Allison Quets, the Florida woman who pleaded guilty in 2007 to kidnapping the infant twins that she bore and gave up for adoption, was back in court today (3/25/09) before the North Carolina Court of Appeals seeking to have visitation rights reinstated. Quets was artificially inseminated with others' embryos and sperm, but maintains she was ill after severe medical problems during the pregnancy and signed the adoption papers under duress. She has fought the adoption for three years.
To make this very clear, as she is being called the twins' "birth-mother" on Wikipedia and elsewhere, Ms. Quets became impregnated with donated embryos and sperm. (Yet another way to be a birth-mother. With a hyphen; as almost or merely a surrogate.) As far as I can make out from the complicated chain of events, Ms. Quets planned to keep the children when she was impregnated at 47, but severe health issues forced her to relinquish the girls.
When her twin girls were 17 months old, she took them to Ottawa, following a visitation. She was apprehended in Canada a week later, and the twins were returned to the adoptive parents, Kevin and Denise Needham, in Apex, North Carolina, and her visitation rights were terminated. A Wake Country District Court judge dismissed her claims, saying she could not seek visitation because her parental rights have been terminated. She was also ordered to pay the Needham's legal fees. A ruling from the the North Carolina Court of Appeals typically takes about three months.
Ms. Quets had been a systems engineer for Lockheed, and is now working at a computer consultant and lives in Orlando.
When I first heard about this story, I thought she was the girls' biological mother; instead she is a woman who tried to become pregnant at a very late age, and ran into severe health issues during pregnancy, which is extremely common with pregnancies after 40. She spent five months on a feeding tube during the pregnancy. She had seizures shortly after the birth, and then came post-partum depression, during which she signed the surrender papers. The adoptive parents were recommended through a former boyfriend of Ms. Quets. At this point, she seems only to want visitation, but I can understand the Needhams' reluctance, as that is when she took the children to Ottawa in hopes, perhaps, of disappearing with them.
I don't know what to think about this mess. I do think that women who want to have children ought to realize there is a cut-off date to their fecundity, and 47 is past that. If more women did not wait until such a late age to get pregnant, single or coupled, there would be fewer families racing around the world looking for children to adopt, fewer children stolen off the streets in India and Nepal and you-name-the-Third-World-country to be placed in adoption agencies (holding pens) where babies are literally sold to anyone who can pay. The whole system is wacky. Stinks to high heaven. International adoption is often no better than baby-brokering.
My sympathy for Ms. Quets is not bottomless. In this last discussion of who is a birth mother, we did not include women such as Allison Quets, but that is what she is being called in the media. What do you, dear and gentle readers (yes, be gentle in your commentary, please) think? Of her? Of the situation?