Justice Henry sitting in the High Court of St. Vincent and the Grenadines presided over what was termed a dispute, “almost Solomonic in nature in that two women have locked horns over which one should essentially be awarded custody of a child. One is the birth mother and the other is the prospective adopted mother”.
The case involving the adoption of a one year old baby ended up in the law court after the 30 year old mother with four other children revoked an agreement to have her baby adopted by a wealthy lawyer.
In giving testimony, the court heard that the auxiliary officer who has been without a steady job is hoping to be made permanent following her probationary period.
The court record shows that the birth mother told the prospective adopted mother that, “Carnival was fast approaching and she did not want to be kept back by the baby; and that after the Carnival she would go to Barbados”.
The adoptive mother [L.M] told court that the baby mother [N.O] said:
“things were hard, that she could not provide for the baby and needed ‘help’ herself. She remembered that N.O. also said that once she handed over the baby she would leave the State and start a new life in Barbados”.
“that it was not an issue as she had given away her children before and had not ‘passed back”.
The Court heard evidence about the ability of the birth and adopted mothers to take care of the child.
The adoptive mother who is childless explained to the court:
“She has routinely transmitted the sum of $2500.00 per month from July 2019 to cover expenses associated with baby’s care, including his board, utilities and food. She testified that she also sent clothing, toys and books for the child”.
She further gave testimony that she “ is an attorney of over 18 years practice and that she resides in a large 3-bedroom home on a well-manicured acre of land which she owns”.
On the other hand, the biological mother led evidence that:
“She is 30 years of age. She is employed as an auxiliary police officer on probation, and has been so engaged since December 2019. She indicated that she earns a salary of $1200.00 and expects to be confirmed in a permanent position in due course”.
“She stated that she lives with her partner in a 3 bedroom, 2 bath concrete house owned by him. The other occupants of the house are her mother and her two sons aged 10 and 4 years old respectively”.
The mother has 3 other children aged 12, 6, and 1.
The auxiliary police officer argued that she is currently mothering two other children and that no evidence has been led that those children are in harm’s way, uncared for, improperly provided for, or that they are neglected or have been abandoned.
“She argued that at the time she gave up her child, she believed that she was acting in his best interests. She added that now that her circumstances have changed and she has the means and the mental fortitude, she is exercising her legally protected right to change her mind and have her child returned to her”.
Justice Henry ruled that it is in the best interest of the child to remain in St. Vincent and the Grenadines with his biological mother and other siblings. She further found that she believes that the mother has enough resources to give the child a reasonably comfortable life with family linkages which is more beneficial than the material trappings the adopted mother was offering