October 22nd, 2009

Step-parent adoption when you can't find the father

Setting: early 90's United States. For the moment, in New York City.

Google terms tried: paternal rights, parental rights, step-parent adoption, and various combinations thereof.

Situation: So dude fathers a daughter, and then walks out when the daughter is eleven months old. He leaves no contacting or forwarding information, just up and leaves. The mother, who he was not married to, is not terribly sorry to see him go; she does talk to his friends to ensure that he hasn't been kidnapped or murdered, but otherwise doesn't try to locate him.

Fast forward five years or so. The mother is now married, and her husband wants to adopt her daughter. Only problem is, they can't find dude. Now, I've read a parent's rights can be terminated if it can be proven they abandoned the child. I think that dude has pretty clearly abandoned his daughter, but what is the legal process that the mother and her husband would go through? Would there be any trouble over her not trying to contact him?

Thanks in advance!