SPRINGFIELD, Mo., July 19 (UPI) -- A judge terminated the parental rights of a Guatemalan woman, awarding custody of her son to a Carthage, Mo., couple.
Encarnacion Bail Romero choked back tears as she left the juvenile justice center in Springfield, Mo., Wednesday morning. "She's too upset to talk," her attorney, Curtis Woods, told The Kansas City Star. "The judge has terminated her parental rights on grounds of abandonment."
Bail Romero was arrested in a May 2007 immigration raid at the Barry County, Mo., poultry plant where she worked. While she sat in jail, her son Carlos was cared for first by her brother, then her sister who eventually handed him off to a family in her church. When the family heard that Seth and Melinda Moser were looking to adopt a child, they introduced them to Carlos.
The Mosers called the boy Jamison, and took him into their home.
Meanwhile they filed for adoption and asked for Bail Romero's parental rights to be severed. The Mosers sent her an English copy of the document while in jail. Bail Romero, who did not have an attorney at the time and would not for two more months, does not speak English.
Woods and his team said they need time to study the judge's decision before determining whether or not they can appeal it.
Emily Butera of the Women's Refugee Commission worries what the ruling will mean for future instances of children caught up in immigration cases.
"For a parent to abandon a child, there has to be intent to do so," she said. "Her ability to parent was taken away because she was in detention."
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