Appeal, No. 6, April T., 1955, from decree of Orphans' Court of Allegheny County, 1953, No. 128, in re adoption of Adria Sheryl Nauman. Decree affirmed.
Alvin J. Porsche, Pittsburgh, for appellants.
Frank I. Gollmar, with him Mulvihill, Gollmar & Grier, Pittsburgh, for appellees.
Before Rhodes, P. J., Hirt, Ross, Gunther, Wright, Woodside and Ervin, JJ.
[ 177 Pa. Super. Page 319]
This is an appeal from an order of the Orphans' Court*fn1 of Allegheny County awarding custody of a six year old girl to her paternal grandparents, by whom she had been regularly adopted. Appellants are the maternal grandparents, and temporarily had custody of the child at the time of the adoption proceeding.*fn2 The adoption decree, dated April 9, 1953, was entered after a full hearing at which the adopting parents, the natural father, the natural mother, and the maternal grandmother all testified. Both of the natural parents (who are divorced) consented to the adoption. Exceptions filed to the decree by the maternal grandparents were dismissed by the Court en banc on July 13, 1953. No appeal was taken.
The present petition for a writ of habeas corpus was filed April 2, 1954. It sets forth that, following the decree of adoption, the child remained in the custody of the maternal grandparents who refused to surrender her to the petitioners. A hearing was held on said petition, at which time the natural mother sided with appellants and attempted to withdraw her consent to the adoption. The court below found that the mother's
[ 177 Pa. Super. Page 320]
consent was "unconditional and voluntary" and that the best interests and welfare of the child would be promoted by placing her with the adopting parents.
Appellants set forth in their brief that this appeal involves the following questions: "1. Whether the interests and welfare of the minor child would best be served by vacating the decree of adoption and thereby allowing the custody of the said minor child to remain with the Appellants, the maternal grandparents of the said minor child, with whom the said minor child has spent most of its life? 2. Whether the natural mother's consent was given to the adoption of said minor child upon the deceitfully expressed intentions of the natural father of the said minor child which vitiated the consent so given and thereby operated as a fraud upon the Court granting the Decree?"
What appellants are expressly attempting is to vacate the adoption decree. No appeal having been taken, the validity of the adoption is res judicata and the decree is not subject to collateral attack: Rollo v. Bell, 265 Pa. 503, 109 A. 159. The new status created by adoption cannot be stricken down because of regret of a parent who consented thereto: Young's Adoption, 259 Pa. 573, 103 A. 344. In the adoption proceeding the natural mother testified that she was consenting "Because I think the baby should have a place that she can call her home, and she needs it for her mental welfare and her health and everything. She has never known a real home..." She now contends that she was led to believe by her ex-husband that he would re-marry her and that appellees would thereupon relinquish custody of the child. This story was strongly ...