Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Undocumented Immigrant Loses Son to Adoption

Remember Encarnation Romero Bail? [See here, here, here, here, and here]  Well, after winning the appeal that allowed her only the right to participate in a trial about whether she "abandoned" her son when she was arrested and jailed for being without papers, leaving her son with relatives who eventually allowed "friends" to have custody of him, who farmed him out for adoption. . . . She lost at trial, according to CNN:
A 5-year-old boy caught in a heart-wrenching custody battle will remain with his presumptive adoptive family after a judge ruled Wednesday that the biological mother had abandoned him.

It was a complex and delicate case that reached the Missouri Supreme Court and was unlikely to have a tidy ending.
Encarnacion Bail Romero was jailed after an immigration raid in 2007, after which her 6-month-old son was looked after by family and then other caretakers, arriving at the age of 2 in the home of Seth and Melinda Moser of Carthage, Missouri.
The Mosers raised the child and adopted him, giving him the name Jamison.
But Bail Romero, an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala, claims that she never gave consent to the adoption and that she has the right to be with her son, whom she calls Carlitos.
The state's highest court ruled that the mother's rights had been wrongfully terminated, throwing the Mosers' adoption in limbo. But instead of awarding the mother custody, the Supreme Court ordered a retrial where both sides could make their case.
On Wednesday, Missouri Circuit Court Judge David Jones ruled that Bail Romero had abandoned her son and that the Mosers' adoption petition will proceed.
"We're disappointed. Encarnacion is upset," said her lawyer, Curtis Woods.
Woods said he would discuss with Bail Romero the possibility of appealing the decision.


Reena said...

There are some many facets of this situation that makes my stomach turn.

Legally, what kind of precedence does this set? Do you think someone (group) is hoping this to be a deterrent for illegal immigrants-- you stand the chance of losing your kids if we catch you and throw you in jail?

Even people who are citizens-- If a single parent is incarcerated-- will this work to establish a precedence that they can automatically lose custody of their child?

Anonymous said...

It differs a bit from state to state, but parents do have their rights terminated if they're going to be incarcerated for a meaningful period of time. It's not automatic and it does take time (so my adopted daughter's incarcerated parent's rights weren't terminated until she'd been in care for more than 15 months and had no contact with that parent) but there is already precedent.

I think this case is heartbreaking and obscene and I really doubt the almost-adoptive parents feel bad about their role in it but I wish they would. I wish in general that visitation with an incarcerated parent was the norm if that's something the child wants or is appropriate. (So, like the kid whose dad was jailed for abusing him, not so much. The kid whose dad was in jail for not paying child support, why not? etc.)

lucrezaborgia said...

I was all for her getting her son back...but then I read the actual court decisions and now I'm not so sure. There are some very valid issues raised regarding the abandonment and possible neglect that weren't addressed by Romero or her attorneys.