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IN THE INTEREST OF J.D.

SEPTEMBER 02, 1987

IN THE INTEREST OF J.D.




BEFORE WALKER, C.J., SULLIVAN and GRIFFIN, JJ.

GRIFFIN, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

This case, involving an adoption, comes to the Court from the Chancery Court of Pike County, which dismissed the petition for adoption. We affirm.

In December 1980, when J.D. was four months of age, her father K.D. and her mother D.D. divorced. Thereafter, in February 1983, D.D., having custody of J.D., married W.B. W.B. now seeks to adopt the child.

 At trial, D.D.B. testified that K.D. called every three to six weeks, and visited on five occasions during 1981. This pattern continued in 1982, until October, when police arrested K.D. for possession of marijuana with intent to deliver. K.D. subsequently plead guilty.

 As a result, D.D.B. refused to allow K.D. any visitation outside of her presence. In response, K.D. petitioned the chancery court for specific visitation rights and the

 parties agreed to three hours every other Saturday, at K.D.'s mother's home. Additionally, K.D. was to contribute $100 per month toward the child's support.

 Thereafter, K.D. visited J.D. according to the terms of the court order. Working in New Orleans, he occasionally missed some Saturdays, but regularly requested more time with the child. Also, K.D. paid $350 pursuant to the court order, but since May 1983, he has contributed nothing toward J.D.'s support.

 Finally, in December 1985, D.D.B. refused K.D. further visitation. The next month, D.D.B. and W.B. filed for adoption.

 In favor of their petition for adoption, D.D.B. and W.B. cite not only K.D.'s guilty plea, previously mentioned, but also the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics' search of his mobile home in June 1984, which uncovered marijuana, marijuana residue, and marijuana seeds. Yet, at the hearing, K.D. denied any connection with the marijuana. D.D.B. and W.B. also note K.D.'s failure to pay child support, his desertion from the United States Navy, and his sexual relations with at least three women, one of whom bore his illegitimate child.

 K.D. answers that he was found not guilty of any crime relating to the search of his mobile home, that D.D.B. agreed to a suspension of child support payments until he had finished school, that his father's impending death had prompted his desertion from the Navy, which granted him a General Discharge under Honorable Condition, that he has contributed $100 per month to the support of his illegitimate child, and that he is presently engaged to be married.

 At the hearing, D.D.B. and W.B. contended that K.D. had abandoned or deserted his daughter. Miss. Code Ann. 93-17-7 (Supp. 1986) reads in part:

 No infant shall be adopted to any person if either parent, after having been summoned, shall appear and object thereto before the making of a decree for adoption, unless it shall be made to appear to the court from evidence touching such matters that the parent so objecting had abandoned or deserted such infant or is mentally, or morally, or otherwise unfit to rear and train it, including, but not limited to, being within any of the grounds requiring

 termination of parental rights as set forth in subsections (2) and (3)(a), (b), (d) or (e) of Section 93-15-103 in either of which cases the adoption may be decreed notwithstanding the objection of such parent, first considering ...


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