Home Couple Forced to Give Up Adopted Son
Couple Forced to Give Up Adopted Son
Before Evan Scott was born, his biological mother decided to give him up for adoption.
For the first three-and-a-half years of his life, Evan has only known two parents: Dawn and Gene Scott, the couple who agreed to adopt him.
That is all about to change.
His biological mother, Amanda Hopkins, who trusted the Scotts to raise her son, wants him back -- and it looks like she is going to get her wish.
On Tuesday, a final schedule was made to ease Evan's transition from the Scotts' custody to that of his birth mother. Once he is taken away, the very people whom Evan has known as his Mommy and Daddy his entire life will most likely never see him again.
'The Only Family He Knows'
"It's a shame we have a situation where the child has been with non-biological parents for so long [and is] more than likely to be removed," said Garret Barket, an attorney for the boy's biological father, Steven White Jr.
The problem actually started before Evan was born. Hopkins chose the Scotts to adopt her son, but the deal was never finalized. The initial adoption petition said White's consent was not needed because he had not acknowledged being the child's father and had not provided any support to the mother or the child. But White challenged the adoption before Hopkins and the Scotts finalized the agreement and it has been in litigation ever since.
"The problem with Florida law has been to some extent rectified now wherein the father would have to make an attempt to do his part of a father more quickly," said Susan Pniewski, the Scotts' attorney. "But there still are some loopholes in Florida law.
"Right now, what's happening with this child is that he has been caught in one of those loopholes and it's been a custody battle between three parties up until recently, and now just the two biological parents," she says. "What Florida law looks for is that if either of the biological parents are fit and they want the child, then the non-biological parent must prove detriment and in this case, the court doesn't believe that has been proven."
The battle for little Evan is very similar to the 1995 case of "Baby Richard" in Illinois. In a court battle that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, the 4-year-old was taken from his adoptive parents and given to his birth father in a tearful transfer of custody.
The Scotts feel the decision isn't fair to little Evan. "I believe it's wrong, because this child is nearly 4 years old," Dawn Scott said. "He's bonded into our family and I don't believe the Florida courts have ever one time looked at his best interest. He's never had his day in court. He's been fought over and over for years, but he's never had his voice heard ever."
The Scotts have little doubt that they will never get to see Evan again once they are forced to give up custody, but they are still holding on, hoping that some sort of miracle will happen where they will once again be with the boy they have raised since birth.
This report aired on "Good Morning America" on Dec. 29, 2004.