IN THE MATTER OF THE ADOPTION OF THE MINOR CHILD DESCRIBED IN THE PETITION: J.A.G. AND WIFE, S.G. APPELLANTS
C.T. AND B.T. APPELLEES
OF JUDGMENT: 06/06/2016
FROM WHICH APPEALED: HANCOCK COUNTY CHANCERY COURT HON. JAMES
B. PERSONS TRIAL JUDGE
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANTS: OLIVER E. DIAZ JR. DAVID NEIL
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEES: GAIL D. NICHOLSON.
IRVING, P.J., BARNES AND WESTBROOKS, JJ.
This case stems from a contested adoption suit filed in
Hancock County Chancery Court between maternal grandparents,
J.A.G. and S.G. ("grandparents"), and
foster parents, B.T. and C.T. ("foster parents").
The parental rights of G.L.'s natural parents were
terminated by judgment of the Hancock County Chancery Court
following an order from Hancock County Youth Court
recommending termination and a finding that the minor
child's best interest would be served by adoption.
Subsequently, the grandparents filed a complaint for
adoption, and the foster parents filed a motion for leave to
intervene and an intervenor's petition for adoption of
G.L. On June 21, 2016, the chancery court granted the foster
parents' petition to adopt G.L. The grandparents appeal.
After our review of the record, we affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
G.L., a minor female child, was born to T.G. (mother) and
A.H. (father) on June 21, 2012. T.G. and A.H. were living in
a FEMA trailer with A.H.'s mother, M.H. (paternal
grandmother), in Picayune, Mississippi.
G.L. was removed from this home and placed in a foster home
from January 14, 2013, through February 5, 2013, after T.G.,
A.H., and M.H. were found unconscious from ingesting or
taking oxycodone, leaving G.L. alone in the home without
supervision. Later in February 2013, G.L. was temporarily
placed with her grandparents. G.L. stayed with her
grandparents for a while, because no one else in the
grandparents' family could take care of G.L.
The foster parents presented testimony that J.A.G. approached
B.T. at work regarding taking care of G.L. The grandparents
of G.L. and the foster parents were close friends, and the
grandparents conceded that they were glad that someone they
knew could become foster parents for G.L. In July 2013, G.L.
began spending the night with B.T. and C.T. The grandparents
testified that during this time, the foster parents expressed
interest in becoming G.L.'s foster parents. However,
according to the grandparents, permanent reunification of
G.L. with her mother was always the plan.
B.T. and C.T. filed a Resource Family Application and
completed the steps required by the Department of Human
Services ("DHS") to become licensed foster parents.
J.A.G. and S.G. testified that they did not become licensed
foster parents, because they felt it would be an incentive
for their daughter to overcome her drug addiction.
Dana Spiers, who was a family-protection specialist employed
with DHS in 2013, testified that S.G. stated that she and her
husband were not interested in becoming licensed foster
parents, because they had raised other children and did not
want to raise any more. She also testified that S.G. stated
that her older daughter, living in Louisiana, decided she
could not handle raising G.L. Further, Spiers testified that
S.G. stated that she knew someone from the community that
would adopt G.L., because she could not take care of G.L. on
a long-term basis.
Tequila Hall, another family-protection specialist for
Hancock County DHS in 2013, testified that S.G. told her that
she and her husband were not interested in becoming licensed
foster parents, because they found family friends willing to
adopt G.L. However, S.G. denied she made these statements,
and denied that she did not want to keep G.L. long-term.
Subsequently, G.L. permanently moved in with her foster
parents in October 2013. During that time, the grandparents
continued to visit G.L. Also during that time, G.L.'s
mother, T.G., moved back in with the grandparents, and
visitation with G.L. became more difficult. However, T.G.
began using drugs again and eventually reentered a
In August 2014, the grandparents filed a petition for
adoption in the Chancery Court of Pearl River County. They
asserted that they obtained a lawyer and filed a petition for
adoption of G.L. once they realized that T.G. would not
comply with the orders from DHS to reunite with G.L. However,
their petition was denied for lack of proper
venue. C.T. and J.A.G. testified that they had
engaged in a heated exchange after she confronted S.G.
regarding their petition for the adoption of G.L. The
grandparents testified that their relationship with the
foster parents became strained after the confrontation, and
they had to obtain an attorney to set visitation schedules.
In November 2014, the grandparents filed a petition for
custody, termination of parental rights, and adoption of G.L.
in the Chancery Court of Hancock County. In December 2014,
the foster parents filed a motion for leave to intervene and
an intervenor's petition for adoption. Their amended
petition for the adoption of G.L. was filed in July 2015.
T.G. and A.H.'s parental rights were terminated, and
Ralph Lee Price III ("Price") was appointed as
guardian ad litem ("GAL"). The grandparents and
foster parents presented evidence, and the chancellor heard
the testimony from Price regarding his recommendations for
the adoption of G.L. First, Price recommended that the foster
parents' petition for adoption of G.L. be approved.
Second, Price recommended that the grandparents and foster
parents create a visitation schedule, so that the
grandparents could remain in G.L.'s life. Price based his
recommendation on his extensive review and investigation of
G.L.'s file, which included interviews of both parties
and visits to both residences.
Using the Albright factors, the totality of the
circumstances, and considering the best interest of G.L., the
chancellor granted the foster parents' petition to adopt
G.L. The chancellor also strongly recommended that the foster
parents allow the grandparents to visit G.L., even though the
court was without authority to require the foster parents to
The grandparents contend that the chancellor erred in
granting the foster parents' petition for adoption and
challenge the chancellor's analysis and application of
certain Albright factors. Accordingly, we will only