Adoption of Baby Boy W.Annotate this Case
Jacqueline W. and Garrett J. were the unwed biological parents of Baby Boy W. When Jacqueline knew Garrett was Baby Boy W.'s biological father, but she denied Garrett's requests that she sign a voluntary declaration of paternity that would have established Garrett as Baby Boy W.'s statutory presumed father. She then sought to have A.H. and M.H. (the Hs) adopt Baby Boy W. at birth, despite the fact that Garrett had repeatedly stated that he wanted to raise Baby Boy W. himself. Garrett filed a petition to establish his paternity, and Jacqueline and the Hs (collectively, appellants) filed a petition to terminate his parental rights. The trial court found that Garrett established his paternity rights under "Adoption of Kelsey S.," 1 Cal. 4th 816. The trial court denied appellants' petition, and entered judgment in Garrett's favor, thereby halting the adoption. Appellants argued on appeal that: (1) the trial court misunderstood and misapplied Kelsey S., and (2) there was not sufficient evidence to support the trial court's Kelsey S. findings. The Court of Appeal disagreed in both respects and affirm the judgment: "We understand that the consequences of our decision, i.e., halting the Hs' adoption of Baby Boy W., will undoubtedly be heartbreaking for the Hs, who have had custody of Baby Boy W. since the day after his birth. We also realize that removing Baby Boy W. from the Hs and placing him with Garrett and/or Jacqueline will require a period of adjustment for Baby Boy W. However, those emotional considerations, precipitated by Jacqueline's unilateral decision that adoption was in Baby Boy W.'s best interests, do not override Garrett's constitutional right to establish a parental relationship with Baby Boy W."