Sunday, September 02, 2007

Chinese Toddler in the Middle of Ugly Tug-of-War

I'm posting the whole article from the Salt Lake Tribune. I really feel sorry for the poor girl in the middle of all this.

Two couples fight for right to claim child as their own
LOGAN - In Utah, hopeful adoptive parents call the toddler from China Amanda. In Kansas, another pair of longing parents know her as Amelya.

As she approaches her third birthday, both couples are battling to make the girl their own.

On one side are Scott and Karen Banks, Wellsville residents who are accused in an unrelated federal indictment of tricking parents in Samoa into placing their children for adoption through their agency.

On the other side are Mary Frances and Curry Kirkpatrick, of Overland Park, Kan., who claim they were pressured by the Bankses into placing their adopted daughter outside their home in what they believed would be a temporary arrangement.

"They have our baby," Mary Frances Kirkpatrick said. "They want her for themselves."

The Bankses and their attorney, Ann Wassermann, have declined to comment.

Mary Frances Kirkpatrick now flies to Utah each week to see the girl for about four hours. Her husband sometimes remains behind to take care of their four children in Kansas. Other times, they arrange for around-the-clock care of the kids, youngsters who are ages 6 and 4 and twins almost 2 years old.

The newest member of the family, named after Mary Frances' mother, came into their lives in 2005. The Kirkpatricks had their two older children when they began the adoption arrangements through Focus on Children, an agency operated by the Bankses.

Before the process was completed, Mary Frances became pregnant with the twins. Curry flew to China in December 2005 to pick up their new daughter while his wife remained at their suburban Kansas City home nursing the newborns.

Curry Kirkpatrick describes the 10 days he spent in China with the girl, then 14 months old, as "a magical time." The adoption was finalized before they flew back home, he says.

At first, life in Overland Park was going well, but then the toddler began exhibiting "destructive behavior" toward the twins, according to the Kirkpatricks. After six months of dealing with the situation, they decided - allegedly on the recommendation of the Bankses - that a temporary separation would be best.

The Wellsville couple came and took the girl to Utah in June 2006, the Kirkpatricks say, and refused to give her back at their request a few weeks later.

Instead, the Bankses filed two petitions in 1st District Court: one to adopt the girl they named Amanda and another alleging the Kirkpatricks should not get her back because they abandoned her.

The couple denies the allegation. Their Salt Lake City attorney, Steven Kuhnhausen, says the voluntary guardianship agreement expired as soon as the Kirkpatricks said they wanted the toddler back.

In addition, the Bankses, whose Focus on Children agency has ceased operations in Utah, lacked a child placement license permitting them to take the girl out of Kansas, Kuhnhausen said.

At a hearing last week, 1st District Judge Gordon Low, who was assigned the adoption case, expressed hope that the matter can be settled quickly. A home study is under way.

The adoption petition is on hold until the abandonment claim, which is before 1st District Juvenile Court Judge Jeffrey Burbank, is settled. In the meantime, Low - who retired from the bench Friday and will pass along the adoption matter to another jurist - laid down the law to the litigants.

For now, the girl will remain with the Bankses and the Kirkpatricks will continue to have once-a-week visitation. The parties are prohibited from talking about each other to the child "except in glowing terms."

Low also ordered everyone to call the girl Amanda to keep her from getting confused. The judge stressed that the arrangements are meant to minimize any trauma for her.

"My focus is on the welfare of the child," Low said. "This child's in a difficult situation."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

How unsurprising that Scott and Karen Banks chose to keep the child. You can google their names and discovered many dissatisfied FOC clients whom they treated badly -- and whose money they kept when the clients gave up. I was one of them (out $6500)-- Scott never told me his agency was under investigation for fraud. They bungled sending my dossier to Kazakhstan, lost original translations, and eventually my paperwork expired. They richly deserve this indictment.

11:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Were not surprised at all. Scott and Karen Banks wrongfully took this child from this family, they needed respite, not for the Banks to take the child away from them and try to adopt her themselves!

What is wrong with these Evil, wrong doers. Lock them up, send them away to a island.

Have you heard about their own adopted chidlren that they sent to Samoa to be raised by a native. They had them in their homes since they were brought back from Romanian then when they reached pre-teen Scott Banks put them on a airplane, one way ticket and they have never ever contacted them. Now the two Romanians can not leave the island becuase Scott Banks did not give them any legal documents. SO they are subject to deportation right back to Romanian.

Then I read in the same article, by the Salt Lake Tribune that there was a child from Romania who had CP that the Scott Banks and Karen Banks dumped him in a group home to be raised at the tax payers expense.

Give this child back to the A.P. in Kansas. Scott and Karen Banks are SLEAZE BALLS

12:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scott and Karen Banks are back in the news again. 48 Hours featured their criminal behavior. The show is called "The Lost Children". It is about Samoa and the children the Banks took from already families and a guy named Dan Wakefield who professed to be a cattle rancher who was hired to round up the kids so to speak. So now the Banks have pled guilty to their crimes in Samoa and have been banned for life in the adoption business, if you want to call it an adoption business after watch 48 Hours. And the Kirkpatricks are still fighting to get their daughter back from the convicted criminals. But the case is in Utah and we all know how corrupt that state is and how they steal children to be mormons.

2:16 PM  

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