I was struggling through the General Assembly’s barely usable website (somewhat visible framed PDFs everywhere!) and found a relatively interesting hearing conducted by the interim study committee on the judiciary concerning SB 27 from last session and the issue of whether the consent of a father who has abandoned a child should be required for the mother to put the child up for adoption. (Maybe it’s SB 27, I see references to legislation introduced by Rep. Steuerwald but went to his legislative page and can’t see such a House Bill listed. But, again, the General Assembly’s unnecessarily complicated web page is unnecessarily complicated.)
The Indiana Council of Juvenile and Family Court judges submitted a letter with concerns, stating that: 1) abandonment of the mother doesn’t necessarily equate to abandonment of responsibilities to the child; 2) the timing with which the father can be served with a notice of adoption or file a petition to establish paternity; 3) the situation where a pregnant woman refuses contact with the putative father without “justifiable cause;” 4) an inadequate definition of “abandonment.”
A letter from a birth mother about a situation where, in her mind, allowing the biological father to prevent adoption by requiring his consent even though he would have been unable to provide financially for the child or mother would be unfair. “If a man is able to prevent a woman from choosing adoption . . . and encumbers her with the ensuing responsibilities and expenses then it is only prudent that he shares in those responsibilities.”
Adoptions of Indiana submitted a letter indicating that there is a need for a law regarding pre-birth abandonment in the situation where a father signs up on the putative father’s registry or file a paternity action “out of a desire to control and spite the expectant father.” The letter suggests that, where the putative father fails to support the mother financially during the pregnancy, that is evidence that the father has abandoned the expectant mother.