Legal victory for same-sex adoptive parents

Last Updated: Friday, May 23, 2014, 7:53 PM EDT

Gay and lesbian parents won a small battle in an appellate court in Daytona Beach.

More than six years ago, one of two women living together as partners for several years gave birth to a child.

The birth mother and her partner went to court and made arrangements for the partner to adopt the child.

After a drawn-out process, the court granted the adoption, and the partner changed her last name so she could share the name with her partner and child.

Not too much later, the women split up, and the birth mother went back to court, asking the judge to nullify the adoption.

The judge did just that.

But the appeals court ruled 3-1 today in a public decision that the judge's ruling to undo the adoption was incorrect. The court ruled that judge has wrongly concluded that the court never had the jurisdiction to grant the adoption in the first place.

The ruling of the appeals court to reverse the decision restored the adopted mother's parental rights, and even ordered that judge to hold more hearing and come up with a parenting plan and child visitation that would suffice any routine divorce-custody issues.

The attorney for the adopted mother, Michael Sampson of Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, said the mother is "ecstatic."

The birth mother, however, has moved to an undisclosed location and the mother who won back her parenting rights has not seen the boy in more than a year.

The child is almost 7 years old now, and the appeals court said he considers both women to be his mother.

The appeals court faulted both the birth mother, and lower court for initially supporting the adoption before flip-flopping.

Judge Richard Orfinger wrote, "Children deserve better. It would be unconscionable to allow the mother, who at one point asked a court to give her then-partner parenting rights, to destroy the same relationship."