A hospital social worker called us today to ask us an adoption question. Steve Kirsh travels around the state of Indiana to present to hospital social workers and nurses on current adoption law trends in Indiana, how adoptions should be handled properly, and how they are sometimes handled improperly.
The social worker called us to run a situation by us to get our reaction. In this particular case, a baby was born and the adoptive parents were present in the hospital. The adoption attorney called the hospital social worker to let her know that the birth mother’s unsigned consent to the adoption would be faxed over to the hospital and asked if the social worker, who is a Notary, could give it to the birth mother to sign. When the social worker told me this over the phone my jaw dropped to the floor. The chutzpah of this attorney! For the attorney to think that it is acceptable to put that kind of responsibility on a hospital social worker is unacceptable. Indiana Code § 31-19-9-2 requires that a consent to adoption be signed in front of a Notary or before the court. The ethical and moral dilemmas that this raises are too many to address in this short blog post. If you working with an Indiana attorney, or Indiana adoption agency, who cannot come to the hospital to carefully, and thoughtfully, read through the consent to adoption with the birth mother, then you may need to find yourself a new Indiana adoption attorney or adoption agency.