Jamaican mother loses court bid to stop her son’s adoption by Canadian woman

David Greig

A British Columbia  Provincial Court judge has ruled against a Jamaican mother’s bid to stop a Canadian woman from adopting her son.

According to a  CBC news report,the ruling was recently handed down after a four-day hearing earlier this year, during which the 38-year old Jamaican woman applied to have a continuing custody order cancelled.

That order handed custody of her son to the B.C. Ministry of Child and Family Development.

​The case stems from 2013 when the boy, who is now 10, moved from living with his mother in Jamaica to a community in British Columbia to live with his father and stepmother.

Less than a year later, the child was apprehended by social workers after he suffered mistreatment and abuse at the hands of his stepmother, according to the ruling.

The child was put into foster care and the Ministry of Child and Family Development applied for custody in the summer of 2014.

A nine-day trial was set for dates in the spring and summer of 2015.

The ruling states that the Jamaican mother was aware of the trial and she wrote letters saying that she was unable to attend the hearing.

She asked the ministry to return her son to his father’s custody.

But the ministry didn’t send her documents pertaining to the case that she was entitled to, despite having her address, email address and phone numbers, according to the ruling.

The trial was held in her absence and custody of the boy was handed to the ministry.

In 2017, with the help of the Jamaican government, the mother applied to dismiss the court order, in an attempt to get her child returned to her.

A trial was held in early 2018 and the boy’s mother flew to British Columbia to attend and testify.

The court heard there were concerns the boy may have suffered physical abuse in Jamaica, and he had told social workers and his foster mother he wanted to stay in Canada with his foster family.

The child “is adamant that he does not want to return to his mother in Jamaica,” the ruling stated.

“He has not wavered in his deeply held conviction that he wants to stay with [his foster mother],” the ruling said.

“When he was told that his mother was seeking a court order to return him, he was inconsolable and angry.”

David Greig, the Jamaican woman’s lawyer, argued that social workers did not investigate the abuse allegations stemming from the boy’s time in Jamaica.

Greig also said it would be natural for the boy to ask to stay with his foster mother because he hadn’t seen his biological mother for more than four years, apart from scheduled Skype conversations.

Greig also highlighted the challenge the boy’s mother faced in proving she could provide a home as suitable as the one the child had in Canada.

“No mother from a disadvantaged nation could ever hope to discharge that burden,” he submitted to the court.

The court ruled against the Jamaican mother’s application, citing the length of time that had passed since the custody order was made, the fact that the mother didn’t attend the initial hearing and the best interests of the child.

The Canadian foster mother has applied to adopt the boy.

The ruling noted there are provisions in place for the child to have continued Skype conversations with his biological mother, and for visits in person if she is able to come to Canada to see her son.

In a telephone interview with the Caribbean Camera, Greig said  that he is awaiting instructions from the boy’s mother and from the Jamaican  High Commissioner with respect to an appeal.

He noted, however, that an appeal would be expensive and he did not know whether  she (the mother ) would be able to afford it.