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The News & Observer
Lockheed Martin Corporation
newsobserver.com | Despair fueled custody saga
Allison Quets Home / Local & State / Crime & Safety / Allison Quets Allison Quets 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 in Orlando.The Needhams 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."She 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.Quets hired a nanny, and Gurley also helped.But Quets 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 cracked.Quets 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 changed her 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.Quets 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.Quets, 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
RALEIGH -- Allison Quets has no legal right to seek custody or visitation rights for the twins she gave up for adoption and later kidnapped and took to Canada, according to the N.C. Court of Appeals.
Quets appealed an earlier ruling of a Wake County judge that tossed out her lawsuit seeking parental rights over the children. The appeals court, which ruled unanimously in an opinion released Tuesday, did grant Quets one measure of relief. The three-judge panel overturned the lower court's sanction of Quets, which ordered her to pay the legal fees for Kevin and Denise Needham of Apex, the adoptive parents. The 3-0 decision means Quets is not entitled to appeal to the N.C. Supreme Court. However, she can petition the state's highest court to use its discretion to review the case, which even her own lawyer said Tuesday is unlikely. Michael Harrell, who represents Quets, said that he had not yet spoken with his client about the ruling but that he will advise her not to take it further because of the unanimous decision. Quets, who lives in Florida, asked the court to uphold visitation rights she thought were guaranteed when she gave up Holly and Tyler, now 4. The appeals court ruled that North Carolina's legal system has no jurisdiction to hear or enforce that contract. A former engineer with Lockheed Martin, Quets got pregnant through in-vitro fertilization and gave birth to the children in Florida in 2005. She later said she was under duress when she allowed the Needhams to adopt them. In court earlier this year, she described her severe sleep deprivation after giving birth. Hours after signing papers giving custody to the Needhams, she wanted the children back. The case attracted national attention in 2006, when, during a visitation, she fled with the children to Canada. She spent eight months in jail awaiting trial on kidnapping charges before she was freed on probation. After the twins' birth in 2005, Quets filed a lawsuit in Florida asking for custody, and a judge granted her the right to visit on weekends while the case was being appealed. After she took the twins to Canada, the judge revoked those rights. Harrell said Quets may still pursue the case through courts out-of-state.
newsobserver.com | Twins' mother returned to U.S.
Allison Quets Home / Local & State / Crime & Safety / Allison Quets Published: Jan 09, 2007 12:30 AMModified: Jan 09, 2007 05:33 AMTwins' mother returned to U.S.Allison Quets, who is being transferred to Raleigh, faces kidnapping chargeAllison Quets' flight to Canada with the twins she gave up for adoption landed her in a federal courthouse Monday in Syracuse, N.Y., and may hurt her chances of ever seeing those children again.On Monday, a federal magistrate ordered her transfer to Raleigh, where she will face a charge of international parental kidnapping.If convicted, Quets, 49, of Orlando, Fla., faces up to three years in prison.After she took the twins to Canada, a Florida judge revoked Quets' once-a-month court-ordered visitation with 17-month-old twins, Holly and Tyler.Quets, who underwent in-vitro fertilization, has been fighting a legal battle to regain custody of the children."The mom will not get visitation again," said Mikal Grass, an adoption lawyer in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. "She's cooked."Quets' only hope is that a Florida appeals court will overturn a trial court's order granting custody of the twins to Denise and Kevin Needham of Apex.Quets appeared undeterred about how her current criminal charge may hurt her chances at regaining custody.On Monday morning, Mary Thompson, who with her husband hosted Quets on house arrest at their home over the weekend, told The Ottawa Citizen that Quets was in good spirits.Prosecutors have said Quets should remain in custody here because they argue she is a flight risk and a threat to the community in which the children live.On Dec. 22, federal investigators say, Quets picked up the children for her regular weekend visit, which she usually spent at her Durham apartment.But federal authorities say she took the twins to Canada instead of returning them to the Needhams on Christmas Eve.A week later, Quets was arrested in Ottawa and the twins were returned to the Needhams.Last week, she was placed under house arrest until her extradition to the United States.On Monday, Ottawa police drove Quets to the Thousand Islands Bridge in upstate New York, where she was handed off to FBI agents from Syracuse.Quets' friends say it took two years for her to get pregnant with the twins, who were born July 6, 2005.Her friends and a sister say Quets had a difficult pregnancy in which she was unable to hold down food and only gained 10 pounds.They say Quets was sleep-deprived, malnourished and unable to think clearly when she agreed to let the Needhams adopt the twins on Aug. 16, 2005.They say she told the Needhams that she had changed her mind within a couple hours and filed paperwork revoking her consent a few days later.Neither the Needhams nor their lawyers have talked about the adoption and subsequent legal dispute, citing the confidential nature of adoption cases.Quets' only recourse is to prove her consent was secured by fraud or duress, which it appears she did not prove to a Florida judge because custody was granted to the Needhams.Quets's supporters say an interstate compact regarding the placement of children across state lines, which is applicable in Florida and North Carolina, required adherence to both states' adoption laws.Her friends argued the compact allowed Quets to have up to seven days to revoke her consent, as North Carolina law provides.Quets alleged violations of the interstate compact in her litigation challenging the adoption, according to Kimber MacGibbon, a friend and medical expert who testified on Quets' behalf at the trial in Jacksonville, Fla."The adoption laws of both states should have applied.In North Carolina, she had seven days," MacGibbon said.But some family lawyers disagree that the interstate compact means both state's adoption laws have to be followed.They say the compact relates to placement, not consent and revocation."The adoption is governed by Florida law," said Madonna Finney, an adoption lawyer in Tallahassee, Fla.Added Kathryn Bradley, a senior lecturing fellow at Duke University law school who specializes in family law: "Florida law should apply to the adoption because that's where the children were born, and that state retains jurisdiction until the adoption is final ... Florida law concerning consent and revocation of consent should govern."The adoption file is sealed; therefore, it is unknown how lawyers for Quets and the Needhams may have argued in court about the interstate compact.Quets' lawyer has not returned messages, and the Needhams' lawyers aren't talking.
newsobserver.com | Police searched birth mom's apartment in twins case
Allison Quets Allison Quets, 49, of Orlando, Fla., is scheduled to appear today in an Ottawa courtroom to begin the extradition process.Quets was involved in litigation with the Needhams over custody of the twins.She was arrested Friday in Ottawa, and the twins were returned to the Needhams.Quets, a former Lockheed Martin employee, maintained an apartment in Durham for her monthly visits with the twins.In a fatigued and disoriented state, Allison Quets gave up the children for adoption a few weeks later, Gail Quets said.To regain custody under Florida law, Allison Quets would have had to prove that the Needhams obtained her consent to the adoption by fraud or duress.One of the Needhams' attorneys, Patrick Kilbane of Jacksonville, Fla., takes issue with Gail Quets' account of the adoption.
Allison Quets Quets can't seek custody or visitation RALEIGH -- Allison Quets has no legal right to seek custody or visitation rights for the twins she gave up for adoption and later kidnapped to Canada, according to the N.C. Court of Appeals. Quets appealed the earlier ruling of a Wake County judge that tossed out her lawsuit seeking parental rights over the children. The appeals court, which ruled unanimously, did grant Quets one measure of relief. The three-judge panel overturned the lower court's sanction ordering Quets to pay the adoptive family's legal fees. Quets, who lives in Florida, asked the court to uphold visitation rights she thought were guaranteed when she gave up Holly and Tyler, now 4, to an Apex couple. The appeals court ruled that agreement is not enforceable in North Carolina. QUETS0.NE.032609.TI Alison Quets at the N.C. Appeals Court. - STAFF FILE PHOTO BY TAKAAKI IWABU A former engineer with Lockheed Martin, Quets got pregnant through in-vitro fertilization and gave birth to the children in Florida in 2005. She later said she was under duress when she allowed Kevin and Denise Needham to adopt them. In court earlier this year, she described her severe sleep deprivation after giving birth. Hours after signing papers giving custody to the Needhams, she wanted the children back. Quets has cast herself as an advocate for the rights of birth mothers and has sought support for her cause via the Internet. The case attracted national attention in 2006, when, during a visitation, she fled with the children to Canada. She spent eight months in jail awaiting trial on kidnapping charges before she was freed on probation. After the twins' birth in 2005, Quets filed suit in Florida asking for custody of the twins, and a judge granted her the right to visit on weekends while the case was being appealed. After she took the twins to Canada, the judge revoked those rights. Quets and the Needhams had originally settled on an open-adoption agreement allowing six visits a year and frequent updates, according to court documents.