Fallout continues after undocumented mother loses child in custody fight with Missouri couple
A Missouri judge recently granted parental rights to a couple who wants to adopt a little boy — despite the objections of the boy’s undocumented mother. The Guatemalan mother had been jailed following an immigration raid, but judges ruled she had abandoned her child. The case, which generated national and international headlines, has raised concerns and questions from child and immigration advocates about the fate of thousands of U.S.-born children whose parents have been arrested and/or deported.
In the Missouri case, a pregnant Guatemalan woman, Encarnacion Bail Romero, entered the country illegally and used a false social security number to gain employment. She later gave birth in Missouri to a baby boy. In 2007, while working at a poultry plant, she was arrested in an immigration raid and jailed. Separated from her child, relatives were forced to take care of her baby boy, Carlos. Friends of the relatives later took over caring for the boy. According to reports, those friends found a couple, Melinda and Seth Moser, who wanted a baby, and they let the Mosers take care of Carlos. The Mosers began to calling Carlos by a new name — Jamison. This was only 5 months after Carlos’ mother was arrested, and the Mosers quickly filed for adoption, arguing that Bail Romero had abandoned her child.
Bail Romero’s attorney, as well as child and immigration advocates, say this is not a case of abandonment. They say the undocumented mother was held in a jail without legal representation initially and given information she did not understand; she does not speak English.
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