Editorial: Custody case is an injustice

A three-year-old Florida boy may be removed from his adoptive parent’s house soon, according to the St. Petersburg Times. His biological father is suing for custody because his biological grandmother wants to raise him. At the end of this twisted story, Andrew Mills will be a victim, no matter what. His biological father’s family needs to recognize that if they truly love him, they must protect him from their own selfishness.

Andrew Mill’s biological parents, Brandy Smith and Fernando Pickett, from Luverne, AL, were high school seniors. Brandy is white and Fernando is black. She was forbidden to see him. When she became pregnant, her parents disowned her. She relied on nearby relatives and Fernando’s mother, Ruthel Pickett, to help her. Ruthel was excited about raising her first grandchild, but Fernando denied that the baby was his and began dating another girl, who also became pregnant.

During the seventh month of her pregnancy, Brandy stopped all communication with Ruthel. Her mother, Sonya, had contacted Sandy Walker, a fellow nurse and church member, who knew a couple that wanted to adopt a child. The day after the birth, a judge in Alabama signed the papers, and Jack and Sandy Mills took Andrew home, where he has been for three years.

Fernando took a paternity test a few months later and a custody battle began. At first, all appeals were overturned based on Fernando’s lack of involvement during the pregnancy; he had forfeited his parental rights in the eyes of the court. But now, the Alabama Supreme Court has reversed the decision and is granting Fernando custody.

This is a disgrace to the adoption system. This is not a case of a father who wants a second chance to raise his child, it’s a case perpetrated by a woman desperate for grandchildren. This three-year-old is in serious danger of becoming a statistic. The state of Alabama should care more about Andrew’s best interests than Fernando’s or his mother’s rights.