Argued December 2, 2014.
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
Appeal from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. (ADA-36-11). (Hon. Errol R. Arthur, Trial Judge; Hon. Jennifer A. Di Toro, Reviewing Judge).
Ronald A. Colbert for appellant T.R.
Gary P. Jacobs filed a statement in lieu of a brief for appellant J.B., supporting appellant T.R.
Anthony R. Davenport for appellee J.J.
Dennis Eshman for appellee J.R.
Aisha Lewis, Assistant Attorney General, with whom Irvin B. Nathan, Attorney General for the District of Columbia, Todd S. Kim, Solicitor General, and Loren L. Alikahn, Deputy Solicitor General, were on the brief, for appellee District of Columbia.
Before GLICKMAN and BLACKBURNE-RIGSBY, Associate Judges, and REID, Senior Judge.
Blackburne-Rigsby, Associate Judge :
This case involves a challenge to a court-ordered waiver of parental consent to the adoption of child J.R by appellee-foster parent J.J., after a magistrate judge found that appellants, T.R. and J.B., the biological mother and father, had withheld their consent against the best interests of the child. T.R. contends that there was insufficient evidence to support the magistrate judge's decision to waive her consent to adoption, and that the reviewing associate judge therefore abused her discretion by affirming. J.B. joins without making additional claims. We discern no abuse of discretion and affirm.
I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND
J.R. was born on February 28, 2008, to mother T.R. and father J.B., but has lived continuously with her adoptive mother J.J., a licensed foster parent, since October 28, 2008. J.R. came into J.J.'s care at approximately eight months old, after J.R. was committed to the custody of the District of Columbia upon allegations that T.R. failed to provide proper formula, used a sanitary napkin for a diaper, and engaged in an act of prostitution with J.R. present. J.B. is not actively involved in J.R.'s life, but has provided occasional financial support and visited J.R. several times before and after his incarceration for second degree assault from June 2011 through October 2012.
At J.R.'s adoption hearing, three social workers who have worked with J.R. testified in support of J.J.'s adoption petition. Dr. Seth King, a psychologist qualified as an expert witness, also testified in favor of J.J.'s adoption petition after individually evaluating T.R. and J.J. and observing their interactions with J.R. The magistrate judge presiding over the hearing concluded that J.J. had established by clear and convincing evidence that T.R. and J.B. had withheld their consent to adoption against J.R.'s best interests, and granted J.J.'s petition for adoption on May 8, 2013. A final decree of adoption followed.
T.R. and J.B. filed motions for review of the magistrate judge's order in the trial court, pursuant to D.C. Fam. Ct. R. D (e)(1). Specifically, T.R. alleged that the magistrate judge granted J.J.'s adoption petition without making sufficient factual findings, pursuant to D.C. Code § 16-2353 (b) (2012 Repl.), to establish by clear and convincing evidence that: (i) T.R. withheld her consent to J.R.'s adoption contrary to J.R.'s best interests, (ii) T.R. suffers from physical, mental, or emotional impairments that prevent her from parenting, or (iii) J.R. has an opinion regarding her custodian. Additionally, J.B. alleged that the magistrate judge granted J.J.'s adoption petition without ...