Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Sad but just, nature versus nurture.

I've been following this case for a while and now it seems, just as it was being resolved, the student couple at the centre of the case where a judge ruled that their baby should remain with its would-be adoptive parents are going to the Supreme Court today in a bid to overturn the decision.

"Two-year old baby-girl Ann should remain in the care of her intended adoptive family as returning her back to her natural parents would damage her psychologically, the High Court ruled in the case last month.

In the landmark judgment, Mr Justice John MacMenamin held that the mental harm done by placing Ann with her natural parents, who have since married, displaced the presumption in the Constitution that the ideal place for the upbringing of a child was within the biological family unit.

He said the constitutional right of the child to the protection of her health and welfare should be the deciding factor.

It is understood that five judges as well as the presding Chief Justice John Murray will hear the Supreme Court appeal against the High Court's decision.

The Supreme Court has set aside two days for the hearing.

It will be held in camera with the public and media being excluded from the case.

Mr Justice MacMenamin last month described the High Court case as "most difficult and distressing".

He ruled that baby Ann - not her real name - should stay with the couple who wished to adopt her and with whom she has formed an emotional bond.

She was born in 2004. Her birth parents placed her in adoption in November of that year when they were unmarried students.

Ann has since remained with the carer family.

The natural parents married in January 2006, which constituted them as a family unit under the Constitution. They started legal action to regain custody of their baby a month later.

Mr Justice MacMenamin said there were compelling reasons why the child's custody should not be altered and that there had been what was termed a "failure of duty" displacing the normal constitutional presumption in favour of the family unit.

Thus, the child should remain with the would-be adoptive family. The judge referred to the case as complex, tragic and distressing, and expressed much regret that the court did not have the power to make any other decision in the circumstances which would have the effect of allowing some "middle ground".

He also ordered that the identities of those involved be protected.

"At the heart of this case there are two couples, who through no fault of their own have been placed in a position which can only attract sympathy and compassion. They are legally entitled to their privacy. More fundamentally, so too is Ann," Mr Justice MacMenamin added."

I have no doubt that the young couple feel terrible about the loss of their natural child, but if they really cared anything for her at all they should leave her with her family. For that is what her adoptive parents are.
This child is two, she has bonded with and loves her adoptive parents. To wrench her from them and place them with two people she does not know would be cruel. Further more her natural mother could have challanged the adoption process much earlier than January 06, she did not, she waited until she was married. Why? In this day and age if she wanted to raise the child alone or unmarried she could have done. She did not.
Sometimes the decisions we make in life can haunt us, and I'm sure this young couple regret placing their child into the adoptive loop. But again, if they truly have the best interests of the child at heart they will not further compound their sorrow by destroying a little girl's sense of family, security and trust by wrenching her from the only people she knows purely for selfish-if understandable- reasons.
This is a sad and heart breaking case for all involved, the natural parents and the adoptive parents, who must be in terror of losing their little girl.
I hope the Supreme Court upholds Judge MacMenamin's astute and compassionate ruling.


Blogger Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

What a sad, sad story.

I have to agree with you; it would be very hard to take her away from her family now, but her natural parents must be heartbroken.

It's too sad.

11:03 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My little girl is two next month. Her Daddy and Mummy are her entire world. I can only imagine how utterly distraught and horribly confused she would be if she were uprooted and transferred to two other people. She would not have any clue what was happening except that the most important things in her life were no more.

I completely agree with your view on this. It would be far to distressing for the poor child to allow it.

11:28 a.m.  
Blogger SheBah said...

The Supreme Court will really have no choice but to to leave the child with its adoptive parents, to wrench her away from the parents she knows and loves would be cruel and inhuman. Though I do have sympathy for the natural parents too. What a mess they made of it.

11:42 a.m.  
Blogger John Mc said...

God, there really are no winners in this one. I agree with you, at two removing her is probably a bad idea. But, she will grow up and when she finds our her natural parents wanted her back, but her adoptive parents refused, its going to be awful. Can you imagine finding that out as a teenager when you already have a dim view of your parents.

5:16 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Jesus, I would have been so happy.
'You're really NOT my mother!"

5:36 p.m.  
Blogger oldcrow61 said...

I agree with everything above. It is indeed a tragedy. Heartbreak all around.

11:50 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know it's a horrible situation but I don't think anyone remembers stuff from when they were two,

Plus I know alot of adopted people and they're all depressed (can't be a coincidence)

I think it is definately in the best interests of the child to be returned to it's biological parents.

Kids are way stronger and adaptable than you would think

2:45 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Oh please, I know a lot of non adopted people who are depressed. Is THAT a coincidence?

3:41 p.m.  
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