Some women thinking about giving up a baby for adoption, or more correctly “making an adoption plan for their baby,” choose not to identify the father for various reasons, which Indiana Law allows and is the subject of a previous blog (https://www.indianaadoption.com/can-i-give-up-my-baby-for-adoption-even-if-the-father-doesnt-want-me-to/).
But, sometimes, the father knows of the pregnancy and possibly the adoption but won’t consent to the adoption even though the birth mother thinks adoption serves the unborn child’s best interests. Of course, some fathers will take responsibility and help the mother raise the child, even if the birth mother and birth father are no longer in a relationship. Other times, however, the birth father just wants to stress the expectant mother and make things difficult for her by refusing to sign a consent, even though he may not actually plan on helping to raise the child.
Prior to the enactment of Indiana Code § 31-19-3, the Pre-birth Notice Statute, neither expectant mothers nor prospective adoptive parents could accurately assess the sincerity and commitment of a birth father who said that he objected to the adoption or refused to sign a consent to the adoption. In the “old” days, the birth mother and adoptive parents could either decide not to do the adoption for fear of what the father might do or proceed with an adoptive placement, give the father notice of the adoption AFTER the child’s birth, and hope he would not challenge. This complicated already impossibly difficult decisions.
In the 1990s, Adoption Attorney Steven M. Kirsh of the Adoption Law Firm of Kirsh & Kirsh, P.C. (“Kirsh & Kirsh”) proposed to the Indiana General Assembly the idea of allowing (but not requiring) adoption attorneys and adoption agencies to give notice of an intended adoption to the alleged father of the unborn child BEFORE THE BABY’S BIRTH. The Indiana General Assembly liked Steve Kirsh’s idea and enacted the Pre-birth Notice Statute in Indiana. Since then other states have followed Indiana’s lead and enacted similar laws.
Therefore, if either the birth mother or prospective parents live in Indiana, their adoption attorney or adoption agency can give the father of the unborn child notice of the adoption. If the pre-birth notice is correctly given (another reason to involve an experienced adoption attorney, well versed in the laws of Indiana) and the father does not file a paternity action within 30 days of the receipt of the notice – not the birth of the baby, but the receipt of the notice, the father is deemed to have consented to the adoption, just as if he signed the consent to adoption.
In filing a paternity action, the birth father asks the court to make him legally and financially responsible for the child for the next 18 to 21 years. The Indiana General Assembly has taken the position that if a man undertakes that responsibility, his parental rights will be honored. If not, he cannot object to the adoption of the child.
Over the last 35+ years, we at Kirsh & Kirsh have given many men pre-birth notice of an adoption. Rarely do men object to the adoption, but by using the Pre-birth Notice Statute, the birth mother and adoptive parents know where they stand when the baby arrives.
For more information about the Pre-birth Notice Statute or if you are pregnant and considering making an adoption plan, please contact us at Kirsh & Kirsh. We can help you find a loving, secure, and happy home for your precious baby, among our carefully screened, prospective adoptive parents. We can help you, without cost or obligation on your part. We will always treat you will kindness and respect. The numerous expectant mothers with whom we have worked over years, many, if not most, have needed help paying their living expenses while they were pregnant and during their postpartum recovery.
You can call, text and or email us anytime. To contact us—call: 317-575-5555, text: 317-721-2030, email: AdoptionSupport@kirsh.com, or Facebook message: https://www.facebook.com/KirshandKirsh/. We answer our office phone 24 hours a day, every single day. We try to respond to emails and text messages within minutes of receipt.