Sunday, January 11, 2009

Yet another baby snatching. Not yet.

A case in Seattle has the smell of old fish: grandparents of a three year-old girl--who raised her for over nine months--are fighting to get her back and support the girl's mother (their daughter, now 18) in her attempt to gain custody. The little girl was removed from the grandparents' home and returned to her their daughter, her mother, whom they had been supporting, when she was nine-months old, but things unravelled at that point.

The story is a complicated mess, but the video here gives the unsettling details.

Here's a graph from the story that will make your temperature rise: Later this month a judge is expected to rule on the fate of the little girl. The young mother is fighting to get her back, and the grandparents support that goal. State social workers have pushed to have her adopted by the foster mother, saying the little girl is very bonded to her now.

And there's this:

A few weeks ago, an assistant attorney general sent a settlement offer to the young biological mom. It stated if she voluntarily gave up her parental rights and allowed the foster mother to adopt the child, she and the grandparents could visit the little girl four times a year and get two pictures of her in the mail every year.

The biological mother would not agree to those conditions and instead is at the trial, fighting to keep her child.

The court proceeding continues Wednesday.

So if the natural mother gives up rights to the kid, she and the grandparents can visit her four times a year. Whoopie! Plus the bonus of two pictures a year. I am speechless. I am sick.

Does this remind anybody of the DeBoer case, sixteen years ago? Where the Michigan child-stealers (that would be the Deboers) who took Anna/renamed Jessica from Iowa and were never able to finalize the adoption, who then used the "possession is ownership" BS to hang unto her as long as possible? If you were around then, you saw the endless videos of a crying little girl as social workers took her from the grasping clutches of her adoptive mother. I always wondered how adoptees felt when they saw that video clip. Anybody like to let me know?

I was tapped as the pro-natural-parents (the Schmidts) advocate on the McNeal-Lerher Report on PBS on the day of the exchange, and faced down a phalanx of pro-adoption, pro-DeBoer attorneys and a real witch of an adoptive mother, Elizabeth Bartholet, who had a kid of her own but had recently adopted two boys from Peru and just written a book (Family Bonds) about how difficult (sob, sob) it had been. Bartholet is a feminist law professor at Harvard Law, and told me point-blank that any research that shows adoptees have adjustment issues, and attendant problems, is "garbage--junk research." Since more such research continues to surface, academic adopters no longer call it "garbage." However, they still don't want to delve deeply into it, as I saw at the Pittsburgh conference on kinship in 2007.

When I read the other day that Jan DeBoer, long divorced from his wife, hopes that "Jessica" (note to Jan: her name is Anna, has been Anna for 16 years) hopes she contacts him--in a story highly sympathetic to poor Mr. DeBoer who lost his apartment in a fire, I wanted to barf. Is she supposed to thank you for keeping her from her natural parents for two years while you illegally fought every ruling to return her? That wasn't about her, or what was right, it was about the determination to have a baby at all costs. You and your ex-wife ought to rot in the seventh level of hell.

Has nothing changed in all that time? Well, yes. The good news is that this time a state legislator is on the side of the grandparents, Doug and AnneMarie Stuth, and the public sympathy appears to be with them. There may be a ruling on Wednesday.

As for the DeBoers, the ironic twist in this is that that former friend Aston, who berated me for finding my daughter, is the son of the late guardian ad litum for Jessica/Anna in the court case in Michigan, where both Aston and I are from. Not surprisingly, his father argued that the child should not be removed from the DeBoer home and returned to her natural parents. Although Aston and I have never talked about that weird connection (I was writing about the issue at the time) , I can only assume that he inherited his father's lack of understanding and compassion on this issue, his support of the adoptive family never being "disturbed" by a pesky natural parent, and his narrow-minded response when we finally spoke, in an effort to patch things up. His first words were that I ought to warn people that this was not an issue open for discussion.

Anyway, here's how I opened one of my stories: (from On The Issues, The Progressive Woman's Magazine (1994). This was about the biased media coverage. It's embedded in a an Adobe document and difficult to find but if there is a outcry for it, I'll post it.
I started the story with these quotes:

"This amounts to a legal
kidnaping.,.. they are
ready to break up a
family because a late arriving
birth father
has the correct genes. "
Newsday, 12/9/91.
"It's the same as
if you said to any parents: I want your two-year-
old. Give her to me." The New York
Times, 12/27/92.
"'It's an outrage to take a child away after
two years of bonding with her parents,' said. ..a
lawyer. 'It's a travesty of justice.' The
Detroit News, 4/21/93.

6 comments :

  1. Sounds like the system decided they were going to pit grandparents and mother against each other. After,they told the grandparents they were undermining the mother's parenting, they place the child in custody?

    Sounds like they couldn't divide them in that manner so the system took the child into foster care.

    I am sure the state of Washington will receive its bonus bucks for the adoption of yet another child from its natural family. OUR federal government has encouraged, tearing apart families by offering money for each adoption.

    ps can you post your article about the Deboers, I went over and tried to find it but couldn't.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'll post piece about the DeBoers on Wednesday unless something amazing comes up. As I said, I can't do a link to it, you have to scroll down the winter issue to Page. 54.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I read the article, I watched the video, but I'm confused!

    I am not sure what the g-parents did that made the State take their g-daughter into care, but I am wondering if they made the mistake of not working with the child's mom.

    The Court wants to reunify the child with her parent/s and since these g-parents were (technically) foster parents, they *should* have worked to get this child back to her mother.

    What happened? There must be a lot more to this story than we are being told.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Lorraine, you asked how adoptees felt seeing the Baby "Jessica"/Anna footage. At the time I hadn't really thought about how I felt about adoption, but that footage bothered me. I felt as though I was seeing a personification of my infant self screaming at being taken from my family. I avoided the news coverage, too painful.

    This business with "four visits a year and two pictures" sounds like the BS I was given when I applied for my ill-fated experience with the Illinois Confidential Intermediary program. I was told my mother and I could exchange three letters--then later I was told, well, we'll give you five. All these rules and regulations are arbitrary, unnecessary, and made up for the convenience of bureaucrats, not the people they are supposed to help.

    Thanks for posting your article, it's valuable reading.

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete
  6. You know, after revisiting this case in the present, and reading news articles concerning what's going on with the families, it still makes me sick. Mothers who don't take responsibilities for their actions (making a baby) and then dumping the kids is just as heartless as the father, in the case Dan Schmidt making the comment in an article about how rough his life is right now, "I can't afford to keep them." What are they (the children)? Puppies? Because "Anna's" parents only gave her a one-sided story, of course she's going to be upset with the people who loved her enough to give her a home and their love-something Cara didn't do. She gave her baby away and Anna's dad is making comments like, "I can't afford her". I'd be afraid that my bio-parents would do the same thing-give me away if they got me back. They did once, and they could do it again, and again, and again. If someone gives up a child, they give up their responsibility that they've created. I don't believe anybody should have their children back if they give them away like puppies. That's what people seem to be these days-puppy mill workers because kids are an inconvenience to them. The adults think only of themselves and giving up your responsibility is only showing how immature you are, especially when you decide you want the child back. People who are WILLING to take up YOUR slack end up having to give up the child that they WANTED because of puppy mill parents.

    ReplyDelete

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