On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Mercer County, Docket No. FG-11-38-06.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Before Judges Collester and C.S. Fisher.
In this appeal, defendant T.B., the birth mother of M.B., argues that the trial judge erred in denying her motion to vacate her surrender of parental rights. After careful review, we conclude that the judge was correct in determining that defendant had made a free, knowing and voluntary decision and that, in seeking relief from the surrender, demonstrated only in that she was emotional at the time of the surrender. Accordingly, the order denying the motion to vacate must be affirmed.
M.B. was born on November 8, 2002. Defendant is her biological mother. R.S. is the child's biological father.*fn1 At the time of the child's birth, a hospital hold was placed on M.B. because she tested positive for PCP and marijuana. On May 19, 2004, defendant surrendered her rights to the child, but the identified person was tragically shot and killed before adoption could occur. As a result, on March 8, 2006, the Division of Youth and Family Services filed a complaint seeking the termination of defendant's parental rights to M.B., pursuant to N.J.S.A. 30:4C-15.1(a).
A trial was commenced. However, after two days, defendant decided to surrender her parental rights in order to allow the adoption of M.B. by her foster parents. At that time, defendant was thoroughly questioned about her decision. Although the transcript of these proceedings reveals that defendant was emotional, it also demonstrates that defendant acknowledged that she made her decision freely and voluntarily:
Q: And it's your intention today to do an identified surrender, is that correct?
Q: In fact, you want to surrender your parental rights only on the condition that the current care givers wind up adopting this child, is that correct?
Q: You're doing this freely, . . . knowingly and voluntarily, ...