Adoption of S.S.Annotate this Case
The children, born in 2009 and 2012, were placed in the dependency system. They were placed in the care of their paternal grandmother, who formally adopted both children but had significant problems caring for them. Grandmother contacted Adoption Connection and asked that the children be re-placed for adoption, indicating that the children must remain part of the family and that the openness of the adoptions was of primary importance. The new adoptive parents signed an open adoption contract. Difficulties arose after the adoption was finalized and Grandmother learned that the agreement had not been provided to the adoption court and was not considered or made part of the original adoption order. Adoption Connection filed a request to “Amend Judgment of Adoption to Include Post Adoption Contact Agreement.”
The trial court determined that it had no jurisdiction because the court which had originally granted the adoptions had not made the necessary judicial determinations as to whether the post-adoption contact agreement was executed voluntarily and in the best interests of the children. The court of appeal reversed. The trial court could have used its equitable powers to amend the judgments to include the parties’ agreement in the interests of fairness and justice. The trial court also erroneously held that evidence of fraud or an intentional or deliberate misrepresentation was necessary for the grandparents to show the adoptive parents were barred from opposing the amendment under the doctrine of equitable estoppel.