[165 NJSuper Page 592] This adoption matter presents some interesting questions of first impression, to wit: (1) Has a New Jersey couple who retains an attorney in a foreign country to secure a child in that foreign country for placement in their New Jersey home for adoption acted as an intermediary in violation of N.J.S.A. 9:3-39? (2) Does the payment of money to a foreign attorney for legal and court expenses incurred in the foreign jurisdiction and the payment of transportation
expenses of the child and an escort to Kennedy Airport violate N.J.S.A. 9:3-54?*fn1
This matter came before the court on the complaint for adoption filed on September 8, 1978. On December 7, 1978 a preliminary hearing was conducted pursuant to N.J.S.A. 9:3-48, since the child was not placed in the adoptive home by an approved agency as defined by N.J.S.A. 9:3-38(a). During the preliminary hearing the court raised several questions concerning the legality of the placement of the child and the payment of money to the foreign attorney and others. See In re Adoption by I.T. and K.T. , 162 N.J. Super. 587 (Law Div. 1978), rev'd 164 N.J. Super. 476 (App. Div. 1978). The questions raised initially by the court with respect to the effects of illegality in the placement of a child must be resolved in favor of the adoptive parents. It is presently the law of this State that notwithstanding the fact that a child may be illegally placed for adoption (even acquired through the black market or gray market of babies), the statutes controlling the adoption of children do not preclude the finalization of adoptions. See I.T. and K.T., supra. Therefore, an order upon preliminary hearing will be entered in favor of plaintiffs. The purpose of the opinion is to outline the court's reasons for referring this case to the Union County Prosecutor in compliance with N.J.S.A. 9:3-55(b).
Based upon the report of the agency submitted pursuant to N.J.S.A. 9:3-48(a)(2), as well as the testimony of the plaintiffs, the court makes the following factual determination:
The child herein was born on March 30, 1978 in Santiago, Chile, South America. On March 30, 1978 the natural mother delivered custody of the child for adoption to the Maternity Clinical Hospital, Social Services, Chile University. The
prospective adoptive parents have no children born of their marriage. They read an article in the New York Daily News concerning children who were available for adoption from Chile. The article referred them to Pat Quinlan, who, in turn, referred the prospective adoptive parents to Father S., a priest of the Archdiocese of Rockville Center, New York. Father S. had a working relationship with Father G. in Chile. In March 1978 the prospective adoptive parents received a telephone call from Pat Quinlan who recommended a lawyer in Santiago, Chile, by the name of Don Eugenio Donoso. Several days later Pat Quinlan again called the prospective adoptive parents to advise that a child, born March 16, 1978, was available for adoption. The prospective adoptive parents forwarded to Donoso the necessary papers to obtain a visa to bring the child to the United States. On June 8, 1978 Donoso received approval from the Fourth Judge of Letters of Courts of Minor, Santiago, Chile, to have the child brought to the United States for the purpose of adoption by the prospective adoptive parents. On June 17, 1978 the child was brought into the United States by Maria Elena Iberra, who was hired by Father G. to bring the child to Kennedy Airport in New York. The prospective adoptive parents met Maria Elena Ibarra at Kennedy Airport and took custody of the child.
The plaintiffs expended the following monies in connection with receiving the child into their home: (a) $3,000 to Don Eugenio Donoso, attorney in Santiago, Chile; (b) $1,169 to Maria Elena Ibarra for plane fare for herself and the child, clothing and passport; (c) $72 to the Consulate of Chile for legalization of documents; (d) $50 for translations; (e) $150 to Mrs. Greenfield for a home study; (f) $625 to a New Jersey attorney for services in the Union County Court, Probate Division, in connection with the instant adoption.
Donoso further itemized the disbursement of the $3,000 he received as follows: $238.79 for foster home care; $27.41 for medicine; $16.13 for doctor's bill; $9.67 for pictures;
$158.85 for clothes during April 3 to June 12, 1978; $18 for notary on the power of attorney; $12.58 for legalization of the power of attorney and decision of the judge; $16.13 for tips to employees of the court; $16.13 for miscellaneous expenses; $500 for a donation to ...