Judge makes it clear that Baby Tamia's fate lies with court

Relates to:
Date: 2005-03-10

Shia Kapos
The Salt Lake Tribune

CHICAGO -- Attorneys for the natural mother of Baby Tamia urged a circuit court judge Wednesday to give the toddler back to the Utah adoption agency that placed her while the interstate custody battle continues in court.

Cook County Presiding Judge Michael Murphy revoked the placement of Tamia "without prejudice," which means Midvale-based Cherished Child Adoption Agency may file to reinstate Tamia with the Utah couple seeking her adoption, known as "John and Jane Doe," and Tamia would remain for now in their custody. Recognizing the Does still have Tamia in their home, Murphy said his order puts the couple on notice that the child's future rests with him.

Robert Fioretti, attorney for 20-year-old Carmen McDonald, Tamia's natural mother who is trying to get the baby back, said there is concern that the Does are proceeding with the adoption in Utah even though Utah and Illinois have acknowledged that the transfer of the baby violated the federal Interstate Compact Act, which sets rules for how interstate adoptions take place.

Murphy said he has "sole jurisdiction" of the case because he was the first judge to take it.

McDonald says she mistakenly gave up her baby in December while suffering from postpartum depression. McDonald's attorneys have filed a motion for summary judgment, asking for the immediate return of Tamia to McDonald and her mother, Maria McDonald.

Attorneys for the adoption agency would not comment on the case, but during Wednesday's hearing, they said the best interest of the child should be considered, not whether there were violations of the federal adoption law.

The case was continued to March 17, at which time Murphy said he hopes to rule on whether there were violations of the Interstate Compact Act and, if so, how to remedy such violations.

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