This private placement adoption action presents a number of intertwined legal issues that highlight the shortcomings of the private placement adoption statutes in New York State. The infant who is the subject of the case has now been in the home of the petitioners since February 21, 1998 without the benefit of a valid adoption consent from the parents or a currently valid pre-adoption certification order. The adoption agency that originally accepted custody of the child is no longer supervising this placement because it was not licensed in the state where the child was born. Additionally, the fees charges by the principals involved may not be entirely allowable under New York State law.
Background This petition was filed in Kings County Family Court by Mrs. M and Mr. M. on June 10, 1999 seeking adoption of a male child born 2/19/98 in Biddeford, Maine to Mrs. P. Mr. P is listed as the child’s father. The petition alleges that the child has been in the care of the petitioners since 2/21/98.
A review of documents filed supplementing the adoption petition indicates that while petitioners were found to be qualified adoptive parents pursuant to Domestic Relations Law § 115-d by order of Kings County Surrogate’s Court dated 1/13/94, at the time this petition was filed in the Family Court on June 10, 1999 the petitioners were no longer certified as qualified adoptive parents. Surrogate’s Court extended the original certification order until 2/1/96 when it lapsed. Apparently, the Surrogate permitted Mr. and Mrs. M. to apply for “recertification” and issued a one-year order on January 5, 1998 that continued until January 5, 1999.