The case of Encarnacion Bail Romero ends

The Supreme Court has refused to hear the case filed by Guatemalan national Encarnacion Bail Romero, regarding the adoption of her biological son by Seth and Melinda Moser, ending a custody battle that has raged for nearly seven years. Reports CBS News from Carthage, Missouri:

CARTHAGE, Mo. — The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear a Carthage, Missouri adoption case.

This appears to be the end of a long case that began when an undocumented woman from Guatemala petitioned to regain her parental rights… The custody battle for Melinda Moser and her family is believed to be over according to attorneys in the case.

Moser is the adoptive mother of 7-year old Jamison Moser and for nearly seven years she’s fought to keep custody.

All the while, Jamison’s biological mother tried to use the courts to regain custody of her son.

A relieved Moser recalls the experiences. “Kind of like people probably that suffer with a terminal illness, you never know which day will be your last. “

Jamison’s biological mother,  Encarnacion Romero, had been arrested during an immigration raid and was later convicted of identity theft.

After leaving federal prison in 2009, Romero filed to overturn the adoption case and won.

The Mosers appealed to the Missouri Supreme Court, that reversed the lower court’s decision.

What’s to be said regarding news like this? As adoptive mother, I cried when I read the decision, identifying strongly with the struggle endured by Melinda and Seth Moser. But that doesn’t mean I can’t imagine the pain and loss felt by  Encarnacion Bail Romero. I do.

Nothing about adoption is simple. Especially this time.

ShareThis

Tags: ,

27 Responses to “The case of Encarnacion Bail Romero ends”

  1. Z. says:

    Not surprised you identify with the white people stealing a brown baby from his mother. Disgusting.

  2. Jessica says:

    Many people feel the same way you do, Z.
    As you may know, adoptions between the US and Guatemala closed in December 2007 due to allegations of corruption.
    Thanks for reading and commenting.
    Jessica

  3. KAI says:

    This woman didn’t give her child up for adoption. She wasn’t abusive to her child. This isn’t a case of a separation for the safety of the child. The adoptive family will have to answer their son when he is old enough to ask. How would you feel if you knew that was how you came to be with your family?

  4. Jessica says:

    Kai,
    To answer your question “How would I feel?” I’m not a person who is adopted, so I can’t presume to know how that would feel.
    As a adoptive parent, I can say that in adoption, there’s always a story. I believe the story must be told and it must be told truthfully.
    Thanks for reading and commenting.
    Jessica

  5. Cheryl woolf says:

    Although his mother could not speak English, but I can’t believe she didn’t know right from wrong by falsifying social security numbers in order to obtain employment and what was she thinking about when was responsible caring for a small child? She was accused as she broke the law and was imprisoned for five years. The adoptive parents waited one year before petitioning the court for adoption which is longer than Missouri law dictates. These are the only parents this child has ever known and it’s unfortunate and very sad that she lost her parental rights. But I hope some day that she realizes that to love and lost is in the best interest of the child always. I know as I was faced with this same decision when I was 17 years old, but I was a citizen.

  6. Jessica says:

    Cheryl,
    This was an incredibly complex case, drawn out in court over many years. Even a “straightforward” adoption is complicated, with layers that reveal themselves over decades. This adoption even more so.
    Thank you for reading and commenting.
    Jessica

  7. LD says:

    This is so awful (re: the recent Supreme Court ruling). The judge is cruel and is not even going to allow visitation. Reunification is ALWAYS the goal with fostering, and the fact that he could be adopted after only one year is appealing. This is 100% a negative bias against immigrant parents, as we are now blatantly seeing at the boarder. This is going to happen to so many children who have been stolen by ICE, I can see it now.

    This poor woman worked in a chicken processing plant to try and give her kids a better life, and the Mosers did everything they could to make sure that would never happen.

    They also have culturally white-washed him, changing his name to Jamison. And not letting him continuing to learn Spanish, his native tongue. Omg. This is so reminiscent to native children who were stolen, had their identities changed, and were completely removed from their tribal ties.

    Do not defend the indefensible. This is horrific. Shame on the Mosers.

  8. LD says:

    *apauling, not appealing.

  9. LD says:

    Also, don’t shed your white tears for the Mosers. The fact that you sympathize with them means you probably will support children who have been taken by ICE and put into foster homes to be forcefully adopted against the wishes of their parents. I know this case is old but it’s pretty much the same thing.

    The Mosers could have done A LOT to advocate for either reunification or shared custody, but they did not. They filed for adoption pretty fast after his extended family reached out for help w/ fostering (i’m sure they regret that now, good god) and then the Mosers went on to claim his mother didn’t care to see the boy, yet she couldn’t speak English. Sooo how the could she? The Mosers also could have made an effort to reach her, knowing English wasn’t her native language.

    The Mosers and monsters. I hope one day CARLOS goes to find his real mother, who never actually abandoned him, and hold the Mosers accountable for this. This white-washed child WILL grow up one day.

  10. Jessica says:

    LD,
    I respect your opinion and thank you for reading and commenting.
    Jessica

  11. Christine says:

    I very much agree with LD.

  12. Jessica says:

    As do many others, Christine. Thank you for reading and commenting.
    Jessica

  13. mamabear says:

    This is horrific. I fear that more of these types of outcomes will come about due to the family separations of asylum seekers at the border. I agree with LD 100%, and anyone who professs any sympathy for the Mosers is enabling state sanctioned child trafficking. My nephew was adopted at birth, and my in-laws are still in touch with the birth mother (who chose to put my nephew up for adoption, unlike with Ms. Romero, who explicitly stated that giving up her child was NOT her choice) 4 1/2 years after the adoption because they are looking out for the best interest of their son, and aren’t mean, vindictive or racist as the Mosers have riven themselves to be. As adoptive parents, they are disgusted by the outcome of this case. The Mosers are selfish monsters who are looking out not for Carlos, but their own self interest. Please don’t defend the indefensible.

  14. mamabear says:

    *proven, not riven. sorry about the typo.
    Again, please don’t enable or defend kidnapping and trafficking, especially of kids of color taken from disenfranchised immigrants by folks with a misguided and dangerous sense of white savior complex. There are no two sides to atrocities like this. I, am immigrant mama of color, am nursing my toddler as I type this, and cannot imagine the horror of having someone tear her away from me, and then having the audacity to claim her as their own.

  15. reader321 says:

    Missouri is a very racist and backwards state. It is not surprising that this horrible injustice would happen there. This is a terrible thing and I fear for all of the recent people who have crossed the border and their children. The US government is operating like an alien species that has no compassion. By the way I took a look at the elected officials in Greene County Missouri where this all happened. https://greenecountymo.gov/about/elected_officials.php A real diverse group. I can only imagine how they look at a brown skinned woman who doesn’t speak English.

  16. Jessica says:

    Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts.
    Jessica

  17. Vitor Vieira says:

    I’ve just learned about this case.
    This is disgusting.
    Where is Carlos now?
    This is plain baby theft.
    https://www.womensrefugeecommission.org/rights/996-encarnacion-romero

  18. Tree says:

    I understand from reading the prior comments and your replies that you will only belittle me and patronize me in the most clinically sterile and polite of ways, but I will post regardless.

    This was despicable and is NOT adoption. I am adopted. I was adopted at birth and discovered my birth family in my mid 30s through my own efforts. If I discovered this about myself, I would do everything in my power to bring my so-called “parents” up on any possible charges. I would also seek international aid to right a wrong that was a state-sponsored atrocity.

    This is state-sponsored terrorism and kidnapping, period. The Mosers actively EARNED & DESERVE to live out the rest of their lives looking over their shoulders not only for a day when Carlos Romeros returns from his imprisonment within “Jamison Moser”. No matter how much THEY love HIM, they conspired and assisted an act of terrorism: Separating a mother and infant solely based on immigration and not “crime” to deter other immigrants. It is the plan that Sessions outlined and defends in no other terms than that. If their children are threatened, they may not show up. That is cruel and unusual to the core, and the Mosers are actively participating.

    Sympathy for the Mosers that doesn’t include the responsibility to aid restoration with the birth mother, no matter how long after the fact, is an endorsement of the practice. And Carlos Romeros WILL find out. It is time to send letters of love to Carlos Romeros encouraging him to seek reconnection with a birth mother who did NOT give up on him but was brutalized by an antagonistic, remorseless system.

    “But think of the child!” belongs to the mother, NOT the abductors and their state sponsor. Truly loving parents, birth or adoptive, understands this without caveat or reservation.

  19. Jessica says:

    Tree,

    I’m not sure where in my comments I’ve “belittled” and “patronized” anyone. Everyone is entitled to express an opinion, a fact I merely acknowledged.

    I’ve been following the case of Encarnacion Bail Romero for some eight years. My first blog post is dated November 10, 2010. The post you and others found and commented on, dated Wednesday, July 2, 2014, is one of many I’ve posted.

    Below is a selection of excerpts from previous blogs. The comment format will not allow me to link to articles referenced or posts themselves, but you can scroll through the site to find and read in their entirety.

    Thank you for reading and commenting.

    November 10, 2010

    Some readers who are familiar with the raid on a Missouri chicken processing plant in May 2007 in which 136 alleged undocumented immigrants were picked up, may be interested in one outcome of that action. A Guatemalan woman, Encarnacion Romero, was jailed, her infant son given to her sister, and then left in the care of a church, which subsequently adopted him to Seth and Melinda Moser. Ms. Romero, backed by the Guatemalan consulate and the ACLU, is now fighting to get back her son. The case is being heard by the Missouri Supreme Court.

    January 26, 2011

    I cannot imagine that the child Carlos will not be returned to his biological mother, who could not have predicted the eventual chain of events when she first asked relatives to care for Carlos while she was in jail. Adoption never seemed to be her intention.

    …I agree with Judge Breckenridge’s statement: “This case is a travesty… for its impact on mother, adoptive parents and, most importantly, the child.”

    July 19, 2012

    This case speaks to a phenomenon I hear and read about with increasing frequency: Mothers who leave their children with other people—family members, friends, acquaintances who appear helpful, orphanages, feeding centers—either willingly or through circumstance—for Encarnacion Bail Romero, following an arrest and jail; for other mothers, due to poverty or other personal challenges—over some period of time, without apparently realizing the potential and lifelong consequences.

    July 25, 2012

    From the Missouri Carthage Press:
    “Suffice it to say that for the vast majority of the minor child’s life, the mother has expressed little interest or caring for him,” [Judge David P. Jones] wrote. “This is consistent with the way she has treated her other children. Although she has two young children in Guatemala, including one with severe psychological issues, she has made it clear that she has no desire to return to Guatemala to visit them, much less return there to permanently be a mother to them.”

    In California where I live, tens of thousands of Guatemalan men and women work to send money home to support the children and family they left behind. I wonder if Judge Jones has an opinion regarding their fitness as parents.

    July 2, 2014

    The Supreme Court has refused to hear the case filed by Guatemalan national Encarnacion Bail Romero, regarding the adoption of her biological son by Seth and Melinda Moser, ending a custody battle that has raged for nearly seven years.

    What’s to be said regarding news like this? As adoptive mother, I cried when I read the decision, identifying strongly with the struggle endured by Melinda and Seth Moser. But that doesn’t mean I can’t imagine the pain and loss felt by Encarnacion Bail Romero. I do.

  20. F says:

    I’m the sister of a girl who was taken away from her bio mom for abuse (drug). But closed adoption seems to me, nowadays, is never the “right” thing. Even parents who struggle with bad issues like this should be able to see their kids under supervision if they desire…and in the case of Romero, she lost ALLLLL rights to see her son. I hope they are reunited someday when he’s an adult. I know my sister recently gained contact with her bio family (we never forbade it at all, but the adoption system was different in the 80′s) and if anything it has probably made her appreciate her adoptive family more.

    I also am the mom of a child who was abducted by a non-custodial parent and I lost in court to get him back. I barely see him…6 weeks a year. So I strongly identify with the mom whose kid was taken. I would never condone taking a kid forever from their parent if there was any other way…obviously it’s different if the bio parent doesn’t *want* to raise the child.

  21. Jessica says:

    F, I’m sorry your child was abducted by a non-custodial parent and you lost in court to get him back. That sounds devastating.

    Like you, I believe contact with biological family is healthy–essential–for people who are adopted. This seems to me a core issue in adoption: the natural desire to know one’s roots, one family of origin, one’s blood. Even in situations where contact is complicated, it feels necessary.

    It will be interesting to see how Jamison/Carlos responds to his situation when he reaches adulthood. With social media and DNA testing, not to mention thousands of pages of public record, reunion with Encarnacion Bail Romero should not be difficult, if that’s his desire.

    Jessica

  22. Rafael says:

    Ms, O’Dwyer,
    I’ve known about this case for several years and happened to find your page by pure happenstance. In 2011 C. Elizabeth Hall, at Duke U. School of Law wrote a paper about this and other cases like it. Even though there is a constitutional framework re termination of rights and that unfitness be clear even if the parents are undocumented. Courts have terminated them w/o regard to those requirements.
    I was reminded of this case when the Trump administration began its policy of family separation with absolutely no regard to family reunification. A 2010 study by Caltech, NYU and the London School of Economics found that, in the US, adoptive parents, for the most part, seek, non-fostered, non-black children and that Hispanic children fall under that category.
    The adoption industry does not have a great reputation, that’s an understatement. It is expected to have 16 billion in revenue this year and there are those who profit off of misery.
    You have adopted and most likely that adoption followed a very different path than Encarnacion’s.
    I’ve begun to see a trickle of stories that suggest possible profiteering of this one-man made crisis. If you see such a trend beginning, I hope that you will rise to the occasion and side with the mostly indigenous people that will be hurt.
    I’m happy to provide citations for my information
    Thank You,
    Rafa

  23. Jessica says:

    Thank you for commenting, Rafa. I’ve also followed this case for years, which I consider a tragedy.

    I agree that the adoption industry “does not have a great reputation.” As you may know, adoptions from Guatemala closed in December 2007 due to allegations of corruption. In fact, intercountry adoption in general has largely stopped; adoptions to the US from other countries have slowed to a trickle. (I’m not sure where the $16 billion revenue figure comes from: private domestic adoption?) At the same time, adoptions from US foster care have risen, which has been a positive outcome.

    I’m posting excerpts from my previous posts concerning the Bail Romero case, in case you haven’t seen them. The comment format will not allow me to link to articles referenced or posts themselves, but you can scroll through the site to find and read in their entirety.

    November 10, 2010
    Some readers who are familiar with the raid on a Missouri chicken processing plant in May 2007 in which 136 alleged undocumented immigrants were picked up, may be interested in one outcome of that action. A Guatemalan woman, Encarnacion Romero, was jailed, her infant son given to her sister, and then left in the care of a church, which subsequently adopted him to Seth and Melinda Moser. Ms. Romero, backed by the Guatemalan consulate and the ACLU, is now fighting to get back her son. The case is being heard by the Missouri Supreme Court.

    January 26, 2011
    I cannot imagine that the child Carlos will not be returned to his biological mother, who could not have predicted the eventual chain of events when she first asked relatives to care for Carlos while she was in jail. Adoption never seemed to be her intention.
    …I agree with Judge Breckenridge’s statement: “This case is a travesty… for its impact on mother, adoptive parents and, most importantly, the child.”

    July 19, 2012
    This case speaks to a phenomenon I hear and read about with increasing frequency: Mothers who leave their children with other people—family members, friends, acquaintances who appear helpful, orphanages, feeding centers—either willingly or through circumstance—for Encarnacion Bail Romero, following an arrest and jail; for other mothers, due to poverty or other personal challenges—over some period of time, without apparently realizing the potential and lifelong consequences.

    July 25, 2012
    From the Missouri Carthage Press:
    “Suffice it to say that for the vast majority of the minor child’s life, the mother has expressed little interest or caring for him,” [Judge David P. Jones] wrote. “This is consistent with the way she has treated her other children. Although she has two young children in Guatemala, including one with severe psychological issues, she has made it clear that she has no desire to return to Guatemala to visit them, much less return there to permanently be a mother to them.”
    In California where I live, tens of thousands of Guatemalan men and women work to send money home to support the children and family they left behind. I wonder if Judge Jones has an opinion regarding their fitness as parents.

    July 2, 2014
    The Supreme Court has refused to hear the case filed by Guatemalan national Encarnacion Bail Romero, regarding the adoption of her biological son by Seth and Melinda Moser, ending a custody battle that has raged for nearly seven years.
    What’s to be said regarding news like this?… I can’t imagine the pain and loss felt by Encarnacion Bail Romero.

    Rafa, you also mentioned the separation of children from their families at the border. The San Francisco Chronicle recently published my essay, “Jakelin was also a brave immigrant,” in which I lamented this barbaric practice. The link won’t post here, but you can search for the article online.

    Thank you again for reading and commenting.

  24. Sean says:

    I don’t really have anything to add, but I feel like this thread should be kept alive. What is Carlos, about 11 or 12 now? I hope he at some point looks into everything with his adoption, and I wonder how he’ll feel if he does.

  25. Jessica says:

    I also wonder how Carlos/Jamison will react when he and if he investigates his adoption. With social media and DNA testing, not to mention thousands of pages of public record, reunion with Encarnacion Bail Romero should not be difficult, if that’s his desire.
    Will learning his story affect his relationship with his adoptive family? I don’t see how it can’t. What’s harder to predict is how it will affect that relationship. Time will tell.

  26. Susan Salisbury says:

    The woman was in jail for five years and, given the evident bias in the article I’m sure there was more than simply using someone else’s social security number. The child has never known any other parents. Perhaps you think they should have taken him to the prison to visit a medical ther he didn’t know. Would you even care if he weren’t Hispanic? My guess is no. You wouldn’t. Those parents did not steal that child nor maybevyiubsll Sovisl Justice Warriors think he should have been left on the street to die. Why did no Hispanic family step up and offer to foster him? Why was there no grandmother aunt or uncle? You just hate that a white family took him in.

  27. Jessica says:

    Susan Salisbury: From what I’ve read, Encarnacion Bail Romero was convicted of identity theft. To my knowledge, she’s been convicted of no other crime. Based on my observation, migrants such as Encarnacion Bail Romero often don’t understand the US legal system, and that includes permanent, legally binding consequences of their actions.
    As I wrote on January 26, 2011: “I agree with Judge Breckenridge’s statement: ‘This case is a travesty… for its impact on mother, adoptive parents and, most importantly, the child.’”
    In response to your last sentence: I don’t hate anyone. To the parties involved in this saga, I wish only peace.

Leave a Comment