An Open Letter to the Couple Hiding Evelyn Bennett

I'm struggling to find a way to address you.

Adoptive parents? No, we aren't talking about a finalized adoption here. Foster parents, or maybe guardians? These imply a legal relationship, too, and therefore aren't appropriate here, either.

Captors or kidnappers seem to describe the situation best, in spite of the fact that the law has been bent in the agency's and adopters' favor. You may be shaking your head that I could even suggest such a thing, because your refusal to release Evelyn isn't the kind of violent kidnapping we hear about in the news. You love her, and you are convinced you were destined to be her parents.

But look at this situation objectively. Evelyn's mother, Stephanie Bennett, was a minor when Evelyn was born, even though there are legal loopholes that let that fact be ignored. She was put in contact with an adoption agency by a school counselor, who didn't include Stephanie's parents in the discussion. And the agency in question advised this minor girl to run away from home, and to sign the relinquishment documents in another county.

This situation simply screams abuse - of ethical adoption practices, of the law, and most of all, of Evelyn, Stephanie, and their family.

I've tried to put myself in your shoes, and to figure out what could motivate someone to defy the court and hold a child from her legal guardians, particularly when the child's safety is clearly not at risk and those guardians are the child's grandparents. I've tried to think back to the early days of my children's lives in our family, to imagine what it would have felt like had their first parents suddenly appeared, armed with the law, to reclaim them.

I would have died a thousand deaths, to be sure. I would have cursed man and God, and would have sought out every possible barrier to prevent the inevitable. And I'm sure I would have employed every delay tactic known to man. But at the end of the day, I know I could never have looked my children - or myself - in the eye again if I hadn't done what was right.

There is enormous potential for abuse in adoption. Those who may think their adoptions were conducted ethically may find, on deeper investigation, that this isn't the case. And even when the letter of the law is followed, there are basic human rights to consider, which the law unfortunately doesn't always respect. I understand, therefore, that you may feel you've been victimized by this situation, and may therefore believe you have a right to this child.

But the real victims are Stephanie, Evelyn and their family. Stephanie was guided poorly by her counselor and the adoption agency. Stephanie's parents were given no opportunity to participate in Stephanie's decision, and their custody of Evelyn is now being ignored. And Evelyn - Evelyn is at risk of losing her connection to the family that gave her life and welcomes her presence.

I beg you: please return Evelyn to the Bennett family. Yes, you will grieve, you will feel pain. But that pain does not and can never justify keeping this child from her family.

Do the right thing. Return Evelyn to her mother and grandparents now.

For more information about the Stephanie and Evelyn Bennett case, read the Origins USA press release.
The original Akron Beacon Journal article from December 31, 2006 can be found
Hear the story in the words of Judy Bennett and Stephanie Bennett's attorney Jennifer Lowry
The petition to bring Evelyn home is here - please sign now!
The Bennetts need assistance with mounting legal fees - donate here!


Dawn said…
I just wrote about this on my blog (I'm listening to the show now) -- I wonder what the agency has told them. It's clearly not an open or even semi-open adoption and I wonder if the agency has totally whitewashed this. They may not even know they HAVE Baby Evelyn -- they may not have even seen that one newspaper. Maybe if the press coverage increases and they realize it they'll do the right thing. (One can hope.)
Beautiful post, Margie. I hope all our efforts help bring Evelyn home where she belongs.
Lisa V said…
I posted about it too. This is such a no win situation. And just like all these contested situations, they could have avoided the longer term implications (at least for the child) if they had immediately given her back when they heard of the mother's change of heart. We need some standard revocation periods. Situations like this only prove that.
Margie said…
Hi, Dawn, I actually know from the chatroom after the show directly from Judy Bennett that the a-parents know who the Bennetts are. So there really is only one right answer - they must return Evelyn.

In my opinion, this one is ethics vs. legal loopholes. Bad all around.
Mom2One/Judy said…
Margie, this is such a beautiful post. If we knew who these people were, we could actually send it to them or somehow get them to read it. I wonder how much they've rationalized their "ownership" of Evelyn -- or whatever her name is by now.
Lizard said…
I have linked your post to mine, Margie. Thank you so so so so much for your heartfelt plea.

You'll know me well enough, I HOPE, that you will understand the "typical" story would never apply to you.

Thank you thank you thank you (((((Margie)))))!!!!
Margie said…
You guys are great - thank you for spreading the word! Judy, Julie, thank you also for the links. I want to collect all the posts I find and link them, so if you find any please email me!

Going Back to Square One - How do I get on your team so I can post comments on your blog! I wanted to tell you your post was excellent! Thanks!
Margie this is so good, that you wrote this.
Possum said…
Great post Margie.
I have linked on my post to many others who have written about this.
Also Theresa has a huge link list (Ungrateful Little Bastard) - just click on the candle symbols for each link. (great visuals)
Hugs, Poss. xx
Anonymous said…
Excellent post. Honestly, even if they were able to adopt her and learned that her birthfamily wanted her they should have given Evelyn to her grandparents. Why would you insist on keeping a child who was wanted by her birthfamily??

Someday Evelyn is going to know about her history and she's going to have some tough questions. I hope they realize they're going to have to answer to her.

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