Supreme Court hears arguments in adoption dispute

Date: 2010-11-09

By Debby Woodin

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The biological mother of the young boy at the center of a custody dispute spoke to the media for the first time today, following a hearing on the child’s status before the Missouri Supreme Court.

Encarnacion Bail Romero, speaking through an interpreter, said: “I want my son. He is my blood. One day he is going to grow up and want to know his mother.”

An attorney for the Carthage couple who thought they had legally adopted the boy said he is concerned the biological mother will leave the child with relatives in Guatemala if the boy is returned to her, and smuggle herself back into the United States to find work.

The appeal was brought by Seth and Melinda Moser, Carthage, challenging a decision by the Missouri Court of Appeals. The appeals court had reversed a circuit court decision that terminated the mother’s parental rights and granted their adoption of the child, a year after a ruling that gave them legal custody when the child was less than a year old.

The child was seven months old in May 2007 when the mother was arrested on immigration charges at a Barry County poultry plant. He was being shifted among relatives of the biological mother, then was being cared for by a Carthage couple who later placed the child with the Mosers.

The circuit court ruled the mother had abandoned the child when she went to prison without making arrangements for his care, and made no attempt to communicate with him during the two years she spent in prison.

The appeals court found the couple who placed the child with the Mosers had no authority to do so and that the record showed the mother wanted to be reunited with the child but did not know how to contact him.

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