Appeal, No. 32, Tan. T., 1954, from decree of Orphans' Court of Northampton County, 1953, No. 139, in re Adoption of Gary Anthony Noone. Decree affirmed.
John H. Cericola, with him John B. O'Brien, for appellant.
Thomas E. Butterfield, Jr., with him Wm. C. Fulmer, for appellees.
Before Stern, C.j., Stearne, Jones, Bell, Chidsey and Musmanno, JJ.
OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE CHIDSEY
This is an adoption proceeding instituted on May 18, 1953 by Dayton F. Hixon and Angelina M. Hixon, his wife, under the Act of April 4, 1925, P.L. 127, as amended by the Act of June 30, 1947, P.L. 1180, in which the petitioners sought to adopt Gary Anthony Noone, the minor male child of Josephine Noone and Walter E. Noone. The court below entered a final decree granting the adoption. Josephine Noone, the child's mother, appeals therefrom.
The minor child after his birth at the Easton Hospital on August 12, 1952 was released to the custody of appellant who resided with her parents on North Rose Street, Easton, Pennsylvania, she and her husband having separated during the fifth month of her pregnancy. On November 13, 1952 appellant delivered the infant child to Mr. and Mrs. Hixon for adoption. They have had the child continuously since that time. Separate formal written consents to the adoption were executed on November 12, 1952 by appellant and her husband. The custody of the child by the petitioners for the purpose of adoption was not disturbed or questioned until the hearing on the adoption application
held on June 1, 1953. There it developed that although appellant represented herself as 19 years of age, she was only 16 years of age when she executed her consent to the adoption. It is not disputed that the father of the child was of age when he executed his separate consent thereto.
Under the adoption law of 1925, as amended, then in effect, consent of the natural parents to the adoption of a child was required and no such consent was effective unless the parents had reached the age of 18 years. However, no consent was necessary where there had been abandonment of the child for six months proven "to the satisfaction of the court". Because appellant was not 18 years of age when she executed the consent, it was necessary for the petitioners to prove abandonment, and if abandonment was established, before granting the adoption it was essential for the court to find that the adoption would be for the best interests and welfare of the child: Dougherty Adoption Case, 358 Pa. 620, 58 A.2d 77; Davies Adoption Case, 353 Pa. 579, 46 A.2d 252; Weinbach's Appeal, 316 Pa. 333, 175 A. 500.
Although the case comes before us as on certiorari, it is our duty to consider the evidence which is brought up by the certiorari, and determine whether there is any evidence to sustain the ultimate conclusions of fact deduced or inferred by reasoning from established facts: Ashton Adoption Case, 374 Pa. 185, 97 A.2d 368, and cases cited therein. After a careful review of the evidence in this case, we are satisfied that the court below properly found there had been an abandonment of the child for six months and upwards, and that the best interests and welfare of the child would be served by ...