A biological mother, who relinquished her paternal rights to her infant child, was granted the right to have visitation with the child. As part of the surrender, the mother expressly reserved her right to see the child four times a year and to exchange cards and letters with the child.
The Suffolk County Family Court in the case of Mary M.O. v. Doe opined it was within the court’s purview to scrutinize whether it would be in the best interests of the child to allow the biological mother to have continued contact with the child.
The Court noted that the biological mother expressly conditioned the surrender on having continued contact with the child and that she maintained a relationship with the child for as long as she could until her efforts were frustrated by the department of social services and the adoptive mother.
The Court found that the child was aware that the petitioner was her biological mother and that a cessation of visitation could result in long term feelings of distress and abandonment. On the other hand, the Court found that continued visitation would convey a positive message to the child that the biological mother really cared.
Significantly, there was no showing that the biological mother was in any way unfit or had acted inappropriately towards the child.