As reported earlier, a woman who has known about this child's father interest since Vanessa was born, has held her in California, trying to adopt her.
Now, the divorced Southern California woman, Stacey Doss, faces the prospect of relinquishing a little girl she has been trying to adopt for 18 months while an Ohio court considers the biological father's custody claim, according to a court decision Friday.
A teleconference between judges and lawyers in Orange County, Calif., and Montgomery County, Ohio, determined that Ohio has jurisdiction in the case, said Stacey Doss, 45, of Rancho Santa Margarita.
Doss, a public relations consultant, has raised 2-year-old Vanessa since just after the girl's birth and has been trying to adopt the toddler for the last 18 months.
An attorney for the case and Doss said they have begun the process of filing an appeal. If an appeal fails, the girl will be taken to Ohio on July 16 and placed in foster care.
A July 29 hearing will determine whether the child can then be placed with her paternal grandmother.
Montgomery County Juvenile Court Administrative Judge Nick Kuntz says the California judge agreed to remove an order that the child remain in Orange County.
Messages left for the biological father and his attorneys were not immediately returned.
Doss said she believes her own rights and her biological father's rights are superseded by Vanessa's needs.
"I have until the 16th to save my daughter," she stammered, teary-eyed after the hearing. [Except, of course, the child is NOT her daughter and never was. No adoption was ever finalized.]
On June 13, 2008, Vanessa was born and Doss flew out to meet her the next day. But the birth father filed a motion seeking custody of the newborn in Ohio before the adoption was completed.
In September, the father asked for a DNA test and the results came back positive. Since then, the issue was about jurisdiction, Doss said.
She said the man had four other children. Two children from a previous marriage were in his mother's custody and Vanessa's birth mother had custody of the other two.
"A blood relative does not make a parent," Doss said. [And, a child is not an object where possession is 9/10 of the law!]
Doss said she hasn't seen any effort to parent from the child's biological father either. In June 2009, she flew him out to California to see Vanessa but said he was more concerned with sightseeing than spending time with his daughter.
Doss has even sought studies by behavioral psychologists to see how being separated from Doss would affect the curly haired toddler. [And what about being separted from her father, grandparents and siblings?]
Doss' family and friends have set up a website and Facebook page to ask for donations. More than 20 supporters picketed outside the courthouse during the conference call Friday.
Her mother, Carolyn Doss, 70, of Dana Point, said her daughter has dipped into her savings repeatedly to finance the custody battle and was threatened with foreclosure on her townhome twice.
"(Stacey) has to choose between paying her mortgage and paying her attorneys fees," she said.