Kansas Adoption Law Must Be Equal To Protect Unwed Fathers Natural Right to Parent Child

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The natural right of a father to parent his own offspring is inherent in the freedoms enjoyed under the Constitution of the great State of Kansas.

We, the People of the State of Kansas, do hereby Petition our honorable Representatives, to immediately bring forth legislation, which would assert the following reforms to the KS Adoption statute, to ensure protections for natural mothers and natural fathers equally:

1)            For the purpose of this statute, it is assumed that the natural mother and natural father are equally responsible for the pregnancy and all ramifications and notifications thereof.

2)          Prior to the physical birth of a child, Federal law under Roe v. Wade provides protections for the right of a pregnant woman to terminate a pregnancy. However, the moment a mother delivers a child, the natural father’s equal right to parent that child is immediately protected.

                 a)          Kansas state law provides constitutional protections for the natural right of a father to parent his child.

                 b)          It is rightly assumed that the natural father is equally and fully capable of parenting the child with the same quality of care as the natural mother.

                 c)          The mother’s decision to relinquish her parental rights shall in no way infringe upon the father’s parental rights, which remain fully intact.

                 d)          If a natural mother chooses to to birth a child, and relinquish her parental rights, the natural father is fully within his rights to choose to keep and parent his child.

3)          Under no circumstance shall it be assumed that the father has no interest in parenting the child, because the mother has decided not to parent the child.

4)          Under no circumstance shall the natural father be required to prove his fitness to parent his child, over and above that proof which is required of the natural mother and/or of any prospective adoptive parent(s).

5)            A pregnant woman, who has decided to birth her child, and then decides to relinquish her parental rights, shall be required to

                 a)          notify all prospective fathers of the pregnancy; and,

                 b)          notify all prospective fathers of the decision she has made to relinquish her parental rights.

6)          Putative father notification is the responsibility of the mother, and shall take place

                  a)          at least six months prior to the expected date of birth of the child; or,

                  b)          immediately upon making the decision to relinquish her own parental rights, if less than six months prior to the birth; but,

                  c)          shall not occur more than 24 hours following the birth of the child; and,

                  d)          shall occur before any potential adoption filing may proceed.

7)          In cases where the identity of the father is unknown or uncertain

                  a)          The statute currently assumes that a father “should be aware” of any possible pregnancy, because he engaged in sexual intercourse. If the father did so with multiple partners, it remains his responsibility to be aware that a possible pregnancy could occur, with any of those partners.

                  b)          It, therefore, must be assumed that the mother “should be aware” of the name of any and all individuals who may have potentially fathered her unborn child, because she engaged in sexual intercourse. Thus, it is her responsibility to inform all potential fathers of the pregnancy, as well as to inform all potential fathers of her decision to relinquish her own parental rights, within the time-frame defined in clause 6 of this Petition.

8)          Failure to inform the unborn child’s father of the pregnancy, and/or the impending adoption of his unborn child, within the time-frame defined in clause 6 of this Petition, will be grounds for immediate termination of any pending adoption proceeding, notwithstanding the father is within his rights to file a waiver and to consent to the adoption proceeding after the fact. 

9)        The statute currently states that, if a father desires to preserve his parental rights following the birth of a child he has fathered, whom the mother has determined to adopt, the father has a responsibility to prove that he provided “substantial” support for the mother, financially or otherwise, throughout the entire final six months of the pregnancy.

                 a)          The “failure to support” clause in the current statute is often utilized to terminate the rights of an interested unwed father, despite documented efforts made by the father to provide support throughout a majority of the pregnancy.

10)      The natural mother, therefore must have a duty to allow the natural father access to information regarding the best way to provide the support she requires for the entire final six months of the pregnancy, except in documented cases of abuse or physical violence between the father and the mother.

                 a)          The natural mother must be willing to receive financial and other forms of support from the natural father of the unborn child.

                 b)          In cases where the identity of an interested father is not in question, but the mother has decided to disengage from communication with the interested father for her own personal reasons, a “putative father financial account” will be created, for the purpose of providing a reasonable amount of support to the unborn child’s mother during the pregnancy, thereby eliminating the need for the mother to engage in communication with the unborn child’s father and vice versa.

11)      Courts have previously ruled that the mother’s refusal to communicate with, or accept support from, the father of the unborn child, does not nullify the parental rights of the father.

                a)          The father shall not be required to make undue overtures, in order to convince the mother to accept his support, whether financial or otherwise. The current statute clearly states that the father must provide support that is “reasonable under the circumstances”.

12)      It is unreasonable to expect an interested father, who has not been informed that the mother is planning to eventually relinquish her own parental rights, to begin maintaining an account record of his support for the mother of his unborn child, dating back to six months prior to the date of birth of the child.

                a)          As outlined in clause 5 of this Petition, it is the natural mother’s responsibility to inform the natural father of the pregnancy, and to inform the natural father of her decision to relinquish her own parental rights, within the time-frame outlined in clause 6 of this Petition.

                b)          This ensures that the natural father may document support for the natural mother of the unborn child, within the six month time-frame required under the current KS Adoption statute.

13)      Refusal of the unborn child’s mother to maintain contact with the unborn child’s father, or refusal to communicate with the unborn child’s father, shall not nullify a father’s parental rights, as it pertains to support of the mother during pregnancy.

                a)          Absolute refusal of the unborn child’s mother to accept support from the unborn child’s father shall never be grounds to terminate a father’s parental rights for “failure to support”.

                b)          It shall be unlawful for an attorney to advise the natural mother to cease contact with the natural father, in order to facilitate a “failure to support” ruling, for the purpose of terminating the parental rights of an interested natural father.

14)      As state law is currently written, documented demands from the unborn child’s mother to the unborn child’s father, either that she does not need, or that she does not want, his financial support, does not nullify a father’s parental responsibility, as it pertains to support of the mother during pregnancy.

                a)          Clause 10.b., which creates a “putative father financial account,” ensures that the father’s support of the mother is documented, in order to protect the father’s natural rights, should “failure to support” be argued for the purpose of an eventual termination of father’s parental rights.

15)      If there exist multiple putative fathers of the unborn child

                a)          All funds submitted into “putative father financial account(s)” must remain in the individual account(s), until it is determined by genetic testing, who the natural father of the child may be.

                                 i)            Each putative father retains the right to give the mother of the unborn child financial or other support, above that which is paid in to the putative father financial account.

                  b)          Any putative father who is eventually determined by genetic evidence not to be the father of the unborn child shall be lawfully entitled to have returned, all monies paid into the account during the pregnancy.

                  c)          As it pertains to support of the mother of the unborn child during the pregnancy, an interested father, who is determined by genetic evidence to be the natural father of the unborn child, shall be lawfully entitled to have returned, all monies paid into any “putative father financial account” during the pregnancy, if the natural father’s rights are terminated against his will for "failure to support."

16)      Attorneys who specialize in arranging adoptions are assumed to be working in the best interest of the child. Therefore it is incumbent upon these attorneys to consider the wishes and desires of all interested Parties, including the unborn child’s natural father, before moving forward with an adoption.

                 a)          Adoption attorneys representing natural mothers must, a minimum of 120 days prior to the anticipated date of birth (or immediately upon being retained for the purpose of the adoption of the child), inform the natural mother of her legal responsibility to inform all prospective fathers of the pregnancy, and of her decision to relinquish her own parental rights, within the time-frame outlined in clause 6 of this Petition.

                 b)          A notarized statement from the father, indicating he has been made aware of the pregnancy, and has been made aware of the impending adoption, shall be prepared for the adoption case file, at least three months prior to the anticipated date of birth of the child (or immediately upon being retained for the purpose of the adoption of the child, if shorter than three months prior to the birth), and shall be included in the original Petition for adoption following the birth of the child.

17)      Attorneys representing Parties in adoption proceedings must make any prospective adoptive parent(s) aware of an interested father who is likely to contest an adoption, at least three months prior to the birth of the child (or within 24 hours of being made aware of the father’s interest).

18)      Kansas state law currently states that a natural mother may not be asked to sign final adoption consent paperwork until 12 hours have passed following the birth of the child, with some exceptions. The law was written in consideration of the mother, and the possibility that the mother could reasonably change her mind following the actual physical birth of the child.

                a)          The amount of time the mother must spend recovering from the physical birth, as well as the amount of time required by the medical team to provide after-birth care for the infant child, reduces this 12-hours even further. The mother is given almost no time whatsoever to hold her child, or to reasonably consider her decision to relinquish her parental rights.

                b)          The minimum length of time shall be changed to 48 hours following the birth of the child, to provide time for the mother to see and hold her child, in order to properly understand the ramifications of her decision.

                c)          At no time during the 48 hours shall the prospective adoptive parents or their attorney seek to interfere with the mother’s time with the child, except as has been agreed upon by all Parties.

19)      The natural mother may choose to relinquish physical custody of the newborn child to the natural father at any time.

                a)          This clause does not seek to supersede any support obligation the mother may have to the child and assumes that the mother’s attorney will provide her with her rights and responsibilities, as it pertains to visitation and support, or retaining her own right to equal legal custody after the fact.

                b)          Additional court orders, pertaining to the custody, care and support of the child, would take place in Family court proceedings and the KS Adoption statute would not apply.

20)      As currently written, KS state law provides no protections for the natural father, as it pertains to his right to see or hold his child before relinquishing his parental rights in the case of adoption. The child is given over to the custody of the prospective adoptive parent(s) before the father is notified the birth has taken place. The father has the right to appeal the adoption before the District Court, after which he may or may not be allowed to see his child, depending upon the ruling of the Court.

                a)          Absent any serious reason otherwise, the natural father’s right to be notified about the impending birth of his child, in order to be immediately present upon the birth of the child, shall not be infringed upon by deception or other means.

                b)          Inducing the birth of the child early, for the purpose of giving physical custody of the child to prospective adoptive parents, before the natural father is notified the birth has occurred, is unlawful. This practice clearly infringes upon the natural right of the father.

21)      A signed and notarized consent from the natural father shall be required before any Petition to Adopt may be filed.

                a)          The natural father’s consent must be included with the original Petition for adoption.

                b)          If the natural father is not physically present for the birth of the child, the consent may not be obtained before 48 hours have passed following the physical introduction of the natural father to his newborn child.

                c)          As in the case of the natural mother, the natural father has the right to spend 48 hours with his newborn child, free of interference from the prospective adoptive parent(s) or their attorney, except as agreed upon by all Parties.

                d)          Both natural mother and natural father independently retains his or her right to withdraw consent for 30 days following the signed consent.

22)      At no time may the prospective adoptive parents be given physical custody of the child, until both natural mother and natural father have provided signed and notarized documentation consenting to the adoption.

23)      It is not unlawful for a natural parent to choose to keep and parent his or her child.

                a)          It shall be unlawful for any attorney in an adoption proceeding to attempt to manipulate or sway a natural parent’s decision to parent his or her child, or to threaten a natural parent with retaliatory legal action for “failure” to follow through with the decision to adopt the child.

24)      It must be assumed that it is in the best interest of the child, when mother, father and prospective adoptive parents are in agreement regarding the adoption. However each individual interested party has rights that must be protected, separate from one another.

                a)          No attorney who specializes in adoption may represent more than one party in any adoption proceeding. The mother shall have her own attorney. The father shall have his own attorney. The prospective adoptive parent(s) shall have their own attorney.

25)      Although the KS Adoption statute should be written for the purpose of being for the “best interest of the child,” the law is frequently interpreted in a manner which leans heavily toward the benefit of the prospective adoptive parents.

                a)          It is assumed that prospective adoptive parents are more responsible, more stable, and generally more capable to parent the child than either of the birth parents.

                b)          The birth parents are assumed to be, both individually and collectively, irresponsible, unstable, and unfit to raise a child.

                c)          Therefore the prospective adoptive parents shall be responsible for payment for attorneys for all Parties, to ensure that the protection of each of the birth parent’s natural parental rights is enforced.

26)      Having been lawfully provided the signed and notarized documents for consent to the adoption from both natural parents, the prospective adoptive parents may take physical custody of the child and may proceed with filing the Petition to Adopt.

                a)          Excluding decisions related to the direct care and well-being of the child in their physical custody, at no time may the prospective adoptive parents make further legal decisions related to the child, until 30 days after the consent for adoption of the child has been signed by both natural parents, which shall be the minimum amount of time required to pass before the adoption is finalized.

                b)          Thirty days following the receipt of signed consent, the adoption is finalized and the prospective adoptive parents become the legal parents of the child. The rights of the natural mother and natural father are thereby relinquished permanently.

27)      If either natural parent asserts his or her right to parent the child less than 30 days following consent to adopt the child, all adoption proceedings must be terminated. The physical custody of the child must be returned to the natural parents, and a reasonable equal parenting plan put into place, without undue delay.

                a)          The prospective adoptive parents must relinquish physical custody of the child immediately, if consent to adopt the child was obtained less than 30 days prior. They have no legal standing.

                b)          At no time shall the attorney for the prospective adoptive parents be allowed to file a petition in court to demand either natural parent prove they are “fit” to parent their child. The prospective adoptive parents have no legal standing to make demands of either natural parent.

                c)          If consent to adopt the child was obtained by both natural parents over 30 days prior, the adoption is finalized and all natural parental rights are relinquished by both mother and father. The Petition of the adoptive parent(s) is finalized and they are now the legal parents of the child.

28)      The natural mother and the natural father of the unborn child are assumed to have equal legal authority to make decisions pertaining to their child.

29)      These clauses shall in no way infringe upon the right of the natural mother and natural father of the child, to voluntarily decide together, to enter into a private adoption agreement with prospective adoptive parent(s), should all Parties be present, and each agrees to waive certain rights, as it pertains to the adoption proceedings.

                 a)          Either natural parent may choose at any time to waive certain rights provided to them by law.

                 b)          Appropriate legal documentation to indicate the waiver of rights shall be included in the Petition for Adoption.

We humbly ask our representatives to bring forth legislation now, to reform the KS Adoption statute as outlined in this Petition, to ensure that the natural rights of both mother and father are protected in the State of Kansas.

Respectfully submitted, this Monday, February 10, 2020,

On behalf of the voters of the State of Kansas,

For FreeEliza: A Father’s Rights Organization,

Susan Jeppsson, Project Coordinator

Sharon Brandon, Media & Event Coordinator

Andy Daniels, Media Relations/Speaker

and

Paul Allen Fiscus, a natural father currently fighting for the right to parent his daughter, Baby Girl G (No. 121,051, In The Supreme Court of the State of Kansas, In the Matter of the Adoption of Baby Girl G, Petition for Review as a Matter of Right)