Reporting Derrick Blakley
CHICAGO (CBS) – A federal agency will determine whether an Evanston couple must give up a South Korean baby girl they had hoped to adopt.
Under a Monday ruling from a federal judge, the child could be sent back to her native country.
CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley was in court for the latest chapter in what’s become an international and emotional drama.
Her name is Sewah Kim, and she’s just seven months old.
Christopher and Jinshil Duquet are the only parents she’s ever really known.
“We really wanted to give this child a home and love that she deserves,” Christopher Duquet says.
But a federal agency will now decide if the Duquets have to give her up.
The Duquets were too old to qualify as adoptive parents through a licensed agency, so they turned to private adoption and a reputable lawyer in Korea, who gave them bad advice.
“The biggest tragedy is that my clients were trying to follow the law from the beginning here,” Jamie Teich, the Duquets’ attorney, says. “They didn’t have any idea until they came here that the documents were defective in any way.”
South Korea calls the adoption improper and wants the baby back.
“The most vulnerable citizens are babies. Babies are entitled to protection and not to be taken out of the country illegally,” says attorney Don Schiller, representing the South Korean government.
The Duquets hope they’ll be able to keep Sewah, at least until the feds decide on custody. But there are no guarantees.
The agency that will determine Sewah’s placement is called the Office for Refugee Settlement.
The Duquets are also working in state court, trying to legally adopt the little girl — that is, if she’s allowed to remain in the country.