ADOPTION OF CHILDREN
16-1501A. Rights and Responsibilities of parties in adoption proceedings. (1) The legislature finds that the rights and interests of all parties affected by an adoption proceeding must be considered and balanced in determining what constitutional protections and processes are necessary and appropriate.
(2) The legislature finds that:
(a) The state has a compelling interest in providing stable and permanent homes for adoptive children in a prompt manner, in preventing the disruption of adoptive placements, and in holding parents accountable for meeting the needs of children;
(b) An unmarried mother, faced with the responsibility of making crucial decisions about the future of a newborn child, is entitled to privacy, and has the right to make timely and appropriate decisions regarding her future and the future of the child, and is entitled to assurance regarding the permanence of an adoptive placement;
(c) Adoptive children have a right to permanence and stability in adoptive placements;
(d) Adoptive parents have a constitutionally protected liberty and privacy interest in retaining custody of an adopted child; and
(e) An unmarried biological father has an inchoate interest that acquires constitutional protection only when he demonstrates a timely and full commitment to the responsibilities of parenthood, both during pregnancy and upon the child’s birth. The state has a compelling interest in requiring unmarried biological fathers to demonstrate that commitment by providing appropriate medical care and financial support and by establishing legal paternity, in accordance with the requirements of this chapter.
(3) (a) The legislature prescribes the conditions for determining whether an unmarried biological father’s action is sufficiently prompt and substantial to require constitutional protection pursuant to sections 16-1504 and 16-1513, Idaho Code.
(b) If an unmarried biological father fails to grasp the opportunities to establish a relationship with his child that are available to him, his biological parental interest may be lost entirely, or greatly diminished in constitutional significance by his failure to timely exercise it, or by his failure to strictly comply with the available legal steps to substantiate it.
(c) A certain degree of finality is necessary in order to facilitate the state’s compelling interest. The legislature finds that the interest of the state, the mother, the child, and the adoptive parents described in this section outweigh the interest of an unmarried biological father who does not timely grasp the opportunity to establish and demonstrate a relationship with his child in accordance with the requirements of this chapter.
(d) An unmarried biological father has the primary responsibility to protect his rights.
(e) An unmarried biological father is presumed to know that the child may be adopted without his consent unless he strictly complies with the provisions of this chapter, manifests a prompt and full commitment to his parental responsibilities, and establishes paternity.
(4) The legislature finds that an unmarried mother has a right of privacy with regard to her pregnancy and adoption plan, and therefore has no legal obligation to disclose the identity of an unmarried biological father prior to or during an adoption proceeding, and has no obligation to volunteer information to the court with respect to the father.
[16-1501A, added 2000, ch. 171, sec. 1, p. 422.]