Nevada birth mother loses legal bid to regain baby
December 30, 2002
A Washoe County woman who gave her child up for adoption cannot get the baby back, the Nevada Supreme Court ruled.
At the same time Friday, justices ruled the birth mother’s agreement for limited contact with the child cannot be enforced under state law because it was not part of the adoption decree.
Justices noted the mother relinquished her rights to the child to the New Hope Child and Family Agency for the purpose of adoption.
The mother, who was not identified by the court, even chose the adoptive parents and asked them to adopt her baby, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
“(The birth mother) executed a consent to relinquish parental rights and consent for adoption,” justices wrote. “The documentation expressly stated the relinquishment was irrevocable. She told them, ‘You make a beautiful family.”‘
All went well for six months until the adoptive parents changed the baby’s middle name and put the child in day care.
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The birth mother then sought to terminate the adoption, claiming written and verbal promises were broken.
She also accused the adoptive father of inappropriately touching the child, a charge that police later determined was unfounded.
Her lawyer also contended the birth mother was not “psychologically capable” of giving the child up for adoption.
But the court ruled the birth mother was an educated woman who made many major decisions, including a home purchase six months before the child was born.
In the related decision, Justice Miriam Shearing wrote that the adoptive parents could deny the birth mother contact with the child, despite the agreement that allowed her limited access.
Under the agreement struck before the adoption was finalized, the adoptive parents were to send photos of the child every six months and let her visit on the child’s birthdays.
Shearing said the adoptive parents complied with the agreement until the birth mother sought the child’s return.
Because the agreement was not incorporated in the adoption decree, the birth mother’s rights to the child were terminated upon adoption, Shearing wrote.