APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. HELEN
F. McGILLICUDDY, Judge, presiding.
MR. JUSTICE DIERINGER DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
Rehearing denied June 2, 1971.
A decree of adoption was entered in the Circuit Court of Cook County allowing the adoption of Sara Elizabeth Marshall by Barry and Anita Huebert. The natural parents of Sara Elizabeth Marshall, Timothy Ian Marshall and Paula Jean Marshall, and the maternal grandparents, Rolf M. Erickson and Sylvia C. Erickson, appeal the decree and other orders entered in the cause.
The Marshalls filed a motion for leave to file their cross-petition. In Count I of the cross-petition they sought to adopt Sara Elizabeth Marshall. In Count II they asked that the consents to adoption they signed be set aside because of fraud and duress. The court granted petitioners' motion to strike Count I, and subsequently denied cross-petitioners' motion to vacate the order dismissing Count I. After a trial on the issues on Count II, the court entered an order denying the prayer of Count II.
The natural grandparents filed a motion asking leave to file their appearances and consents to the adoption of Sara Elizabeth Marshall by cross-petitioners. This motion was denied.
On appeal cross-petitioners contend the order denying Count II of the cross-petition was against the manifest weight of the evidence and that the court erred in admitting the records made by Helen Schimmeyer, an employee of the Cook County Department of Public Aid.
In the alternative, cross-petitioners contend the court erred in denying the natual grandparents leave to file their appearances and consents and in striking and dismissing Count I of the cross-petition. Further, cross-petitioners contend that petitioners wholly failed to prove their financial ability and the court erred in overuling cross-petitioners' objections and entering a decree of adoption.
This court only finds it necessary to discuss that part of the record pertaining to whether the consents were obtained by fraud and duress.
Sara Elizabeth Marshall was born on April 17, 1969. The natural parents, Paula and Tim Marshall, were very happy about the birth. Tim is 26 and has a high school education, and Paula is 24 and has had one year of college. They have one other child, Erica, who is five years old.
After leaving the hospital, Paula stayed with Tim's parents for four days. She appeared to be disorganized but happy. About a week after giving birth she called her doctor about her weight. On his advice she began taking Eskatrol (diet pills) and Diuril (a diuretic). She continued the medication about ten to fourteen days and lost about fifteen pounds.
On Friday, April 25, Tim told Paula he had lost his job and that he was going to leave her. He said he "didn't feel capable of handling the job or the situation of being married, and wanted to get out of Chicago and get out of the situation I was in." Paula was disbelieving and became hysterical.
On Monday, April 28, Julie Brown went to see Paula and found she was still in the same condition. Julie tried to calm her down and told her she should never have had the baby. She said she knew of a couple who had wanted to adopt a baby but were unable because it was stillborn. Julie told Paula the Hueberts were good people, that they would provide a good home for the baby and would be good parents.
Julie had been a good friend for about three years and saw Paula about two or three times a week. Tim and Paula and Julie and her husband had gone out together from time to time, but Julie was divorced from her husband on January 30, 1969, after being separated about a year. However, Paula did not know that Julie and her own husband, Tim, had become emotionally involved and had discussed the possibility of meeting in California.
On Monday, April 28, Paula talked with Judy Ripp and said she was worried that she would not be able to support herself and two children. She was very distraught during this ...