October 17, 2008
The Southfield woman who left her adopted teen son in Nebraska because she said she couldn’t handle him anymore appeared in court this afternoon to face neglect allegations that have at least temporarily cost her and her husband custody of all of their children.
The parents face a Nov. 7 pretrial hearing, Oakland County family court referee Karla Mallett ordered this afternoon. The state will move at the next hearing to terminate the family’s parental rights to the teen left at an Omaha hospital earlier this week – a child both parents said in affidavits that they did not want.
The Free Pres is not identifying the parents because no criminal charges have been filed against them in the case.
The state will also seek to keep his three siblings in temporary foster care, where they have been since Thursday. Mallett did allow weekly, supervised visitation for the parents with the other children.
The hearing marked the first court appearance of the mother, who said she has been back in metro Detroit since Thursday. She said in an affidavit that she feared her decision to give away their son was that she and her husband could lose custody of their other children.
Nebraska’s safe haven law allows parents to leave a child up to 17 years of age at a hospital without fear of prosecution for abandonment.
The petition filed Wednesday by the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office outlines several apparent marks of abuse against the 13-year-old, including burns on his chest and hands and scars on his body. The petition said the father did nothing to stop the abuse, and the mother's family knew the abuse was happening.
The petition reported the mother knew the 13-year-old had behavioral issues and was supposed to be on medication. The child missed multiple mental health appointments. At one time, the parents tried to rescind the adoption but worried about losing their biological children. The father said they felt "railroaded" into adopting the 13-year-old in order to get the 10-year-old sibling, who was a baby at the time.
The 13-year-old is still in Nebraska, but is expected to return to Michigan in the next few days.
Contact MEGHA SATYANARAYANA at 313-223-4544 or firstname.lastname@example.org.