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http://www.usatoday.com/news/nat ... battle_x.htm?csp=34|
Eight years ago, a young man from China, He Shao Qiang, was studying in America, in the state of Tennessee. His wife Qin Luo had come to join him, and they were expecting their first baby. Then, just before the baby was born, Mr. He was accused by another student of sexual assault. Even though he was eventually acquitted of the charges, it caused him to lose his scholarship and income.
With no way to support their new baby or get her the medical care she needed, the He family placed their 1 month old baby girl (Anna May) into foster care -- it was their understanding that this was a temporary arrangement until they were able to become financially stable enough to take her back.
But the couple (Jerry & Louise Baker) who took in Anna May were unwilling to give her back to her parents. First, when the He's came to visit their daughter they refused to let them see her. Then, after this had gone on for a number of months, the Bakers filed with the court for permanent custody of Anna May, claiming that the Hes had abandoned their daughter and not even come to visit her (!!!) The local court ruled in the Baker's favor, and Qin Luo and Shao Qiang lost their little girl.
However, miraculously, after years in court, the Tennessee Supreme Court has just ruled that He Qin Luo and Shao Qiang are the legal parents of Anna May, that the social services in Tennesee need to work out a plan to restore Anna May, now 8 years old, to her parents, and that in the meantime they have the right to visit their daughter beginning this week.
That's the good news. A story with a "happy ending" -- however, in real life, there will still be some huge problems:
1) Anna May only speaks English. Her Mom, Shao Qiang, only knows a little English. At age 8, it will take a long time for this little girl to acquire the language skills she will need to communicate with her mother -- language skills she could have quickly acquired as a preschooler. Furthermore, if the family does return to China, she will be way behind in her knowledge of Chinese characters, and thus way behind her classmates in almost everything.
2) Anna May has spent her entire life with her foster family -- including 4 brothers and sisters. She knows nothing of her real family. It will undoubtedly be a traumatic transition to a new family, new language, new culture.
3) While the He family have been very gracious -- Mr. He even said that Anna May is a lucky Chinese girl -- with 2 families to love her very much (implying that he will probably allow the Baker family to have continued contact with her), the Bakers are continuing to be the slimey, manipulative, sleezeballs they have been all along. They are trying to get the visitation rights postponed, and they have taken the little girl on national TV, which has traumatized her (she ran screaming from the reporters). Jerry Baker finally coerced her into talking to reporters by promising her $5 for every question she answered, and then asking leading questions about where she wanted to live, and who she wanted to be her parents. She answered the United States to the first question (she's never been to China) but refused to answer who she wanted to be her parents (with her foster Dad right there, that tells me the true answer is her Chinese parents). Who knows what the Bakers have told this little girl about her real parents, and yet she seems to have an instinctive knowledge of where she belongs.
[ Last edited by karenb at 2007-3-8 03:17 PM ]