The parental preference doctrine applies in a habeas proceeding to obtain custody of a child who is the subject of an adoption proceeding if the parent's relinquishment is invalid or void. A court in a habeas proceeding may not deprive a parent of custody of his or her minor child unless a party affirmatively shows that the parent is unfit or has forfeited the right to perform his or her parental duties. The best interests standard is subject to the overriding recognition that the relationship between parent and child is constitutionally protected. Jesse B. v. Tylee H., 293 Neb. 973, 883 N.W.2d 1 (2016).
Under this section, it is the adoption itself which terminates the parental rights, and until the adoption is granted, the parental rights are not terminated. When a parent's relinquishment of his or her child is invalid or void, this section governs when the parent's rights are terminated. Jesse B. v. Tylee H., 293 Neb. 973, 883 N.W.2d 1 (2016).
In an agency adoption, the rights of the relinquishing parent are terminated when the agency accepts responsibility for the child in writing, and once the agency accepts such responsibility, the agency retains custody until such time as the child is actually adopted; whereas in a private adoption, the child is relinquished directly into the hands of the prospective adoptive parents without interference by the state or a private agency, and the relinquishing parent's rights are not totally extinguished until the child has been formally adopted by the prospective parents. Gomez v. Savage, 254 Neb. 836, 580 N.W.2d 523 (1998).
In a private adoption situation, the relinquishing parent's rights are not totally extinguished until the child has been formally adopted. Yopp v. Batt, 237 Neb. 779, 467 N.W.2d 868 (1991).
In a private placement, where relinquishment was not voluntary and the natural mother attempted to revoke the relinquishment within hours, the adoptive parents have no standing to contest the custody of the child. Gray v. Maxwell, 206 Neb. 385, 293 N.W.2d 90 (1980).
The legislative intent as to the finality of a child relinquishment is not the same in the case of a private placement, governed by section 43-111, R.R.S.1943, as it is in an agency placement, governed by section 43-106.01, R.R.S.1943. Gray v. Maxwell, 206 Neb. 385, 293 N.W.2d 90 (1980).
This section does not prohibit an adopted child from inheriting from its natural parents. Wulf v. Ibsen, 184 Neb. 314, 167 N.W.2d 181 (1969).