A Nebraskan judge has allowed a lawsuit to move forward in a tragic case of a long-ago stolen child and covert adoption. The stolen child has since reunited with his birth mother.
The birth mother has now filed a $3 million lawsuit against the Catholic Archdiocese of Omaha and a Jesuit institution in Wisconsin for colluding together to steal a child from an unwed mother and give him to another couple to adopt almost 50 years ago.
Both organizations claim the allegations are untrue — but, more importantly, they felt that the claim should be dismissed because its statute of limitations has long passed. Statutes of limitations aim to bar legal actions after so many years have passed — but can sometimes be extended by the courts.
During the time that the mother and her baby boy were separated, there were operations in place all over the country that essentially pressured young, unwed mothers into giving up their babies for adoption to childless couples. Many of these groups profited nicely from these so-called “baby scoops.”
Her pregnancy put her family in chaos — even though she and the father wanted to marry. The parish priest counseled against it and arranged for her to stay with a couple in another state while pregnant, so that no one in her neighborhood would know about the pregnancy. They handed her a document to sign, saying it was an agreement to work as the couple’s housekeeper, and she signed it without questioning it or reading it.
Most likely, it was actually an adoption consent form. When she later found out that her baby was to be adopted away, she was heartbroken and sought help from her priest — who basically ordered her to go through with the adoption if she wanted to erase her sin.
Even so, the young woman planned to raise her son — until the moment the priest came to her bedside at the hospital and announced that he was taking the baby. Physically unable to stop him from leaving, she sobbed while a nurses informed her that her son and the priest were gone.
Cases like this are uncommon today, but adoptions can still be difficult and traumatic for birth parents if they’re pressured into the act. If you need help protecting your parental rights, an attorney can provide you with information on your options.
Source: Omaha World-Herald, “Judge’s Decision keeps alive former Omahan’s lawsuit involving adoption from nearly 5 decades ago,” Michael O’Conner, July 01, 2017