Date: 1999-12-14

Stuart News, The (FL)
Author: Ron Word Associated Press writer

Michael Chalek said his adoptive parents paid a baby broker for him and abused him as a child.

GAINESVILLE - Forty-seven years after his adoptive parents paid a baby broker $200 for him, Michael Chalek got his day in court Monday, asking a judge to annul his adoption and grant him a new birth certificate with his birth mother's name.

Circuit Judge Maurice Giunta, after hearing arguments from Chalek and his attorney Mallory Horne, said he will rule by the end of the year.

"We understand voiding an adoption is an extraordinary remedy,'' said Horne, who added his client felt the ruling would give closure to a 35-year quest.

Giunta indicated he would consider granting the annulment of Chalek's adoption but needed more study before issuing a new birth certificate.

"A name is a name is a name,'' Giunta said. "You now know who you are.''

Chalek, who recently moved to Estes Park, Colo., from Boca Raton, said he wanted his adoption annulled, citing sexual and physical abuse from his adoptive parents, both of whom are deceased.

"I had a mother who fondled me until I was 11,'' Chalek said.

Horne presented evidence from a divorce record that Chalek's adoptive mother had a violent temper and was promiscuous. The details of that divorce had been withheld from adoption officials.

At age 11, Chalek found out he was adopted, and he became obsessed with wanting to know about his birth family.

In 1981, Chalek found a document that named the Jacksonville hospital where he was born.

Seventeen years later, a judge granted Chalek access to his confidential records - something rarely done in Florida without a compelling medical need, said Josette P. Marquess, coordinator of the Florida Adoption Reunion Record.

Amid the 100 pages were notes from state case workers that showed a baby broker, Lenora Fielding, coerced Chalek's birth mother into using a false name on documents and that his mother had even asked a state worker whether she could get her baby back.

Chalek hopes his fight will pave the way for adoptees in similar situations. He has set up a Web site, and he also is writing a book.


Court Agreed

Adoption Fraud / Adoption Annulment January 4th 2000. The first known fraudulent adoption case that was won in Gainesville Florida in December 1999. Further details can be read at

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