Mo. Justices Don't Take Up Immigrant's Adoption Challenge

The Associated Press


The Missouri Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal by a Guatemalan woman seeking to overturn the adoption of her biological child by a Carthage, Mo., couple.

Encarnacion Romero sought to challenge a Missouri Court of Appeals decision terminating her parental rights to the child, who was adopted by Seth and Melinda Moser. The Mosers have raised the child, who is now 7, since he was 1 year old. Legal battles have gone on since 2008.

The Missouri Supreme Court ruling, issued Tuesday, means there are no more options for Romero in Missouri courts, said Joe Hensley, the Mosers' lawyer. Any further appeal of the adoption would have to go to the U.S. Supreme Court, The Joplin Globe reported ( ).

The child was 11 months old when Romero was arrested in May 2007 in an immigration raid at a Barry County poultry processing plant. She left her child with her brother, who gave the baby to a sister. The sister left the baby with a Carthage couple who agreed to the adoption by the Mosers.

The mother'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 after being arrested on immigration violations.

The biological mother's supporters argue that she lost custody because she is an immigrant in the country illegally.

Romero's attorneys asked the state Supreme Court to hear their challenge of an appeals court decision handed down in October that terminated her parental rights and upheld the adoption. The appellate court ruled in a unanimous decision.

Bill Fleischaker, of Joplin, one of several attorneys voluntarily representing Romero, said no decision has been made on options or response to the state Supreme Court ruling.


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