Race furore as addict wins son
Wednesday 10 March 1999
The ruling was a stunning victory for Tina Olison, 37, who is black. Her child, known as Baby T, was taken from her when he was just days old by a child welfare agency because traces of cocaine were found in his body at birth. The infant was placed with foster parents - Edward Burke and Anne Burke, an Appellate Court Judge. The Burkes, both white, had been seeking legally to adopt him.
Judge Judith Brawka said it was based in part on the progress made by Ms Olison, who had recovered from cocaine addiction, had secured full- time employment and had found religion.
Judge Brawka noted that an elder brother, called Boy B, who had been placed with his maternal grandmother, would also be returning to Ms Olison's care under court instructions. She ordered a transition period of 12 months before Baby T is returned definitively to his mother. Throughout the case, black leaders claimed the case would be slanted in favour of the Burkes because of their political standing and colour. One black pastor kept a vigil outside Alderman Burke's office at the beginning of the trial.
Ms Olison wept when she heard the ruling. "My stomach is finally unknotted," she told reporters. "When God is for you, he's greater than the weight of the world against you." Complaining that the decision had been delayed for two years, she said it was because of "pure political clout".
The ruling brings bitter disappointment, however, to Mr Burke, who is Chicago's longest serving city alderman, and his wife. Both in their fifties, they have four grown-up children of their own. Some observers said their case may have been hurt because they had baptised Baby T as a Catholic. Ms Olison is a member of the Pentecostal Church of God in Christ, where baptisms are not performed on infants.
Ms Olison was admonished by the judge, however, to be sensitive in celebrating the ruling and not to treat it as a "prize you have won". The judge told her: "He is not the spoils of war after a battle. He is a human being."
- 1 The truth about 'girl things': Three cheers for Heather Watson's honesty
- 2 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 4 Tennis fan suing Australian Open organisers for 'failing to shade spectators' during Murray match
- 5 Syrian refugee child beaten by Istanbul Burger King manager for eating customer’s leftover food
Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Rob Lowe hits out at White House decision not to meet Israeli leader
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign
Winston Churchill: From accusations of anti-Semitism to the blunt refusal that led to the deaths of millions
British Muslim leaders outraged after Eric Pickles says followers of Islam should 'prove their identity'
UK terror fears: My jihadist son returned from Syria mentally scarred – now he is being ignored
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
Billy Crystal: 'Stop shoving gay sex scenes in my face'
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...
Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...
£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...