Father: Abducted Twins Back in Apex
Posted January 1, 2007 2:28 p.m. EST
Updated January 2, 2007 8:45 a.m. EST
Tyler Lee and Holly Ann Needham, 17 months old, were found safe in Canada late Friday. Their birth mother, Allison Lee Quets, 49, remains in custody in Ottawa and is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday, where she could face federal charges of international parental kidnapping.
Quets, who has visitation rights with the children, didn't return them to their adoptive parents, Denise and Kevin Needham of Apex, on Christmas Eve.
The FBI said Quets and the children crossed into Canada on Dec. 23. Authorities said they stayed at a bed-and-breakfast for several days and intended to rent a house in Ottawa.
The Needhams traveled to Canada over the weekend to pick up the toddlers, Kevin Needham said.
Quets' attorney, Jeff Schroeder, said she consented to the adoption after a rough pregnancy, but changed her mind within 12 hours. She has fought the Needhams for custodial rights ever since.
The case is before an appellate court in Florida, where Quets gave birth to the twins. Schroeder had hoped to keep the children in Canada until the adoption appeal played out in Florida.
"She'll be devastated," Schroeder said of Quets. "We're sorry that during a holiday weekend when the courts are closed that this was allowed to happen."
A group of birth-parent advocates is expected to support Quets at her court hearing.
In addition to appealing the twins' adoption in court, Quets turned to a New Jersey-based group called Adoption: Legalized Lies. Spokeswoman Jessica DelBalzo said that she believes adoptions are too often driven by money and coercion.
"She called us and was just obviously heartbroken on the phone over what she was going through, crying. She did not want to lose her children," DelBalzo said.
Donnas Kinton, executive director of Amazing Grace Adoptions, said she believes the vast majority of adoptions are driven by what's best for children. Quets and other mothers need trained health-care workers evaluating their emotional state when adoptions are decided, she said.
"In this particular case, it's highly unusual. I know when we do adoptions, we would not do unsupervised visits," Kinton said. "It does put a bad light on adoptions, which can be a beautiful thing."