' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: Illegal Immigrant Fights for Custody of Young Son

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Illegal Immigrant Fights for Custody of Young Son

PHOTO: Encarnacion Bail Romero and attorney
David Stonner/Joplin Globe
Encarnacion Bail Romero confers with attorney Omar Riojas during a custody hearing
One of the nightmare custody battles got underway today--mother loses custody of her baby, another couple is allowed to adopt him, but mother wants her child, now five, back.

Guatemalan-born Encarnacion Bail Romero, who came to the U.S. illegally in 2006 while pregnant was working at a poultry processing plant  in Missouri in 2007 when Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers conducted a raid looking for illegals. Along with about 100 other undocumented

workers, Bail Romero was arrested. Her son, Carlos, was 7 months old at the time and a U.S. citizen, as he was born here.

Bail Romero went to jail, and a few months later, after family members could not care for the boy, he ended up in the home of Melinda and Seth Moser of Carthage, Mo. He has been with them for more than two years. Bail Romero was asked to allow her son to be adopted but she refused, asking instead that he be placed in foster care until she was free and could care for him herself. In a clear conflict of interest, her lawyer was hired by the Mosers. Though the "availability" of Carlos was always questionable, though Romero never agreed to give up her son, the couple was able to "adopt" him. An ABC story today demonstrating obvious bias added: "and raised him as their own." Well, actually he was their "own"--they had papers to prove the adoption was legal.

Language difficulties, a terrible lawyer and the adopt-a-mania prevalent in the western world were in collusion against this woman. The judge thought the boy was better off with an American couple, not his uneducated, Spanish-speaking, incarcerated Mother. "Illegally smuggling herself into the country is not a lifestyle that can provide any stability for the child," wrote Missouri Circuit Court Judge David Dally when he terminated Romero's parental rights in 2008. "Obviously, I thought the judgment was fair when I issued the judgment, yes," he stated later.

As soon as Bail Romero got out of prison in 2009, she began the legal battle to get her son back, even though she hadn't seen the boy for more than four years. "I'm the mother of Carlitos and I need for him to be with me soon," Bail Romero said in an ABC News interview. The case was kicked up to the  Missouri Supreme Court where it was called a "travesty of justice," and sent back to the lower court for a retrial--which is where we are today. The court  has recognized the damage done by failing to uphold the 14th amendment, the constitutional right that ensures all persons -- including undocumented immigrants -- are entitled to due process and equal protection under the law. Bail Romero's deportation back to Guatemala was put off pending the outcome. She wants to take her son with her. Her son. Not the Mosers.

The Missouri couple, who call the boy Jamison, say he is their son and they're the only parents the child has known since he was a baby. "I could not love him more, had he come out of me physically," Melinda Moser told a Missouri television station. "I can only imagine the trauma that he would go through in feeling like people that did love him have betrayed him, you know?"

You don't think he might one day think his real mother betrayed him? And Jamison? Could there hardly be another name that has less connection with his culture than Jamison?

Judge David Jones will determine Bail Romero's parental rights and potentially oversee an adoption proceeding in a trial that is expected to last through Friday.

This whole case has stunk from the very beginning, and there are thought to be hundreds just like it--of children separated from their parents and adopted by middle-class good folks here in America. Cases like this are heinous, as they go against everything that is right and decent. People go crazy when I compare modern adoption to a kind of legalized slavery, but look at the similarities inherent here: a woman is jailed, and her son, though the exigencies of poverty and unfamiliarity with American law and custom, becomes the legal property of others.

The Mosers claim that Bail Romero made no attempt to see her son or maintain any kind of contact; but because of an inept lawyer--hired by the Mosers, and the language barrier, she had no real opportunity to maintain any kind of contact with the child. She did not understand what was happening, and when she did she always maintained she did not want her child to be adopted. Yet the Mosers went ahead, fully aware that Bail Romero had not relinquished rights to her son. She is the boy's mother; she has served her time in jail for illegally seeking a better life in America, but what wise Solomon would say she also had to relinquish a child?

Yes, we understand that the Mosers will suffer and miss the boy if he is returned to his natural mother. But these arguments we have heard before, and they are never reason enough to tear a child from his mother.

The Mosers, for continuing this fight, are the ones who ought to be in jail. --lorraine

We have blogged about Bail Romero's case before : An immigrant fights for her son, illegally adopted
 For other cases of natural parents fighting to keep their own children, see:
 Yet another baby snatching. Not yet.
 Transition Time in Contested Adoptions: Just Another Excuse for Delay
Justice for birthmothers is an oxymoron
May the Richest Parents Win--The DeBoer Case
Have Christy and Jason Vaughn No Morals?
Birth Parents Win One in Michigan

The Language of Blood (link above) by Jane Jeong Trenka is a beautiful book about being adopted into a culture not your own.


  1. I have always contended that adoption is kin to slavery. To take a child because of parental immigration status is a horrific example of selling a child. The "parents" naming him an anglo name - that is sad and degrading to the Hispanic that he is. Not only will this child grow up thinking he is white until someone very unkindly makes sure he knows he isn't, but he will grow up thinking that his Hispanic heritage is some kind of negative or curse.

    This is yet another adoption horror.

  2. Sometimes the victims win:


  3. After reading that I need a shot of Jameson.

    The Mosers are simply kidnappers.

  4. What about the child who has been with the Mosers--is parents for all he knows--for all those years?

    The boy doesn't speak a word of Spanish. What about that? His mother is going to be a stranger to him.

  5. Anon,
    As an adoptee who has been in reunion for a long time I can assure you that when I was reunited with my original mother for the first time she DID NOT feel like a stranger. Being with her felt like where I belonged, for the first time in my life. You do not know how the child will feel to be back with his mother. If he had been kidnapped as a baby and reunited with his original family this would not be something someone would say. Why is this argument acceptable in adoption?

  6. Anon 1

    Read the stories of children returned to their original families: Baby Richard, Baby Jessica, the recent Missouri case Theodore gave us a link to. These kids do just fine. Their parents are not strangers. They look like the child and often share interests and talents.

    It's the kids forced to stay with their adopters without having a chance to know their original parents who often end up with problems.

  7. Anonymous,

    This child did not need to be adopted, should not have been adopted..it was an illegal(morally anyway) adoption and amounts to a legally sanctioned kidnapping. This mother WAS not abusive, was not found to be unfit..except for being in this country illegally. Foster care it should have stayed.

    Not knowing the language is an issue? What about all
    those children adopted from China, Russia, Guatelmala, they coped with not knowing the language....they went to mothers that were strangers to them, strangers in every way, no common biology or DNA. This child will be going back to his mother, his biology.

    It is not ok to take kids and adopt them out just soothers can have the experaince of adopting them. This child did NOT need adoption...maybe the parents did but that does not count...what counts is the childs needs.

  8. Jane, taking into account one of history's largest accidental experiments with children being raised by strangers for a time for very good reasons, the Jewish children in hiding with goyim during the time of the Shoah, it is quite well possible that the children concerned may have been "damaged" somewhat, basically your common adoption related attachment and relating problems, still missing stuff and such.

    On the other hand, the parents they returned to were their fellow survivors of a nearly succeeded genocide, had less help with therapy, had often to take care of much more children and had to re-establish existence. And though the relationships with their parents were not always 100%, most if not all of those returned children grew up fine.

    So, though scars are to be expected to some degree, there is no reason to expect that a child returned from (potential) adopters under much better circumstances, would do worse than the same child would if it had stayed with the adopters, rather the opposite.

  9. While many may not agree with all the actions the Mosers have taken, they have not (at least in relation to this case) committed any crimes or in fact done anything illegal. It is common for adoptive parents to pay for legal representation for the birthmother.

    This is not a typical contested adoption of course because the birthmother did not consent to the adoption. There is no doubt that the adoptive parents used the courts to "forcibly" take legal custody of the child.

    However, the majority opinion of the State Supreme court did find the child had been abandoned by his mother and there appears to be evidence of neglect prior to the birth mother's incarnation in the trial record.

    The mother's relatives probably should have handed the child over to the child services agency in that state but illegal aliens do not like to have contact with government officials.

  10. This is a tragedy that never should have happened. At this point wouldn't some kind of mandated open adoption be more reasonable than returning the child to his mother? Maybe exact justice would not be served, but it seems that would be easiest for the child.

    I do not believe there are no bad effects in adopting a child of this age from another non-English speaking country and putting him into a foreign culture with strangers, no matter how much pro-adoption promoters might insist that is so. I feel it a bit dishonest for "our side" to insist there would be no bad effects for a child of 6 being returned to his natural mother and country. At this point, yes, they would be strangers as well, and there is no magic biological connection that can mediate that. Imagine being 6 yourself and sent to live with relatives you never met in a country whose language you do not know. We are talking about a human child with feelings here, not a stolen car!

    Either situation asks too much of the child in order to satisfy the needs of adults. I see it as a red flag that the mother insists on using the name she gave him rather than the name he knows, odious as it is (Jamison?? name a kid after a whiskey??) Still, it is who is now. It should be his choice eventually which name he prefers, not one more change forced on him.

    Again, this should never have happened and laws need to be in place to protect immigrants, legal or not, to keep this from happening again. But at this point there is no happy, easy resolution for this child unless the adoptive parents and natural mother can get over their ownership attitudes and work together for his good and comfort. Which they do not seem willing to do, so whatever the courts decide, the child loses, either the life he knows, or a chance to know his mother and biological and national heritage. There are no winners here.

  11. And the hits keep on coming:


  12. Let me add to Anon's comment that the MO Sup Ct found Romero abandoned her son. In a four to three opinion, the Sup. Ct found that Romero made insufficient efforts to maintain contact while she was incarcerated which the majority found to constitute abandonment. However, Romero never had the opportunity to appear in court and her attorney, selected by the Mosers, did not offer evidence in her behalf to rebut the evidence or explain the circumstances.

    Since this was an involuntary termination case, Romero was entitled to a competent attorney at state expense which the trial judge should have made sure she had. It is only in voluntary adoptions that adoptive parents select and pay for the mother's attorney. A practice that should be changed.

    Three of the MO justices believed the evidence was so flimsy that no new trial was needed and Carlos should just have been returned to Romero.

    The real villain in this piece seems to be Laura Davenport, a teacher or social worker of some sort, whose meddling resulted in the child being placed with the Mosers for adoption rather than going into state care. Davenport, not Romero's relatives who were poor and uniformed, should have assumed the responsibility to notify state authorities. If that had occurred, the state would have been obligated to try to restore the family.

    If MO has a mandatory reporting law, it appears that Davenport violated it.

  13. Anon 2 has provided a link to a press release by Bethany Christian Services about its partnership with former clients Catelynn and Tyler to promote adoption. Bethany calls itself "the nation's premier family preservation and adoption agency." Yuck!

    Appropriately, the article appears on a business site because that's what Bethany is a business -- a very profitable baby-snatching business.

  14. What Bethany calls "Family Preservation" is just foster care outside the system, I guess they have diversified to ensure their own existence in case the family destroying adoption market comes crashing down.

  15. I know that Encarnacion Bail Romero was here illegally, but she came here not to cause problems, but simply to work, that's it. And now all she wants is her son and she'll happily go back to Guatemala. Before she might've not wanted to go back, but now I'm sure she'll be happy to go back with her son. Whether you are for or against illegal immmigration, I really want you to think about how you would feel if your kids got taken away from you all because you were trying to provide a better future for them. Would you be happy if somebody else adopted your kids and called them theirs when you never agreed to their adoption? This is simply about human rights. That is HER son. I don't understand how the Mosers can feel that what they did was fair. They are simply being selfish, they got the chance to be his foster parents and figured it would be easy to adopt him. They didn't care that they were breaking a loving mother from her child. They could have adopted other children who are in the foster care system or found someone who is pregnant and is WILLING to put her baby up for adoption. Instead, they chose to go to court so that they could keep him instead of handing him back to his birth mother when she got out of jail. And she was only in jail for being here illegally.. not for abusing her child, stealing, taking drugs, etc. But Seth Moser is a former drug addict, and who knows if he still does drugs..they might be saying he doesn't just so they can keep him. I hope and pray that CARLOS gets reunited with his birth mother. Yes it will be a difficult transition at first, but just like children who are adopted internationally, he also will adjust. And I think it is the best thing for him to be with her. Even though she doesn't have alot of money like the Mosers, she is a very loving mother who will work hard for her kids. I also believe if he stays with the Mosers, he will one day find out about what happened even if they do try to shield it. He obviously will realize he looks different from his parents, and even if they arent willing to tell him the whole truth about what happened, he may do some searching on his own to find out. And I think he will be very upset with them to find out what they did. I don't know, all I definitely know is what has happened is unfortunate and just plain wrong.

  16. It’s good to see everyone else commenting lol!



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