Hallelujah! Sometimes courts get it right and the Baby Vanessa case is one of those cases. This is hopefully the end of a three year custody battle over a two-year-old girl that involved the rights of adoptive parents, fathers' rights and the best interest of the child. Vanessa's birth mother, Andrea Conley, placed Vanessa for adoption with Stacey Doss without the knowledge or consent of the infant's father, Benjamin Mills, in violation of his parental rights.
Conley and Mills had a long and problematic relationship that produced two other daughters who live with Mills' mother, their foster parent. All of Mills four children live in foster care. Mills, who has multiple domestic violence convictions, assaulted Conley before Vanessa's birth. Prior to the birth of Vanessa, Mills was arrested for beating, strangling and dragging Conley by the hair while she held one of their other children. Mills had been jailed in the past for domestic violence and child endangerment. Conley, for what appears to be good reason, did not want Mills to know about Vanessa and supported Vanessa's adoption by Doss throughout the process.
And this has been a lengthy complicated legal process involving not simply a contest between the biological and adoptive parent, but jurisdictional issues between the state of Ohio where Mills lives and California where Doss lives. Doss, a self-employed single parent paid for all of her legal costs whereas taxpayers in both California and Ohio are footing the bill for Mills' legal costs.