Woman's adoption attempt criticized

Date: 2004-04-09

Woman's adoption attempt criticized

Associated Press

ST. PAUL, Minn. - A St. Paul woman is drawing criticism from some adoption foes for continuing to try to adopt a 3-year-old girl from India after her husband was charged with murdering their adopted son.

Gail Hunt has been trying to adopt a girl from a children's home in Hyderabad, but hit a snag last week when international adoption critics learned of the murder charges against her husband, Steven Showcatally.

Showcatally, 34, is charged with unintentional second-degree murder in the death of 6-month-old Gustavo Hunt. Authorities allege that Showcatally lost his temper March 16 while caring for the boy and deliberately dropping him in a bathtub.

The boy was adopted and came to live with Showcatally and Hunt last November. The couple have lived together since 1997 and got married in January.

After several Indian newspapers ran stories about the murder case, officials at the St. Theresa's Tender Loving Care children's home, which co-sponsored Hunt's
adoption petition, told the Times of India that the home was withdrawing from the case.

The 3-year-old girl will be sent to a state adoption home to wait for prospective Indian parents, they said.

"There is much outrage here that adoption agencies can press to send a second child to a home where a first child has been murdered," said Gita Ramaswamy, an
activist and outspoken critic of international adoptions of Indian children.

Hunt's adoption case is pending before an Indian appeals court in the state of Andhra Pradesh because a Family Court judge in Hyderabad ruled against her adoption petition in March 2003.

Hunt traveled to India in March 2002 for a four-month stay during which she saw the girl for three to four hours a day. She filed a petition to adopt the girl in December 2002.

In rejecting Hunt's petition, a Family Court judge in Hyderabad ruled that Tender Loving Care home officials could not prove that the girl's biological parents had signed a document agreeing to allow adoption.

The judge also ruled that the home's officials had not shown that they properly sought adoptive parents in India as required by Indian law before agreeing to let Hunt adopt the girl.

Attorneys for Hunt appealed, saying that the judge erred.

Ramaswamy and other opponents of international adoptions in India charge that adoption agencies there have been arranging illegal adoptions for foreign parents willing to pay thousands of dollars for children.

Indian police in Andhra Pradesh exposed a baby-trafficking ring and closed two orphanages in 2001. St. Theresa's also was charged with procuring children for financial gain, but it denied the charges and remains open while the case is pending.

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