Should a Child Be Returned to His Mother If Petition to Adopt Has Been Denied ?
In Nees v. Doan, 185 Ill. App. 3d 122, 128, 540 N.E.2d 1046, 1050, 133 Ill. Dec. 180 (1989), both parents signed a consent for the Neeses to adopt their child and the Neeses, in turn, filed their petition to adopt. Nees, 185 Ill. App. 3d at 123, 540 N.E.2d at 1047.
Several months later, the court denied the Neeses' petition, made the child a ward of the court, and ordered her placement in foster care. Nees, 185 Ill. App. 3d at 125, 540 N.E.2d at 1048.
The natural mother filed timely a petition to revoke her consent.
The Nees court held that, if there was to be any sense to the statutory distinction between consents and surrenders, section 10(A) "must be read to provide for irrevocable consent for a specific adoption only.
Any other construction of section 10(A) would render it superfluous." Nees, 185 Ill. App. 3d at 128, 540 N.E.2d at 1050.
The reviewing court reasoned that when the circuit court denied the Neeses' petition for adoption, the natural mother's consent to an irrevocable termination of her parental rights became voidable. Nees, 185 Ill. App. 3d at 128-29, 540 N.E.2d at 1050.
Relying on Mitchell, the court further held that although the section 10(A) consent form includes language giving up, all parental rights, that language "cannot be read so broadly that it encompasses a complete termination of parental rights where a proposed adoption by a specified known party is not consummated." Nees, 185 Ill. App. 3d at 128, 540 N.E.2d at 1050.
Thus, within the rubric of the court's determination, when the petition to adopt was denied, the child should have been returned to her mother, absent a finding of unfitness or execution of another consent form. Nees, 185 Ill. App. 3d at 128, 540 N.E.2d at 1050.