We found a baby on the subway … he became our son

Pete, Kevin and Danny in 2001

It was around eight o’clock on 28 August 2000, just past the frenzy of the New York rush hour when a subway train rattled down the track into 14th Street station, in the Chelsea district of Manhattan. Danny Stewart, 34, was late for dinner with his partner, Pete Mercurio, 32.

The couple had met three years earlier through a friend in Pete’s softball team. Later Danny had moved in with Pete and his flatmate, but on this summer evening he had been back to his sublet apartment in Harlem to pick up the post.

As Danny was hurrying out of the station something caught his eye.

“I noticed on the floor tucked up against the wall, what I thought was a baby doll,” he says.

That baby doll turned out to be an abandoned newborn…and the tale of rescue, eventually a couple with a new son, is the stuff of heartwarming engagement. Read and enjoy.

Italy’s Court of Cassation rules for gay adoption rights

Italy’s highest court, the Court of Cassation, has ruled homosexuals should be able to adopt children.

The court Friday rejected a claim by a Muslim man in Brescia that his child was being damaged because his former partner is now living with a woman, the Italian news agency ANSA reported. The court called the belief that being brought up by a gay couple is damaging to children “mere prejudice.”

Flavio Romani, president of the group Arcigay, called it a “historic ruling” and said it will allow future governments to enact laws allowing same-sex marriage.

“The Cassation Court today reaffirmed what we’ve been saying for a long time,” Romani said. “Love is what makes children grow, and not the sexual orientation of their parents…”

Politicians across a broad swath from Left to Rightwing [but interested in re-election] said the same.

The Rev. Domenico Sigalini, a Catholic priest speaking for the Italian Episcopal Conference, said courts should not decide on family matters.

Sigalini, of course, is only centuries out of date.

I don’t think anyone interviewed the Pope.

Spain arrests 80-year-old nun — head of baby-selling racket

Portrait of fascist Franco proudly displaying his Catholic Papal medal

An 80-year-old nun has become the first person to be accused of baby snatching in the scandal over the trafficking of newborns in Spanish hospitals.

Sister María Gómez has been formally named as a suspect in the investigation into one of more than 1,500 cases of suspected illegal trafficking of babies who were stolen, sold or given away by adoption over four decades until the 1980s.

Although the nun’s name appears in many of the complaints made by those seeking lost children, the accusation centres on a single case involving María Luisa Torres and her 29-year-old daughter, Pilar. They were reunited eight months ago after families affected by the trafficking began campaigning for the truth…

Torres told the magistrate she had contacted Gómez after separating from her husband and becoming pregnant by another man. The nun, who worked with two Madrid clinics in the 1970s and 80s, had placed ads in local newspapers offering to help single mothers. Torres said Gómez promised to put the baby in an orphanage where she could visit her until she was able to look after the child herself. But after the birth Gómez told her the baby had been given to another family.

When Torres complained, the nun allegedly threatened to denounce her for the crime of infidelity and have her other daughter, born to her first husband, taken away. “Her words were: ‘I’m taking this one away and I can take the other one too. And then you’ll go to jail,'” Torres told Antena 3 television…

Last year, as hundreds of alleged cases of baby snatching began to emerge, Torres’s other two daughters set out to find their lost sister. In July a TV programme put the families in contact and paid for DNA tests…

It appears that what began as a system for removing babies from families deemed politically dangerous by the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco allegedly evolved into an illicit business that targeted single mothers and the poor.

In one Madrid clinic where Gómez worked it is alleged that doctors kept a baby’s corpse to show to mothers as proof that their child had died.

Anyone surprised that segments of the Catholic church which officially collaborated with the fascist Franco dictatorship eventually settled into criminal enterprise?

Catholic Bishops use “freedom of religion” to justify homophobia

Catholic Charities refused Rick Wade and Tim Kee when the couple tried to adopt 3 years ago

Roman Catholic bishops in Illinois have shuttered most of the Catholic Charities affiliates in the state rather than comply with a new requirement that says they must consider same-sex couples as potential foster-care and adoptive parents if they want to receive state money. The charities have served for more than 40 years as a major link in the state’s social service network for poor and neglected children.

The bishops have followed colleagues in Washington, D.C., and Massachusetts who had jettisoned their adoption services rather than comply with nondiscrimination laws.

So much for dedication to the needs of the people.

For the nation’s Catholic bishops, the Illinois requirement is a prime example of what they see as an escalating campaign by the government to trample on their religious freedom while expanding the rights of gay people. The idea that religious Americans are the victims of government-backed persecution is now a frequent theme not just for Catholic bishops, but also for Republican presidential candidates and conservative evangelicals…

The Illinois experience indicates that the bishops face formidable opponents who also claim to have justice and the Constitution on their side. They include not only gay rights advocates, but also many religious believers and churches that support gay equality (some Catholic legislators among them). They frame the issue as a matter of civil rights, saying that Catholic Charities was using taxpayer money to discriminate against same-sex couples…

If you are to be a responsible citizen of a country you function within the law that governs that nation. Yes, you may challenge laws within legitimate political means and methods. Picking up your marbles and running home is not responsible behavior.

Continue reading

Muslim baby adopted because of fear of “honour” killing

A baby born to a Muslim couple having an affair had to be adopted to save it from being murdered by its mother’s family in a so-called honour killing, senior judges have ruled.

The unmarried woman was said to have told the married father of her child that it had died to keep him away, and wore loose clothes and visited a hospital far from her home so relatives would not learn she was pregnant.

The father got hold of the baby girl’s birth certificate and tried to get legal rights to visiting her, even though he had by then had a newborn with his own wife. But a judge ruled that the love child should stay with its adoptive parents, and not meet its father, because of the danger that its mother’s family would kill it, and her, because of the shame of their secret relationship…

“As soon as [the baby] was born, she was relinquished for adoption because [the mother] genuinely feared for [the baby’s] safety should [the grandfather] become aware of or be forced to acknowledge her existence.

“[The mother’s] evidence, supported as it was by her actions and the evidence of [the father] and an experienced police officer, drove the judge to conclude that refusal of the order would carry with it a significant risk of physical harm. In our judgment this conclusion cannot be criticised.”

The judgement, in which all of the parties are kept anonymous for their safety, tells how the baby’s parents are both Muslims from foreign countries “but their cultures differ”…

The woman later told social services she wanted to have the baby adopted because she was “scared” that her father “would hurt her and the family would reject her”.

After the birth, her mother was quickly discharged from hospital and a year ago her daughter was placed with another Muslim couple…

In July a High Court Family Division judge, Mrs Justice Parker, ruled that the baby would be at “very significant risk” if it were placed with its natural father and his wife, while it might “provoke action to preserve the family’s honour” if the mother’s relatives found out about the child…

The judge concluded that the baby had had a “very unfortunate start in life” and that consideration of its lifelong welfare required its adoption.

Why – oh, why – must a soap opera court trial about adoption and parental rights have to include the likelihood of murder and infanticide. This is not about honour. This is about demented people stuck into a barbaric belief.

Possible in any number of backwards religious sects. None the less barbaric.

Court affirms Gay adoption rights in Florida

Martin Gill (L) and his attorney, Robert Rosenwald
Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

Florida Governor Charlie Crist says the state will stop enforcing its law banning adoption by gay people after an appeals court ruled it unconstitutional.

Crist announced the decision Thursday after the ruling from the 3rd District Court of Appeal in Miami. It would take a decision by the state Supreme Court to strike down the 33-year-old law, the strictest of its kind in the nation.

The decision upholds a lower court ruling that there is no rational basis for the ban. The law was challenged by Martin Gill and his male partner, who adopted two young brothers.

Gill and the American Civil Liberties Union want the state to appeal to the state Supreme Court so that a final decision can be made for the entire state.


Meanwhile, Republicans and the teabaggers will continue their reactionary stand denying any declaration of civil rights for the gay community in Florida.

North American red squirrels sometimes adopt orphans

The study by [University of] Guelph Prof. Andrew McAdam, along with researchers from the University of Alberta and McGill University, revealed that red squirrels will adopt pups that have lost their mother.

It’s a significant finding because while such adoptions are typical among species that live in extended family groups, it’s much less common among asocial animals, such as squirrels…

In all five adoption scenarios, the pups were nieces, nephews, siblings or grandchildren to the adoptive mother.

“From an evolutionary perspective, the phenomenon of adoption raises the question of why an animal would adopt in the first place given that it jeopardizes the survival of their own offspring,” said McAdam. “Under the right conditions, an animal can propagate more copies of its genes by helping relatives to raise their offspring than by producing offspring of their own. So in some cases it might be a good bet to adopt and accept these costs.”…

The study was part of a long-term field experiment in Yukon aimed at investigating the importance of food abundance to the ecology and evolution of red squirrels. Under the Kluane Red Squirrel Project (http://www.redsquirrel.ca) begun in 1987, scientists have monitored behaviour and reproduction of about 7,000 squirrels.

One nugget from the study: “When J.B.S. Haldane was asked whether he would lay down his life to save his brother, he famously replied ‘No, but I would to save two brothers or eight cousins’.” See the study for the context.

Related Link:
The full study is here: Red squirrels adopt kin

Mother finds her baby for sale in online scam

The dangers of the Internet struck home for a Massachusetts mother when she found her own child for sale on Craigslist as part of what appears to be an international adoption scam.

Seven-month old Jacob Brennan was busy playing with toys when his mother, Jenni, got what she called a shocking e-mail, WCVB-TV reported.

“Out of the blue, some girl e-mailed us and said, ‘I think you should know someone’s using Jake’s picture in an adoption scam’,” said Brennan, who said she found the message hard to believe.

Brennan followed the link included in the e-mail and found an ad on the Craigslist Web site. The ad promised that a “cute baby boy” was available for adoption, but did not include a picture.

Brennan decided to play detective and sent an e-mail to the address listed. She quickly received a picture in her inbox.

The picture he sends you is a picture of Jake,” Brennan said. “It was horrifying. I never would have thought in a million years that I would have the emotional reaction that I did.”

The e-mail claimed her son is Canadian born and living at an orphanage in Cameroon and said that for $300 she could begin the adoption process…

At least they didn’t Hot Link to the photo. Har!

Judge overturns Florida ban on adoption by gays

Martin Gill (L) gets a hug from his attorney after the verdict

A Florida circuit judge has struck down a 31-year-old state law that prevents gays and lesbians from adopting children, allowing a North Miami man to adopt two half-brothers he and his partner have raised as foster children since 2004.

“There is no question, the blanket exclusion of gay applicants defeats Florida’s goal of providing dependent children a permanent family through adoption,” Judge Cindy S. Lederman wrote in her 53-page ruling.

The best interests of children are not preserved by prohibiting homosexual adoption.”

The state attorney general’s office has appealed the decision.

Of course.

Lederman said there is no moral or scientific reason for banning gays and lesbians from adopting, despite the state’s arguments otherwise. The state argued otherwise.

Perish the thought that the state of Florida would pay attention to science for political policy.

Adopted Guatemala baby stolen at gunpoint

DNA tests in Guatemala have proven for the first time that a child put up for adoption through the state system was stolen from her mother.

Ana Escobar reported her daughter Esther Sulamita stolen last year and during her search saw the baby with a US woman who was adopting her…

The baby had a false birth certificate but DNA tests proved the parentage and Esther is now back with Ms Escobar…

Ms Escobar searched hospitals and orphanages and while at the National Adoption Council’s offices in May saw a toddler she was convinced was Esther.

A Guatemalan judge allowed Ms Escobar to care for Esther while the new DNA tests were performed.

Bravo! A small victory – but worthwhile – over corruption and gangs rooted in the “undocumentado” culture of the United States and Mexico.