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YOUNG ADOPTION CASE. (05/08/59)

May 8, 1959

YOUNG ADOPTION CASE.


Appeal, No. 133 March T., 1958, from decree of Orphans' Court of Allegheny County, No. 143 of 1957, in re adoption of Edward Young. Decree affirmed.

COUNSEL

Barney Phillips, for appellant.

John A. Metz, Jr., with him George F. Young, Jr., and Metz, Cook, Hanna & Kelly, for appellees.

Before Jones, C.j., Bell, Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Bok and Mcbride, JJ.

Author: Musmanno

[ 395 Pa. Page 559]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE MUSMANNO

This case presents the paradox of a father who ignores his child's birth, neglects his existence, fails to support him, never visits him, sends him no letter, card, toy, or present, displays not the slightest sentiment toward him, does not inquire about his health or well-being, comes into the town where the child lives and departs without even asking about his whereabouts - and then, when the child is about to be adopted by persons who love and cherish this forsaken creature of humanity, steps in to object, protest, and complain. The fact that he did go into court to register his claim lends verisimilitude to the sincerity of a protest which might otherwise be interpreted as an attitude of canis in praesepi.

[ 395 Pa. Page 560]

The case reaches this Court on appeal from the Orphans' Court of Allegheny County which decreed adoption of the child, Edward Young (21 months of age) by Thomas E. Landy and Constance Landy who had petitioned for adoption on August 29, 1957, after the child had been placed in their custody by the Juvenile Court of Allegheny County with the consent of the mother, Mrs. Mary Woomer Young, and on the assumed abandonment of the child by the father, Ralph Young. At the hearing before the orphans' court, the following narrative of facts emerged.

Ralph Young and Mary Woomer were married in 1946 and are the parents of five children in all, Edward, (born on June 26, 1956) in Pittsburgh, being the youngest. In the latter part of 1953, Ralph Young, after installing his wife and then four children in the home of his wife's mother (Mrs. Margaret Woomer), set out for California without informing his family as to his intentions. For a year and a half he did not communicate with his wife or children, nor did he send them money, clothing, or food. At the hearing in orphans' court he explained that he could not afford to send the family any maintenance because he was earning only $240 per month and he needed this money for his own maintenance. Although, the cost of living was high then, as it still is, the United States Government had not yet increased the cost of postage, so that it is difficult to believe that with $240 coming into his pocket every month, Mr. Young could not have purchased a three-cent stamp with which to send his family a letter to appease, if not their hunger for food, at least their spiritual need for news as to what had happened to him.

Since the children were all of tender age, Mrs. Young could not work at a full-time job, but she did work part time and, with help from a Mothers' Assistance Allowance

[ 395 Pa. Page 561]

    from the Department of Public Assistance of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, she managed to keep herself and her brood afloat on the husbandless-fatherless sea. When the financial storm became too severe, the ...


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