Thrift v. Baldwin

In Thrift v. Baldwin, 23 Va. App. 18, 473 S.E.2d 715 (1996), three of the five Thrift children were adopted by the Baldwins. See Thrift, 23 Va. App. at 19, 473 S.E.2d at 715. The children's paternal grandparents adopted one of the five children. See id. Subsequently, the paternal grandparents and the child they adopted petitioned for visitation of the three children adopted by the Baldwins. See id. In finding that the paternal grandparents had standing to petition for visitation, we held: The statute enjoins a broad construction of the term "a party with a legitimate interest." The Court held that this term means not only a party possessed of legal rights with respect to the child, but also any party having a cognizable and reasonable interest in maintaining a close relationship with the child. The statute expressly provides that the term shall include "grandparents and other blood relatives." Although the adoption of the children by the Baldwins extinguished the Thrifts' legal grandparental and sibling relationship, see Code 63.1-233; see also Cage v. Harrisonburg Dep't of Social Services, 13 Va. App. 246, 410 S.E.2d 405 (1991), the blood relationship continues. Code 16.1-241(A) expressly confers standing to seek visitation. Id. at 20, 473 S.E.2d at 716.