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Allison Lee Quets is an American birth-mother of twins, who were placed for adoption with another 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.[1] Subsequent legal attempts to nullify the adoption or reinstitute visitation have been not been successful.

Background

Quets was a systems engineer, who had worked for Lockheed Martin for 21 years.[2] In 2004, she became pregnant with twins through the process of in vitro fertilization with donated eggs and sperm.[3] During her pregnancy, she suffered hyperemesis gravidarum, a severe form of nausea and vomiting,[4] and gained only 10 pounds during the pregnancy, spending the last five weeks before her due date on a feeding tube.[5] During her illness and the pregnancy, a friend suggested his relatives, the Needhams from North Carolina, as possible adoptive parents.[5][6] Prior to the birth, Quets discussed with the Needhams the possibility of giving up one of the twins for adoption.[3][6] She also contacted adoption agencies to make inquiries.[3] The children were born in July 2005 in Florida;[7] feeling unable to bring up either child, she asked the Needhams to adopt both.[3][6] According to an FBI affidavit, the Needhams withdrew from the possible adoption following a request from Quets for $30,000 for medical bills, and Quets approached another couple. Since they did not accept the visitation rights Quets requested, she returned to the Needhams and requested less money.[3] On August 16, 2006, she signed an adoption agreement with the Needhams but changed her mind within 12 hours.[6] The Needhams refused Quets' request that they tear up the adoption documents.[6] Quets and her sister later reported that she manipulated and was under duress to sign the adoption agreement, and that she was disoriented and suffering from severe sleep deprivation at the time.[3][4][8]

The original agreement, an open adoption, allowed Quets six visits a year, as well as frequent updates on the children.[9]

Quets then became involved in a lengthy custody battle with the Needham family of Apex, North Carolina, during which she was allowed to visit the twins.[2] Quets maintained an apartment in Durham, North Carolina in order to facilitate her visitation with the children;[7] she acquired passports for the twins in August 2006.[3]

In December 2006, Quets quit her job,[2] and fled to Canada, hoping to keep the twins in Canada until an appeals court ruled on the custody battle.[4] She was described by those who meet her in Canada as being a "good mother" and that the children appeared happy and loving towards her.[4]

The search ended on the evening of Friday ,December 29, 2006 when police in Ottawa, Canada located Quets with the children.[2] She turned herself in to the police, and voluntarily returned to the US.[10] She was charged with international parental kidnapping and state charges of second-degree kidnapping, and spent 8 months in jail before her trial.[2] She pleaded guilty to kidnapping in September 2007, and was freed pending sentencing. In December 2007, she was sentenced to five years probation and fined $15,000.[9][7][11] Her rights to visitation of the twins were revoked.[8]

Quets issued several legal challenges in Florida and North Carolina in an effort to nullify the adoption, and be reunited with the twins. Courts in both states refused to revoke Quets's consent to the adoption, and ruled that she lacked standing to seek custody or visitation since her parental rights had been terminated.[9][11] In March 2008, a Wake County, North Carolina judge criticized Quets for legal challenges, stating that it caused an undue financial burden on the Needhams, and ordered Quets to pay their costs.[11]) On appeal, the NC Court of Appeals confirmed the ruling that Quets had no legal right to custody or visitation, but overturned the order that Quets pay the adoptive family's legal fees.[8]

Quets has positioned herself as an advocate the rights of birthmothers, and has used the internet to advocate her case, as did the Needhams.[6][7][8]

References

  1. ^ Browder, Cullen. (September 14, 2007) Quets pleads guilty to kidnapping. WRAL Online. Accessed September 14, 2007.
  2. ^ a b c d e Barksdale, Titan. "Quets continues fight for children". News & Observer. newsobserver.com. http://www.newsobserver.com/news/story/980204.html. Retrieved 2009-08-09.  
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Mother love". Ottawa Citizen. January 12, 2007. http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/story.html?id=4d926615-0b1e-4ad3-be14-efc9afb2061e. Retrieved 2009-08-09.  
  4. ^ a b c d "Bail hearing set for mom accused of kidnapping". www.ctv.ca. http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/print/CTVNews/20070102/quets_hearing_070102/20070102/?hub=TopStories&subhub=PrintStory. Retrieved 2009-08-08.  
  5. ^ a b "Despair fueled custody saga". News & Observer. newsobserver.com. http://www.newsobserver.com/1496/story/532415.html. Retrieved 2009-08-09.  
  6. ^ a b c d e f Cain, Brooke (Dec. 19, 2007). "Quets timeline". News & Observer. newsobserver.com. http://www.newsobserver.com/news/story/837857.html. Retrieved 2009-08-09.  
  7. ^ a b c d "Allison Quets sentenced to five years probation". Ottawa Citizen. www.canada.com. December 19, 2007. http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/story.html?id=20cba652-c3c9-4e4f-86f7-4a90dd814f0b&k=97840. Retrieved 2009-08-09.  
  8. ^ a b c d Bieseker, Michael (21 July 2009). "Quets can't seek custody or visitation". News & Observer. newsobserver.com. http://www.newsobserver.com/1496/story/1615860.html. Retrieved 2009-08-09.  
  9. ^ a b c "Quets loses bid for twins' custody". News and Observer. www.newsobserver.com. http://www.newsobserver.com/news/crime_safety/quets/v-print/story/901168.html. Retrieved 2009-08-09.  
  10. ^ "Quets moved for detention hearing". Ottawa Citizen. www.canada.com. January 14, 2007. http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/story.html?id=dfe54157-3d1d-45ca-af88-9cc45688360b. Retrieved 2009-08-09.  
  11. ^ a b c Barksdale, Titan. "Judge criticizes Quets in custody fight". News & Observer. newsobserver.com. http://www.newsobserver.com/news/crime_safety/quets/story/1011410.html. Retrieved 2009-08-09.  

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