Friday, September 22, 2023
From Naomi Cahn (UVA), writing for the Conversation:
What’s the difference between adoption and conservatorship? Millions of dollars and the freedom to make your own choices, if you ask retired football player Michael Oher.
Oher, whose story was made into the 2009 movie “The Blind Side,” says he believed he signed papers to be adopted by an affluent white couple, Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, in 2004. But papers filed in court recently indicate Oher was in fact never adopted. Rather, he has been under a court-imposed conservatorship all this time. Further, it is alleged that the arrangement allowed the Tuohys to “gain financial advantages” by striking deals in Oher’s name.
The Tuohys’ attorneys have pushed back, saying that Oher had long known he wasn’t formally adopted and that the conservatorship was necessary for his college football aspirations. Their current attorney has also said he believes the long timeline for getting an adoption – compared with the relatively speedy conservatorship process – played a role in their decision.
Read more here.