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COA: Twins to remain with guardian, not grandmother

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed a lower court’s ruling that twins from northern Indiana may be adopted by their guardian in Bloomington over the objections of the children’s father and paternal grandmother.

In In the Matter of the Adoption of J.L.J. and J.D.J., Minor Children; J.J. and T.H. v. D.E., 53A01-1306-AD-285, father J.J. and grandmother T.H. sought to reverse the Monroe Circuit court order dispensing with father’s consent to the adoption of the twins and denying grandmother’s petitions for guardianship and adoption of the children.

Mother J.S. and father have been in an off-and-on relationship that has produced four children. At one point, mother had four children under the age of 2 in her care. The twins, born in Benton Harbor, Mich., where grandmother and father lived, resided in South Bend with their mother. The mother would leave the twins with different friends and relatives often, including grandmother. Father spent some time incarcerated during the twin’s young lives and never paid child support despite a court order.

A friend of J.S.’ mother, D.E., who had been seeking to adopt for years, learned about mother and her situation and drove from Bloomington to South Bend to visit with the mother. That day J.S. signed a consent form to allow D.E. to become guardian and eventually adopt the children.

Father didn’t contest D.E.’s petition for appointment as guardian and to adopt within 30 days of receiving notice, although later he and his mother challenged the petitions. Grandmother wanted the children placed with her. The trial court ruled in favor of D.E.

The Court of Appeals affirmed on interlocutory appeal. It found sufficient evidence to support the determination that father’s consent was not required based on his knowing failure to provide care and support for the twins, despite an ability to do so. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in concluding that grandmother was not entitled to notice of the guardianship proceedings because the twins did not live with her 60 days prior to D.E. filing her petitions, Judge Patricia Riley wrote.

The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children does not apply, as grandmother argued, because the children were considered residents of Indiana, despite being born in Michigan and sometimes living there.

Finally, the COA held it is in the best interests of the children to be adopted by D.E. They are very well-adjusted 2-1/2 year olds, the court found, and they are receiving excellent services.
 

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  1. This law is troubling in two respects: First, why wasn't the law reviewed "with the intention of getting all the facts surrounding the legislation and its actual impact on the marketplace" BEFORE it was passed and signed? Seems a bit backwards to me (even acknowledging that this is the Indiana state legislature we're talking about. Second, what is it with the laws in this state that seem to create artificial monopolies in various industries? Besides this one, the other law that comes to mind is the legislation that governed the granting of licenses to firms that wanted to set up craft distilleries. The licensing was limited to only those entities that were already in the craft beer brewing business. Republicans in this state talk a big game when it comes to being "business friendly". They're friendly alright . . . to certain businesses.

  2. Gretchen, Asia, Roberto, Tonia, Shannon, Cheri, Nicholas, Sondra, Carey, Laura ... my heart breaks for you, reaching out in a forum in which you are ignored by a professional suffering through both compassion fatigue and the love of filthy lucre. Most if not all of you seek a warm blooded Hoosier attorney unafraid to take on the government and plead that government officials have acted unconstitutionally to try to save a family and/or rescue children in need and/or press individual rights against the Leviathan state. I know an attorney from Kansas who has taken such cases across the country, arguing before half of the federal courts of appeal and presenting cases to the US S.Ct. numerous times seeking cert. Unfortunately, due to his zeal for the constitutional rights of peasants and willingness to confront powerful government bureaucrats seemingly violating the same ... he was denied character and fitness certification to join the Indiana bar, even after he was cleared to sit for, and passed, both the bar exam and ethics exam. And was even admitted to the Indiana federal bar! NOW KNOW THIS .... you will face headwinds and difficulties in locating a zealously motivated Hoosier attorney to face off against powerful government agents who violate the constitution, for those who do so tend to end up as marginalized as Paul Odgen, who was driven from the profession. So beware, many are mere expensive lapdogs, the kind of breed who will gladly take a large retainer, but then fail to press against the status quo and powers that be when told to heel to. It is a common belief among some in Indiana that those attorneys who truly fight the power and rigorously confront corruption often end up, actually or metaphorically, in real life or at least as to their careers, as dead as the late, great Gary Welch. All of that said, I wish you the very best in finding a Hoosier attorney with a fighting spirit to press your rights as far as you can, for you do have rights against government actors, no matter what said actors may tell you otherwise. Attorneys outside the elitist camp are often better fighters that those owing the powers that be for their salaries, corner offices and end of year bonuses. So do not be afraid to retain a green horn or unconnected lawyer, many of them are fine men and woman who are yet untainted by the "unique" Hoosier system.

  3. I am not the John below. He is a journalist and talk show host who knows me through my years working in Kansas government. I did no ask John to post the note below ...

  4. "...not those committed in the heat of an argument." If I ever see a man physically abusing a woman or a child and I'm close enough to intercede I will not ask him why he is abusing her/him. I will give him a split second to cease his attack and put his hands in the air while I call the police. If he continues, I will still call the police but to report, "Man down with a gunshot wound,"instead.

  5. And so the therapeutic state is weaonized. How soon until those with ideologies opposing the elite are disarmed in the name of mental health? If it can start anywhere it can start in the hoosiers' slavishly politically correct capital city.

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