E.C. minister sees need to toughen adoption law

Relates to:
Date: 2005-03-25

Outspoken advocate for return of baby Tamia calls for stricter regulations.

Karen Snelling
Post-Tribune

An East Chicago minister who helped wage the community fight to reunite Baby Tamia with her family in Chicago is calling for new legislation to control predatory adoptions.

"There needs to be federal and state safeguards put in place to protect against these predatory agencies," said Bishop Tavis Grant, senior pastor of of the Greater First Church International in East Chicago.

Grant also is the chief of staff for presiding activist Bishop Larry Trotter of Chicago.

Trotter, who presides over the United Pentecostal Church of Christ, has been an outspoken supporter of the effort to return Tamia to her family.

The baby's mother, Carmen McDonald, 20, signed away her parental rights in a Salt Lake City motel in December. She had been dealing with A Cherished Child adoption agency of suburban Salt Lake City.

Carmen McDonald and her mother, Maria McDonald, sued the Utah adoption agency, claiming it pressured Carmen into giving up Tamia.

Cook County Judge Michael Murphy ruled the baby must be returned immediately and turned over to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, which would determine placement. DCFS says it will return the baby to her family.

The court ruling to return Tamia to Illinois came after her adoptive parents were arrested on drug charges in Utah.

"I feel a sense of reward over being able to help this family be reunited," Trotter, pastor of Chicago's Sweet Holy Spirit Church, said.

"This case turned on a dime at jet speed," Grant said. "It shows that when right-minded people do what's right, over time things do come out right."

Contact Karen Snelling at 648-3106 or ksnelling@post-trib.com

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