CARTHAGE, Mo. – A Missouri family is elated over a U.S. Supreme Court decision not to hear an appeal on behalf of a Guatemalan woman whose infant son they adopted seven years ago.
Encarnacion Bail Romero wanted the high court to overturn an October ruling in which the Missouri Court of Appeals upheld the termination of her parental rights to the boy, now 7, and his adoption by Seth and Melinda Moser, of Carthage, the Joplin Globe reported.
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court said it wouldn't hear her appeal.
Melinda Moser said Jamison, the child she and her husband adopted before his first birthday, told them he was prepared to go to Washington and talk to the justices if it was necessary for him to be able to stay with the family.
"He calls it George Washington, D.C., but he said, 'Do I need to go to George Washington, D.C., and talk to them?'" she said.
The child has been the focus of legal battles since the Mosers adopted him in October 2008 in a process that started a year earlier. Lawyers acting on behalf of Romero challenged the adoption in late 2009, and the Missouri Court of Appeals overturned the adoption in July 2010.
In that ruling, the appeals court said the mother's rights had been violated because she was in the U.S. illegally.
The Mosers appealed to the Missouri Supreme Court, which ordered a new trial on the adoption. After that trial in Greene County, the judge in July 2012 terminated Romero's parental rights and approved the adoption.
The Missouri Court of Appeals – which had originally overturned the adoption – upheld the ruling in October in a unanimous 80-page decision.
Romero was arrested in May 2007 in an immigration raid while she was working at a Barry County poultry processing plant. She left the child with her brother, who turned him over to a sister, who then left the baby with a Carthage couple who agreed to the adoption by the Mosers.
Romero's parental rights were terminated because she abandoned the child and made no attempt to maintain contact or provide for the boy during the two years she was incarcerated.
Joplin attorney Bill Fleischaker, who volunteered with the team of lawyers representing the biological mother, said she did nothing wrong.
"She was held to a standard based on American culture and expectations, and we feel she was punished for being an illegal immigrant," he said.