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.
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
has the correct genes. "
"It's the same as
if you said to any parents: I want your two-year-
old. Give her to me." The New York
"'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.