Youth contests adoption of girlfriend's baby

Relates to:
Date: 1993-08-27

Fort Worth Star-Telegram
August 27, 1993

DICKINSON - A 17-year-old high school senior is fighting for custody of his girlfriend's baby daughter, who he says was placed for adoption without his knowledge.

"It's my responsibility," William Jardina, a student at Galveston County's Dickinson High School, told The Houston Post in a copyright story yesterday. "I love her. That's my baby. That's what's wrong with the world today: Nobody knows who their parents are."

Jardina has filed a custody suit for Kara. He and Stacey Goss, 19, the baby's mother, are scheduled for a Sept. 1 hearing to begin establishing Jardina's paternity.

Goss, of Dickinson, and her lawyers declined to discuss the case. A call to the Goss home was not immediately returned yesterday.

Jardina's tale echoes that of the Baby Jessica saga, in which adoptive parents were forced to give up a child to the natural parents.

Jardina said he wants his daughter to know who he is and insisted that he is not getting pressure from his family to take custody.

The couple met at Dickinson High School about two years ago and "fell in love two weeks later," Jardina told the newspaper. He said he proposed marriage before and after the baby was born "to do the right thing."

When Goss delivered the baby, Jardina said he and Kaye Goss, Stacey's mother, were there to support her. He then drove Stacey Goss and the baby to his parents' home in Bacliff.

A few days later, Jardina received legal papers requesting that he terminate his parental rights. He declined to sign, hired a lawyer and filed the custody suit.

But Goss had already worked out a private adoption, giving Kara to Donald and Christine Carr, of Tampa, Fla. Kara, now about a month old, lives with the couple there.

Heidi Cox, attorney for the Gladney Center, one of the state's largest adoption agencies, said that in private adoptions, Texas law allows parents up to 60 days to change their minds.

Caught in the middle of all this are the Carrs, who say they already love Kara as their own.

Christine Carr, a University of Houston graduate who quit her job at a brokerage firm to care for Kara, told the newspaper that she and her husband have tried unsuccessfully to adopt another child. A contested adoption was the last thing they wanted.

"I feel terrible for them," she said of the Jardinas. "I was hoping it wouldn't come to this."

She said she and her husband have not decided whether they will attend next week's hearing.

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