Adoption case goes to state Court of Appeals
Posted March 26, 2009 11:14 a.m. EDT
Updated April 2, 2009 6:19 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — An adoption at the center of an international kidnapping case more than two years ago was back in court Thursday.
The North Carolina Court of Appeals heard arguments in the case of Allison Quets, the Florida birth mother who pleaded guilty in 2007 to kidnapping the infant twins she gave up for adoption shortly after their birth.
On Dec. 22, 2006, Quets took the children, who were 17 months old at the time, from their adoptive parents in Apex, Kevin and Denise Needham, following an approved visit.
Authorities apprehended Quets a week later in Ottawa, Ontario, and returned the twins to the Needhams.
Quets has fought the adoption for more than three years, saying she was ill after suffering medical problems during her pregnancy and that she signed adoption papers under duress.
Quets was artificially inseminated, so she is the twins’ birth mother, but not the biological mother.
After Florida trial and appellate courts terminated Quets' parental rights in the case, she pursued the case in Wake County.
She filed suit last in 2007 to regain visitation rights, stating the adoption was contingent upon her "retaining a continuing and familiar role" in the lives of the children after the adoption was finalized.
A Wake County District Court judge dismissed her claims, however, saying she couldn't seek visitation because her parental rights had been terminated. Quets was also ordered to pay the Needhams' legal fees.
Quets is appealing the ruling and the case's dismissal. An appeals court ruling generally takes about three months.
"Our position is: Let's have a hearing. Let's put on all the evidence, and let's determine what's in the best interest of these children," Quets' attorney, Michael Harrell, said.
Quets, who now lives in Orlando, Fla., and works as a computer consultant, said Thursday she misses the children and has a room set up for them at her home.
"Children deserve to see their mother. Children deserve to be with their mother," Quets said. "You just get down to the basics. It's not very complicated."
The Needhams had no comment, but Kat Moncol, a longtime friend, said she believes Quets should stop her fight.
"She's doing this for herself. She's not doing this for the best interest of the children," Moncol said. "The best interest of the children would be for her to behave."
The Needhams' attorney, Deborah Sandlin, said any agreement her clients had with Quets regarding the adoption ended when she kidnapped the twins.
"This is a contract issue, not a custody issue," Sandlin said.