Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The Allison Quets Debacle

The story of Allison Quets is one that has been heard over and over again in AdoptionLand. A vulnerable pregnant woman is coerced into signing surrender papers against her will and/or better judgement. She is emotionally and psychologically brutalized until she cracks - and loses her precious children.

AdoptaPundit does not condone Quest's actions when she fled the country with her children. AdoptaPundit, does, however, understand the emotional devastation that occurs when a mother loses to adoption the child(ren) she has carried for nine months. She further understands that Quest attempted to use the legal channels to address the way she was wronged by people intent on obtaining these childen for adoption. Quets evidently spent her entire life savings on using the legal system to address the situation. She naively expected to receive justice from within the system. What Allison evidently did not understand is that adoption law does not treat surrendering mothers equally with potential adoptive parents. LEGALLY SPEAKING, the cards are stacked against Allison, AND HAVE BEEN EVER SINCE SHE MADE CONTACT WITH THE ADOPTION SYSTEM.

AdoptaPundit is convinced that thus entire debacle could have been avoided had there been adequate legal protections in place for Allison Quets, and by extension, all pregnant American women.

Allison's story is instructive for us all because of the facts of her age , level of accomplishment, and her financial status. If a 49 year old engineer with a half million dollars in life savings can be exploited of her child, NO ONE IS SAFE.


Anonymous said...

I don't think pregnant American women will ever get "adequate legal protections" as long as America does not recognize pregnancy as anything more than an absessed tooth that requres a quick extraction should the American woman so choose. Pregnancy itself means squat in this country, and giving women pregnancy rights, outside of abortion, is currently just a dream. For example, when a mom is pregnant with a man's baby, he doesn't have to do a thing in the world to support her. But when the baby is born and the woman is beaten down from the lack of his support, the ball is 100% in his legal court; she can't even CHOOSE adoption if he says no. And he will never be legally required to do anything for his gestating child, because a gestating child is not a child at all in this country. Roe v. Wade is squashing the rights of mothers who do choose life. and this relates to the adoption issue as the corrupt fingers of ridiculous, unethical laws proliferate into it via contributing to the 9-month abandonment and beating down (etc.) of women who would otherwise choose to parent their children if they had the legal assurance of parental support from the other half. but again, that will never happen as long as a baby is not a baby in the good ol' u.s. of a.

BronzeByGold said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BronzeByGold said...

I am not speaking of pregnancy rights, anonymous. I am speaking of legal protections for pregnant women in these areas: freedom from coercion and duress; fully informed consent; reasonable revocation periods; and enforceable open adoption contract s.

Please do not muddy this discussion by conflating adoption exploitation with abortion rights. Should you continue to try to muddy the waters, your comments will be deleted.

This is not an abortion blog.

Anonymous said...

Although Quets was wrong to kidnap her own children, she was clearly desperate. I am an adoptive parent and firmly believe her children should be returned to her. The facts as I am aware of them are that this was a private adoption (not through an agency) and under Florida state rules, she could get her children back only if she proves "duress." So all the adoptive parents had to do was REFUSE to return the children when she asked for them back less than 24 hours after she signed the papers, and then simply drag things out in court. The burden was put on her to prove duress, and as long as she was unable to prove duress (highly unlikely since according to another blogger the Needhams' lawyer had reportedly worked for the judge before!) she could not get her children back.

If Quets loses her children permanently, this sends a message to potential adoptive parents: Here's how to get a baby. Promise open adoption, lie, do whatever it takes. Then, if the birth mother asks for her children back within the legal time for revoking consent, simply refuse! Then drag things out in court. Eventually so much time will pass that the courts will decide it is in the best interest of the children to stay with you, and sever the birth parents' rights completely.

BronzeByGold said...

If Quets loses her children permanently, this sends a message to potential adoptive parents: Here's how to get a baby. Promise open adoption, lie, do whatever it takes. Then, if the birth mother asks for her children back within the legal time for revoking consent, simply refuse! Then drag things out in court. Eventually so much time will pass that the courts will decide it is in the best interest of the children to stay with you, and sever the birth parents' rights completely.

The strategy you have outlined is already alive and well, anonymous.

In most states, open adoption arrangements are just that - arrangements or agreements - not enforceable legal contracts. If the adoptors decide to close the adoption after finalization, the natural mother has no recourse. Had there been adequate legal safeguards in place for Allison Quets, this debacle would never have happened. This case clearly shows how toothless the current "safeguards" are. Had there been penalties in place for the Needhams not returning the children as soon as Allison revoked her "consent" this would never have happened. Had there been appropriate legal safeguards in place for Allison to give her "consent" in the first place, this debacle never would have happened. As it stands right now, I would have to say that they obtained Allison's signature -- but not her consent -- on those papers.

I have been appalled by the poor reporting of some media outlets that characterize the Needhams as "adoptive parents." They are not adoptive parents. The adoption has not been finalized because of the appeals. That means the Needhams are not legally the parents of those children.

Given her history of IVF it is clear that Allison did not embark upon this journey with the intent of surrendering her children for adoption. Given her history of debilitating illness during pregnancy, the C section, and post partum complications, it is OBVIOUS that Allison was neither in a place physically or emotionally to make a fully considered decision. To sign documents after being locked in a room for eight hours with an attorney and the potential adoptors while in her physical and mental condition should have been quite enough proof that these documents were signed under duress.

The common thread in Quets' and the usual natural mother's story is vulnerability. In Quets' case, it is vulnerability through ill health. In most cases, it is vulnerability through poverty or lack of resources. But because of her level of accomplishment ( three degrees, a career as an engineer, her maturity, her financial status) Quets' case clearly shows that no American mother is safe from adoption exploitation.

While I do not support Allison's decision to flee to Canada with her babies, I fully understand that she was driven to the brink of despair when she did so. Anyone attempting to deal with the near lethal pain of this kind of child loss can understand her desperation. Very few of us who have lost children in this way have escaped the pain that threatens to overtake our lives and drown us in perpetual grief. In this regard, Allison's flight is most instructive. People should take note, especially people who have young daughters and granddaughters. This kind of pain and desperation are common features of adoption loss.

Her fight through the court system proves conclusively how biased against natural parents' rights the adoption system is. Clearly, she attempted to resolve the situation and its attendant pain through legal means. Allison evidently did not know how nearly impossible that is. Once her signature was on those papers, her fate and that of her children was essentially sealed. The American public needs to understand this. Once a woman signs the papers, there is no going back. She is shackled to the pain and loss for the rest of her life.

While I do not support embryo adoption, I am aware that people are desperate to parent and will go to extreme measures to do so.

Where I do support Allison Quets is in her fight to regain custody of her children. Allison's case embodies much of what is wrong with the adoption industry. If a 49 year old systems engineer with three degrees and a half million dollars in the bank, can be exploited of her child, anyone can be exploited of their child. Imoverished and /or idealistic , naive teens and families have no chance against the predators in the system. NO ONE IS SAFE from predatory adoption practices.

As the recent Evan B. Donaldson White Paper "Safeguarding the Rights and WellBeing of *****Parents in the Adoption Process" states, safeguards for the rights of American mothers are needed.

In many ways including this, Allison Quets is EveryMother.

Anonymous said...

I have to disagree...Allison Quets is NOT everymother..she is an adopter, herself...an embryo adopter and, as such, is not the best poster child for the cause of the rights of the mother. The eggs used were donor eggs and that is a fact that she has admitted herself.

I regret that attention to the obvious disparities in the laws and rights to protection have been brought to light by such a dubious action on the part of a person who is not representative of the true mothers of adoption loss.