The Ohio Supreme Court ruled last week that parents who seek to regain custody of children who’ve been placed in the care of others for their protection should have to prove that something has changed in the child’s life that would make placement back with them look like someone’s version of the right thing to do.

In a rather confusing story in The Cincinnati Post, the circumstances surrounding the placement of an infant with grandparents and the regaining of custody by parents years later is explained.

Apparently, the child, Brayden James, an infant at the time, was placed with his grandparents, the Hutchinsons, after being hospitalized for bruises and broken ribs inflicted by his parents.

Some years later, the parents argued that the part of the law that required them to show a change in circumstances was “unconstitutional because it deprived them of their fundamental right as the natural parents to raise their 8-year-old son”.

Excuse me?

Don’t know about how others might feel, but I would guess a reasonable perspective would have it that breaking a baby’s ribs completely negates any rights, and anyone who does that … even if they take ‘parenting and anger management classes’ afterwards … do not get a second chance. That’s how kids end up dead.

And, as if giving birth should ever convey fundamental rights to natural parents. What the hell is that about? Giving birth is a biological function that produces a human being, not a pink slip of ownership.

As so often happens, the case has been going on for years, with a trial in 2004 ruling that Brayden be returned to his parents. The grandparents have taken it further, and the Supreme Court’s recent decision takes the position that a child’s stability should be placed above the demands of the natural parents.

“The clear intent of that statute is to spare children from a constant tug of war …”.

The attorney for the parents is warning that the ruling “… will have a chilling effect on young parents seeking temporary custody arrangements for their children. He said the key element of the case was that his clients are Brayden’s parents, and the Hutchinson’s are not.”

I’d say the key element is that his clients broke a baby’s ribs, and the Hutchinsons did not.

It would be interesting to be able to check back on this child from time to time.

Sandra Hanks Benoiton writes on International Adoption and adopting as an Older Parent for Adoption.com, and on everything under the sun on Paradise Preoccupied from her sun-drenched veranda on the island of Mahé in the Indian Ocean.

Be Sociable, Share!