Incorporating Thwarted Putative Fathers into the Adoption Scheme: Illinois Proposes a Solution After the "Baby Richard" Case
Mahrukh S. Hussaini   |   1996 U. Ill. L. Rev.

In 1994, the Illinois Supreme Court affirmed an order returning a child, known to the public only as Baby Richard, to his biological parents after he had spent most of his young life with an adoptive family. This decision sent shock waves through households and legal communities across the country, and it prompted the Illinois General Assembly to make significant changes to the state's adoption laws. In an effort to secure the finality of adoptions, the legislature promulgated several new burdens on putative fathers. The author of this note argues that, with a few suggested changes, Illinois' new laws strike an effective balance among the many competing interests involved in adoption proceedings. The author first examines the problems faced by courts and legislatures across the United States in addressing the plight of thwarted putative fathers. She then analyzes the Baby Richard case and the new legislation which the case prompted. Finally, she evaluates several potential challenges to the new legislation and offers resolutions.