Lawyers, state officials and family vie for care of adopted Texas children

Date: 2004-09-13

Lawyers, state officials and family vie for care of adopted Texas children

For now, the seven Texas children once stranded in Nigeria, Africa, and left to beg in the streets, after their adoptive mother allegedly left them to another's care, will stay in temporary foster care following a court hearing in Houston.

Michael Delaney, attorney for the adoptive mother, Mercury Liggins said his client had been hospitalized for nervous exhaustion after Finding out what happened to her adoptive children. Delaney said that rather than try to immediately get the kids back "it might be better for the kids ... to right now remain [with Child Protective Services (CPS)]."

Terry Lea Elizondo, an attorney for CPS, had planned to show videotaped interviews with the children--some of whom were found stuttering from typhoid and malaria--alleging years of severe emotional and physical abuse by Liggins.

Delaney said he planned to fight to return the children to Liggins' care.

However, Elizondo said the seven do not want to go back to Liggins and warned against a group visit. "In a group, these kids are really sure they do not like their mom," Elizondo said. "So if there were a visit, and all seven of those kids marched into the room, I think they would probably smack her in the face ... They definitely wouldn't be very nice to her."

Liggins, 47, is alleged to have stranded her adoptive children in Nigeria (JET, Sept. 6).

Meanwhile, Janice Marie Williams, the biological mother to four of the unidentified children, says she hopes to regain custody of her children. Williams, 34, had her parental rights terminated by the Texas courts because of allegations of physical abuse and drug use 10 years ago.

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