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visits twins Tyler and Holly in 2006, after the adoption.
A difficult pregnancy left Allison Quets
wondering whether she
could care for the children she
had so desperately wanted.A former boyfriend suggested a solution: Let his
relatives adopt her
twins.Quets agreed to an open adoption with the Apex couple but soon regretted giving up the children she
had at the age of 48 after in-vitro fertilization.Last month, she
tried to circumvent the courts by fleeing with the twins to Canada. Her
drastic attempt to regain custody left Quets
, 49, of Orlando, Fla., facing an international parental kidnapping charge and stunned those who have known her
for years."What has really surprised me about all of this is she
wasn't rational -- and she
is a very rational person," said James Lee, 65, of Tucson, Ariz., a former neighbor of Quets
in Orlando.Quets' friends say the illness she
endured through most of her
pregnancy left her
isolated and weak -- physically and mentally.In that condition, they say, she felt pressured by the former boyfriend, who was her primary caretaker at the time, to choose what he thought was the best future for her babies.Quets grew up in Long Island, N.Y., the oldest of three children.She got a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's degree in social welfare from Stony Brook University on Long Island.She earned a second master's degree in computer science from Binghamton University.In 1986, she began working for Lockheed Martin.She
resigned last month.Quets had been married once for about 15 years, but the marriage ended when she
was in her
late 30s, said her
sister, Gail Quets of Louisville, Ky.Her
friends say that marriage ended without children.Allison Quets
said in an interview on "Good Morning America," "I always wanted to be a mother.I always always wanted to be a mother."Problematic pregnancyAt 47, Quets
got pregnant through in-vitro fertilization on the first try.
For six months, MacGibbon said, Quets
was malnourished and dehydrated, confused and depressed."After not eating for two or three days, how fatigued and weak would you feel?"
"Imagine doing that for six to seven months."In May 2005, Quets
ended up in the hospital for two and a half days, MacGibbon said.
At one point, they said, Quets
took in Gurley's daughter and granddaughter to live with her
and their attorneys have repeatedly declined to discuss the adoption, citing the confidentiality of adoption cases.McLeod said Quets
tried putting off Gurley by placing restrictions on the adoption.
is too nice."The Needhams
backed out when Quets
asked them to pay her
expenses, according to a federal investigator's affidavit.Quets
found another couple to adopt the children but backed out when they wouldn't allow her
visitation.The twins were born July 6, 2005, in Orlando.During the Caesarean birth, MacGibbon said, Quets
had a hemorrhage and required five units of blood.
hired a nanny, and Gurley also helped.
didn't take her up on the offer."Talking to Allison
at that time was like pouring water on metal," McLeod said.
..."Nothing sunk in."Reluctance persistsFive weeks after the twins were born, Quets agreed to meet with the Needhams at their attorney's office in Jacksonville, Fla."She told me, 'I believe I owe them the courtesy of a face-to-face meeting to tell them I don't want to give up the children,' " McLeod said.
After two days as the twins' sole caretaker, her
friends said, Quets
decided adoption was her
best option."Basically, she
signed the consent for adoption allowing a family judge to terminate her
parental rights, according to a federal investigator's affidavit.Under Florida law, an adoption involving children younger than 6 months is irrevocable upon signature.Within hours, Quets
mind, according to her
friends.They say she
called the Needhams
and told them she
didn't want to go through with it.Eventually, the Needhams
came to Florida, signed the paperwork and took the twins home.Within a few days, Quets
filed a legal challenge."While the Needhams
would like to tell their side of the story, Florida law prohibits them from doing so," said Patrick J. Kilbane Jr., a Jacksonville, Fla., lawyer representing the Needhams
"However, the Needhams disagree with Allison Quets'
friends' account of the circumstances surrounding the adoption.
In the nursery at Advent Lutheran Church
in Chapel Hill, Quets
was reunited with the twins."We brought those kids in," Leman said, "and she just cried, cried and cried."Quets told the infants over and over, "I'm so sorry.
I was so sick."As tears streamed down her face, Quets
kissed the babies again and again, Leman said, "until their faces were sopping wet."That first four-hour visit led to monthly weekend visitations.
rented an apartment near The Streets at Southpoint mall in Durham for those visits."Her life was consumed with trying to get these kids back," Leman said.
...Every waking moment was spent trying to find a way legally to get her children back."After hearing Quets' challenge to the adoption, a Florida trial judge ruled in June 2006 that the Needhams should have full custody.Leman said Quets was so distraught after hearing the news at her attorney's office that someone else had to drive her home."I met them at the house.
On the last such visit Dec. 22, Quets
took the twins to Ontario.She
was arrested a week later, and the twins were returned to the Needhams
, who is in federal custody, might arrive in Raleigh this week for a detention hearing.
They didn't get a status update until Ms. Quets
was apprehended.It was horrible."Now Quets
faces the prospect of not seeing the 18-month-old twins again until they become adults.A Florida judge has revoked the visitation she
had with the toddlers.Quets faces federal prosecution, a felony conviction and several years in prison.However, her
thoughts appear focused only on Holly and Tyler."They are my babies I had dreamed of for so long.I worked so hard to have them," Quets
told the morning