Family gets permission to adopt three-year-old boy after court decides father has relinquished his rights
Family May Continue Adopting Three-Year-Old Boy, As Georgia Supreme Court Determines That His Biological Father Forfeited Parental Rights When He Offered To Pay To Have The Child Aborted
- The court ruled on Monday that Ashley and Lance Hall can adopt the boy
- The boy’s biological father, Joshua Brumbelow, had tried to block the adoption by claiming that he still had paternal rights
- The Halls have had custody of the boy since his mother, Jeannie Mathenia, offered him for adoption shortly after his birth in July 2016
- The boy was conceived when Brumbelow and Mathenia had a one-time sexual encounter in 2015
- Mathenia told the court that during her pregnancy, Brumbelow denied that he was the father and did not provide financial support for doctor visits
- However, he did offer to help her pay for an abortion, she said
- In Monday’s ruling, Chief Justice Harold D Melton cited that offer as an example of the fact that Brumbelow dropped his chance to build a relationship with his son
A family has been allowed to adopt a three-year-old boy after the Georgia Supreme Court determined that his birth father had lost his rights, including by offering to pay to abort the child.
In a 6-3 ruling on Monday, the court said that Ashley and Lance Hall could proceed with the adoption, finding that Joshua Brumbelow expressed interest in his biological son, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
The Halls have had custody of the boy since he was released from hospital after his birth in July 2016.
The boy’s biological mother, Jeannie Mathenia, then ended her mother’s rights.
Brumbelow filed a petition to legitimize his paternal rights six weeks after the baby was born and was already offered for adoption.
It was not until four months later that he contacted Mathenia through his mother to visit the boy.
A family has been allowed to adopt a three-year-old boy after the Georgia Supreme Court determined that his birth father had lost his rights, including by offering to pay to abort the child. The verdict was pronounced Monday in the Atlanta courthouse (photo)
According to court documents, the boy was conceived when Brumbelow and Mathenia had a one-time sexual encounter in 2015. Mathenia was separated from her husband at the time.
Mathenia told the court that during her pregnancy, Brumbelow denied that he was the father, had never visited or informed her well-being, and did not provide financial support for doctor visits or maternity clothes.
However, he did offer to help her pay for an abortion, she said.
In the decision, Chief Justice Harold D Melton cited that offer as an example of the fact that Brumbelow dropped his chance to develop a relationship with his biological son.
The offer indicated that Brumbelow didn’t want a relationship at all [the child]since an abortion would have ensured that a relationship could never start, “Melton wrote.
“Brumbelow showed no interest in becoming a father in a real relational sense during Mathenia’s pregnancy, and apparently only showed interest when he discovered that the child would be placed for adoption.”
In a separate unanimous opinion, Justice Charles Bethel said that the offer to pay for the abortion is not the only reason for a father’s parental rights to be denied.
“Of course, hearts and minds change, and the lack of interest in parenting at the beginning of a pregnancy can give way to genuine care, education, and love for parents,” Bethel wrote.
Chief Justice Harold D Melton (pictured) cited Brumbelow’s offer to pay for the abortion as an example of his chance to build a relationship with his son
De Hallen and Mathenia lawyer, Justin Young Hester, said after the statement that they were ‘very satisfied’ with the outcome.
“I hope it means we can complete the adoption,” said Hester.
‘[Brumbelow] did not support the mother financially or emotionally, he denied that he was the father, he attended only one doctor’s appointment and that was to determine the pregnancy timeline to determine if he was the father.
“He made no offer to pay for an abortion at any time and showed no interest in raising the child.”
One of Brumbelow’s lawyers, Dennis Cathey, said they were reviewing the ruling and have not yet decided whether to appeal.
Cathey declined to comment further.
It is unclear what precedent the ruling will set for parents considering abortion in Georgia.
The state passed one of the strictest abortion laws in the country last year, banning the procedure in most cases as soon as a doctor can detect fetal heart activity, which usually takes place around week six of pregnancy.