Grandmother battles foster parents for child custody

A grandmother continues to fight for child custody of her two grandchildren, despite the fact her efforts were turned away by two other courts thus far. Her pleas have now reached the Minnesota Supreme Court, which she hopes will finally give her the sole custody she is looking for.

The parents of the two children, who are age 3 and 2, voluntarily gave up their parental rights as they battle addiction - one of those parents being the woman's son. The woman said that her son only gave up his parental rights under the understanding that the children would be placed in her custody.

Instead, a family court judge deemed it best that the children be put in a foster home with guardians that they are not related to. This was done even though the grandmother immediately petitioned the judge for custody of the children when their parents gave up their rights. The judge determined it was in the children's best interest, citing the fact that the grandmother's son was illiterate. This showed that she did not properly raise him, even though she argued that she herself is literate.

The foster parents with whom the children now reside are battling against the woman for custody of the children. That couple wants to legally adopt the children.

The children's grandmother has already pointed out wrongdoing on behalf of the couple. Under law, foster parents are not allowed to change a child's name, but the grandmother claimed that the couple calls the 2-year-old Hannah, when her legal name is Dorothy. Racial undertones have also permeated in the case, as the grandmother is African-American and the foster parents are Caucasian.

The grandmother said that the foster parents initially approached her about striking a deal. They wanted her to allow them to adopt the children and, in return, they would let her visit. The woman was not interested in the deal.

Family court judges determine custody arrangements solely on the best interests of the children. Some might argue that staying with familiar relatives would make for an easier transition, but a judge ultimately has the final word.

Source: Twin Cities Daily Planet, "Grandmother's fight for her grandchildren reaches the state Supreme Court," Harry Colbert Jr., Dec. 20, 2012

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