Escape your life for a little while — come play in mine.

And this is why you don’t take Adolf away from his moron parents

Posted by Lissa on February 12, 2009

Remember that poor kid whose idiotic parents named him Adolf?  I was with Marko on the subject, who wrote:

After all, I want the village to keep their hands off *my* kids, too. What do you want to bet there are people out there who consider Libertarians or atheists “childish morons” or hell-bound scum who shouldn’t be allowed to raise their kids the way they want?

I firmly support the right of kids-named-Adolf to sue their parents for intentional trauma and emotional damage when they hit eighteen, but I definitely want the state to be feather-light when poking its nose into family life.  After all, I’d bet a zillion dollars that you could survey the folks in Berkeley and they’d say that children should be removed from any home with firearms, because that home could not POSSIBLY be safe or healthy.  You know I’m right.

And then you tack on the issue of administrative bullcrap and you get this type of heartbreaking and damnable story:

A judge yesterday ruled that a couple will never see three of their children again even though he accepted they may have been wrongly accused of abusing them.

Mark and Nicky Webster’s three eldest children were taken into care in 2004 after doctors claimed that six tiny fractures found on the middle child had been inflicted deliberately. All three were adopted.

Yesterday, in a failed attempt to have the adoption order overturned, the couple were told that even though they could be victims of a miscarriage of justice it was ‘too late’ for them to be reunited with their daughter and two sons.

If you read farther, you’ll find that the parents brought their son to the doctor for examination of a swollen leg.  When several small fractures were found, the doctors said they could ONLY have been caused by physical abuse and removed the three children from the home.

Years later, it turns out that the fractures were almost certainly caused by scurvy, not any type of physical abuse; the pediatrician had advised feeding the boy soy milk (rather than regular milk or formula) and he was vitamin-C deprived. 

Here’s the REALLY horrible part: Because all three children were adopted, and because this court case was years ago, the Websters can’t have their kids back.

Lord Justice Wall, sitting with Lord Justice Moore-Bick and Lord Justice Wilson, said he had ‘profound sympathy’ for the couple, for whom the case had been a ‘disaster’, but ruled that the courts could do nothing for them.

He said: ‘Mr and Mrs Webster believe that they have suffered a miscarriage of justice.

‘They may be right. A family which might well have been capable of being held together, has been split up.’

But he said the case highlighted the ‘finality’ of adoption orders which can be revoked only in extremely limited circumstances.

‘The court concluded that after three years it was in any event too late to set the orders aside, and that it would not be in the interests of the children to do so.’

Got that?  A pair of biological parents who had DONE NO WRONG have had their three oldest children permanently removed and will not get them back.  (At least, so says the article.  I would like to think the current ugly publicity will make the court change its mind.)

How absolutely awful for everyone involved.  You have two parents who are wrongfully accused of beating their child — that alone is enough to inspire sympathy.  You have sets of adoptive parents who either have to give up their now-beloved children, or who will live knowing that those children were taken away from their biological parents — who want them back — without reason.  And you have three children who must either leave the adoptive parents they have grown to love, or who will never know their biological parents and brother.

I started this post being furious at the system in general, but as I wrote, I found my anger dissipating.  Broken bones are certainly a warning sign of abuse and no child should have to grow up with physical abuse.  Not being a medical professional, I can’t pass judgment on whether the doctor should have seen “scurvy” instead of “abuse.”  And I understand the wish of the judge to put the well-being of the children first and foremost.

But he is dead freaking wrong if he thinks the sanctity of a court’s adoption rules trumps the rights of loving parents who have done no wrong and want their children back.


Cross your finger for the Websters and their children, that this horrible legal Charlie-Fox gets resolved quickly.

(h/t Bookworm Room)


5 Responses to “And this is why you don’t take Adolf away from his moron parents”

  1. Jennifer said

    This is exactly what is wrong with child protective services. They never should have taken the children in the first place. They didn’t do their homework, and now these kids are in a no-win situation. Maybe the biological parents and the adoptive parents can find a good solution without help from the court. It does seem that they would all want the best for the children. I don’t envy any of them in this situation.

  2. secretlivesofscientists said

    No matter who agrees or disagrees with whether or not these kids were abused or if the parents are raising them with enough safety so that they’ll be generally not-fucked up, the principle of the matter: that the government thinks it knows how to provide a better living situation by placing the kids in, what, some form of foster care, is simply outrageous!

    “After all, I’d bet a zillion dollars that you could survey the folks in Berkeley and they’d say that children should be removed from any home with firearms, because that home could not POSSIBLY be safe or healthy. You know I’m right.”

    Yes, you are right. It’s something that shouldn’t be ruled by oppinions, and something that a blanket-judgement of what is and isn’t good cannot be applied to without causing grief.

    On a more disturbing note, what side is it better to err on? White Mike’s ex is seriously fucking up her kids and they could and should be taken away from her, in my oppinion, but Mike won’t press that because he has to go out of town for work and can’t afford a big enough place for two kids. I have another friend who was literally held hostage by her parents and had been physically and sexually abused by her idiot monster of a father (I took pictures of her bruises), but child protective services sent a counsellor who took her parents side and not hers, and she was stuck in that crappy situation until she was 18. The last thing that cps wanted to do it seemed is rip apart families, but it doesn’t always benefit the kid to do so. If we had pushed and pushed, the outcome might have been different, but they do have a more conservative view.

    I’m betting the media had a huge influence on the adolf-child case. That, and the stupid laws that allow any individuals to file a complaints or suit on behalf of other individuals in the community, even when they have no relation whatsoever. That shit is sometimes just as wrong as the government nosing their way in to families.

  3. JD said

    two comments – I agree that the state should not be able to pull a kid because of the parents giving him a dumb name, but it should be made easy for him/her to change it at age 18. . . .

    Second, I hope these folks take the doctor to task for this one. He can pay the legal costs of the fight to get their kids back. Some doctors just go too far with the “I know what is right for you” thing

  4. wolfwalker said

    um … did anyone else note what was actually wrong with the boy? Scurvy, or vitamin C deficiency, is almost unheard of in industrialized countries. Getting sufficient vitamin C in your diet is ridiculously easy. So easy that I have to wonder what kind of diet the parents were feeding their kid(s).

  5. Sevesteen said

    It is too late for a good outcome to this. With the information I’ve got, I can’t fault the judgment that the adoption stands–At some point an adoption needs to be final, in the best interests of the kids.

    There should be some serious repercussions to everyone involved in the initial reporting of abuse.

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