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Guardian ad Litem Success Story 8

Adoption case of young, abused child has happy ending with child being placed in permanent, happy home.

The court appointed Kids’ Voice as Guardian ad Litem (GAL) to investigate whether 6-year-old AnnaLisa should be adopted by her cousin, Josefina.  AnnaLisa and her brother, Eduardo, were born in Indiana to parents who had come to Indiana from Mexico without legal immigration status. AnnaLisa, Eduardo, and their parents lived with their cousin Josefina, who is a US citizen. Josefina took care of AnnaLisa and Eduardo while their parents worked long hours. When AnnaLisa was four years old and Eduardo was two years old, their parents were walking home from work together late at night and were hit and killed in a car accident. The driver of the car left the scene of the accident and was never found. Josefina arranged a funeral for the parents. A childless couple, Esperanza and Raoul, who attended church with Josefina, learned that AnnaLisa and Eduardo had been orphaned. Esperanza and Raoul hired an experienced adoption attorney and petitioned to adopt AnnaLisa and Eduardo. Josefina qualified for a pro bono lawyer to represent her and counter-petitioned to adopt the children. After the criminal checks were completed and the adoption agency reports were submitted, the court heard evidence and granted the adoption petition filed by Esperanza and Raoul. The judge decided that it was better for AnnaLisa and Eduardo to have two adoptive parents who were younger and had better financial resources than Josefina.

AnnaLisa and Eduardo had difficulty adjusting to their new adoptive family. They continued to cry and grieve for their parents and Josefina. One evening, Raoul came home from work and found Esperanza crying and upset with the children’s behavior. Raoul became angry and physically abused both children. Raoul threw Eduardo down the long staircase in the family’s home. Eduardo died as the result of his fall. Raoul broke AnnaLisa’s arm. Josefina saw the television news story of the abuse incident and called the Department of Child Services (DCS) asking to have AnnaLisa placed in her home. DCS filed a CHINS petition and placed AnnaLisa in therapeutic foster care due to the child’s emotional problems. Josefina petitioned the court to adopt AnnaLisa. The court appointed Kids’ Voice as GAL for AnnaLisa. The GAL conducted an investigation and filed a report with the court, recommending that Josefina be allowed to adopt AnnaLisa. After considering the GAL’s report and testimony, the court granted Josefina’s adoption petition. AnnaLisa finally has a permanent, happy home.