Fighting For Custody. Second parent adoption jeopardized in Texas.

A lesbian couple in Galveston, Texas whose eight-year relationship ended is in a legal battle over whether the woman who adopted the child born to her partner should be recognized as the girl’s parent. Because there is no law in Texas on second parent adoptions, the adoption is vulnerable.

The daughter’s biological mother, Julie Anne Hobbs, claims the 2001 adoption by her former partner, Janet Kathleen Van Stavern, is void. She says among the requirements for a child to be adopted under the Texas Family Code is for the child’s relationship with biological parents to be terminated or for the parent whose rights were not terminated to be married to the person seeking custody. Same-sex marriages are not recognized in Texas.

The Texas Supreme Court could put an end to the battle.

If this court decides that a second parent adoption by a gay or lesbian parent is void, that is going to send a very chilling message to all those parents out there who are reliant on that relationship being kept stable.

The adoption of the girl, now 9, by Van Stavern has been upheld by three judges, but attorneys for biological mother Hobbs continue to claim Van Stavern’s adoption was void from the time it was approved.

8 thoughts on “Fighting For Custody. Second parent adoption jeopardized in Texas.

  • September 8, 2007 at 10:33 pm
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    I am the biological mother of my 3 yr old son. My ex-parnter has a 12 yr old daughter from a hetero relationship. I have raised her daughter since she was 3 and even at that time my ex was too busy to be around much.When we decided to have another it was a joint agreement, but I did have hesitation about the second-parent adoption and I should have listened to my inner voice. For the last 3 yrs (since he was born) we have not had any common grounds. One day she told me she cheated on me and I asked her to stay but she said “no” and moved into an apartment in 2 wks which I found out later she has been on the waiting list for a month. “High and dry” she left me and my child. One day my son came home and ma and sissy were gone, isnt that nice? Now she is fighting me for custody. We went to mediation and the things she through across the table were just rediculous and unbelieveable. Obviously she is all about money. The most that was mentioned was the sell of the house, which I am not selling. He has many friends on our street and in his best interest I plan to stay. It just sucks that “I” the biological mother even has to go through this. She wont agree to standard visitation which she is getting and even more because she wanted split custody so she didnt have to pay child support–how ridiculous is that? Of course in court she will make it sound like I am the bad parent but when the facts come out it should be all about who took care of the kids, right? I was there every night for those kids not knowing when and where my ex was, I stuck it out! I am now in a huge 2 story house with a huge mortgage, no child support, and now she refuses to pay his school, or take him to school, so apparently she is trying to jeopardize my job too, but that wont happen. So needless to say I had to take out my whole 401k to fight for my own son, how sad! Especially when it is against someone all about money. I dont doubt her love for him, but he has always just been a prize for her to show. I should be sole parent and decide when he should see her, he tells me he doesnt even want to see her and that breaks my heart because I have to let him go with her right now during all of this, but it scares me to death. He is my blood, pride, and joy, he is my life! I should be hearing from my attorney this week and lets hope for the best.
    peace,
    Sheri

  • November 13, 2007 at 4:00 pm
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    how have things turned out. I have the same thing going on. I have a shared house with both of our names on and I have gotten a new house. She is not paying child support and refuses to. what can I do to take away or void the adoptions.

  • February 25, 2008 at 7:41 am
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    my partner of 7 years and I are breaking up. I adopted a baby a year ago and was wondering if anyone knew if he could fight me for custody? I heard something about the partner having 90 days to do this? Can anyone help? I’m willing to share our baby with him, but I still want to know what I might be dealing with.

    Thanks,

    Seth

  • February 14, 2008 at 12:45 am
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    Yes you are. I am the adoptive grandmother of the above mentioned child and three years of litigation to keep her has taught me many things. You and Ms. Hobbs willingly gave up your child for adoption. You and Ms. Hobbs decided your partner should be a parent to your child. You and Ms. Hobbs decided the partners parents would be grandparents and have the extended family of the partner. The child was raised loving the parent and grandparents as such. Then because the relationship broke up you want her not only out of your life but the childs too. But you still want child support. The adoption should be overturned but the partner should still pay child support? Yes, both cases are the same. Forget that for all those early years the child loved the adoptive mom, grandma and grandpa and doesn’t understand how suddenly they aren’t their parent and grandparents. The partners NEW partner’s parents are grandparents now. Now that really causes confusion and mental anguish for the chid. Forget the childs pain because they can’t bring gifts home from the other side nor can he/she call or email them. The child loves being with the adoptive parent and extended family and feels bad because they have to tell the bio mother they had a terrible time because they have to live with her and that is what she wants to hear. She is torn all the time.
    This is not a gay issue at all. It’s all about the mother hoping this is the issue to insure she can keep the child away from the other parent. It’s a WOMAN issue. Look around you. The vast number of women divorce and do everything they can to keep the father away from the children, turn the kids against him, but demand as much money as they can get from him and the courts generally uphold it. The courts proudly say every ruling is in the “best interest of the child” but they almost always leave the child with the bio. They don’t recognize the child learns deception – having to hide their love for the other parent- lying as they know even at a young age the parent is lying about some things concerning the other parent and they have to lie about their own feelings for the other parent. They learn manipulation as they see the bio manipulate everyone to their point of view and move away to prevent the other parent and loved grandparents access. And these mothers say they love their children and just want what is best and that means the child’s pain of losing not only a parent they have always known but the extended family too. These children learn rejection at an early stage of their life and grow up always fearing rejection by other people too.
    The child should live with the parent that is respectful, considerate of the other parent and lets the child share good experiences they had on visitation. The parent that is happy their child has the parent even if they now hate them themselves. The parent that lets the child share time and celebrations with the family of the other parent. The parent that loved and shared the child with the other parent just as they did when they still lived with them. That parent that truly cares for the mental and social well being of their child so the child grows and develops a loving, free, sharing character that feels loved and secure and protected by both parents and extended family members and therefore forms proper relationships of their own. Those are the things the courts need to examine and not just assume bio mothers have some magical, biological formula the child needs. Luckily we have been blessed to be able to afford our court battle and exercise visitation as scheduled even tho the bio moved out of state. Unfortunately, most can’t and that is why the dads and adopted parents eventually have to just lose their child. That is wrong for the child and the parent.
    As a correction to the above, that case has gone through all the courts to the TX Supreme Court twice and is still upheld.
    Try to forget your complaints of the ex, your anger and resentment. Believe me I know it is very hard to do! Just muster the inner strength to think of the childs feelings and fears. Find a way to share the love of this child. You didn’t mind the child loving the other parent when things were good so why not now? Jealousy? Revenge? Figure it out. Parents divorce each other. The child does not want to seperate from either so why should they? And, in closing, I know you think I am mean but I have watched the innocence of childhood taken from my granddaughter and resentment toward her bio, custodial mother grow. She sneaks emails and phone calls, she tells people her bio is “mean”. She resents not being able to take gifts home. She is embaressed because she can’t send birthday or Christmas gifts. Many, many things that, as she grows, she will resent her bio for. We tell her it is okay and we don’t mind and she should just mind her mother and the feelings between her parents have nothing to do with her. All families have fusses now and then. We’re all still family and it will blow over. I fear, however, her bio is in for it in a few more years when she is older and stronger and that makes me very sad. But, what can we do? The courts decide biology is more important than a child in a home that honors family unity and close family interaction through good times and bad. A young child seeing parents and relatives exchanged in their lives cannot possibly grow up thinking basic family units are important. The courts and parents say they are interested in the “best interest of the child” yet seperated parents are really only acting on what is in their best interest.
    Sorry this rambled but I just had this sent by a friend and only have a few min. to dash a reply. I am not a mean person. I had two sons die without children and my daughter could not have children so this was truly a miracle and we loved and honored the bio for this child. My daughter and our family embraced this child and love her as much as anyone could. Hearing her call us “grandma”, “grandpa” never ceased to thrill us. Years later her bio mother says no more? The child, crying, tells me you aren’t my grandmother? Then having to go to court fearing losing another child? The child losing beloved grandparents? For what? She found a new partner? She wants to “move on”? Her partner has rights too? How does she know this partner is”forever”? It appears the new partner is the basis for most of the trouble. They resent the ex being in the picture in any way. Thank God the courts have not found reason to overturn the adoption and the childs fears have subsided a bit on that point and she sees her joint custodial parent, my daughter, often and we visit as that is the only time we can see or talk to her. We travel 1200 miles each way to do it 4 times a year so she knows she has two parents and grandparents and always will. The child has to fly 1200 miles from her state to Texas for visitation. Expensive, time consuming and so unnecessary for everyone.

  • July 22, 2008 at 7:39 pm
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    So sorry to hear about all of that! I wish you the best of luck with everything.
    Valerie

  • August 8, 2008 at 9:35 am
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    I have fought for my daughter for the last 5 years. My ex decided she wanted our home and tried to use Taylor as a ploy to get the home. She has taken me to the Texas Supreme court twice in an attempt to overturn my adoption of Taylor. Child support is something that should be required. I paid 400.00 a month in child support to Julie for a whole year because i felt it was my responsibility. After going to court for standard visitation and joint custody i was ordered to pay 652.00 a month plus 137.00 in health insurance. Julie Hobbs makes approximately 200,000.00 a year. She moved to Minnesota with our daughter in 2006.

  • November 11, 2008 at 2:30 am
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    My partner and I had a son 4 years ago. She is the biological parent and I’m worried she will take him from me. The break up is NOT my idea. I have taken care of him since the day he was born. Due to her work schedule and outings I’m the one that has spent the most time with him. The day he was born was the best day of my life. He is my Life. I don’t want to lose him. Do I have any rights in Texas?

  • November 23, 2009 at 2:25 am
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    Hi Seth,
    Sorry to hear about your seperation. I know this isn’t the answer to your question, but my partner and I of 10 years would like to adopt a child and was wondering if you had any advice for us about the process. Thanks in advance for your help! Brent

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