Are Biological Parents Allowed to Impose Conditions for Adoption of Their Children Subject to Advance Approval of Court ?

In Matter of Shannon F. (175 Misc 2d 565 [Fam Ct, Richmond County 1998]), the court held that a surrender instrument executed by a biological mother was a nullity since it contained the express condition that the children be adopted by their grandmother who died before she could adopt them. The court stated that "it is absolutely clear to this court that Ms. P. F. executed the conditional surrenders solely for the purpose of having her two children adopted by Ms. P. The surrenders do not authorize the adoption of the children by anyone other than Ms. P." ( Id. at 567; emphasis added.) The court held that the surrender instrument was a nullity because the condition could never be met. Likewise, in the matter before this court, S.D. has not authorized the adoption of the children by anyone other than R.D. In Matter of Christopher F. (260 AD2d 97 [3d Dept 1999]), the Court stated: "As can be seen, the plain language of Social Services Law 383-c (2) and (5) (b) (iii) mandates the conclusion that, in enacting Social Services Law 383-c, the Legislature intended that biological parents be permitted to establish terms for and impose conditions upon the adoption of their children, including the right to select the proposed adoptive parent or parents, subject only to the advance approval of the court."