missouri Supreme Court hears illegal immigrant child custody case," Alysha Love, 9 Nov. 2010