In a tiny town just outside Joplin, a landmark adoption case tests the limits of inalienable human rights
Brian Stauffer

Tonight, in a modest brick row house in the sleepy city of Carthage, beyond the Ozark Mountains and the mines of southwest Missouri, past the poultry plants and churches along Interstate 44 and U.S. 71, down the block from the Jasper County courthouse and historic town square, a five-year-old boy is going to bed.

Chances are the boy is unaware of the battery of lawyers debating his future. He's probably oblivious to the national immigration debates he has stirred, the newspaper headlines he has generated, the two school-district employees whose firings are directly linked to his circumstances. He very likely has no idea that the Guatemalan Embassy in Washington, D.C., is in his corner, or that a lone circuit court judge will decide his fate this winter.

To some the boy is known as Carlos Bail; others call him Jamison Moser. The Carlos contingent contends he was unjustly taken from his mother; the Jamison gang argues that she abandoned him.

"When they met him it was love at first sight," says Bess Lanyon, a friend of Carlos' adoptive parents. "That little boy lives a wonderful life."
"When they met him it was love at first sight," says Bess Lanyon, a friend of Carlos' adoptive parents. "That little boy lives a wonderful life."
Encarnación Bail lost custody of her son while jailed for immigration violations.
John H. Tucker
Encarnación Bail lost custody of her son while jailed for immigration violations.

Encarnación Bail, the boy's birth mother, was arrested during an immigration raid in 2007, when Carlos was seven months old. Rather than summarily deport Bail (pronounced bah-EEL) to her native Guatemala, the U.S. government charged her on five federal criminal counts.

Bail eventually would plead guilty to a single count of aggravated identity theft and serve out her federal prison term in Bruceton Mills, West Virginia. But during the first five months of her incarceration, while she awaited disposition of her case from a Missouri jail cell, her son, a U.S. citizen born out of wedlock, passed through four different Carthage households, winding up in the home of a childless young couple, Seth and Melinda Moser, who fell in love with the dark-haired baby with the big brown eyes. A year later the Circuit Court of Jasper County formally made the Mosers the boy's adoptive parents.

In 2009 Encarnación Bail challenged the adoption in court. An appeals court sided with her, but the Mosers lobbied successfully to transfer the case to the Missouri Supreme Court.

Earlier this year, by a 4-3 margin, Missouri's highest court issued its ruling in [T]he Adoption of C.M.B.R., a minor that was just shy of Solomonic.

On the grounds that the process had been tainted from the very start, the panel voided the Mosers' adoption and sent the case back to square one in Jasper County Circuit Court. Encarnación Bail is again Carlos' mother in the eyes of the law. But the court also ruled that the Mosers are to retain custody of the boy, at least until the circuit court judge reaches a decision. The adoption hearing is scheduled to begin December 6.

From gavel to gavel, the original adoption hearing lasted a little over an hour and a half. Encarnación Bail awaited the verdict in a federal prison 800 miles away.

This time around the little Midwestern town will be the focus of substantially greater attention. Over the past three years, the adoption case has made headlines in the national media and caught the eye of immigration-policy experts nationwide who believe its outcome will affect the estimated 5.5 million children in the U.S. who are living with at least one undocumented parent.

In its ruling, the Missouri Supreme Court neatly — if dividedly — boiled the case down to a single legal issue: Did the boy's birth mother abandon him while she was in jail?

But the real-life scenario that hangs in the balance is anything but tidy: An American citizen, born out of wedlock to undocumented parents, will either be returned to the care of a woman who is almost certain to be deported to her native Guatemala with a son she has not seen in more than four years. Or else the boy will go on living with the middle-class couple that has raised him since infancy and, quite conceivably, never see his mother again.

"What happened to the birth mother was completely illegal," observes Marcia Zug, a professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law, who specializes in family law. "But you can't just pretend certain things never happened."

Adds Zug: "I'm very glad I'm not the judge."

On May 22, 2007, U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement raided a poultry plant in Cassville, about 70 miles southeast of Carthage near the Arkansas border. Among the 136 George's Processing Inc. workers arrested was Encarnación Bail, a Guatemalan native who was employed under a false name and Social Security number. George's would later pay a $450,000 fine. Bail was jailed pending arraignment.

The Cassville raid wasn't Bail's first encounter with immigration enforcement. She had been deported in 2005 but made her way back from Guatemala, leaving two children behind with family members. In 2006 she gave birth to a third child, Carlos, on American soil. (The boy's father, himself an immigrant, was never a factor with regard to the case; Bail says he has been deported.)

Laura Davenport, a bilingual child-development worker employed by the Carthage School District, would later testify that during the first months of Carlos' life, Bail struggled to make ends meet. Davenport came to know Bail through Parents as Teachers, a program funded by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education that offers education and support to families with the goal of preparing children for kindergarten entrance.

Davenport would later testify that when she discovered that mother and baby were sleeping on the floor of Bail's apartment, she obtained a crib for Carlos. She would also subsequently report that the infant seemed developmentally delayed and physically weak. Because Bail had not obtained a birth certificate for her son, he was ineligible for government-subsidized infant formula; Davenport testified that she used her own money to buy formula.

By the time of her arrest, Bail had moved in with her brother, who also lived in Carthage. Suddenly finding himself responsible for the full-time care of an infant, Carlos' uncle passed along the baby to his sister, who lived in town as well. Not long after that, Davenport referred the aunt to a young couple she knew, Jennifer and Oswaldo Velazco, who offered to babysit Carlos for free. The Velazcos belonged to a local evangelical Christian church, where they were both ordained as pastors.

(Carlos' peregrinations are traced in various court records; unless specifically noted, all information about the case presented in this story has been drawn from judicial findings, court case files and other public documents, including personal correspondence and transcripts of hearings conducted by the Carthage R-9 School District.)

Encarnación Bail's relatives seemed to appreciate the Velazcos' gesture — so much so that what began as daily sojourns quickly evolved into weeklong sleepovers: Monday through Friday Carlos lived with the Velazcos; on weekends he lived with the Bails. Sometimes he stayed with the Velazcos straight through the weekend.

Four months after Bail's arrest, in September 2007, the Velazcos introduced the baby to a young couple who lived across town. The Velazcos knew Seth and Melinda Moser through the Mosers' in-laws. Unable to conceive a child together, the Mosers had applied with the state to become foster parents.

On October 5, according to subsequent court testimony, Carlos moved in with the Mosers. A brief Encarnación Bail's attorneys submitted to the Missouri Supreme Court states that when her brother-in-law arrived at the Velazcos' to pick up Carlos on or about October 6, "Child was not there and the Velazcos told her sister and brother-in-law that the 'government' and 'marshals' took Child."

Days later Bail's relatives received a letter, reproduced here exactly as it would later be included in a Missouri appeals court opinion.

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing this letter in regards to [Child]. Who will no longer be in our care or living in our house after 10-7-2007. The couple [Respondents are] pursuing adoption in the case of [Child]. The papers for them to get guardianship of [Child have] already been sent to the family courts of Jasper County by their lawyer. And there is nothing that we can legally do nor can you. The only person that has the chance to do anything is [Mother]. The proper papers have already been sent to [Mother] at the jail. If you wish to know more about this matter you need to be in contact with [Child's Mother]. And we ask that you please no longer contact us in respect to this matter. Because it is out of our hands now.


The Velazco Family

As her infant son made the rounds through Carthage, Encarnación Bail was 90 miles away at the St. Clair County Jail in Osceola, awaiting a plea hearing.

On September 19, 2007, she received a visitor.

Two years later, testimony would reveal that Laura Davenport had requested to see Bail in her professional capacity as a Carthage school district Parents as Teachers staff member and under false pretenses, having told her supervisor only that she was driving to Osceola to bring Bail an application for a birth certificate so that Carlos would be eligible for state-subsidized immunizations and infant formula.

After dropping off the application with jail personnel, Davenport met with Bail. Corrections officials recorded the conversation, which took place in Spanish. An English-language transcript that was later prepared for Carthage school officials and obtained by Riverfront Times reveals that at no point during the hourlong dialogue did Davenport tell Bail anything about a birth certificate.

Instead the school-district employee focused almost entirely on persuading Bail to give up Carlos for adoption.

Click here for a link to the transcript from the St. Clair County Jail.

"The reality is if you take this child to Guatemala he's not going to have a life, no future," Davenport told Bail. "He may or may not have food. He will not get an education, and he will grow up to be a man that doesn't know how to make a living."

"But, what I think, if they do deport me, I want to take my child with me," Bail responded.

"But this is a pretty story that you are thinking so you don't have to [go] back alone," Davenport said. "You're not thinking about the well-being of your son. You're only thinking about yourself."

As the hour wore on, Davenport continued to make her case for adoption, but Bail stood her ground. She explained that she'd been calling her sister every week as the two women attempted to obtain a passport for Carlos so that he could stay with family members in Guatemala until she'd served her sentence and been deported. She asked Davenport to bring her photos of Carlos, explaining, "I feel sad because I haven't seen him." And she asked Davenport to come for another visit and bring Carlos along so she could hug her son.

"The idea of adoption is not something bad," Davenport persisted. "It's something beautiful. What you are saying by giving him up for adoption is that you know he will be in better hands and he will grow up with better opportunities. One day he will find you and say, 'Thank you mom for giving me these opportunities.' Because you can't give them to him."

On October 10, 2007, three weeks after Davenport's lobbying trip, Bail signed a plea agreement admitting guilt to a single count of aggravated identity theft in exchange for a two-year prison term.

On October 16, still in jail awaiting sentencing, Bail was served with notice (written in English) that Seth and Melinda Moser had petitioned to adopt her son.

Two days later a Jasper County judge held what is known as a transfer-of-custody hearing. (Records of that hearing are under seal, but subsequent court opinions contain references to the proceeding, as well as some specifics.) Bail did not attend; she had not been alerted to the hearing, nor had she retained an attorney. Carlos did have a representative in court that day: a court-appointed guardian ad litem whose legally mandated duty was to safeguard the baby's interests. The guardian ad litem, who'd been appointed only a few days earlier, told the judge that Carlos' was "an emergency situation in that nobody had the ability to care for [him]."

The judge awarded custody to the Mosers.

Court documents indicate that Bail might not have been made aware of the whereabouts and custodial status of her son. On June 13, 2008, appearing in federal court in Springfield for her formal sentencing, Bail told the judge: "[M]y child is in the custody of the government at this time."

That fall Circuit Judge David Dally presided over a hearing to decide custody once and for all.

Laura Davenport and Melinda Moser each took the stand at the October 7, 2008, court proceeding. Both testified that at the time he was placed in the Mosers' care, Carlos Bail was underweight, developmentally delayed and not current on his immunizations.

In delivering his verdict, Judge Dally expressed little sympathy for the boy's birth mother. "[Her] lifestyle, that of smuggling herself into a country illegally and committing crimes in this country, is not a lifestyle that can provide any stability for a child," he stated. "A child cannot be educated in this way, always in hiding or on the run." He predicted that Bail "would be unable to provide adequate food, clothing or shelter to [Carlos] in her physical custody in the future."

With that, Dally terminated Bail's parental rights and approved the Mosers' application for adoption.

The hearing lasted 106 minutes. The following weekend Carlos Jamison Moser celebrated his second birthday with his new parents.

On road maps of the state of Missouri, the town of Carthage registers as a dot fifteen miles northeast of Joplin. But if there were a map that charted the annals of the U.S. Civil War, Carthage would be denoted by a star.

On July 5, 1861, as Missouri governor Claiborne Jackson — a secessionist sympathizer who also happened to be the head of the state's militia — was retreating south from Jefferson City toward Confederate territory, a group of German volunteers from St. Louis cut him off at Carthage and engaged him in a daylong gunfight. Neither side admitted defeat, but owing to exploits such as this, St. Louis' ragtag contingent of German volunteers would later be credited with saving Missouri for the Union.

Though it was burned to the ground during the war, Carthage was rebuilt in the space of three years and became known far and wide for the elegant Victorian houses commissioned by lead and zinc mining tycoons based in Joplin. In 1895 Jasper County's majestic courthouse, which featured locally quarried limestone, was erected smack in the middle of the town square. A Romanesque wonder, the edifice now does double duty as a repository for Carthage's historic artifacts, including Civil War memorabilia, massive bronzed cannons and a wrought-iron elevator operated by a silver-haired man named Larry who has a habit of whistling and jingling the keys in his pocket.

But there's a less genteel side to Carthage these days, as well. In the neighborhoods north and east of the courthouse, out of sight of the old-money establishment, residents are darker-skinned and speak a foreign language. Since 2000, the city's Latino community has nearly doubled in size, to the point where Hispanics now comprise 25 percent of Carthage's population. Most are from Guatemala; many hail from the same village. A large number entered the U.S. without authorization and now toil in the region's many factories and poultry plants.

The cultural divide is impossible to overlook, but no one here knows how best to address it.

"The topics of many city meetings are about how to integrate the two communities," says John Hacker, managing editor of the town's daily newspaper, the Carthage Press. "But there are people on the Anglo side who inevitably say that a lot of the Hispanics are illegals who need to learn English — and that's when the conversation just stops."

Though most townspeople will tell you the two communities coexist peacefully, some aren't so sure.

"It's as bad as the civil-rights movement, if not worse," opines one resident, who asks that his name not be published. "Blacks got more respect and dignity than the Spanish do here. And these immigrants are such good people. They just have no knowledge of Western civilization. And the white people treat them like fucking garbage."

Then there are those who see it the other way around — a contingent that isn't limited to Anglos. "Our people are very unfair," contends Francisco Bonilla, leader of the flock at the Iglesia Cristiana Hispanoamericana, the evangelical church where the Velazcos are members. "They take advantage of the whites. I point the finger at them because they're wrong to be here illegally. They're wrong to abuse their kids. They're wrong to drink alcohol and drive without a license."

Bonilla says that while he does not forbid undocumented immigrants to worship with his congregation, "I don't welcome them. We're not about friendship."

Seth and Melinda Moser acknowledge Carthage's ethnic tensions. Though they declined to be interviewed for this story, their attorney, Joe Hensley, says the couple sought to adopt a Latino baby, because they perceived that need in Carthage.

"Melinda and Seth are wonderful parents," affirms a friend, Bess Lanyon. "They're deeply loving people, which explains why they came to adopt Carlos in the first place."

There was another factor in play: Melinda Moser is an adoptee herself.

"She has always been so thankful for the loving home her parents gave her," says Lanyon, daughter of the pastor who heads the church the Mosers attend. "And she talked about extending that love and making a home for someone else."

On your own computer monitor, you can pull up an image of Jamison Moser, clad in a gray sweatshirt, sporting a spiky mop of thick black hair and his birth mother's big dark eyes, smiling out toward some unspecified source of amusement or affection.

He seems happy.

Melinda Moser's brother created this website, "In the Interest of Jamison," to solicit donations to cover legal expenses and provide their perspective on an adoption case the family's supporters contend has been distorted by the media.

After Judge Dally approved the Mosers' adoption petition, Encarnación Bail complained to prison officials in West Virginia, who contacted the Guatemalan Embassy in Washington.

"They called the embassy to let us know about a Guatemalan woman who seemed to be desperate about a situation," recounts Ambassador Francisco Villagrán de León, who would subsequently meet with Bail on at least two occasions and champion her cause.

"It was very, very distressing to learn about a case like this," adds Villagrán de León, who stepped down from his post in July after heading Guatemala's delegation to the U.S. for three years. "It just seemed like an incredible injustice, and that's why we thought we had to extend support and offer the best legal protection we could."

The embassy mustered a crew of U.S.-based immigration lawyers to pitch in during Bail's appeal. Attorneys from Seattle and Miami offered to represent her pro bono, while lawyers from St. Louis and Chicago pledged additional support.

Around that time, on April 23, 2009, the New York Times published a 1,200-word article about Bail's case. The piece, written by correspondent Ginger Thompson, was published in the paper's "National" section. Shortly before the article appeared, Linda Davenport wrote a letter to the superintendent of Carthage's school district complaining that Thompson's questions contained "implied accusations and threats" and were "bordering on harassment." Davenport's supervisor, Lynda Homa, testified at a school-board hearing months later that "we would not even be here — I don't believe — at this time if the New York Times reporter had not come to Carthage. Because when the New York Times reporter came to Carthage, this is when all of this took place."

And in St. Louis this past November, the Post-Dispatch editorial board didn't mince words: "Missouri Supreme Court must reunite child with immigrant mother," blared a headline in the state's largest daily newspaper.

Bail's legal team gathered a pile of evidence to support their claim that the adoption proceeding was a sham. In laying out their argument to the appeals court's three-judge panel, Bail's attorneys cited fourteen instances in which the adoption process failed to comply with Missouri statutes.

In overturning the adoption, the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Southern District focused on only one of the Bail team's contentions: that under Missouri law, Jennifer and Oswaldo Velazco had no authority to "place" Baby Carlos in the Mosers' custody — or, for that matter, anyone else's.

"Mother raises fourteen points on appeal, including a claim of error that the trial court granted the adoption without the statutorily-mandated placement requirements governing private adoption, pursuant to section 453.014 [of the Missouri Revised Statutes]," wrote the court. "This argument is dispositive of the entire appeal and we address Mother's other points only as assistance in discussing the first point."

In other words, the adoption process had gone off the rails before it had even begun.

On July 21, 2010, the appeals court opined that Carlos was to be reunited with Bail immediately.

Now it was the Mosers' turn to challenge the courts. They mounted a successful effort to transfer the case to the Missouri Supreme Court.

Oral arguments commenced in November, and on January 25, 2011, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in case No. 91141, officially titled In re the Adoption of C.M.B.R., a minor. S.M. and M.M. v. E.M.B.R. (Though the court's ruling did not refer to the litigants by name, the parties involved had publicly disclosed their identities long ago.)

The high-court judges concurred with the appellate court's finding that Carlos' adoption had not been administered in accordance with state law: As Bail's lawyers had alleged, the birth mother had not received notice of the 2007 transfer-of-custody hearing; neither Bail nor Melinda Moser had undergone a state-mandated assessment of their respective ability to care for the child; nor did the state conduct an investigation to determine whether termination of parental rights was in Carlos' best interests.

The court unanimously reversed the adoption and restored Encarnación Bail's parental rights.

But there was a twist.

By the slimmest of margins, the judges upheld the Mosers' right to a new trial, sending the case back to Jasper County to begin anew.

The four-member majority acknowledged that the legal process leading to the transfer of custody in 2007 was fundamentally flawed in its execution. But the flaws, they ruled, did not negate the validity of the matter at hand: whether Bail was making certain that Carlos' basic needs were being met. There was reason to believe at the time that Carlos was in need of food, shelter, clothing and medical care, the majority found, and that the Mosers were in a position to provide those things. Regardless of the procedural gaffes that marred the case before, during and after October 2007, reassigning custody did not in itself reflect a miscarriage of justice, and the Mosers were entitled to a fair evaluation of the adoption issue, this time in accordance with legal protocol.

The majority also stipulated that Carlos must remain in the Mosers' care until custody is established. And that his mother — her newly restored parental rights notwithstanding — isn't permitted to see him.

Authored by Judge Patricia Breckenridge, the opinion makes note of the new evidence Bail's attorneys submitted but makes it clear that the majority has no intention of overturning any decision that had been reached in accordance with the evidence that had been properly admitted at the time.

Two of the three dissenting judges wrote strongly worded opinions decrying the decision. The court must not ignore the consequences of a mistake made four years prior, they argued. Having been illegally separated from his mother for all that time, Carlos should be returned to her without delay.

"Shutting this Court's eyes to the contrary evidence when deciding whether the judgment results in a manifest injustice does not negate its existence," wrote Judge Laura Denvir Stith.

"Not in 90 more days or 900 more days, but now," Judge Michael Wolff wrote in a second dissent.

In a florid footnote at the very end of the 46-page majority opinion, Judge Breckenridge directly addresses Stith's and Wolff's objections:

"Every member of this Court agrees that this case is a travesty in its egregious procedural errors, its long duration, and its impact on Mother, Adoptive Parents, and, most importantly, Child. The dissenting members of this Court rely significantly on information outside the record to find that Mother has been victimized repeatedly and that her rights have been violated. The dissenting members believe passionately that custody of the Child should be returned to Mother without further proceedings. That result can be reached only by disregarding the law."

Attorneys for both parties predict that the case now turns on the question of whether Encarnación Bail abandoned her child while in jail awaiting disposition of her criminal case.

Under Missouri law, a court may find an infant has been abandoned if a parent has "without good cause, left [a] child without any provision for parental support and without making arrangements to visit or communicate with the child, although able to do so...." Additionally, if a parent is served with an adoption petition involving an infant less than a year old, that parent can be found to have abandoned the baby if he or she "willfully, substantially and continuously neglected to provide him with necessary care and protection" for the 60-day period leading up to the petition's filing. If the Mosers and their attorney can prove Bail neglected Carlos Jamison for the 60 days prior to October 5, 2007 — the duration of which she spent in the St. Clair County Jail — Bail cannot prevent the boy's adoption.

Attorney Joe Hensley believes the Mosers will prevail. He contends that Bail would have had full knowledge of her son's whereabouts when she was served with the adoption petition in October 2007. Yet, he argues, she had made no effort to retain ties to Carlos — not even a letter "or a nominal amount of child support," he says. And why didn't she request a lawyer?

"She could have — literally, the very next day after receiving the petition — filed an objection to the Mosers having the child," says Hensley. "Instead she waited an entire year and did nothing at all. It's crazy."

Bail's legal team sounds equally confident of victory. Seattle-based Omar Riojas, a commercial-litigation specialist tapped by Super Lawyers magazine as a "rising star," says he and his cohorts look forward to watching Bail tell her story in person, to a judge. "The evidence shows she did not abandon her child," Riojas maintains.

Refashioned from an old Salvation Army storefront space, the Iglesia Cristiana Hispanoamericana is one of 37 Christian houses of worship in Carthage. Pastor Francisco Bonilla's flock is almost exclusively Latino and includes Jennifer and Oswaldo Velazco, the couple who brought Carlos into the lives of Seth and Melinda Moser.

Bonilla himself takes a dim view of Encarnación Bail. "She's not a good mom," opines the pastor, who has followed the saga from the outset. "In my opinion Encarnación is using the boy [in order to acquire her immigration] papers. She's not looking out for Carlos, but for a favor from the U.S."

Perhaps not surprisingly, attorney Joe Hensley agrees. But most immigration experts say this so-called anchor baby premise is a myth borne of misinformation. A U.S. citizen whose parents are foreign nationals must be at least 21 years old in order to sponsor them for citizenship, they point out. If the courts return Carlos to Encarnación Bail, the experts predict, she'll almost certainly be deported to Guatemala and take her son with her.

And that might well be the Moser camp's greatest fear.

"Why should he be sent with a stranger to a foreign country?" asks the Mosers' friend Bess Lanyon. "I can't even think about the possibility of what a move to Guatemala would do to that little boy. This is home. There's security here. For a parent to want to do emotional damage to a child by having them move — that's not my definition of love, which is self-sacrificing."

The Mosers undoubtedly share that sentiment. The couple declined to be interviewed for this story, but in August of last year, Seth Moser told the Joplin Globe that if Bail were to be awarded custody of Carlos, the boy would be "faced with going to a country where he's never been, doesn't speak the language and doesn't know a soul. That would be traumatic even for an adult."

When she visited Encarnación Bail in jail, Laura Davenport told Bail that if she brought up her son in Guatemala, he'd grow up to be a factory worker.

"That lifestyle in Guatemala is not romantic," Davenport declared. "It's nothing."

"Adoption is not social engineering," counters Adam Pertman, executive director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute in Newton, Massachusetts, and author of Adoption Nation: How the Adoption Revolution Is Transforming America. "From what I can tell, the judge in this case thought the child was better off in middle-class America than a less-fortunate country. If that's the case, there are lots of kids we can take from homes in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods and place in wealthier ones."

Yet some child-development specialists paint a troubling picture along the same lines Seth Moser sketched for Joplin's daily paper.

"There will be a lot of anxiety of the child, which might manifest into problem behavior," predicts Lise Fox, a professor in the University of South Florida's Department of Child and Family Studies. "I'm pretty sure the child will experience grief."

Fox and Pertman do agree that if Bail regains custody of Carlos, the Mosers should be permitted to continue playing a role in his life.

Julie Rosicky is the executive director of the U.S. branch of International Social Service, a network that provides support for children and families that have become geographically separated for any number of reasons. Rosicky readily acknowledges the fear that can accompany international transitions, but she argues that there are mechanisms in place to conquer it. "We've gone global in so many ways — just look at the Internet, or what we stock in our grocery stores," she notes. "In the consumer context, we've accepted there are ways to get anything, anywhere, but we have yet to accept the fact that our families are diverse, too."

Rosicky adds that Carlos' case is a unique one. But she predicts that whatever might transpire in the courtroom, the boy will eventually adjust.

"There is no win-win situation, and there is going to be heartbreak, hurt and trauma no matter what," Rosicky says. "But children are resilient and can adapt. It's the parents who have the issues."

Professor Marcia Zug of the University of South Carolina School of Law has been tracking cases in which a child in the U.S. has been separated from a parent who's deemed an illegal immigrant. Citing a few dozen specific instances over the past decade, she says that for every documented case, numerous others fly under the radar; because juvenile court records typically are sealed, it's impossible to assemble a complete tally. But Zug believes the number is somewhere in the hundreds and continues to climb.

"I think it's a trend," Zug says. "It's been increasing over the last five years — much more under Obama than Bush."

Scholars and advocates say immigrant families are broken up in this country for a number of reasons, the most common of which appears to be the tendency of some judges to confuse immigrant rights with parental rights, the latter being one of the most fundamental rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, regardless of citizenship or nation of origin.

Undocumented immigrants might be dispatched to detention centers without being permitted to arrange for childcare. They're typically poor, terrified, unable to speak English and unaware what rights they have. Some aren't alerted to custody hearings that have been scheduled in family court. Others don't learn that their parental rights have been terminated until after the fact.

"It's very clear that these cases do arise regularly," says Nina Rabin, director of the Bacon Immigration Law and Policy Program at the University of Arizona. In May Rabin published a report titled "Disappearing Parents," in which she recommends that detention centers establish programs to educate immigrants about their parental rights.

Owing to such trends, many legal scholars are closely following the Bail case. "It's really an indicator showing the degree to which immigrant parents are able to exercise their rights under the law," says Emily Butera, a member of the Women's Refugee Commission, an advocacy group headquartered in New York City.

Marcia Zug says Bail is fortunate to have found competent legal representation — a rarity in this type of case, and a fact that bodes well for Bail. Of the five other adoption-separation cases she has tracked that were appealed to a higher court, Zug reports, three resulted in reversal. Ironically, she says, Bail was lucky to be arrested with a federal crime, which gave her time to find a lawyer.

Zug has her own opinion about the Carthage case.

"I think there was actually some baby-snatching going on," she conjectures. That said, she blames the court, not the parties involved. "I think they honestly believed they were doing what was in the best interest of the child," Zug says. "It's a delicate point: growing up in rural Guatemala versus growing up in middle-class suburban America."

Perched on a chair in the small home she shares with her family in Carthage, Encarnación Bail resembles one of the Spanish dolls displayed on the bookshelf: her tiny frame held stiffly upright. Bail's thick black hair reaches past her shoulders; wavy bangs frame a round face punctuated by large dark eyes, one of which has welled over with a single teardrop.

Bail knows that her son lives in Carthage, but she doesn't know where, nor does she know the identity of the Mosers. "I see a little kid across the way and wonder," she says, then wipes away the tear.

When she is asked whether she wants to stay in America or return to Guatemala after the resolution of the upcoming adoption hearing, Omar Riojas, her Seattle-based lawyer who's listening in on speakerphone, cuts in to veto the question before she can reply.

An hour later Bail sits in a pew at St. Ann's Roman Catholic Church, a little nephew nuzzled on one side of her and a niece on the other, reciting the Responsorial Psalm in Spanish:

Señor, you are just and the judgments you make are right. Show me mercy when you judge me.

Whatever might transpire in the months to come, Bail has already endured a lifetime's worth of judgment since coming to Carthage. Francisco Bonilla questions why she left her other two children behind in Guatemala. When Linda Davenport visited her in jail four autumns ago, she bluntly asked Bail whether she'd had her tubes tied.

"Don't make another mistake with this child," Davenport implored.

"I have asked for forgiveness because I have made a lot of mistakes," Bail told Davenport moments later. "Right now I'm focusing on the future of my children, and I want to see them get ahead. God has put into me good thoughts. God never abandons his children."

Davenport herself paid a price for her unauthorized jailhouse visit: She was fired by the school board for improper conduct. The board would subsequently sack Davenport's supervisor, Lynda Homa, as well. Homa appealed her firing and lost.

Davenport declined to comment for this story, other than to say she had the boy's best interests at heart. "I answer to a much higher power," she wrote in a letter to Carthage School District superintendent Blaine Henningsen in April 2009, after Henningsen learned of her visit to Bail's jail cell. "I was advocating for a child; that is my job description and I am proud of what I have done in my 8 years of service to [the program] and those I have helped."

Jennifer and Oswaldo Velazco declined to be interviewed by Riverfront Times, as did Circuit Judge David Dally.

Though most Carthage residents who are familiar with the case say they've moved on, some remain intrigued by the conundrum it poses.

"I can see both sides of the story, and there's really no right answer," says Wendi Douglass, executive director of the Carthage Convention and Visitor's Bureau.

The Mosers continue to pray that the little boy they've raised since infancy will not be taken from them.

"How do you tell a child they may have to go away with someone they don't even know?" Melinda Moser mused to the Joplin Globe last August. "We've tried to explain he has two mommies. He says, 'OK, but you'll come and get me when I call, right, Mommy?'"

In his dissenting opinion in the case, Missouri Supreme Court Judge Michael Wolff, who has since stepped down from the bench and now works as a professor at the Saint Louis University School of Law, predicted that no form of closure can possibly resolve this particular conflict.

"The torturous path to the decision in this case — as is said of the road to hell — may be paved with good intentions," Wolff wrote. "But good intentions are not enough to justify what has happened in this case, now in its fourth year. The courts of this state, including this court, and our treasured adversarial system of justice have failed this child, and his birth mother, and have ensured that, whatever the ultimate outcome, hearts will be broken."

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Wow. There are multiple issues. But bottom line. Miss Bail- Bail should properly be accented if they want to pronounce it Bah-yeel-is the child's natural mother. She should have custody because of that, since she is the only one who can teach him his proper culture and customs. Money isn't everything. Carlos will have a rude awakening if he is raised by this white couple. Yes, probably a nicer life, but at what cost? Total assimilation? That doesn't seem right to me. A woman of color was victimized into giving up her child by someone white, to someone white. That's wrong.

mistah charley
mistah charley

That little boy should be with his real mother. He'll learn Spanish soon enough. He loves his adoptive parents, they love him, they are more prosperous than his real mother - yes, and so f. what? He was stolen, and they should give him back.


It was despicable what those "well-intentioned" people did to this child. To think that as a babysitter you have the right to put a child up for adoption, then send a letter to the family saying there's nothing you can do about it. Ugh! Then that horrible woman saying she answers to a higher power, while trying to compel a woman to give her child up for financial reasons! Doesn't she read her Bible? Moses wasn't given up for adoption to give him wealth, but to save him from being murdered. When two women came before King Solomon both claiming the same child as theirs, the mother fought for her child, only relinquishing when the child was threatened with death. Yet this Bible reading woman thinks a mother should hand over her son because he won't grow up middle class? How many middle class raised drug addicts are there? How many poor raised success stories.

During the adoption proceedings it was revealed the Mosers weren't qualified to be foster parents because of his criminal history and her family history. But the babysitters and the teacher decided they had their own set of qualifications as to whom should raise a mother's child despite her objections. Despicable behavior.

That child had a mother and a family who was caring for him and wanted to continue to care for him. That mother should get her child back. The child would not be dropped in Guatemala the next day. The court would order a transition period of visits and therapy with the mother, before a full custody transfer.

This was an incredibly well written and detailed article. Probably the most comprehensive coverage on all aspects of the story. The writer and the paper both deserve much credit for doing the research and the work to inform the readers.


I have seen this damn story on here for at least a week if not longer now. WHY the hell do u people keep it up for? Why are you (yahoo) pushing this stupid ass story for so long? Real nice how you make the illegals out to be the victims and America is the bad guys doing these poor people sooo wrong. You idiots need to take this ignorant story down its no longer news. Maybe yahoo is keepin this bullshit story up just to benefit illegal immigrants and make the american people look horrible? None of the other news stories that came out the same time is still up so WHY IS THIS??!!!!!! Fucking traitors u should be ashamed

Bart Paden
Bart Paden

Not a chance. The only people with means in this story are those trying to use this case to make new laws.

Charles Miller
Charles Miller

Janisioux, LOL, what a goof. Wow, so many white trash americans in our country...they are the ones who need deported


A travisty of Justice has made this case non-winable on either side. The mother left the child with relatives, but stopped picking him up on weekends, and not providing any help for his maint. The system was by-passed and allowed the Moser's to adopt the child without the birth mother able to speak on her own behalf. The other part of this situation is do or should illigal immigrants have any rights in this country since they do not pay taxes for the most part. They make more money here then they would in their own country and send or return with U.S. Currency to spend there. It pains me to see that the true loser in this case is the child.


"As for her son, NO CHILD SHOULD BE TAKEN AWAY FROM THE PARENTS UNLESS THEY ARE BEING ABUSED OR NEGLECTED. Neglected due to abuse not lack of resources!"

EXACTLY!!!! It's amazing to me how many incompetent parents are allowed to keep their children despite numerous reports of abuse, but in a case like this, a woman loses her kid just because she doesn't have the money or the means to take care of it, or because she's in jail and is obviously not able to be with the child. Deport her, and give her the option of putting the boy up for adoption (but not with that family--their actions are undeniably sinister), or to take her boy back with her. That's it. Case closed.


EXACTLY! I don't see what this is not clear to everyone involved. I see this case the exact same way and consider this a complete no-brainer. It's all the people who are getting involved for their own self-interests that are actually to blame for this big mess. If the American family hadn't pursued this illegal adoption for a child that already has a mother, we wouldn't even know about this family. They are to blame, and they should be the ones to foot all these bills that the taxpayer is not paying. They opened up the can of worms by trying to take something that wasn't theirs from the beginning.

It doesn't matter that they've been looking after him. There are plenty of foster parents who look after children for years. It doesn't mean that they have a right to adopt that child. Even if the baby was left on their doorstep without a note, they wouldn't have rights to keeping the child. The child has a mother.

This couple's wishes to have a baby have obviously superseded the mother's rights, and these corrupt judges need to get off the bench if they can't see that with their own eyes. This is an ILLEGAL ADOPTION.


Also, who cares if the father is not in the picture? I fail to see how that's relevant to the point of the story. A majority of children born in the US are fatherless, or become fatherless sooner or later. That doesn't give permission for someone else to come in and take their children. That's called STEALING!!


You can try to justify "stealing" all you want. The bottom line is that everyone knew all along that this boy had a mother. Did the American couple even TRY to help the mother get rights to her baby back? Or have their motives and goals all along been to "find" a baby for themselves?? It's obvious which is the answer.

It doesn't matter how many times the baby was passed around. That's not even the point. LOTS of children go through dozens of foster care homes. It doesn't mean that the mother has less rights to them. There's a complete procedure for the mother to give up rights. And this was definitely not abandonment. Did the American couple take the baby to the mother for visitations in jail??? Foster parents are REQUIRED to do that--to keep up the relationship.


I personally have no respect for the American couple who went through with the adoption papers KNOWING that the boy's mother is in jail and she WANTS the baby. What kind of people do that?? SELFISH ONES. They obviously were only thinking of themselves and their wishes for a child. Even if it basically meant that they would steal him from another mother. Any way you look at it, that's what they're doing. They're taking advantage of a situation and an unsuspecting mother by taking her child from her. That's why foster parents are (usually) thoroughly screened and trained to make sure that they realize that foster care is NOT adoption. Almost anyone would get attached to a child they're taking care of. These parents obviously had no concept of "temporary". They are to blame for this whole mess!

lovingparentof2're an idiot. That's exactly what it DOES mean. If a person is born in the US, that makes them a US citizen. Whether you like it or not, that is the LAW. Can't believe you're commenting on an immigration article, and you don't know this basic fact.


Two options: Deport the mother and let the American couple adopt the kid OR deport the mother and allow her to take her kid back with her, with the statement that is she returns back to the US, that's an automatic permanent loss of the child and mandatory jail sentencing for her.

It's ridiculous that they didn't deport her in the first place. Maybe it was out of fear that she'd come back, as she already had done.

Either way, though, it's ridiculous that a US court is going to allow an American family to adopt someone else's child, when the mother is alive and well, and wants her child. In America, we don't take children away from mothers just because of money (although at times, it seems like we should). Instead, we are obligated to help them--shelters, WIC, Section 8, etc.


This is a complex problem. If this then that, if that then this. Ever hear the one that says: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you?

In my opinion;This country is full of arrogant, cold hearted bigots. I say let every person who wants the illegals rounded up like stray dogs and shipped home suffer the same economic hardship that the illegal alien will suffer. (but not your children) Let you eat food fertilized with human feces. Let you walk barefooted in streets where human urine and feces drains down the middle of the street. Let you sleep and live in a plywood or tin hut with dirt floor and thatch roof with spiders and mice and birds living in it. Let you sit on the door stoop all day with no job to go to. Let you drink water from the creek or river where the cattle poop and urinate.

This is the age of computers, in 2 minutes you can make a record or search for a record. There is no good reason why the US can't issue Work Visas for the Illegals and collect a reasonable income tax. The Illegals perform valuable services in the country. But special interests would rather that the common people (ME) would pay outrageous prices for produce and services.

IN my opinion, as long as the Illegals don't break the laws, I WANT THEM HERE! They are for the vast majority, good people and hard workers. They have to be or they couldn't compete with each other to hold the jobs they get, hard as they are!

But this woman broke serious laws so sorry -- It is stupid to keep this woman in jail. Shipping her back home would prevent her from stealing US identity as well as keeping her in jail. So why spend more US tax dollars for her support.

As for her son, NO CHILD SHOULD BE TAKEN AWAY FROM THE PARENTS UNLESS THEY ARE BEING ABUSED OR NEGLECTED. Neglected due to abuse not lack of resources!

Her son should accompany her back home. And may God bless all poor souls who are indigent.


Did anyone from George's do any jail time, or was the government just an accompliss again in another crime. $450,000 is a good cut for allowing illegal immigration. What did George's save in labor.....5 million? Another day in the US mafia Justice system.


It's pretty simple. If the mother didn't give permission for the adoption, the boy goes back to his real mother and the judge that allowed the illegal adoption goes to jail for kidnapping and child theft. The mother is deported, and has the decision of leaving her child here and putting him up for adoption or taking him with her. What kind of country hae we openly become to steal children from their mothers. The US Justice Department needs a serious overhaul, starting with gallows and long ropes.


Make it simple Ship the boy and mother back.

Scott Campbell
Scott Campbell

This story is compelling, but I think there is a bit of a slant regarding the setting. The population of Carthage is 12,000. It is part of the Joplin MSA - the 4th largest in the state - and is home to the headquarters of a Fortune 500 company. It is not really a "tiny" "sleepy" town. I understand the desired effect -- making the backdrop resemble Harper Lee's Maycomb, Alabama -- but such poetic license is not really appropriate for such a serious issue.


We have to answer is how much we respect parental rights in the first place. The immigration issue is secondary. I ran into this issue when my child was in the hospital with depression. It was bad. Suddenly, I had no parental rights whatsoever. Thanks, NAMI. Even though she was 13 years old, the hospital said that medical privacy laws took precedent to my rights as a parent. While she was in there, she was administered drugs that she had an allergic reaction to and the hospital tried to cover it up. It took an attorney to have her realeased.There are a lot of parents in jail, who are then unable to care for their children. It opens up the dicey question of if they would be good parents were they able to be by not being locked up against their will. A person who has a history of being a bad parent should not be given the same consideration as one who's life rises and sets on their child, but who messed up and is locked up. When people protest that the mother is a lawbreaker, which she certainly is, they should think of all the company she has in that regard. The law she broke is another issue in that sense.When parents put their children up for adoption, they often make certain requests, like that the parents be of the same religion. This is a reasonable request. Some request that the parents be of similar ethnic background. This is also a reasonable request. There have been a lot of people doing a lot of wrong things in this case. Start with the mom. She should have had enough experience with the system by now to be familiar with the method of contacting legal counsel. She should have been writing letters to her family regarding her son. If she was, no mention is made of what any of them said, save one. Go next to the church involved. "We're not about making friends?" Anyone involved with that church should be asking some long, hard, self-searching questions. The first one should be "What would Jesus do?" and that's obviously not happening.Go then to the relatives. They were charged with the care of a person. This little child is too young to care for himself. In my book, we all have an obligation to care for those who can't care for themselves, and a child of an incarcerated relative is a responsibility, period. They had a responsibility that they seem to have just walked away from. Failing to pick the child up even on the weekends, let alone after they returned from work daily, was disrespectful of that responsibility.Go to the babysitters. A lot of people leave their children with sitters for overly extended times. They go out of town for business, they let the children stay there for social reasons, like that their children are visiting their friends who are the babysitter's children and want to keep playing or spend the night. If the sitters feel taken advantage of, their choices are to either quit the job and return the children or keep taking care of the children in the hope that the situation will improve. Giving the kid away to a third party is not usually considered by someone who is a erasonable person.Finally, there is the Moser family. The fact they are members of this unfriendly church is not in their favor. They seem to have never tried to make personal contact with Ms. Bail. They had a moral responsibility to visit her in jail and find out what was going on, and blew right by that one. They seem to have had as little contact with her as was possible in the hope that she would lose whatever case she might have had by being uninformed. They seem to have deliberately kept her in the dark.Finally, we have to look at the Declaration of Independance. It never was made law, but it states our reason for nationhood. It says the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I think that the right to life covers all people , you know, those ones with certain inalienable rights. I think the right to life covers the right to raise one's children.


I am sorry but I got somewhat upset over this story for multiple reasons. I think it is pathetic that we, as a nation, do not enforce or own laws or secure our borders. I see it as these people deserve the basic fundamental human rights (food, water, no torture). I do not believe that they have the same rights as citizens of this country.

We waste billions of dollars in this country every year on people who should not even be her. We need stronger borders and stricter punishment for those that break the law in coming here illegally. Is it not a federal felony to enter this country illegally? If not then why not?

In 2009, according to a Washington Post article, there were 11.1 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. Eighty percent were from Mexico or Central/South America. Now if even five million Canadians just decided one day to cross the border what would it be called? Anyone? Anyone? An invasion!

In the article Ms. Nina Rabin, “recommends that detention centers establish programs to educate immigrants about their parental rights”. Let me guess who would end up paying the bill, the U.S. taxpayer. I have a better idea. The countries that these people invade from could host public service announcements stating they should stay in their own countries and work to make it better instead of invading the U.S. and making it worse.

p.s. write your state legislation and your federal legislation and tell that you oppose the “Dream Act”, which name should be changed to “The Legal Immigrants Shaft Act”. Also tell your elected officials on all levels of government you want action to curb illegal immigration and strict enforcement of the current immigration laws.


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This entire mess could have been avoided. Obey our laws and enter legally. Is that such a hard concept to grasp??

Mo Stewart
Mo Stewart

wrong, any child born on US soil is a united states citizen so yes he is a citizen!

the truth
the truth

Again!!! you don't know. the Mosers haven't said much to the news so what you're reading online is very one sided. And if you did know what you were talking about you would know that the Mosers WHERE not turned down for foster care. And in Missouri the law is that a ministers can transfer a child for adoption.

C Nelson
C Nelson

Read again. The mother left the boy with relatives because she went to jail -- she and the boy had been living with her brother. Her brother passed the boy to a sister who also lived in town. The *relatives she trusted with her son* stopped picking him up from the babysitters' during the week, and then on weekends, and then the babysitters passed the boy to the Mosers. How much money does someone in jail earn, anyway, to be sending support, even if she wants to? While she was out, she was working and supporting him as best she could. From behind bars, she had no income.

The sad part is, the same people who begrudge her the tiny income that wasn't adequately feeding herself and her son before she went to jail are *also* the same people who would be howling with outrage if she had gotten the child his birth certificate that would have made him, as a native-born citizen, eligible for WIC formula and foodstamps. The only choice she had that would satisfy some people is that she go back to Guatemala and starve to death politely out of sight and out of mind.

Bart Paden
Bart Paden

The child was left with family who didn't want him...for over a year. How long do you suggest the courts should have waited before terminating the rights of those who CHOSE not to care for him?

Bart Paden
Bart Paden

The Mosers have absolutely no connection with the "unfriendly" church. This is actually the church where the mother attended. The church's comments are based on their first-hand relationship with her both before and after this situation began.

Jamison was not left with the babysitters just while the (2 sets of) family went to work. He was left there because they did not want to care for him...for weeks at a time. Even when they returned him after brief, and apparent forced visits, he was returned filthy and starving. Ultimately, the visits with the family stopped and, even upon request, they showed no interest in him. He was an unwanted child.

Actually, lots of reaching out took place, there were many letters sent to the mother over the course of the first year leading up to the adoption. The mother refused them. If you look at all the facts, it is clear her focus was on protecting her false identity more than her child. She was not left in the dark. She chose to turn the lights off.

The world needs to stop attempting to paint this biological mother as a victim in this story. She came to our country illegally...twice. She gave birth to a child she didn't want, leaving at least 2 in Guatemala. While imprisoned for her crimes, she chose to protect herself and her criminal actions ahead of reaching out to her child. She made no effort for him until she was told he could be her ticket to freedom.


Well admittedly if the US government didn't kidnap illegal immigrant's children we wouldn't be paying for lawyers to defend their parental rights. This really isn't all that complicated. Deport the kids with the parents, or make arrangements for the children to stay in the US that do not involve kidnapping. I'm not buying all this sniveling about the kid having no future. He's a US citizen. He can come back, learn English, work (legally!) and sponsor his mother when he grows up.

The Mosers, this church couple, and the adaption judge need to stop playing God by thinking they magically decide who the parents, but apparently in Missouri racism trumps family values.

A little bit of common sense from the Federal Government (pass immigration reform already) or the adaption judge (babysitters can't put a kid up for adaption) would have avoided this whole mess.

Bail broke the law by immigrating illegally. The legal punishment for illegally entering the country is deportation, not childsnatching.


How about the judge obeying basic adoption laws from the start. First question, name of the child. Second question, name of person placing the child for adoption. Third question, relationship between the person placing the child and the child?Answer: Volunteer daycare member. Case dismissed, give that child back to his legal guardians.


Correct. And you know what? The young child would not be involved in this mess if his mother had just followed the law and immigrated legally. Is it so hard to follow the law?


What we're reading online are the COURT decisions, that is a discussion of the arguments from BOTH SIDES plus the appellate and supreme court JUDGES opinions. The Mosers don't need to give an interview, they've said everything under oath to three courts. Two of which sided against them, and two of which flat out said the lower court made huge mistakes.

Are you living in another Missouri? Because the state law, the appellate court, and the supreme court said that you have to be the legal guardian of a child to put that child for adoption. That should be the simplest thing to understand! No, being a a minister does not give you that right. You could go online, pay a small fee and become ordained. That would not give you the right to put someone else's child up for adoption. You have to be the legal guardian of that child. Sometimes churches run adoption agencies, which are regulated and have to follow the law. If they were running an adoption agency, the legal guardians would still have to sign over custodial rights before they could place a child up for adoption. No one ever signed custody over to the ministers, they were the babysitters. Their jobs as ministers did not give them custody, nor any legal rights to put a child they were babysitting up for adoption. It's not complicated.

C Nelson
C Nelson

She left him because she was behind bars. Not by choice. And we reunite children with their once-incarcerated parents, even those who were in jail for murder, rape, and child abuse, every day, so the "how long should be wait" line of questioning is completely disingenuous. When the parent is a citizen we put the kids in foster care until they get out of jail and then hand them back without saying their incarceration time constituted voluntary abandonment. That's exactly what should have been done this time.


Oh brother! The court documents are ONLINE. Nowhere in the ruling does it say that he was left for weeks at a time or returned filthy. The court ruling says the agreement began with daycare while the family worked, like millions of others. Then the daycare church couple offered to keep the child overnight because the family had to work late and would pick the child up late. The family was picking the child up at end of the work week and keeping the child on the weekends. NOT leaving the child for weeks. The family offered to pay for the daycare, but the church daycare couple refused. The family were still the ones taking the child to medical appointments etc, because the daycare workers were not the legal guardians. Unfortunately that didn't stop them from trying to place someone else's child for adoption.

That was the arrangement at the time that the church daycare couple placed the child with the Mosers. It had only been the arrangement for a few weeks when they did that. Read the court documents. There were no 'visits' with the family, the child was living with the family and had childcare with the church couple. It's pure BS to claim they stopped visiting the child. The appellate and supreme courts both said the daycare couple sent the child to the Mosers, then told the family there was nothing they could do about it. They didn't simply stop showing up to pick up their child. It's a LIE to say otherwise.

So how is it possible that the Mosers had no contact with that church group? Did they pick their name out of the phone book when deciding who they wanted to give the child to?

As for the mother refusing letters, that is pure BS. Both the appellate and supreme courts BLASTED the lack of service in this case. The letters were sent in the wrong name and were returned by the jail. If they don't have anyone by the name you put on the letter, they get sent back. She didn't refuse them, the jail did. At one point, the court omitted her name and her lawyer's name altogether from one notice, so only the Mosers and their lawyer knew when or where the hearing was.

Again, if you bothered to read the facts as entered under oath in two courts by both sides, you would see that the mother made numerous efforts to reach out to her child. Including writing to the courts to find the status. Including giving the court the information it needed to contact her family, and including making it clear to the babysitters and the Moser hired attorney, that she did not consent to adoption. Since she made arrangements for her child's care before her sentence, and continued to arrange care while in jail, how can you say she made no effort? Her efforts were subverted by people who like you seem to feel superior, and think you can decide who is worthy to have a family.

While your biggest criticism is that she violated the law, you seem content to ignore the blatant violations of adoption law in this case, as long as you get the desired outcome.


This child wouldn't be in this mess if the JUDGE had followed the law. Geez, how do you MISS the fact that a babysitter can't put a child up for adoption!


There is no possible way that she could have immigrated legally. There is no path to entry for someone like Encarnacion Bail. Every undocumented worker who is toiling long, hard hours, typically so that we can eat as cheaply as we do, provides the benefit of their labor to a country that says that they are "unskilled" and therefore unworthy to be here.


You're obviously not interested in the facts of the case, only in misleading the public with wrong information. But others deserve to know what bs you're spreading. The ruling is online at

1. That previous quote is from the ruling of 3 appellate judges. It's what they judges said are the facts, not the mother.

2. That quote is about the information the Mosers provided to the court, not what the mother provided. A home study is done by the Child Services. It was done on the Mosers. And the information provided could only have been provided by the Mosers. And per the judges some of it came directly from M.M. (Melinda Moser). A criminal record is a matter of public record.

3. The judges pointed out that no evidence (documentation, updated home study, proof of approval, social worker testimony etc.) was provided to show that the conditions that were prevented the Mosers from being approved as foster parents were addressed. Only Melinda Moser's testimony. I guess the judges need something a little less one-sided (you seem to like that term) and more objective.


The Mosers argument that anyone could place any child for adoption was absurd. That's why all 3 appellate court judges ruled against them, and all 7 supreme court judges ruled against their adoption. I read the ruling, and I'll quote it directly below, and provide a link. It's what the court said, so no, it's not one-sided. The court was the only impartial party in that mess.

Not just anyone can place a child for adoption. Clergy of the parents, acting as intermediaries of the parents can place a child for adoption. The big point here, is acting as intermediaries. Meaning they've been given the legal right to do so by the parents, and are acting on behalf of the parents. See the point previously made about clergy run adoption agencies. You can't simply be ordained online and decide to place any random child for adoption. You have to be given the legal right to do so by the parents of that child. In the same way that a lawyer can place a child for adoption, but again you can't just have a law license and place any child for adoption. The parents have to give the lawyer that legal right. It's really not complicated. If you want to place a child for adoption, you need the legal right through consent of the parents. A babysitter does not have that legal right.

Here's what the Appellate Court said about the Mosers' argument, i.e. the Mosers' side.

"Because neither the Velazco family nor Sister were intermediaries, they were not authorized to “place” Child with Respondents, and as such this private adoption should not have occurred. Furthermore, Respondents' argument places no limit as to who may place a child for adoption without the consent of the parents. Respondents argue that anyone can place the child for adoption and it is up to the parent to contact the police in opposition to the placement prior to the court allowing a transfer of custody. This proposition has no support in our laws or a civilized society."

The last line in that paragraph sums up what the Court thought of the argument that anyone could place any child for adoption.

The Truth
The Truth

There is four ways a transfer can happen read the law. It is referenced in the Mosers side. but I forgot you only read on side.

The Truth
The Truth

Again not based on the truth, and taken from the side of the birth mom. And they didn't research it. and did you notice the lack of dates on any of the allegations. A one sided view is always the best way to go. Huh


As for the Mosers not being turned down to be foster parents. Here's what the Appellate Court said about it in their ruling.

"During the hearing, Respondents presented a home study that had been completed to assess their fitness to serve as foster parents. The home study addressed Respondents' strengths and weaknesses, along with their backgrounds, which included concerns about S.M.'s criminal history and the involvement of M.M.'s brother, who M.M. claimed had sexually abused her as a child. The assessment made two recommendations before Respondents could be licensed foster parents: (1) create a safer home environment for children because Respondents lived in a basement apartment; and (2) further assessment from the Children's Division representatives regarding the presence of M.M.'s brother in her life. There is no evidence of compliance with either of these requirements in the record, other than M.M.'s verbal confirmation that “everything” was approved."


Actually, many young children are removed from biological parents who are incarcerated. If they will be in jail for more than a year, many states will terminate parental rights and place the child for adoption. The older the child, the fewer potential parents, so it is not as frequent. But infants and toddlers may be placed quickly. If there is no parent or "qualified" family members available to care for the child, the child goes into the foster care system and social services can move to terminate parental rights. Incarceration is usually seen as a voluntary condition and is held against the parent regardless of citizenship.

the truth
the truth

The funny thing is that you haven't done your research on this, other than what you're read on line. And I know that from what you say, and if you did you would know what really went on in this case you would know who you where replying to.


That is complete bullshit people become citizens everyday and if theres a reason why she cant be a citizen then maybe theres a serious reason why she cant be. Maybe its cause shes a f-cking felon u think??? She broke into this country plain and simple. I say f-ck her and her path she broke into the country and had a kid. 1st she should never be allowed to become a citizen now since she decided to be a criminal. 2nd they should take her kid and send his ass to Guatemala where he belongs either with family or the state until shes released from her 10 year prison sentence and deported back to guatemala at the expense of guatemala. And at the same time be fully reimbursed every penny of tax money it took to care for her criminal ass in prison. Thats what should go on and i bet the illegal immigration problem will drastically fall then. You people are lucky i dont run this damn country cause let me tell u it wouldnt be a problem. Im sick of u spanish people making excuses for these damn illegals. They break into the country and u try to turn it to a sad story of hope. Come here LEGAL or stay the f-uck out!!

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