U.S. Supreme Court denies hearing in Moser case

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Adoptive family allowed to keep boy whose mother was deported

With the U.S. Supreme Court's denial to hear an appeal on behalf of a Guatemalan woman, a seven-year-long parental rights case has now come to an end.

Attorneys acting on behalf of Encarnacion Bail Romero, have been fighting the adoption of Romero's son, Jamison (originally named Carlos), who was adopted by Melinda Moser, of Carthage, after a 2007 raid of George's Inc. in Butterfield caused Romero to lose custody of the boy.

"It's been a roller coaster, but we're just rejoicing at the decision, and having it done," Moser said at a news conference at Joplin attorney Joe Hensley's office. Hensley has represented the family since the beginning of adoption process in 2007, when Jamison was less than a year old.

A Springfield judge terminated Romero's parental rights in 2012 on the grounds of abandonment, as Romero entered guilty pleas for immigration violations and aggravated identity theft. Romero spent two years in jail for the crimes, and after filing an appeal, was allowed to stay in the U.S. to try to regain custody of her son. She is still in the United States on a short-term visa.

While she was in jail, relatives took care of the boy, and he was eventually handed over to a couple in the church Romero's sister attended. According to published reports, they introduced the child to a couple looking to adopt, Seth and Melinda Moser, of Carthage.

The Mosers sent an English version of the adoption paperwork to Romero while she was in jail, but Romero, who does not speak English, did not have an attorney at the time.

The child went to live with the Mosers in 2007 and the couple adopted the child after a Jasper County judge terminated Romero's parental rights. The judge ruled that Romero had not attempted to maintain contact or provide for the child while she was in prison.

Since her release from jail in 2009, Romero has been trying to regain custody of the son she said she never intentionally abandoned or gave up parental rights for. A July 2010 decision by the Missouri Court of Appeals overturned the adoption, saying Romero's rights had been violated because she was an illegal immigrant.

Moser appealed to the Missouri Supreme Court, which ordered a new circuit court trial in Greene County. In July 2012, the circuit court terminated Romero's rights and upheld the adoption, and that ruling was then upheld by the Missouri Court of Appeals, which originally overturned the adoption.

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