Georgia SC allows family to adopt toddler after denying rights to biological father who wanted to abort him

Chief Justice Harold Melton said one example of Joshua Brumbelow giving up his opportunity to develop a relationship with his biological son was offering to pay for the latter's abortion


                            Georgia SC allows family to adopt toddler after denying rights to biological father who wanted to abort him
Father piggybacking kid near ocean: Getty Images

A family has got the permission to adopt a three-year-old boy after the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that his biological father gave up his rights, partly by offering to pay for the child’s abortion. According to a report in the Atlanta-Journal Constitution (AJC), the court gave a 6-3 ruling on Monday, May 18, that Ashley and Lance Hall could adopt the child, saying his biological father Joshua Brumbelow forfeited his rights by making the offer. According to the AJC report, Brumbelow had not shown any interest in investing in his son six weeks after his birth. Justin Young Hester, the attorney for the Halls and Jeannie Mathenia, the child’s biological mother, welcomed the court’s verdict and said it established clarity in adoption cases that are contested. 

“He 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,” Hester was quoted as saying. “He made no offers at any time other than the offer to pay for an abortion and he showed no interest in parenting the child.” The Halls have had the boy’s custody from the time he was released from the hospital in July 2016. Mathenia terminated her maternal rights at that time.

Chief Justice Harold Melton said one example of Brumbelow giving up his opportunity to develop a relationship with his biological son was offering to pay for the latter's abortion. “The offer indicated that Brumbelow wanted no relationship at all with (the child), as an abortion would have ensured that no relationship could ever develop,” he wrote, adding: “Brumbelow showed no interest in becoming a father in a true relational sense throughout Mathenia’s pregnancy, and seemingly expressed an interest only upon discovering that the child would be placed for adoption.”

Brumbelow didn't care about Mathenia during pregnancy

Court documents showed the boy was conceived when Brumbelow and Mathenia had a one-time sexual encounter five years ago. The woman was separated from her husband at the time. Mathenia informed the court that Brumbelow refused to accept his fatherhood throughout her pregnancy and did not even visit her or offer any financial help for maternity care. “He 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,” Hester said, adding: “He made no offers at any time other than the offer to pay for an abortion and he showed no interest in parenting the child."

About two months before her child was born, Mathenia said she wrote to Brumbelow’s mother, the court papers added. After Mathenia terminated her parental rights, the Halls have had his custody. Mathenia also confirmed that Brumbelow offered to pay for an abortion. Brumbelow filed a petition to legitimize his paternal rights after six weeks after the boy was born and had been placed up for adoption. 

In a separate concurring opinion, Justice Charles Bethel said a father’s parental right should not be denied just because he offered to pay for an abortion. “Of course, hearts and minds change and the lack of an interest in parenting at the outset of a pregnancy can give way to genuine parental concern, nurture, and love,” Bethel wrote, the AJC report added.

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