In the Matter of the Custody of: G.A.-K.K. Child, J.C.P., Appellant, and K.K., M.K. JR., Respondents.
appeals the CR 12(b)(6) dismissal of her petitions to
terminate the parental rights of G.A.-K.K.'s birth
parents and to adopt G.A-.K.K. under Washington's
adoption statute, chapter 26.33 RCW. Because J.C.P. does not
demonstrate that at least one of G.A.-K.K.'s parents
agrees to relinquish their parental rights, J.C.P. lacks
standing to file for termination as a prospective adoptive
parent. We therefore affirm.
was born in 2014 and lived with her parents, K.K. and M.K.,
for approximately the first 16 months of her life. In 2016,
Child Protective Services opened an investigation into K.K.
and M.K. The parents agreed to place their child with a
paternal aunt, J.C.P. The Yakima County Superior Court
entered an order placing G.A.-K.K. in J.C.P.'s custody in
2017, J.C.P. filed simultaneous petitions to terminate K.K.
and M.K.'s parental rights and to adopt G.A.-K.K. She
alleged both parents had demonstrated substantial disregard
for their parental responsibilities and were withholding
consent to adoption, contrary to the best interest of the
father (M.K.) successfully moved under CR 12(b)(6) to dismiss
the termination and adoption petitions because J.C.P. lacked
standing under RCW 26.33.100(1). J.C.P. appeals.
review a CR 12(b)(6) dismissal de novo. Cutler v.
Phillips Petroleum Co., 124 Wn.2d 749, 755, 881 P.2d 216
(1994). Dismissal is appropriate "under CR 12(b)(6) only
if it appears beyond a reasonable doubt that no facts exist
that would justify recovery. . . . [Such] motions should be
granted . . . 'only in the unusual case in which
plaintiff includes allegations that show on the . . .
[complaint's face] there is some insuperable bar to
relief.'" Id. (quoting Hoffer v.
State, 110 Wn.2d 415, 420, 755 P.2d 781 (1988),
adhered to on recons., 113 Wn.2d 148, 776 P.2d 963
Washington law, termination of parental rights is a
prerequisite to adoption. Whether an individual has standing to
petition for termination is determined solely by statute.
In re Adoption of B.T., 150 Wn.2d 409, 416-17, 78
P.3d 634 (2003). Under RCW 26.33.100(1)(b),  a petition for
termination can be filed by a prospective adoptive parent
(who is not married to one of the child's parents) only
when the "child has been or may be relinquished if the
prospective adoptive parent has filed or consented to a
petition for relinquishment."
wording of RCW 26.33.100(1)(b) is a run-on sentence that
lacks punctuation to designate independent clauses.
Nevertheless, its meaning is apparent when analyzed in the
context of related statutes. "Relinquishment"
refers to a legal process under RCW 26.33.080 and .090,
whereby a parent's rights to a child are transferred to
the department (of children, youth, and families), an agency,
or prospective adoptive parent. Contrasted with other
pathways to termination of parental rights, relinquishment is
a "voluntary" process. Former RCW 26.33.020(11)
(1993). Consent from the relinquishing parent and the
prospective adoptive parent, the department or an agency is
required. RCW 26.33.080(1),  (2). This bilateral consent is
critical in that it furthers legislative intent by protecting
children from being deprived of emotional and financial
parental support. RCW 26.33.010; In re Marriage of
Furrow, 115 Wn.App. 661, 672, 63 P.3d 821 (2003).
the foregoing context, RCW 26.33.100(1)(b) contemplates that
a prospective adoptive parent can file a petition for
termination of parental rights in two circumstances: First,
when the court has ordered the child relinquished to the
prospective adoptive parent from one legal parent pursuant to
RCW 26.33.090(4); Second when the court has not yet approved
a relinquishment petition, but the likelihood of
relinquishment is evidenced by a filed relinquishment
petition or by the prospective adoptive parent's written
consent to receiving the relinquished child under RCW
termination petition here fails to allege either that
G.A.-K.K. has been ordered relinquished to J.C.P. from one of
her parents or that relinquishment is likely based on either
consent to relinquishment or a petition for relinquishment.
In fact, J.C.P.'s termination petition makes clear that
relinquishment has not been ordered and is unlikely to occur
given that both of G.A.-K.K.'s legal parents are opposed
to adoption. RCW 26.33.080(2). The petition therefore fails
to state adequate grounds for relief, as J.C.P. did not plead
sufficient facts to establish her standing under RCW
trial court correctly concluded J.C.P. lacked standing to
petition for termination of K.K. and M.K.'s parental
rights. The order of dismissal is affirmed. ...