Thursday, January 27, 2011

Guatemalan mother seeking return of son gets her day in court

Encarnacion Bail Romero says she did not give permission for her son to be adopted.
Encarnacion Bail Romero
In a case which the Missouri Supreme Court described as “a travesty in its egregious procedural errors, its long duration, and its impact on Mother, Adoptive Parents, and, most importantly, Child,” Encarnacion Bail Romero will have the opportunity to regain custody of her four- year-old son. In the mean time the boy, referred to in court documents as C.M.B.R., will remain with Seth and Melinda Moser who adopted him illegally in October, 2008. 

As we wrote in December, Bail Romero came to this country illegally from Guatemala in the spring of 2006 when she was six months pregnant. Laura Davenport, a “parent educator” wiggled her way into Bail Romero’s life when C.M.B.R. was born. Bail Romero obtained work at a poultry processing plant, leaving her son with her brother during the day. In May, 2007,  the feds aka the Department of Homeland Security – Immigration and Customs Enforcement raided the poultry plant and slapped Bail Romero in jail. Eventually she was convicted of identity theft (using a phony social security number) and sentenced to two years in prison, serving her time in a West Virginia facility. (Shortly thereafter, the US Supreme Court questioned the validity of the law under which she was convicted.)
Jane

Meanwhile, Bail Romero’s brother, unable to care for C.M.B.R. as well as his own family, transferred the boy to Bail Romero’s sister. The ever helpful Davenport arranged for Jennifer and Oswaldo Velasco to care the boy during the day while the sister worked. Davenport also visited Bail Romero in jail, asking her to agree to adoption which she refused to do. Nonetheless, the Velasco’s placed the boy with the Mosers for adoption without any authority to do so. The Mosers commenced a court action to terminate Bail Romero’s rights and adopt her son.

Recognizing the case could not proceed unless Bail Romero had an attorney, the adoptive parents hired one Aldo Dominguez as her attorney. To make sure things went according to plan, the Moser’s attorney instructed Dominguez on how to proceed.

After a hearing where the Mosers based their case on hearsay and untruthful statements from the ever helpful Davenport, the trial court found that Bail Romero had abandoned her son, terminated her rights, and granted the Moser’s petition to adopt C.M.B.R.

Dominguez did not bother to appeal the case. Fortunately Bail Romero had gotten out of jail and, with the help of the Guatemalan ambassador, obtained a real lawyer who appealed the case. This lawyer, Omar Riojas, offered a mountain of evidence showing that Bail Romero had not abandoned her son, that the Moser’s evidence was bogus, and that Dominguez was incompetent. The Moser’s attorney argued the usual “it wouldn’t be in the child’s best interests to take him away from the parents he now knows” with the added punch “and send him to another country,” dirt poor Guatemala.

The Missouri Supreme Court reversed the trial court and sent the case back for a new trial. Three of the seven judges dissented in part, arguing in an opinion by Judge Laura Stith that the Court should have thrown the case out and returned little C.M.B.R., now four years and three months old, to his mother immediately.

The remand means that there will be another trial, possibly more appeals and by the time C.M.B.R. gets his driver’s license, his status may be resolved.

We at FMF are horrified at the gross violations of Bail Romero’s rights but heartened that she may eventually get her son back. We are gratified that this case is not a harbinger of a new adoption fad, reverse international adoption or legal snatching of the children of illegal immigrants. We are inspired by the words of Judge Michael Wolff in his concurring opinion:

“The United States Constitution requires respect for the rights of the birth mother. The constitution’s commands are fundamental…. The law does not allow the government to act on an assumption that one family would be better than another, for to do so would be to authorize the courts to take away the children of the poor and give them to the rich and to take the children of foreign-born parents and give them to native-born American families. _____________________________
Just a short add here: The Mosers changed the boy's name from Carlos to Jamison--quite a big change, no? And no one has mentioned that. Yet when birth father Benjamin Wyrembek got custody of his son back after a protracted-three battle with Christy and Jason Vaughn, there was much discussion over whether he would keep the very Waspy hip name of "Grayson." People like the Mosers and Vaughns are hardly better than the kidnappers who take children, as did Ann Pettway stole Carlina White from Harlem Hospital 23 years ago and named her Nejdra Nance.--lorraine 

11 comments :

  1. Good news for a mom who already has so much to deal with. I hope she gets her son back.At least now she has a better chance, and yes, hooray for Judge Wolff and his wise words.

    Being the granddaughter of 4 immigrants escaping from intolerable conditions in their beloved home countries, I have a huge amount of sympathy and empathy for all immigrants, legal and "illegal". I have a bumper sticker that says "No Human Being Is Illegal." That says it all

    The deportation of international adoptees for petty crimes is a disgrace. They should be granted US citizenship and be able to have dual citizenship with their home country as well. As children they have no choice and should be protected by the US government, not stripped of their rights on a technicality their parents may not have been aware of.

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  2. While reading this story I cannot help but think how I because I was a minor and a full citizen of U.S. was
    denied my rights as a mother to my baby. No judge
    Involved no lawyers only social worker and her cohort
    who signed as a witness to my minor signature coerced
    by a mother who took me to adoption mill in the 60's.
    my rights were taken without being told my son was being
    held in foster care and that I had a right to financial aid
    to keep him with me. Talk about no rights and abuses.

    I do hope she succeeds in getting her so back it will be
    one for mothers not birth mother as she is called because
    of illegal adoption.

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  3. This case makes me crazy, perhaps because in my own life I am confronted with upper middle class folks who think children from other countries have so much more "opportunity" if they are raised in the land of milk and honey, America.

    Just the other night when discussing a recent adoption of a 3 year-old Nepalese girl by an acquaintance (from whom I kept my distance as I knew she was doing this), I mentioned the fact that the UN had even closed down adoptions in that country because kids were being stolen off the street. "I beg to differ with you," said my friend.

    Now he has spent time in Viet Nam and Thailand, and I now he is aware of the poverty and terrible conditions that some kids live with...but what he needs to be educated on is that kids are stolen all the time to be exported to the US and elsewhere.

    I read somewhere that much of South Korea's recovery was partially financed by the export of Korean children. And by the way, has anybody noticed the disproportionate number of Koren girls--in contrast to boys--who were adopted by American families? Not only perhaps did more families keep their boys, this also fits right in with the fact that adopters prefer girls (who are thought to be less trouble) than boys.
    When will this all end?

    I'm hoping the couple who just got married down the street (the woman is probably past her most fecund years) do not start looking to adopt.

    Thanks Jane for a great post on this flagrantly illegal attempt to adopt. Who did the Seth and Melinda Moser think they were? God?

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  4. I have seen several comments where first mothers mentioned that they were able to sign the consent form even though they were minors. I thought when a woman had a baby she automatically became an emancipated minor and that is why her signature is valid. Just wondering if anyone knows anything about this??

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  5. I've noticed the disproportionate number of girls who were adopted by American families. Part of this is the preference for girls by those who adopt. Another reason is the Korean preference for boys. Korean families were much more willing to give up girls, particularly if they already had a daughter.

    Due to adoption and abortion, Korea today, like China, has a critical shortage of marriageable women. Korean men import brides from poor Asian countries such as Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Racial conflicts have arisen because southern Asians have darker skin. They are victims of discrimination.

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  6. Robin,

    Oregon has a statue that says in essence if you're old enough to have a baby, you're old enough to give him away. I imagine that other states have similar statutes. The adoption industry covers its bases.

    The statute does not make the girl/woman emancipated for other purposes. For example, she cannot join the military, marry, sign a contract, get a driver's license, or buy cigarettes.

    In Oregon a minor can also have an abortion without her parent's consent or knowledge.

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  7. Couldnt find your email address. Wondering if you would be willing to contact me off list and speak to me about something I need some assistance with. NOT spam. LOL REal person.

    BLOG: http://www.blessed-quiver.com
    jeffnmichelle 2 @ gmail .com

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  8. Robin,

    In California, at least in 1972, pregnant teenagers were NOT legally emancipated. I petitoned the juvenile court to declare me as emancipated when I became pregnant at 16, to no avail.

    Funny thing is when I first went to the OB/GYN, he asked me if my parents would sign. I looked at him, totally confused, and asked what the heck was going to happen if my parents didn't sign for my baby to be born. The doc turned beet red and apologized...seems he assumed I wanted an abortion.

    It still blows my mind 39 years later that neither my parents nor anyone else in my entire family ever asked me once how I felt about surrendering my baby. I mean, what kind of people allow their 16- or 17-year daughter to go through nine months of pregnancy and never once talk to her about what's going down?

    They say the BSE ended years ago...but I have serious doubts.

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  9. The February 4/11 issue of Entertainment Weekly reports that "Winfrey's mother, Vernita Lee, chose to make an adoption plan for Patricia and kept her birth a secret from her family."

    Does anyone have the time/interest to let the young hipsters running amok at EW that "adoption plans" were an adoption industry
    fabrication created in the waning years of the 20th century, while woman with crisis pregnancies in the BSE didn't have the "luxury" of an adoption plan? I'm all adopted out and retired from teaching...

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  10. Ms. Dusky,
    In your 1996 book, Still Unequal, you highlighted a child custody case in Orange County District Court involving Judge Joe Buckner and Attorney Lunsford Long as an example of the rampant legal corruption in that court.

    Sadly, nothing has changed. I began practicing law in Orange County District Court in 2000 and was recently disbarred after representing a mother whose child was removed from her custody through the use of a phony court order so that he could be adopted by strangers. The judge: Joe Buckner. Due to Judge Joe Buckner's misconduct and the misconduct of two Orange County attorneys, one of whom was represented by Lunsford Long, my client has not seen her son in 4 years.

    Before I lost my law license, I was able to file my client's appeal, and the NC Court of Appeals recently reversed Judge Buckner's illegal child custody order, calling my former client's case, "an entire charade of a custody case."

    You can read more about the current legal corruption affecting women and children in Orange County District Court here:

    http://nclegalreform.blogspot.com/

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  11. Also in Missouri yesterday the Western Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously that Craig Lentz's six- year battle to keep his son Noah will end this summer in court- ordered reunification. I'll send more later - right now I'm running out of champagne... ;)

    ReplyDelete

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