INDIANAPOLIS - The Indiana Court of Appeals has sided with a Canadian couple who was set to adopt a baby in Noblesville before learning the infant was born addicted to drugs, information the adoption agency did not share.
Jessica and Gerson Urbina, of Canada, were working with Zionsville-based adoption agency A Bond of Life Adoptions, or ABLA, when a prospective match was found with a pregnant woman in Noblesville.
After the baby was born, the couple traveled to Indiana and spent time with the newborn at the hospital, choosing a name and sending pictures of the baby to their friends and family, according to their complaint.
It was then that a social worker told the couple that the baby was being monitored for withdrawal symptoms caused by the birth mother's methadone use during pregnancy, according to the complaint.
The same information had been passed along to the adoption agency several days earlier, but ABLA did not inform the Urbinas, according to the complaint.
"Having spent three days bonding with [the] baby and thinking they were finally parents, the Urbinas were forced to make the gut-wrenching decision of whether to keep the baby," the couple's complaint read. "Following 24 hours of agonizing, the Urbinas made the most difficult decision of their lives, and decided that [the] baby, would be better off with adoptive parents who were better equipped to deal with her possible special needs caused by her mother's addiction."
The couple withdrew from the adoption process and filed suit against ABLA, claiming breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, gross negligence, fraud and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
The Indiana Court of Appeals' ruling overturns a lower court's dismissal of the couple's lawsuit.
"We can think of no purpose for gathering such (medical) information (about the infant) other than to share it with the Urbinas. This would enable them to make informed decisions," the ruling read. "The duty to keep its clients apprised of the information gathered during the adoption process is inferred from the language of the contract."
The couple's attorney told RTV6 that he is pleased with the decision to insist that adoption agencies disclose all information to prospective parents.
He said his clients are so emotionally devastated from the ordeal that they aren't sure they will go through the adoption process again.