Child taken from family

*Lisa* - posted on 05/30/2010 ( 11 moms have responded )

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An Australian couple has been awarded custody of a baby girl, despite the fact that she was seized by the NSW Department of Corrective Services against the wishes of her Chinese immigrant parents.

The girl, born in NSW in March 2005, was taken by DOCS on medical grounds after spending less than a day with her mother, The Australian reported.

The NSW Supreme Court awarded custody to the adoptive parents last month, despite the judge observing that the child may have been "wrongly taken away."

Upon her birth, the baby was diagnosed with hydrocephalus, commonly known as water on the brain.

Despite the need for surgery, her mother refused permission despite initially giving consent.

The court heard that the medical team had "great difficulty" communicating with the baby's mother, not only because of the language barrier but also because of "an attitude of severe mistrust."

DOCS then removed the child, taking her into its care so that the operation could go ahead.

The child was discharged into the care of her foster parents four months after the surgery and has remained there ever since.

The Chinese couple had refused to attend supervised contact sessions with their daughter, on the grounds that DOCS "had no right" to interfere in their lives.

The mother was also described as "fearful of government and court processes".

Court documents suggested that the baby's mother had been encouraged to legally challenge DOCS, and had even been sent letters in Cantonese in order for her to understand what was happening in court.

But Justice Palmer concluded that every opportunity had "been given to [the parents] to present a case for the return of the child" but they had refused to cooperate or participate.

Permission to adopt the girl was therefore awarded to the foster parents, but they were warned that her birth parents still had the right to appeal.

The court also heard that despite her developmental difficulties, the girl had formed a close bond with her foster family.

Should the girl have been taken from her parents?? Or should the mother have had the right to choose not to have surgery??

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Sharon - posted on 05/30/2010

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It is the parents right to decide to not doom a child to a half life.

Depending on the severity and predictions for the outcome, I might have decided the same thing.

Gee the Aus courts didn't want to fork out the $$$ to find a translator for them? I'm not surprised.

The Aus courts overstepped themselves in so many ways it isn't funny, its sad and angering. Pretty soon they'll be telling you have to carry a brain dead fetus whether you want to or not next.

Krista - posted on 05/31/2010

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It's one of those things where i can see why it looked bad: she refused to get needed surgery for her kid, refused to attend the supervised contact sessions (I just can't understand why she wouldn't have leapt at the chance to see her baby), and has evidently not done anything to fight to get her kid back.I don't think that the baby should have been taken away in the first place, but I can't understand why the parents are handling this so piss-poorly, language barrier or not. If it were my baby, I'd be moving heaven and earth, and I SURE as hell wouldn't be skipping out on the contact sessions and the chance to see my baby, just due to principle.

Suzette - posted on 05/30/2010

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I don't know about choosing not to have the surgery, I think that she could've died if she didn't. Would they really want their child to die or was it just that they didn't trust the medical profession and/or that they didn't understand what was going on because of the language barrier?



If it was the fact that they didn't understand and/or didn't trust the medical profession, I can see that. The hospital staff should have tried to get someone there who could translate, especially in such circumstances.



If they couldn't have gotten someone there to translate, then I can understand interfering for the child's life so she can get the surgery. (As long as it's not an elective surgery and it is something that will save her life, if it's elective then it's the parents' decision regardless of how stupid anyone else thinks it is.)



However, as soon as the surgery was complete and the girl was healed, she should've been returned to her parents. A language barrier with the hospital/government is no reason for her to be taken or adopted to another family. That's just asinine.

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Sharon - posted on 05/31/2010

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If this were the USA - they aren't doing anything but harming the child. It seems she's pretty mentally gone if they're encouraged that she has "bonded" with the foster parents DESPITE the brain damage...

Caitlin - posted on 05/31/2010

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We have had a few cases like that around here in the past for years, but for religious purposes. Parents refusing a blood transfusion for their child because they are jehovas witnesses and they don't believe that it is right, and will fight legally to refuse the treatement even if the child will die. From what I remember, social services stepped in a forced the medical treatment to take place, but I was wondering if maybe in this case if there was a possibility (or worry) that the parents may harm the daughter even after the surgery if they were given custody.. It's tricky to say what should have happened, there are so many details missing.

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We don't know what the birth parents were thinking, evidently neither does anyone else because of the communication issues. Perhaps they refused treatment because they didn't receive adequate reassurance that it was in the child's best interests. I can understand why they were distrusting to the authorities. I can also understand why they might have refused to see the child. Perhaps they were scared they wouldn't get custody so they didn't want to form a close bond.



I don't think adoptions should go ahead if there's still a chance of the birth parents appealing. It's not fair on anyone to adopt until all the appeals are over and done with. I'm not sure who the child will be better off with, but I think things should have been done differently in the first place.

Suzette - posted on 05/31/2010

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I don't think it has to do with being pissed at the DOCS, I think the reason they didn't go see their child is because they didn't trust them. Possibly a little bit of the anger in there, as I would've been too, but where they're from trusting the govt (from what I understand) is something that they just don't do.

Krista - posted on 05/31/2010

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I suppose. But man...to give up the opportunity to even SEE your baby, because you're pissed off at DOCS, even if it's rightly so?

Suzette - posted on 05/31/2010

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Very true Krista, i think it has something to do with not trusting the government. At least that's the only thing I can think of.

*Lisa* - posted on 05/31/2010

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That is very true. They haven't really shown that they are absolutely dying to get their kid back.

*Lisa* - posted on 05/30/2010

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I think it's interesting that the mother had such a fear of government and hospitals. I think it makes a difference that she was an immigrant from China where they are only 'allowed' to have one child. For any child they have more than that one, they have to pay lotsss of money to the government, and even more if it's a girl. I think they should have taken her culture into account! Of course she would be terrified! In China, they would not hesitate to kill that little girl because she was a girl and not a boy who could generate money for the family. I think much more could have been done to explain to the mother how the surgery would help etc before just taking the child away.

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