Latest news on Stephanie Bennett

With many thanks to Possum, who found the info at Amy's, here's an update on the Stephanie Bennett case. (Edited to add: And a thank-you to Dawn, who pointed out that the agency is actually A Child's Waiting.) If you're not familiar with the case, here's a list of "Stephanie Bennett blog blitz" posts to catch you up.

I found myself thinking a lot about how the couple trying to adopt Baby Evelyn could hide her when it was so clear that Stephanie did not want to proceed with an adoption. Interesting that Suz posted yesterday on this very subject. I think it's pretty clear that as long as the mainstream views adoption as the right of the infertile, we're going to see the Stephanie Bennett story repeated.

I quote from Amy below:

Do you remember this case? It involved a seventeen year old girl, Stephanie Bennett. She was molested by a family friend. She got pregnant as a result. She had a daughter named Evelyn. She went to her high school counselor's office to get advice on a schedule change. She ended up discussing adoption with him. He presents her with an adoption agency pamphlit. The next day an adoption recruiter was at his office. This recruiter advised this girl to run away from home. This young girl was terrified. The father in her case had been threatening her, Evelyn, and her family. He had threatened to kill them all. They suggested that she tell the court that she was being abused by her parents. The agency is A Child's Hope. They are known for causing adoption disruptions. These folks are in it for the money. They don't care about adoptees, natural parents, or adoptive parents. Yes even adoptive parents have filed complaints against this agency. This agency was under investigation. At this time there is no word on that. There was rumors that this agency was going to be shut down. There was rumors that people were going to jail. Nothing has happened. There is talk of adoption agencies being forced to tighten up their homestudies.

Stephanie's family went to court on December 4, 2007. The judges in this court appearance blasted the adoption agency and their attorneys. A decision could take 60-90 days. Stephanie has yet to have her day in court. The court system has yet to decide which court will hear her case. As time ticks further along, the harder it becomes to get her daughter back. You can reference these blogs as points of contact

I also know several adoptive parents who have written on her behalf as well.

Possum added a reminder to sign the petition to bring Baby Evelyn home!! There are over 700 signatures toward the goal of 1000, so if you haven't signed yet, do it now!


Dawn said…
One thing, the agency was actually A Child's Waiting.
Anonymous said…
Third Mom:
There is so much that has not been said about this situation. First, the judges did not blast the agency..only asked questions. They had not read any of the briefs prior to hearing the case. As someone who is close to this situation I can tell you that the true wishes of the natural Mom is not being regarded. She wanted to give her child a better life than what she has and she made it clear to the PAP's...the only time she spoke with not believe the lies they will hear from her family. The only coercion going on here is what Stephanie's parents has done to her and is continuing to do to her. This young woman has been abused in many ways. The worst abuse being from her parents who never supported her in any way. Yes, the parents of Stephanie wants the baby back, to be the legal guardians. That will give them 17 years of government money to help support them in their daily life. To heck with what their daughter has always needed and still needs from them. Has anyone ever looked at the situation that this poor girl was living in prior to having the baby? I just pray that Stephanie can get out of the situation she is in. Maybe after she graduates, she will be able to finally start a new life by doing what she wants to do and know in her heart that she tried to do the very best thing that she could do by making sure her daughter did not have to live the same type of life that she has been living. You all should try to learn the true facts before you feel sympathy or pain for parents of this young woman who deserves so much more than what she has had to live with.

Someone who really does care about Stephanie
Margie said…
Anon, I respect your concern for Stephanie, and appreciate that my point of view may be in disagreement with yours.

At issue are the facts that an adoption agency encouraged a young woman to place her child by sending her to an adoption agency (far outside the scope of their authority), and that that agency has encourage the prospective adoptive parents to hide the child. These practices are simply wrong.

Stephanie's voice is the one that needs to be heard, and from all available accounts she also wants Evelyn returned to her. If her family is coercing her to this point of view, she should speak out, for this coercion is as unethical as coercion to surrender a child.

It's hard to give credence to an anonymous commenter, so if you believe your statements are true, encourage Stephanie to speak out publicly.
Judy said…
Of course I can't say whether what Anonymous says is true or not, but I will say that it has always struck me as odd that the one voice that has been very noticeably absent from this case the entire time -- as far as I know -- has been Stephanie's. Unless I've missed something.
Margie said…
From what I can determine, Stephanie went to court in Summit County in February to petition for Evelyn's return. Since her parents have done so much of the talking, it's hard to know if this decision was her own, or was encouraged by them. On the surface, at least, it would indicate that she is in favor of Evelyn's return.

The potential for coercion and downright force on both sides of the issue make it really hard to tell, and not just in this case. Who really knows when such a decision is made if it's made in full freedom?

Is that even possible? I just don't know. But at the end of the day in this case, it doesn't alter the fact that a whole lot of inappropriate stuff went on in this case.
Judy said…
I absolutely agree that this case is full of inappropriate, possibly illegal stuff going on.

And I'm not at all saying that what we've heard isn't true.

I just wish we could hear from stephanie herself. I'm never quite comfortable with people speaking for other people exclusively. That's all I'm saying.

But it should never have happened like it did, those aparents shouldn't be hiding out like they are, that guidance counselor shouldn't have crossed boundaries of what his job entails, etc. etc. etc. There is so much that should NOT have happened and the whole thing really appalls me.

But like I said, all along I've wished we could hear her.

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