Adoption Proceeding

Represented foster parents who were attempting to adopt the foster child that had been living with them for almost three years. The maternal grandmother of the child, who had been named in the original abuse and neglect petition, was also attempting to adopt the child. The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources recommended that the child be removed from the foster parents and adopted by the grandmother. The Guardian ad Litem recommended that the child remain where he was and be adopted by the foster parents. We presented the only expert testimony that the child’s best interest was served by remaining with the foster parents and being adopted by them. The Circuit Court ordered the child to be immediately removed from the foster parents and placed with the grandmother for adoption. We filed an appeal to the West Virginia Supreme Court. The Supreme Court overturned the Circuit Court and found that it had not properly considered the best interest of the child, which supersedes the grandparent preference in both the DHHR policies and case law, in making its ruling. The Supreme Court ordered that the child be returned to the foster parents and placed with them for adoption. The grandmother and DHHR filed a motion for rehearing that was denied by the Supreme Court. The clients are in the process of moving forward with the adoption.