D. was a black child whose natural mother put her up for adoption. D.’s natural mother did not tell D.’s natural father or D.’s black paternal grandparents, E.M.G. and R.M.G. (defendants), of the adoption. The Department of Human Resources (DHR) placed D. with white foster parents, J.H. and J.H. (plaintiffs). The plaintiffs filed a petition to adopt D. DHR notified D.’s natural father of the adoption petition. D.’s natural father objected to the petition. The defendants filed their own petition for D.’s adoption. A District of Columbia statute explicitly allowed race to be considered as a factor in determining the best interests of the child in an adoption proceeding. The trial court analyzed the possibility that D. could have severe questions of identity in the future if she was raised by white parents. The trial court relied on this possibility to determine that granting the defendants’ adoption petition was in the best interests of D. The plaintiffs appealed.