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Name: In re I.W.
Case #: H034129
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 01/13/2010

Where a prospective adoptive family is identified, it may be considered as a factor in determining adoptability. In an appeal from the termination of her parental rights, mother challenged the evidence supporting the finding that the minor was likely to be adopted. She argued that the minor was not generally adoptable because of her positive toxicology screen at birth, positive TB test, behavior problems and tantrums, the department’s request for a psychological evaluation, his diagnosis of PTSD, ADHD, and learning disabilities, and his bond with his mother. She also argued that the minor was not specifically adoptable because there was no evidence that the foster parents had passed a home study. The appellate court rejected the argument, finding that the foster parents’ interest in adopting the minor was sufficient to support the juvenile court’s finding of general adoptability. There is no authority for the suggestion that in a specific adoption case, home-study approval is required or a back-up plan need be available if the adoption fails. The appellate court also rejected mother’s argument that the parental-bond exception to adoption applied. Where the issue on appeal turns on a failure of proof at trial, the question for the reviewing court is whether the evidence compels a finding in favor of the appellant as a matter of law. The court declined to reevaluate the conflicting competing evidence or revisit the juvenile court’s conclusion, instead finding that this was not a case where undisputed facts lead to only one conclusion. The court also rejected mother’s argument that the ICWA notices were insufficient.