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British Judge Orders 'Internet Twins' to Remain in Foster Care Pending Review

Aired January 23, 2001 - 4:13 p.m. ET

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

JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: On other news about families and children, a British judge has ordered six-year-month-old twins at the center of a transatlantic tug-of-war to remain in foster care while he considers the case. A Welsh couple adopted the girls over the Internet. But two other parties now say the babies belong to them.

CNN's Tom Mintier with the latest on this case.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TOM MINTIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The British couple who believe they had adopted the twins came to court in Birmingham looking confident they would soon have the babies back home.

JUDITH KILSHAW, ADOPTIVE PARENT: I'm going to go for it. I feel better now I've had a night's sleep. And I'm confident we're going to win.

MINTIER: Judith Kilshaw says she's outraged British child welfare authorities took 6-month-old Kimberly and Belinda from her, calling it gestapo tactics. She vowed to win her case here in British courts or carry it on to an American court. Another couple from California, the Allens, also believe they adopted the twins over the Internet. Both couples say they paid a fee to an Internet-based adoption agency.

Behind closed doors at the High Court in Birmingham, the hearing lasted nearly four hours to determine the little girls' fate. Judge Andrew Kirkwood decided to postpone a ruling on the case, saying more time was needed to research the case, saying it was not just English law, but because the children came from America, at least two or three U.S. states need to be consulted.

While the case is researched, he ordered that the children remain in the foster care of a British family appointed by the court, a family the judge has ordered not be sought out or identified by the media. He also cautioned the media not to interview anyone involved in the case, in effect placing a wide-ranging gag order, with contempt-of-court punishment for violators.

The two little girls were taken from the Kilshaws' home last Thursday, following public disclosure of the Internet adoption process. For now, the case before the High Court is about custody and how the children were brought to Britain, but could be expanded to include the adoption procedure.

Following the explicit instructions from the judge, the Kilshaws left court without saying a word about the case.

(on camera): The so-called "Internet twins" case, as they refer to it here in Britain, may not come back to court for several weeks. The high court judge apparently wants to hear from everyone involved, even possibly a second set of adoptive parents and the birth mother, all of whom live in the United States.

Tom Mintier, CNN, Birmingham, England.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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