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No Take Backs – what’s done is done

When you consent to adoption your child is gone forever regardless of the circumstances.

On 2 August 2016 the North Carolina Court of Appeals in an unpublished opinion further affirmed what its predecessors had deemed to be true – assuming the court has jurisdiction and the adoption is valid, once a biological parent consents to the adoption of their child by another they effectively relinquish their parental rights indefinitely.

Mom with babyIn Nesbit v. Nesbit, No. COA16-56 (2016), a biological father who consented to the adoption of his son attempted to intervene in a custody proceeding concerning his son nearly 10 years after the adoption. In 2005, the biological father consented to his son’s adoption by a man then in a relationship with his son’s biological mother. In 2015, the biological father attempted to intervene when he learned that the child no longer wanted a relationship with his adoptive father and that the court had entered a Consent Order terminating the adoptive father’s visitation that was awarded when the adoptive father and biological mother separated. The child’s biological father wanted to step in, protect his child and resume his role as father. He wanted to protect his child from alleged illegal drug use by the child’s mother and alleged physical abuse at the hands of the child’s mother and the mother’s relationships. To this, the Court said no – what’s done is done.

In a repeat attempt first tried in Kelly v. Blackwell, 121 N.C. App. 621, 468 S.E.2d 400 (1996), the biological father failed in his attempt to argue that he fell into the category of “other person” enumerated in N.C. Gen Stat. §50-13.1 as one of the categories of persons who may seek custody of a minor child. This argument was rejected for the second time and it was concluded that the biological father lost that right when he consented to the adoption of his child. The Trial Court determined that the biological father lacked standing to seek custody of his child and the Court of Appeals affirmed this ruling.

Lesson to be learned: Don’t consent to the adoption of your child unless you fully understand you are giving up your rights to them forever.

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