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.
Still hoping for change
3 weeks ago