Case Caption: In the Matter of the Adoption of Infant ShermanCase Number: S.Ct. Civ. No. 2007/044Date: 06/02/2008Author: Cabret, Maria M. Citation: Summary:

This appeal concerns an adoption that took place in 1969. In the instant proceedings, the adoptee's biological mother, L.C.F., ("Appellant") petitioned the trial court, ex parte, to unseal the adoption records. Appellant contended that she needed identifying information in the records to contact the adoptee, identified as Infant Sherman. According to Appellant, she desired to "bequeath her estate to her son," and "very much would like the opportunity to meet with her only child." (App. at 5.) Upon weighing the potential harms and benefits to the interested parties and concluding that Appellant did not show good cause for unsealing the records, the trial court denied the petition. Appellant moved for reconsideration, asserting for the first time that the trial court should have appointed a guardian ad litem to ascertain the respective interests of the parties to the adoption before determining whether good cause existed. Appellant also proffered for the first time an affidavit from a psychologist who opined that the trial court's refusal to unseal the adoption records was contrary to a prevailing trend toward greater transparency in adoption proceedings. The trial court denied Appellant's motion for reconsideration, and this appeal ensued. On appeal, we must determine whether the trial court erred in failing to appoint a guardian ad litem and whether the court abused its discretion in denying the motion for reconsideration. For the reasons which follow, the trial court's order will be affirmed.

Attachment: Open Document or Opinion