Appeals Court Ends Adoption Battle

By Bill Gallagher
Monday, 29 Dec 2008 / FOX 2 News

ECORSE, Mich. (WJBK) -- A long legal fight over a planned adoption ends with the biological parents being reunited with their son.  The costly court battle lasted more than five years and drained the parents' resources.

Kenneth Barnett and Christine Wolfe received word on Christmas Eve that their son, Cody, would remain with them.  The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled in their favor.

"I was just jumping and screaming for joy... It's the best Christmas present ever because my baby's home," said Wolfe.

"We were so thrilled that not only will this case... keep him home for good, but being that the decision was a precedent, it's going to be... very hard... for anybody to ever do this to a set of biological parents again," said Barnett.

In 2003, Wolfe gave birth to Cody after she and Barnett had divorced.  She already had another child and considered allowing a Dearborn couple to adopt him.  "I wanted the best for him and I thought I was doing the right thing and it wasn't," said Wolfe.

The couple got custody and guardianship of Cody, but Barnett never gave up his parental rights and fought any anticipated adoption.  Wolfe also withdrew her consent and the couple went to court, fighting to keep him as his parents' legal bills soared.

"We're close to $225,000... This has basically impoverished us," said Barnett.

The child bounced between the parents and the guardians who wanted to adopt him.  Last year, Wolfe received full custody of Cody, but the other couple tried to get the decision reversed. That move was halted by the Court of Appeal's ruling.

Cody's parents argue these disputes should never last this long.  "He spent three years of his life with two homes, two names, two schools, two religions, two families and nobody could stop and say wait a minute, let's put an end to this," said Barnett.

FOX 2 News attempted to contact the other couple involved for a comment, but we've been unable to reach them.

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