Monday, August 18, 2014

Foster Children - Foster Child's Birth Father Notified of Pending Adoption

Children enter foster care for a variety of reasons. The hope is that the foster kid will be returned to their parent(s) or placed with relatives. Sometimes a foster child is put up for adoption. At this point many state laws require that foster child agencies locate and serve papers to an absent parent letting them know of the pending adoption. This can be challenging when a parent lives outside the U.S.

A family law attorney with the Booker Law Firm in Little Rock, Arkansas needed to locate a biological father. The foster kid's mother, living in the U.S. and divorced from the father, had filed an adoption request for sole custody of their daughter with the Circuit Court of Pulaski County, Arkansas.

Adoption can be a complicated process when foster care agencies have to go outside the U.S. in search of a parent as in this case. Add to this challenge that some parents make it very difficult to have papers served on them.

Sometimes an agency has a phone number, but no physical address. We have worked such case where our expertise was needed to discover a home address in Mexico so adoption notification papers could be sent. As the U.S. population becomes more diverse, the need for organizations that have international expertise can only increase.

There can also be time constraints meaning that if a parent cannot be found within a certain period of time, a TPR (termination of parental rights) can be issued by the court. However, while all of this effort is expended to locate a parent and notify them of their parental rights or ability to terminate their rights, a foster child is sitting alone in a government institution, potentially at risk of physical, emotional or sexual abuse.

Fortunately for the foster youth involved in this case, we discovered where the father was living in just a couple of weeks. We presented his home address and phone number to the attorney who promptly sent out the paperwork about the adoption.

Many mothers and fathers lose their rights to custody of their child simply because state agencies cannot find the parent. Adoption law requires agencies to do their utmost to locate and serve papers to both parents, even those who may have no moral right to block an adoption. I believe it's better to err on the side that a parent may truly want to be part of their child's life than to automatically cut them off.

Foster children need every connection to loving, caring family they can have, even those wayward parents who arrive very late in their child's life.  


Richard Villasana

Richard Villasana
Find Families In Mexico

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