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Justices vacate adoption decree

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The Indiana Supreme Court ordered the adoption decree granted to paternal grandparents be vacated because they didn’t perform a diligent search for the biological mother.

Mother A.B. appealed the grant of adoption of her son L.D. to the boy’s paternal grandparents. When L.D. was born, mother was incarcerated and mother’s co-worker N.E. was appointed his guardian. N.E. adopted A.B. after L.D. was born and became his maternal grandmother. Eventually the paternal grandparents filed an adoption petition and asked the court to terminate N.E.’s rights to parenting time.

Neither N.E. nor A.B. was aware the paternal grandparents had filed the adoption petition. After the adoption was granted, they appealed. At issue in the instant case is whether mother A.B. had been given the notice the law required. The trial court denied her Indiana Trial Rule 60(B) request, holding that publication in an Indianapolis newspaper had been adequate with respect to A.B. The notice was placed in a newspaper geared toward the African-American community. None of the parties in the case is African-American.

In Adoption of L.D.; A.B. and N.E. v. Jo.D. and Ja.D., No. 49S02-1006-CV-330, the justices reversed, finding A.B. did not receive adequate notice as required by law. They cited several cases that explained that service by publication is inadequate when a diligent effort hasn’t been made to find a party.

The paternal grandparents and their attorney didn’t perform a diligent search required by the Due Process Clause, wrote Justice Frank Sullivan.

“Here, although Paternal Grandparents had successfully given notice to Mother at N.E.’s address on previous occasions, they made no attempt to do so here,” he wrote. “Viewing the evidence most favorably to them, they made only the most obtuse and ambiguous attempt to ask N.E. about Mother’s whereabouts. They affirmatively concealed from N.E. the very fact that they were filing an adoption petition even though the most minimal diligence to find Mother would have involved N.E. One need look no further than the fact that N.E. and Mother filed their motion in court less than two weeks after Paternal Grandparents told N.E. that the adoption had been granted to see how little effort would have been required for Paternal Grandparents to find Mother had they involved N.E.”

The justices remanded with directions to grant A.B.’s Trial Rule 60(B) motion.
 

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  1. From his recent appearance on WRTV to this story here, Frank is everywhere. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, although he should stop using Eric Schnauffer for his 7th Circuit briefs. They're not THAT hard.

  2. They learn our language prior to coming here. My grandparents who came over on the boat, had to learn English and become familiarize with Americas customs and culture. They are in our land now, speak ENGLISH!!

  3. @ Rebecca D Fell, I am very sorry for your loss. I think it gives the family solace and a bit of closure to go to a road side memorial. Those that oppose them probably did not experience the loss of a child or a loved one.

  4. If it were your child that died maybe you'd be more understanding. Most of us don't have graves to visit. My son was killed on a state road and I will be putting up a memorial where he died. It gives us a sense of peace to be at the location he took his last breath. Some people should be more understanding of that.

  5. Can we please take notice of the connection between the declining state of families across the United States and the RISE OF CPS INVOLVEMENT??? They call themselves "advocates" for "children's rights", however, statistics show those children whom are taken from, even NEGLIGENT homes are LESS likely to become successful, independent adults!!! Not to mention the undeniable lack of respect and lack of responsibility of the children being raised today vs the way we were raised 20 years ago, when families still existed. I was born in 1981 and I didn't even ever hear the term "CPS", in fact, I didn't even know they existed until about ten years ago... Now our children have disagreements between friends and they actually THREATEN EACH OTHER WITH, "I'll call CPS" or "I'll have [my parent] (usually singular) call CPS"!!!! And the truth is, no parent is perfect and we all have flaws and make mistakes, but it is RIGHTFULLY OURS - BY THE CONSTITUTION OF THIS GREAT NATION - to be imperfect. Let's take a good look at what kind of parenting those that are stealing our children are doing, what kind of adults are they producing? WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS TO THE CHILDREN THAT HAVE BEEN RIPPED FROM THEIR FAMILY AND THAT CHILD'S SUCCESS - or otherwise - AS AN ADULT.....

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