SB182 Commercializes Children and Endangers Birth Parent Rights. Say "NO! to SB182"
SB182 puts the "AD" In "ADoption"
SB182 would make it possible for adoptive parents to advertise that they want babies. This is a misdemeanor for everyone else, but anyone calling themselves a "potential adoptive parent" would be exempt from prosecution.
ACAL rationalizes it by saying adoption facilitators already get to do this. Adoption facilitators are hardly a model of ethical behavior. Take, for example, Tawana Dancy (aka Tina Johnson) who sold twins on the internet to two couples at the same time. It's no stretch to imagine the types of "matchmaker" web sites or "auto-trader" periodicals that will spring up.
Let's stand up and say that we will not support the commoditization of children. We will not allow commercial tactics to be used to turn adoption into a free-market frenzy.
It isn't necessary for people who wish to adopt to advertise. There is no shortage of children who need permanent homes. Thousands of children in California are stuck in foster care. All someone needs to do is contact the State Department of Health and Human Services to get information about adopting these children.
The ugly truth, though, is that these children don't satisfy the market demand. People want to adopt babies. The state has an interest in providing for the welfare of its children, but it does not have an interest in getting babies for people who want to adopt. The focus should be providing homes for children who need homes, not providing children for people who want babies.
SB182 Creates a new way to terminate parental rights in probate court.
Adoptive parents usually file for guardianship if they encounter resistance in adopting. They usually are awarded guardianship if they have custody of the child. SB182 creates a way for guardians to terminate the parents' rights if one of them has not had custody for 2 years.
This would be a boon for adoptive parents in contested adoptions. If they can string the proceedings along for 2 years, they can get the parents' rights terminated in a separate (probate) court. It is very easy to drag contested adoption proceedings out for years. An appeal of a Juvenile Court order takes about 6 months.
Under SB182, parental rights could be terminated without a reason such as abuse, abandonment, or neglect. A Juvenile Court's determination on parental rights would be rendered moot. This separate action will kill a parent's successful opposition to adoption solely on the basis of having been denied custody for 2 years. Far from inconsequential... this is HUGE.
SB182 limits the time a birth parent can change their mind about adoption to 30 days TOTAL.
If a birth parent consents to adoption, they get thirty days to change their mind unless they waive that right (See AB370 explained). After deciding they want to keep the child, they can decide again for adoption. SB182 says that if the birth parent never actually got the child back, they do not get a new 30 day period.
First, this is a pathological case which no one alleges is even a problem. Aside from that, this is incentive for adoptive parents to not return the baby. By hanging on to the baby, they can wear down a birth parent who may not have the funds to fight to get their child back. If the birth parent gives in and consents to an adoption again, they do not get a new 30 day period to reconsider. This leaves no provision for any cooling off period if the birth parent consents to adoption after 30 days from the first consent.
SB182 makes nonsensical requirements on appealing orders related to paternity.
Generally when an adoption is contested by a father who has filed a paternity action, that paternity action is consolidated with the adoption action in juvenile court. Last year, the legislature made law that favors the adoptive parents by requiring the consolidated action to move to the county where the adoption was filed unless the father can show hardship by moving the action to that location. This year SB182 asks to change the word "county" to "court," which doesn't make sense. The way it is written, the adoption matter would be heard in family court if the father shows hardship. Adoption matters are always heard in juvenile court. What's the point? It's a waste of time and taxpayer money to consider this.
SB182 also adds the provision that orders relating to paternity rights can be appealed in the same manner as an order of the juvenile court declaring someone to be a ward of the court. There are two sections of Welfare and Institutions Code, 395 and 800 that relate to appealing these orders. Which are they talking about? This is unnecessary verbiage. The law goes on to say that this does not intend to limit the right to appeal such orders. It's a waste of time and taxpayer money to consider this.