A young girl will be returned to her birth parents three years after she was born, following the mother’s change of mind about giving her away.
In a recently published judgement, Justice Michael Kent found the child should be returned to the biological parents, and allowed one weekend per month to be spent with her original carers.
He concluded that this arrangement would “best meet the child’s best interests”.
The applicants, referred to as Ms Blaze and Ms Darley, sought to retain custody of the girl, born to the respondent, Ms Grady, in 2013.
The couple had agreed to take the child after it was born, as Ms Grady, a mother to three other children, was experiencing financial difficulties at the time of her pregnancy and did not believe the father would provide ongoing support.
At the time, the couple were having issues conceiving their own child.
They lived with Ms Grady in Queensland for a time before the child was born and helped with “the household and daily living tasks” and paid for groceries.
They returned to their home in Melbourne two weeks after the birth, a move the mother was “supportive” of.
Before the legal action, Ms Grady and Ms Blaze, who, like Ms Darley, are “profoundly deaf”, were long-term friends.
According to court documents, the child was not put up for state adoption as Ms Grady wanted it to be raised with parents with a disability similar to her own.
But six months later, following identification of the biological father and visitation concerns, the mother took back the child.
Expert opinion put forward at a hearing in Brisbane’s Family Court found “… if [the child] were to have limited contact with her biological family she will face the risks of a child not having a relationship with their biological family including feelings of loss, grief, guilt/shame, rejection, diminished identity, and the development of intimate adult relationships”.
Justice Kent ordered the now three-year-old child would be gradually transitioned into the care of its mother and father, should have its last name changed from ‘Darley-Blaze’ to ‘Harper-Grady’ and that Ms Blaze and Ms Darnley would have no legal parental responsibility for her.