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American adoption of baby girl at risk

Jan. 11, 2013 at 2:07 PM

EVANSTON, Ill., Jan. 11 (UPI) -- A couple from Evanston, Ill., are fighting to keep custody of their 7-month old adoptive daughter, whom South Korean officials say was adopted illegally.

A Cook County judge Wednesday dropped Jinshil and Christopher Duquet's standing as the baby Sehwa Kim's legal guardians, giving South Korean officials room to intervene in the guardian process, the Chicago Tribune reported.

"Sehwa is a child 'in need of protection,' who was taken unlawfully from Korea to the United States," said Ji Sun Lee, a lawyer representing the South Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare, adding that because the child was born to an unwed mother, she needs additional legal protection.

The Duquets, who adopted Sehwa in June, have alleged the South Korean lawyer with whom they dealt throughout the adoption process gave them bad information and documents for what they believed to be a legal private adoption.

"We never anticipated that we had done anything wrong," said Christopher Duquet, 55, who owns a jewelry design business. "But because it's so political now in Korea, they don't have any choice but to follow through and save face."

They have also alleged their family is being used as a pawn for what is really South Korea's objection to all U.S. adoptions of South Korean children.

"We will spend every penny we have to protect her," Jinshil Duquet said. "It's not about adopting her anymore. It's about saving her from harm."

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