R.C. 3107.07(A) Interpretation

The leading case defining the R.C. 3107.07(A) "failure to communicate" requirement is Holcomb. In In re Adoption of Holcomb (1985), 18 Ohio St.3d 361, 368, 18 Ohio B. 419, 481 N.E.2d 613, the Ohio Supreme Court found that failure to communicate is sufficient to authorize adoption without consent only if there is "a complete absence of communication" for the statutorily defined one-year period. 18 Ohio St.3d at 367. Subsequent appellate decisions have further clarified the standard. "Since R.C. 3107.07(A) does not define the verb 'to communicate,' it must be given its ordinary and accepted meaning." In re Adoption of Jordan (1991), 72 Ohio App.3d 638, 644, 595 N.E.2d 963. "The word 'communicate' has been defined as 'to make known,' 'to inform a person of, convey the knowledge or information of to send information or messages.'" Id., quoting Webster's Third New International Dictionary (1986) 460. "The essence of communication is the passing of a thought from the mind of one person to the mind of another." In re Adoption of Hedrick (1996), 110 Ohio App.3d 622, 626, 674 N.E.2d 1256. A message is not received or successfully passed to the mind of another is not communicated, nor does an unsuccessful attempt to communicate constitute communication. In re Adoption of Bradford (1985), 18 Ohio St. 3d 361, 369-370, 18 Ohio B. 419, 481 N.E.2d 613 (communication requirement not satisfied where father made one unsuccessful attempt to communicate but was turned away having arrived at the mother's house without advanced notice or prior arrangements).