Jessica leaves to start life with parents: Trauma as childless couple fight to last minute to keep the toddler they have raised from birth
Tuesday 03 August 1993
Jan and Roberta DeBoer, of Ann Arbor, Michigan, yielded yesterday afternoon and handed Jessica to lawyers. She was to be reunited with her biological parents, Cara and Daniel Schmidt, who have been fighting almost all her life to reclaim her.
The transfer marked the end of a heart-wrenching legal struggle that started soon after Cara - then Cara Clausen - gave birth to a daughter in February 1991 and gave her away for private adoption - to the DeBoers. Within days she revealed she had failed to identify Daniel Schmidt as the real father and, with him, began fighting in the courts to take Jessica back.
Midnight yesterday was the deadline imposed on the DeBoers to relinquish the child after fruitless legal manoeuvres and appeals to keep hold of her. Even yesterday morning Mr DeBoer, a printer, had displayed a handwritten sign on the front of his house declaring: 'Dan and Cara, please don't take our little Jessica away.' It was accompanied by a large red heart, broken in two.
All through their battle the DeBoers argued that to remove Jessica from the only home and parents she knew would cause her irreparable psychological damage. It was a line of reasoning that won sympathy with the American public, but which ultimately failed to sway the courts.
The handover, caught in the lenses of waiting television cameras, was as traumatic as everyone knew it had to be. In the arms of an unidentified woman, Jessica was put, crying, into a minivan. The DeBoers were equally distraught.
The Schmidts, who had visited Jessica several times in recent weeks, were expected to take her away to a secret location for several days before going on to their home, in Blairstown, Iowa.
They had promised to take a psychotherapist with them, to help look after the child.
- 2 Why this father didn’t hide his daughter’s heroin overdose in her obituary
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 5 The most powerful passports in the world
Nepal earthquake in pictures: Photos show devastation caused by 7.8 magnitude earthquake
Smartphones are making children borderline autistic, says psychiatrist
Nepal earthquake: The race is on to help thousands trapped under rubble around Kathmandu, while remote villages face a long wait for help
Royal baby: Live updates as superbug closes ward at St Mary's Hospital where Duchess of Cambridge is due to give birth
Teaching profession headed for crisis as numbers continue to drop and working lives become 'unbearable'
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...
£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...