PC before CP?
Baby caught in adoption drama
Two couples claim right to be his parents
By Jeff Martin | firstname.lastname@example.org
The transfer of a child from one adoptive family to another did not take place Monday as was scheduled, and it is unclear what will happen next.
Jackson County Circuit Judge John R. O'Malley ruled on Dec. 18 that the 8-month-old baby, Max, who is currently living with a foster family in Grain Valley, be transferred to Gary Stocklaufer and his wife, Cindy, by noon Dec. 31.
But the transfer from the foster family, Scott and Tandy Kraus, to the Stocklaufer's did not happen because the guardian ad litem, or attorney appointed by a judge to assist the court, was out of town, according to another published article.
When contacted Wednesday, a spokesperson for Jackson County Court's public information office said it was unclear what will happen next, and said only that court officials are reviewing the matter.
The adoption case garnered national attention after Gary Stocklaufer told local and national media outlets last year he was being discriminated against because of his weight, which in April 2007 was about 500 pounds. The child was born in April to Stocklaufer's first cousin, but the boy moved in with the Stocklaufers shortly after he was born. The baby's mother then executed a signed consent and said that the baby should be adopted by the Stocklaufers.
But the Independence family was denied as adoptive parents, and Max was taken from the home and put into the care of Scott and Tandy Kraus, of Grain Valley.
While Stocklaufer maintained that he was being discriminated against because of his weight, O'Malley denied the accusation in a ruling, emphasizing that when the Stocklaufer's adopted another child in 2000, Stocklaufer weighed 500 pounds at that time. Stocklaufer, 35, has since had gastric bypass surgery and has lost close to 200 pounds.
O'Malley said the family was rejected as adoptive parents in July 2007 because they failed to obtain a court order prior to bringing the child into Missouri from Texas, where he was born. O'Malley said an investigation into that transfer hadn't been completed, as state law requires.
"This sad debacle would have been avoided had they simply followed the law from the outset," O'Malley wrote, but later approved the adoption because of bad legal advice they received about the adoption process.
O'Malley ordered on Dec. 18 that Max be transferred to the Stocklaufer family by noon Dec. 31. Shortly after the ruling, the Kraus family filed for a writ of prohibition against the ruling, but that was denied in late December.
Neither the Stocklaufer nor the Kraus families could be reached for comment on Wednesday afternoon.
The Kraus family, as reported elsewhere, said that they planned to appeal the Dec. 18 ruling. The family was reported as saying they were granted temporary adoptive custody of the child until Jan. 14, but that they wished to continue with the process of adopting Max.
Attempts to reach Stocklaufer's attorney, Gerald McGonagle, were unsuccessful Wednesday afternoon.