It would be one thing if the Chicago couple who adopted her were unfit parents. Or if the mother in South Korea who relinquished all rights to her in June was able to provide a home. But the birth mother of 9-month-old baby Sehwa Kim lives in a shelter for unwed mothers and has no desire in any case to be reunited with her daughter. And Jinshil and Christopher Duquet, from all outward indications, have been loving and dutiful parents.
But the couple learned on Monday that they had lost a 7-month-long legal battle to retain custody of the child. The baby will be sent back to South Korea on Wednesday, the Chicago Tribune reports.
The Duquets claim they thought initially that they were participating in a lawful private adoption of the baby. But when Jinshil Duquet attempted to enter the U.S. with the baby, authorities at O'Hare International Airport said she lacked the required paperwork for an adoption.
It was then that the tug-of-war between the South Korean and the Duquets began. A lawyer for the South Korean government declined to provide details about what triggered the action or how the baby's deportation will be handled. If there is any silver lining at all to emerge in this bleak story it is that Sehwa will be placed for adoption with a South Korean family, rather than in an orphanage.
However, that comes as cold comfort for the principals in this morality play. The Duquets will endure the heartbreak and grief that are that fate of any family facing their plight. The baby will be wrested from the warm embrace of the only parents she has ever known.
But South Korean officials say the Duquets skirted Korean laws — that they failed to go through a licensed adoption agency. Now they and the baby they adopted will pay the price.
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