the 378th District Court Ellis County, Texas Trial Court No.
Chief Justice Gray, [*] Justice Davis, and Justice Neill
three issues, Appellants Monica Kincaid Herrera and Adam
Mitchell Herrera appeal the trial court's dismissal of
their petition for termination of the parental rights of
Deserae Nicole Williams and Michael Laroy Ortega to D.R.O.,
that was joined with a petition for adoption. We will affirm.
Herreras present the following issues:
Issue 1: Did the Trial Court err in converting a hearing for
Temporary Orders into a trial on the merits without providing
the Herreras the proper notice required by the Fourteenth
Amendment of the Constitution of the United States and Texas
Rule of Civil Procedure § 245?
Issue 2: Did the Trial Court err in finding that the Herreras
lacked standing to bring the Termination/Adoption suit?
Issue 3: Did the Trial Court err in dismissing the
Herreras' Termination/Adoption suit on the merits?
was born on November 15, 2016 to Deserae and Michael. Michael
and Adam are cousins. On March 27, 2017, Deserae left D.R.O.
with Monica, Adam's wife, after returning from a
doctor's appointment. Monica testified that D.R.O. was
left with her so that she could administer breathing
treatments the doctor prescribed for D.R.O. Deserae testified
that she left D.R.O. with Monica and Adam while she was
looking for a job. The parties differ at this point on how
often D.R.O. was left with the Herreras and how much time
D.R.O. spent with the Herreras.
testified that after she found a job, D.R.O. would stay with
the Herreras during the week and would be returned to Deserae
and Michael for the weekends. Monica testified that Deserae
and Michael only saw D.R.O. six times over the next few
months and that they did not see him at all between July 27
and September 19. Deserae denied that D.R.O. spent that much
time with the Herreras.
September 17, 2017, Michael drove to the Herreras' home
to get D.R.O. Monica refused to allow Michael to take D.R.O.
because, she testified, Michael smelled of marijuana and the
vehicle he was driving had no car seat. Michael testified
that this was untrue. Deserae went to the Ennis Police
Department on September 19, 2017. Deserae reported that the
Herreras would not return D.R.O. to her, and she requested
assistance in retrieving D.R.O. After communicating with
Monica, officers with the police department contacted the
Department of Family and Protective Services. Deserae
eventually agreed to leave D.R.O. with the Herreras until the
matter could be resolved.
September 19, 2017, the Herreras filed the present suit and
requested temporary orders. The original petition did not
provide specific factual or statutory support for standing on
the part of the Herreras, although the petition notes under
the heading, "Residence with Petitioners," that
D.R.O. "will have lived in the home of Petitioners for
at least six months when this case for Adoption is