U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Parenting > Adoption
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 03-18-2013, 10:32 PM
 
Location: Chicago area
1,105 posts, read 2,901,239 times
Reputation: 2106

Advertisements

Quote:
Originally Posted by nj185 View Post
The revoked consent is important, but at the heart of this case is what inspired the consent to be revoked - apparently she learned that the Open Adoption Agreement was not enforceable after she signed away her parental rights. Unless the specifics of the agreement are included in the adoption decree, it appears the AP's are free to ignore the OAA.

It seem a OAA is a 'contract' which is subservient to the 'decree', and once the adoption decree is finalized, the birth mother cannot enforce the terms.
Where did you hear that? As I understood it she changed her mind within a day after realizing what a huge mistake she had made.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 03-19-2013, 02:43 AM
 
16,487 posts, read 21,030,641 times
Reputation: 16171
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lizita View Post
She actually did pursue it legally. She fought for 16 months to get the babies back but a few weeks before she took them the other couple was awarded custody and Allison was feeling desperate at that point and took off. Doing that certainly didn't help her situation but I highly doubt that she would have gotten her kids back anyway since her signature was final.

Although it was a matter of her consent being irrevocable it was also a matter of the AP's not giving the babies back. They definitely could have when they found out after only a day that their mother had changed her mind and according to an article I read the lawyer and social worker asked them to but they refused. I realize that they were within their legal rights to do so but I think it's morally reprehensible to take the babies from a mother who was so weak, depressed, desperate and pressured and who so clearly desperately wanted these babies since she spent two years trying to get pregnant and months being severely ill so she could carry the pregnancy to term. They should have done the right thing and given them back but they were clearly most concerned about themselves.
The law that allows these things to happen has got to be changed and I agree with the above poster that laws should be the same in all states. There has to be safeguards in place to ensure that the mother, and father, are in a good, stable physical, emotional and mental state. Clearly Allison Quets was not and that should have been obvious to everyone. It's not right on any level that a decision made in a desperate and confused moment could be permanent and final. Why on earth have the laws been made like this anyway. I don't see how anyone could argue that it's in the best interest of the child.

It's a tricky issue though. How long should the birthmom have to change her mind? For her sake I believe that she should have a few weeks to recover and let the decision sink in before it's final. However, I'm not so sure that's what would be best for the baby. Where would the baby go in the meantime? I know that some states put the babies in foster care until the mother has made up her mind, but is that fair to the baby? We know how important the first year and attachments to caretakers is and changing caretakers like that could cause harm. The baby doesn't only lose his mom but also the foster mom. It may be best for the baby to go home with the adoptive parents right away but it's not fair to them to have the possibility of losing the baby hanging over them for weeks and then maybe go on to actually lose him.
So what do you do?
As difficult and expensive as adoption is you are never going to find an adoptive parent/couple that is going to return the baby/babies after it is irrevokable.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-19-2013, 05:45 AM
 
1,097 posts, read 1,728,742 times
Reputation: 1590
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lizita View Post
Where did you hear that? As I understood it she changed her mind within a day after realizing what a huge mistake she had made.
I'm sure lots of thing were in play. I was just looking at the reasoning that was given in the NC ruling.


QUETS v. NEEDHAM, No.


"The motion requested that plaintiff be allowed to revoke her consent and have the minor children returned to heron the grounds that she has given written notice of the revocation within three (3) days of signing it;  the Birth Mother was under extreme duress and mental anguish at the time and incapable of giving a knowing and voluntary consent;  and the Birth Mother was given the impression from the conversations with persons involved herein, taken as a whole, that her rights under the open adoption agreement could never be modified or terminated"


"[T]he Mother argues that her consent was void ab initio because her belief that the OAA was enforceable rendered her consent unknowing and involuntary.   The OAA is not legally enforceable under either Florida law, where the adoption proceedings were to be held, or North Carolina law, where the Children would reside post-adoption.   The Mother also argues that the consent was void because it was contingent upon the OAA and, therefore, not unequivocal․ Finally, the Mother argues that the Consent was procured by fraud because the Law Firm represented to her that the OAA is legally enforceable when it is not legally enforceable in either Florida or North Carolina."

"Plaintiff lost her right to seek custody of or visitation with the children when she consented to their adoption.   The OAA, being unenforceable in this State, was not sufficient to restore that right.   Accordingly, this argument is without merit."
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-19-2013, 12:49 PM
 
Location: Chicago area
1,105 posts, read 2,901,239 times
Reputation: 2106
Quote:
Originally Posted by nj185 View Post
I'm sure lots of thing were in play. I was just looking at the reasoning that was given in the NC ruling.


QUETS v. NEEDHAM, No.


"The motion requested that plaintiff be allowed to revoke her consent and have the minor children returned to heron the grounds that she has given written notice of the revocation within three (3) days of signing it;  the Birth Mother was under extreme duress and mental anguish at the time and incapable of giving a knowing and voluntary consent;  and the Birth Mother was given the impression from the conversations with persons involved herein, taken as a whole, that her rights under the open adoption agreement could never be modified or terminated"


"[T]he Mother argues that her consent was void ab initio because her belief that the OAA was enforceable rendered her consent unknowing and involuntary.   The OAA is not legally enforceable under either Florida law, where the adoption proceedings were to be held, or North Carolina law, where the Children would reside post-adoption.   The Mother also argues that the consent was void because it was contingent upon the OAA and, therefore, not unequivocal․ Finally, the Mother argues that the Consent was procured by fraud because the Law Firm represented to her that the OAA is legally enforceable when it is not legally enforceable in either Florida or North Carolina."

"Plaintiff lost her right to seek custody of or visitation with the children when she consented to their adoption.   The OAA, being unenforceable in this State, was not sufficient to restore that right.   Accordingly, this argument is without merit."
Oh, that was just a legal argument the mother used in North Carolina. The adoption was done in Florida and that's where they originally sued over it and fought it for, I believe, close to three years but lost. The NC suit was just an attempt to fight it using a different angle. It doesn't mean that she changed her mind because she found out that the open adoption was not enforceable. She originally argued that the adoption should be thrown out because she signed under duress and she claimed that said that she changed her mind within hours because she realized that she made a mistake.
I think the NC suit and bringing up the open adoption agreement was just grasping at straws. Basically using the last legal angle they could. It's just strategy. She was probably hoping that even if she couldn't get the kids back she could at least get a court to give her visitation so she brought up the open adoption agreement. Considering that the mother changed her mind within hours I doubt that it had to do with learning Florida law but was just a matter of her unstable mental state.

Imo, the main issue is that the law in Florida and many other states is wrong. It's not reasonable to make a signature so final in a matter so important and so emotional. It doesn't benefit the baby or the mother. It only benefits the adoptive parents and that, imo, is unfair and borderline oppressive to the weaker group.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-19-2013, 01:29 PM
 
1,851 posts, read 2,981,855 times
Reputation: 2365
It always helps to read more details about a case. It does appear her main issue was with the open adoption and it not being enforceable. Which, is not duress.

What I mean by not being legally recognized when under medical care is that usually, if one is heavily medicated (Opiates, Narcotics) or has a medically documented condition as serious as PPD, then whatever legal document signed during this time can easily be challenged in court. Medication and serious depression affects one's mental state. Even with outpatient surgery, when discharged, the patient is generally told to not sign any legal documents due to the anesthesia...at least that's how it is in my state. No legal document can be enforced if one's mind is altered by drugs (legal or illegal) or if one is seriously depressed and is being treated for it. This is what I meant in my post.

How were her visitation rights already terminated at the time she abducted the babies; which was during one of her authorized visits?? I'm confused here.

I think the main lesson is to read the fine print! Terminating one's parental rights should never be taken so lightly and/or with the "hopes" that an open adoption will somehow supercede the newly adoptive parents' rights.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-19-2013, 04:40 PM
 
16,487 posts, read 21,030,641 times
Reputation: 16171
Most adoption legal paperwork from the courts say nothing at all about the level of openness or visitation, that is something that is agreed upon privately between the aparents and the bparent/bparents. Most states do not enforce what is agreed upon. For instance my daughter's birthmom and I agreed to keep each other advised of our address, phone numbers, and that I would send photos and we'd talk by phone or text now and then, which we do. If however I were to stop all of that abruptly (and I would never do that), there is nothing at all that her birthmom could do. If Florida is a state that doesn't enfore the decided level of openess in their adoptions then this birthmom couldn't do anything if the adoptive parents changed their minds. As it turns out she was allowed to take the twins for visitation (which is rare), and that was when she skipped to Canada with them. That is why she has kidnapping charges against her now.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-19-2013, 04:55 PM
 
1,879 posts, read 1,857,322 times
Reputation: 1462
Quote:
Originally Posted by brokencrayola View Post
As difficult and expensive as adoption is you are never going to find an adoptive parent/couple that is going to return the baby/babies after it is irrevokable.
In your case, the terminating of rights was done correctly through a judge. However, what if you discovered that your child's bmother had been coerced into signing away her rights while in hospital at 24 hours because she had been told that she had to do it by then and then in the next 24 hours tried to get her baby back? That was the scenario I gave in an earlier post and there had also been some pressure beforehand. Also, pressuring to sign on the dot seems very common according to posts by other APs on other forums.

As for "As difficult and expensive as adoption is", that is a very good reason why the cost of the adoption should be refundable if the adoption doesn't go through. Many agencies make sure this is the case as they know it is in the best interests of all involved. Obviously, there will be minor amounts that aren't refundable but the main fee should be. The problem is that when someone adopting is spending money they can't afford, it means that they are expecting a specific result - that is coercive in itself.

Adopting is difficult for the AP but I'm sure it is not exactly a bed of roses for the emom either. As for the child, I am sure that they don't want to hear their mum say "well dear, your bmom did want you back almost straight away but adopting is so difficult and expensive we weren't going to give you back". I'm not talking about you BC because I know you did everything above board by going through a judge but I am talking about those whose child's bmoms signed in hospital while drugged out and then who tried to get their babies back straight away.

The best agencies/organisations are those that make it clear to ALL parties that the emom is making an important decision about the future of her child - from APs I know online who have been through these sort of agencies and who have had adoptions not go through, they have said that it actually made it easier for them as well because it made them remember there are two other important human beings in the decision - the child and the mother, not just them.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-19-2013, 07:33 PM
 
Location: Chicago area
1,105 posts, read 2,901,239 times
Reputation: 2106
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaded View Post
It always helps to read more details about a case. It does appear her main issue was with the open adoption and it not being enforceable. Which, is not duress.
If you would read some more details you would find that the openness of the adoption was not the original issue at all. Ms. Quets originally argued, in Florida, that the adoption should be set aside because she was ill and pressured during the time she signed the papers which she considered to be duress. That's what has been claimed in interviews too. When she lost that case in Florida she went ahead and filed another suit in North Carolina trying to get visitation rights and argued that the adoption was contingent on her having contact with the kids. Clearly this was a secondary issue that was only brought up when the duress argument had failed. This article explains it: Appeals court ends woman's quest to see adopted twins :: WRAL.com

Quote:
What I mean by not being legally recognized when under medical care is that usually, if one is heavily medicated (Opiates, Narcotics) or has a medically documented condition as serious as PPD, then whatever legal document signed during this time can easily be challenged in court. Medication and serious depression affects one's mental state. Even with outpatient surgery, when discharged, the patient is generally told to not sign any legal documents due to the anesthesia...at least that's how it is in my state. No legal document can be enforced if one's mind is altered by drugs (legal or illegal) or if one is seriously depressed and is being treated for it. This is what I meant in my post.
I understood what you meant in your post but I don't believe that you're correct. Of course if you sign a contract when you're out of it from coming out of anesthesia or if you're out of it on drugs one can probably successfully argue that they didn't have capacity to enter into a contract. But simply being on medication or being depressed doesn't make a contract unenforceable. Neither is being under the influence of drugs or alcohol cause to void a contract. Complete sanity or sobriety is not required. If depression or being on medication makes signed contracts void in your state than your state must be quite different than most other states. Do you have any links that shows that that's how the law is in your state?

Quote:
How were her visitation rights already terminated at the time she abducted the babies; which was during one of her authorized visits?? I'm confused here.
Me too. Who said that her visitation rights were terminated before the abduction?

Quote:
I think the main lesson is to read the fine print! Terminating one's parental rights should never be taken so lightly and/or with the "hopes" that an open adoption will somehow supercede the newly adoptive parents' rights.
That would all be fine and dandy if you're dealing with a mentally stable person. The case in point here is that Ms. Quets wasn't. But I disagree with you that an open adoption agreement, that the AP's agreed to, shouldn't be enforced or that their rights should supersede the mother's right to have the agreed upon contact with her child.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-19-2013, 09:04 PM
 
1,851 posts, read 2,981,855 times
Reputation: 2365
Well, you wanted a discussion, so I gave my opinion of the case. As far as posting links about laws in Calif., it wouldn't matter. I used it as a point of reference. But, this happened in Florida and North Carolina.

I doubt they will be mad at their a-parents for fighting for them once they learn their birth mother abducted them. That is the story they will read about the most. Quest's legacy now is her abducting the twins at 17-months old, not her losing parental rights which in the eyes of the law she voluntarily signed away. She would have done better by starting a campaign to change Florida's relinquishment law. Her twins could have been her motivation and they would have grown up seeing their birth mother fight for them in a very positive and public way...not reading news stories about her kidnapping them.

I will say though that the twins are adorable! Saw a picture of them in one of the news stories. And, if Quets was not in her right mind when she signed the documents, then she clearly was not in her right mind to care for the twins at that time. So either way you look at it, it's just a bad deal for her. I still wonder why her sister didn't step up to help her. The AP's appear to be good parents. And to the twins, they are the only parents they know.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-21-2013, 08:04 AM
 
1,024 posts, read 984,837 times
Reputation: 834
Quote:
Medical records would only have proven PPD if she had seen a doctor about it and that's not always the case.

I may be wrong - I'm not very familiar with Florida contract law - but I don't believe that being depressed would make a contract you sign null and void. According to what I read about this case the only way to make the contract unenforceable was if Allison could prove fraud or duress. Depression or being under medical care, etc., isn't duress. Allison did claim that she signed under duress and it seems like the courts in Florida didn't agree that what happened rose to the level of duress. But that doesn't mean that she wasn't depressed, sick, tired, very vulnerable and under a lot of pressure.
This. Even if she could prove PPD, it wouldn't have helped her case here in FL. Not sure it would have helped in many other states, either. Obviously this is one example of how adoptions today can still be unethical. People should not be allowed to sign a contract in such conditions.

Quote:
In fact, wouldn't it be better for 6-week old babies to be returned to their mother after only a day apart?
Lizita, I agree with you all the way.

There should be a period where a mother can change her mind... time for her hormones to settle & she has had time to seriously consider her decision following the birth of her child. Like you said, these laws only benefit the adoptive parents & have no regard for the infants who in many of these circumstances would actually be better off being returned to their mothers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaded View Post
I doubt they will be mad at their a-parents for fighting for them once they learn their birth mother abducted them. That is the story they will read about the most. Quest's legacy now is her abducting the twins at 17-months old, not her losing parental rights which in the eyes of the law she voluntarily signed away. She would have done better by starting a campaign to change Florida's relinquishment law. Her twins could have been her motivation and they would have grown up seeing their birth mother fight for them in a very positive and public way...not reading news stories about her kidnapping them.
I won't assume how the twins will feel about their a-parents or their first mother. Personally, I would feel extremely conflicted about all of this. As a child I might be frightened if all I was told was that I was kidnapped -- obviously that brings extremely scary thoughts to a child's mind. Other children might feel their mother took them because she loved them. As an adult I would want to know both sides of the story & as much information as possible, no matter how the media painted her. Learning the circumstances of such a separation would be heart-breaking.

Last edited by thethreefoldme; 03-21-2013 at 08:28 AM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Parenting > Adoption
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:54 PM.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top