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Allison Lee Quets is the American birth-mother of twins Tyler Lee and Holly Ann, who were placed for adoption with the Needham family when they were six weeks old. She was thrust into the international spotlight in late December 2006 when she fled to Canada with the twins during a legal visitation with them. On September 14 2007, Quets pleaded guilty to kidnapping in conjunction of the case and was sentenced to time served and probation in December 2007.
Quets was, until December 2006, a systems engineer for Lockheed Martin. At the age of 47, she became pregnant with twins through the process of in vitro fertilization with donated embryos and sperm. She spent considerable time and money on becoming a mother; however, when complications arose during her pregnancy as a result of hyperemesis gravidarum, she began to have serious concerns about her health and the children's well-being if something should happen to her. She sought information on guardianship and looked for temporary help while she recovered. She was diagnosed with severe, life threatening Hyperemesis during pregnancy, had seizures shortly after birth, and was diagnosed with severe Postpartum Depression days after she was coerced into signing an open adoption agreement.
A former boyfriend, someone Allison maintained contact with because she took care of Gurley's granddaughter full time, John L. Gurley Jr., recommended his relatives, the Needhams from North Carolina, as possible adoptive parents. Having gained only 10 pounds during the pregnancy and having to spend the last five weeks of her pregnancy on a feeding tube,, Quets was not well. The Needhams pursued her via email and John Gurley. The Needhams signed documents stating they would pay the IVF fees, though Quets made this offer hoping they would back off. Attornies spent time trying to sell the twins, and now say there was a second family who agreed to pay the expenses, but did not want to agree to Quets' requested open adoption terms. Despite physical ailments, Quets cared for the twins with Gurley's help and a series of inept nannies. A friend offered to take the twins until Quets recovered, but Quets would have to make travel arrangements, fly the twins out of state, and she didn't want to do so. Quets explains this timeline in her own words http://www.allisonquets.com/FAQ/faqs.html.
The Needhams again contacted Quets, and she agreed to meet with them when the twins were five weeks old, at their attorney's office in Jacksonville, where she was held for 11 hours at Michael Shorstein's office and even called 911. Eventually, she was manipulated into signing an agreement for an open adoption, and John Gurley handed her children to the Needham's relatives. Friends reported that she spent up to 10 hours with the Needhams negotiating the agreement, but she then changed her mind while driving away from the attorney's office, and Gurley refused to take her back.
The court battles have continued. Currently, despite her conviction for kidnapping the children, there is a case in North Carolina Court of Appeals requesting a "best interests hearing" to determine what would be best for the children. http://www.aoc.state.nc.us/www/public/coa/dsheets/080857-1.htm
Quets then became involved in a lengthy custody battle with the Needham family of Apex, North Carolina, during which she spent more than $400,000 in legal fees, which represents most of her life savings. The Needhams have incurred similar legal bills. Quets maintained an apartment in Durham, North Carolina in order to facilitate her visitation with the children; she quietly acquired passports for the twins in August 2006, months before she fled to Canada with them.
The search for Allison Quets came to an end on the evening of Friday December 29, 2006 when police in Ottawa, Canada located her with the children. Her case, the kidnapping, her flight to Canada, and her status as "Wanted by the FBI", were featured prominently in the North American media in late December 2006. Quets was brought back to the United States. The children are safe and have been returned to the custody of the Needhams.
In March 2008, a Wake County, North Carolina judge reprimanded Quets for continuing her custody battle, knowing that the case was burdening the Needhams financially. She ordered Quets to pay the Needhams' entire court costs in the case.
Nov 2004 2 yrs of fertility treatments, IVF with 2 embryos, excited to be pregnant.Template:Fact
Feb 2005 Vomiting blood, seeks help; feels she and twins might die.
Mar 2005 Diagnosed with bleeding ulcers & esophageal tears; researches twin support groups.
May 5-14, 2005 Emergency hospitalization: hiatal hernia, vomiting copious blood, bleeding in eyes, severe acid reflux; can't keep any water or food down - totally dependent on IV nutrition; constant pain, worries she won't survive so adoption/guardianship are explored.
Jul 6, 2005 Delivery by cesarean (37 weeks) with life-threatening complications, severely hypothyroid, dehydrated, malnourished and anemic. Others intensify pressure to consent to adoption.Template:Fact
Mid-Late July 2005 Outside pressure for adoption unrelenting. Nannies unreliable. Increasingly malnourished.
Early Aug. 2005 Overwhelmed, sleep-deprived, and exhausted. Cares for twins alone most of the time. Makes many calls for help, including ones to Denise Needham.
Aug 12, 2005 (Friday Evening) Quets' boyfriend and relative of Kevin Needham, John, drives Allison to Jacksonville on way to NC to get help with twins from parents. Allison plans to again tell Needhams no to an adoption.Template:Fact
Aug 13, 2005 (Saturday) Is kept at office of adoption attorney, Michael Shorstein, for 11 hours without meals and pressured to sign consents.Template:Fact She repeatedly refuses, but is too weak to drive twins home. Calls 911 after consents are forcibly taken from her.Template:Fact (Needhams disagree with the story told by Quets' friends and assert as evidence that a trial court has found in their favor, but they are prohibited by law from speaking in their defense.) Gurley drives her back home to Orlando and leaves her alone.
Aug 14-15, 2005 Cares for twins alone, changes mind again on adoption.
Aug 16, 2005 John drives Allison back to Jacksonville. She reluctantlyTemplate:Fact signs a consent strictly contingent upon an Open Adoption Agreement. The Needhams had left Florida, and a relative of theirs collected the children. Immediately after leaving, Quets wants to revoke consent. John will not take her back. Makes many calls for help.Template:Fact
Aug 17, 2005 Calls Needhams to revoke. They refuse and sign the papers later that day.
Aug 18, 2005 Motion for Revocation of Consent filed and overnighted. Children are not returned to her custody.
Quets' case is of particular interest to mothers who feel that they have been coerced into surrendering their children to adoption. This is because the Quets case touches on most of the more contentious issues surrounding adoption law in the United States.