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CNN Today

Adoption Dispute: Birth Mother Wants Daughters Back

Aired January 19, 2001 - 1:26 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: There are new developments in that transatlantic adoption dispute you've probably heard about. The birth mother now says she wants her twin daughters back. And last night, the babies were taken from their adoptive parents in the United Kingdom.

CNN's Jennifer Eccleston has the story now.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JENNIFER ECCLESTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Judith and Alan Kilshaw expressing outrage over the county social services seizure of twin girls the couple believed they had adopted. The American babies are now in the care of foster parents in north Wales.

Social services and child welfare officers, in a written statement, said they removed the children in order to make further assessments of their wellbeing. Judith and Alan Kilshaw believe otherwise.

JUDITH KILSHAW: I have the court behind me. I do not have the British general public behind me, thanks to the press coverage and some papers. I do not have the British government behind me, because they like to dictate the terms and pick and choose the bits of law can stick to and you can't stick to.

ECCLESTON: The Kilshaws and an American couple from California, Richard and Vickie Allen both claim custody of the six-month-old girls after the birth mother placed the twins for adoption through a San Diego-based broker.

RICHARD ALLEN: We have been confident from quite early on that the children would probably be returned to the United States and, also, there's always the issue of, you know, the birth mother's rights, the questions in the courts and all that and how much right we have to the children being something that could have been fought in a court. But we're trying to avoid that.

ECCLESTON: An emergency protection order allowed for the seizure of the twins from the couple in Wales. The couple had brought the girls to Britain about a month ago. Under British law, social services had to convince the court the twins were at risk.

NAOMI ANGEL, ADOPTION ATTORNEY: This could either be because they feared that they were being neglected or ill-treated in some way or else they want to make investigations and their access to the children is being obstructed.

ECCLESTON: Social services now has eight days to decide whether to return the custody to Kilshaws or take the couple to court over longer term custody.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ECCLESTON: In that event, all sides will have the opportunity to present evidence at the hearing. That means the Allens or even the twins' birth mother can find themselves in a British court in the near future -- Natalie.

ALLEN: And is there anybody's guess how long this whole matter could stay in the courts before they decide where these babies belong?

ECCLESTON: Well, under British law, in cases that deal with children -- in adoption cases, child welfare cases, the law provides that these cases have to be handled very quickly. Now, like I said, for the next eight days, we won't know whether or not they'll be brought to trial, but one would assume that because of that law, once it actually goes to court, it could be just a matter of weeks -- Natalie.

ALLEN: And then, of course, there's the United States courts, if the babies come back over here. As well that could be a next step as well.

ECCLESTON: That's right, that's right.

ALLEN: Jennifer Eccleston, in London.

ECCLESTON: The only...

ALLEN: Go ahead, Jennifer.

ECCLESTON: The only stipulation is that if it comes to court here in the United Kingdom, the only thing they will be ruling on is whether or not the Kilshaws can actually retain custody or that they become wards of the state.

Now, they won't be able to determine or rule upon whether or not those children will actually be able to go back to the United States. That's something that they will have to work on in conjunction with the United States law if it should go to court there -- Natalie.

ALLEN: But a tragic story for these babies and one we'll continue to follow -- thanks, Jennifer.

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