There's no doubt that during her time as a methamphetamine addict, Angela Hauseur would not have earned any Mother-of-the-Year awards. But when her two children were taken away by state Child Protective Services, she entered drug treatment, stayed clean, and appealed CPS' decision to take her child. None of that mattered, however, as under Washington law, a parent's rights to his or her kids can be stripped and their children adopted out while an appeal is still pending.
The Spokesman Reviewwrote about the loophole Sunday, highlighting several cases in which biological parents, adoptive parents, and children have all been victims of the "legal morass" surrounding parental rights.
In Hauseur's case, she says the state was clearing the way for her children to be adopted months before her first appeal had even been filed. In another case, children that had been adopted to other parents were taken back after a mother successfully proved that they should have never been taken in the first place.
Of the ordeal, the adoptive parents tell The Spokesman:
"We are victims, as are birth parents, as are the children," said Jill Mailloux, of Richland, who with her husband, Jim, adopted two brothers, ages 5 and 7, in February 2010.
The loophole could have been closed with the passage of state Senate Bill 5597, which would have stayed all parental-rights terminations for 30 days while appeals are pending. But that bill never made it to the Senate floor, thanks to a technical snafu that made the bill compete with a rule change underway at the Washington Supreme Court.
So while legislators try (some harder than others) to amend what is an obvious and unfortunate gap in the state's parental-rights laws, child adoptions will continue to be works-in-progress even if the kids are already living in a new home.