parent challenges the original custody decision based on predicted negative consequences should the child remain in an interracial environment. An appellate court rules in favor of the noncustodial parent, accepting the argument that interracial placement is detrimental to the child. The other parent petitions a higher court to reinstate the original custody ruling and wins. A slight variation of this scenario is one in which, prior to a court's initial ruling in a divorce hearing, a divorcing parent who is seeking custody of the child (again, usually the mother) is having a relationship with a black. The other parent counters with the "predicted negative consequences" argument. The court rules against the parent who is having a relationship with a black, and an appellate court reverses that trial court's verdict.
It should be noted, however, that the courts have attempted to clarify some difficult issues regarding transracial adoptions. By and large, they have determined that race may neither serve as an automatic classification nor as a decisive and determinative factor in child custody. judicial answers, though, still reflect ambiguity. During the 1980s, the courts have attempted to add some predictability to actual adoption practice by delineating boundaries within which decisions of a transracial nature may be made. Specifically, the decisions in Edel, Kramer, Farmer, Temos, and Palmore have taken a stand against the use of race as a factor or consideration. But the traditionally unclear rulings, which allow for discretion in agency use of racial factors still mitigate against any predictability. This lack of predictability may be seen in the fact that transracial adoptions continue to fuel legal battles.