Stephanie Bennett was referred by her H.S. guidance counselor to an unscrupulous adoption agency who took her out of county and coerced her to sign papers to relinquish her 5 month old daughter. Stephanie has been victimized by her daughter's father who molested her for years, and again by the system, and now yet again by the courts.
PLEASE HELP THE BENNETTS regain custody of Evelyn!
In April of 2007, Stephanie had a hearing in the Probate Court, and awaited the findings of the court. The agency said that was the court that would be the correct court for the hearing, and the attorney that Stephanie had at the time didn’t fight it. That court has YET to rule.
In the meantime the Bennetts hired a new attorney to represent them. The new attorney who was familiar with Adoption Law, as their previous attorney was not, said that since both Stephanie and Evelyn were minors, the court with jurisdiction would actually be the Juvenile Court. On May 22, 2007 they appeared in Juvenile Court. Stephanie’s attorney came away from that hearing in very bad spirits, since it seemed that the Agency’s attorney, who is also married to one of the sisters who run the agency, was very friendly with the judge. She left shortly after the hearing to go on vacation with her family, and was using her down time to plan the appeal that she was almost certain would follow on her return. She returned to her office from vacation and found the judge’s ruling and was very heartened to find that it seemed that the judge was strongly on the side of Stephanie, and indicated that she would a) allow the results of the polygraph examination that Stephanie was required to take in to the court, not as evidence but as testimony, and b) that Stephanie had been used badly by the system and she was sensitive to the loss she had experienced. She ordered an Evidentiary Hearing be held forthwith, on the validity of the Mother’s consent.
And, they waited, through the rest of May, all of June, all of July and into August. Stephanie’s attorney called and tried to set dates for the Evidentiary Hearing, but always something came up, another case, a vacation, a full docket, always something. Procedurally, the agency’s attorney should have filed an appeal if they were not happy with the judge’s ruling. Instead, they filed a motion for the judge to vacate her own order! With no hearing, no in-chamber meeting, nothing. Just out of the blue, or over a cocktail with the agency’s attorney, or hitting balls on the golf course, the judge decided that she wasn’t the appropriate court, despite what she found in her ruling, and no one bothered to tell Stephanie’s Attorney!!! So, they wait for the Probate Court ruling, which STILL has not been made, and it is now over 4 months ago!!
During the time that they waited, the police stepped in and did a DNA of the putative father who voluntarily went into give it. They also agreed that the umbilical cord of Evelyn’s would be okay for a sample of DNA. However, since it is the police that are doing it, and it is for a criminal case, it takes longer than if it were paid for. So, it still hasn’t come back yet. It should be back very soon. In order to get the police interested, Stephanie had to undergo a polygraph which she passed with flying colors. The test was administered by the police department, but it was reviewed and analyzed by not one, but three separate experts who all were in agreement that Stephanie had told the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. In the meantime, Judy Bennett, Stephanie’s mother, got word from a “reliable source” that the Attorney General’s office is conducting an investigation of the agency, A Child’s Waiting. Judy called the AG’s office to find out if it is true, and was told that they could not give out information about current investigations, but that if it is so and the AG’s office is investigating, that not only will the agency lose its license, someone will go to jail. The Pap’s have left the state, and their whereabouts are unknown at this time. They know exactly what is going on, they know all the facts of the case, and yet, they still continue to keep this child, this precious infant, from her mother, and the family that loves her, and Stephanie, the mother, is left in a Hellish Limbo of Unknowing! She can’t talk about anything, she can’t do anything, even go to visit her cousin in the event that a hearing will be held and she will get her baby back. She is about to enter her Senior year in High School, a time when she should be worrying about her back-to-school wardrobe, planning her Prom, as an athlete, practicing her basketball moves, and checking out her possible college choices. Instead, she has been thru an ordeal that would, and HAS, broken many older, more sophisticated women. How long can this torture endure? How long can this teenage mother hold out against the machine that is eating her and her infant alive? She has been abused by the father of her child, by the system, by the agency, by the School Counselor, by the courts, and by the law that is supposed to protect her. Someone surely should pay for this abuse! Someone should be outraged at the continuation of this travesty and tragedy!! Someone needs to stop it, now. I am counting on the bloggers. I hope that when you read this you will be as outraged and as furious as I was at the treatment that this young woman has received at the hands of the unscrupulous and unethical agency and courts. Please write about this and make it abundantly clear how you feel.
UPDATE: Today I received the ruling of the judge in her amendment. This is insane. And, the Bennett family has less than 2 weeks to raise the money to file the appeal or Evelyn could be gone forever!Petition, and
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