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January 20, 2005

Adoption in the news

In the news the past few days has been the story of Even Scott, or rather it should be the story of Evan Scott, instead it's been (as reported) the story of Dawn and Gene Scott, the couple that have been trying to adopt Evan, and Amanda Hopkins and Steven A. White Jr., Evan's biological parents. Hopkins gave up Evan for adoption before he was born, but changed her mind after he was given to the Scotts, when she allegedly found out that the boy's biological father might want custody.

On one hand, any potential, adoptive parent should be on the alert when both biological parents have not signed away their parental rights. There's always the chance that some dead-beat might pretend to "care" for the kid so he can milk the system. But on the other hand, people who give up kids for adoption need to not play games with the emotions those adoptive parents have. This isn't the first time this kind of thing has happened, and the courts generally side with the biological parent -- which in principle is a good thing. Parental rights need to be affirmed and strengthened. There are too many "Village" minded people out there that think children are the property of the state.

The big picture is that there must be over-riding principles that the courts must abide by, otherwise lots of kids will suffer. But there will always be those individual cases in which some people use the system to reinforce their selfishness, and wind up hurting people.

Another sad fact is that it's fairly impossible to do much of a follow up in these cases, because the organizations with the resources (and supposedly the responsibility) to do so, opt for more sensationalistic stories, than whether or not the aftermath of the emotional story they deluged us with five years ago was positive of negative. So we're left in that dark, and the lofty, holier-than-thou posturing the media does when reporting on stories like this gets forgotten when it's discovered that Paris Hilton just bought a new party dress.

Boy Handed Over in Three-Way Custody Battle -- FoxNews.com
Another Adoption Tug Of Love -- The Early Show, CBSNews.com

Posted by Jack Lewis at January 20, 2005 05:22 AM

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A quote from the Governor of Florida on January 16, 2005, re: the Evan Scott Case:

Governor Bush says the case of Evan Scott may be a heartbreaker…… but there’s nothing he can do about it. The boy’s biological mother filed for custody and the Scott’s were ordered to turn him over on Saturday. Jeb Bush says this is a matter for the courts and there’s no way he could have stepped in or filed some sort of legal appeal.
"Very difficult cases and appealing to me happens a lot. And when it relates to something that the department is involved in, in terms of their responsibility, I can act, but when it’s related to a decision made by a judge who is looking at all the facts that’s a decision made by the judiciary, they have the legal authority to do so and the Governor can’’t intervene,” says Governor Bush.

Evan Scott v. Terri Shiavo?

March 22, 2005

I have watched with interest the case of Terri Shiavo, and have been puzzled by the intervention of our lawmakers into making sure that Ms. Shiavo's rights are not violated. My bewilderment is not so much that the lawmakers are involved enough with extraordinary measures to ensure that Ms. Shiavo's rights are attended to but the fact that the rights of an equally defenseless citizen of Florida was not afforded the same or similar protection.

In the tragic case of our son that made national and international headlines, Evan Scott, a nearly 4 year old Florida child, was recently ripped from his bonded family and shuttled thousands of miles away, exiling him from all he had ever known, including the state that was morally and legally responsible for protecting his rights as a Florida citizen, without once insuring that his rights were protected.

The parallels in our son Evan’s case and the Shiavo case are worthy of comparison. True the Shiavo case is a right to die (or live, depending on which side your allegiance falls) and our son Evan’s case is a right to happiness and security and liberty from abuse, but that is the only difference. Both cases involve the rights of Guardians to make decisions of their ward's behalf. The other parallels are just as similar:

Both case involve the guardianship of an innocent person incapable of making decisions for themselves.

Both cases have been litigated for years in the Florida court system while a human being's life and future hang in the balance.

Both cases involve the interests of a legal guardian versus biological parents.

Both cases speak to the right of a ward to ensure that the ward's Constitutional rights are addressed and protected.

Parties in both cases asked for review and intervention by the governor to prevent abuse and harm to an incapacitated person.

Terri Shiavo was afforded extraordinary measures and intervention to the point of the President of the United States waking in the middle of the night to sign a congressional bill to override the legal guardian's wishes and rights in a private family matter that had already been determined in a court of law.

In contrast, our governor chose to deny intervention and even a simple review of the Evan Scott case petitioned for by the Guardians of Evan Scott and through thousands of letters that poured into the governors office, stating that he "can not intervene in a private family matter that has already been determined in a court of law"

Has the inequity of the governor's and congress' actions and statements regarding these two equally important Florida citizens been lost on anyone but me?

How is the life of an innocent child any less valuable than that of Terri Shiavo's? How is a child's right to liberty and constitutional protection less worthy than a person who has been deemed to be in a persistent vegetative state?

If the governors intentions for Terri are pure in motive, then our son Evan should have been afforded the same interest from our law makers. Could it be possible that while our fair Governor was busy intervening on behalf of the parents of Terri Shiavo and usurping the rights of her legal Guardian, any intervention on behalf of the Guardians on Evan would have made his argument for the parents of Terri less valid as his position on the two cases would be in opposition to each other?

Did our governor refuse to help protect an innocent child in one case, and trample a Guardians' right in another simply because his political interest was at stake, not because of any sense of morality, humanity and good will for either person whose life was being fought over? If so, that is as big a sin as legal euthanasia, or the exile and abuse of a child.

I have but two questions for our governor that I would like answered: Did he refuse to intervene in our son Evan’s plight because it would be contrary to his intervention in Shiavo’s case, or because he would have been trampling on a decision made by a circuit court judge that was not elected, but that he personally appointed to the bench and who aspires to a position on the Appellate court?

Governor, are you REALLY concerned about human rights, or is it all about politics?


Dawn Scott

Posted by: Dawn Scott at March 23, 2005 04:28 AM

Dawn, I side with you whole heartedly when it comes to what the courts have done to your son. It is a shame what has happened. But in fairness, there is a difference between your case and the Schindlers. But, also, they are similar in that what is right is sacrificed for what is "legal". Your case does deserve more attention, and the lack of it is exactly what I predicted.

Please feel free to visit and keep us abreast of any new news.

Posted by: Danny Carlton at March 23, 2005 06:44 AM

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