exposing the dark side of adoption
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Adoption case attracts attention of immigration, advocacy group


By Susan Redden

Interest in an appeal to the Missouri Supreme Court that is being brought by a Carthage couple doesn’t stop at county, state or even national borders.

Briefs in the case have been filed on behalf of several organizations, including the consulate general of Guatemala.

Those filings are in addition to written arguments on behalf of Seth and Melinda Moser, of Carthage, and on behalf of a woman from Guatemala who has challenged the Mosers’ adoption of her child while she was jailed on immigration violations. The issue will be argued before the high court on Tuesday in Jefferson City.

The focus of the challenge is a boy, now nearly 4 years old, who was adopted in 2008 after his biological mother, Encarnacion M. Bail Romero, was arrested in an immigration sweep at a Barry County poultry plant. Romero contends that she never agreed to the adoption and is seeking custody.

The Mosers have had custody of the child they call Carlos Jamison since he was about a year old, and they maintain that the adoption was legal. A state appellate court ruled that the Jasper County Circuit Court lacked the authority to transfer custody of the child. That ruling was appealed to the high court by the Mosers.

The case has attracted interest, and support for the natural mother, from groups that advocate for immigrants and women. Groups filing court briefs on the mother’s behalf thus far include the Immigrant Child Advocacy Project, Legal Momentum, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, the Women’s Refugee Commission, the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri, the ACLU of Kansas and Western Missouri, and the Washington University School of Law.

Information on briefs that may be filed in support of the Mosers was unavailable. Joe Hensley, attorney for the couple, could not be reached Wednesday for comment.

2010 Nov 3