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No Cuddling, No Breast Feeding, No Bonding, No Kidding






By Edgar J. Steele
September 26, 2001

Ruth Christine gave birth to her fifth child in Missoula, Montana the night before last. Before the mother's pain killers had even worn off, little Abbey Rose was seized by Montana authorities and is now being held at an undisclosed location. Ruth was shackled and handcuffed to the bed upon which she gave birth. Hospital attendants who witnessed the birth reportedly wept at the spectacle.

The baby girl's condition is unknown, but Ruth is mightily worried. "Brian (Ruth's husband) has severe allergies, for which he requires constant medication and which little Abbey Rose might inherit. Without the colostrum that my breast milk would have provided, I worry about my baby's health." Colostrum, the mother's milk that is usually a baby's first few meals, provides important immune system reinforcement. No breast feeding. No bonding. No kidding.

Ruth was denied the opportunity to call anybody, even her lawyer, as she was taken in chains to the hospital delivery room.

Welcome to the New World Order, where it "takes a village to raise a child" and parents are only custodians for their own children, children "owned" by the State.

The morning following birth, after the baby had been spirited away, Ruth was dragged before a judge, bound and still senseless from medication, to be served with a warrant for her extradition back to Oregon on charges that she abused her other daughters and helped her husband to "kidnap" them from the Oregon authorities who had pledged to adopt them out to others. Ruth is expected to be handed over to Oregon within a few days. The abuse? The kids weren't fat, like normal American kids today. Oregon state officials claimed the girls were malnourished, yet just two weeks later pronounced them fit, in good condition and normal.

The state alleges that Brian struck Lydia as a part of her toilet training and she had fallen down, sustaining a cut on her forehead and a skull fracture. The fracture was not disclosed by initial examinations or a CT Scan, but a State-retained doctor eventually expressed the opinion that Lydia had one, nonetheless.

Oregon's Services to Children and Families (SCF) has promised to haul little Abbey Rose back to Oregon, to be put up for adoption, too. I and other Christine family lawyers, serving unpaid, are actively opposing this and rushing to have Brian's mother, Teri Christine, named guardian, a role she has provided to baby Olivia, Ruth and Brian's fourth baby girl, since birth. Although the three other girls, aged 3 to 6, had lived with Teri Christine for a year before Brian and Ruth went on the extended road trip that ended when Grants Pass, Oregon officials seized their daughters, state officials refused to allow them to return to her, instead shuttling them from one Oregon foster family to another over the past year.

Only after months of legal maneuvering has Oregon finally given up trying to get baby Olivia taken from her grandmother and returned to be adopted out with her sisters. All members of the family are Indiana residents.

Allan Coon, Josephine County (Oregon) Circuit Court judge, just this afternoon issued his order that the three older girls are to be adopted out, with the formal proceeding to terminate Ruth and Brian's parental rights allowed to go forward. This order followed on the heels of a spirited hearing before Judge Coon in Grants Pass less than one week ago, at which a number of local residents rallied to protest the treatment accorded the Christine family.

The three little girls subject to today's court order: Lydia, Miriam and Bethany Christine

Judge Coon stated in his order that the parents forfeited their right to be reunified with their daughters when they allegedly "kidnapped" the girls at gunpoint last month, after being told by SCF that the girls were to be adopted out regardless of what they did. The judge noted that the Christine parents both faced "serious Ballot Measure 11 offenses in the State of Oregon" (including a mandatory minimum sentencing law that would mete out the same punishment as if they had kidnapped the children of strangers and fled across state lines). Brian and Ruth Christine were apprehended in Montana and have since been held in separate jails and denied any opportunity to communicate with one another. Brian will be extradited to Oregon at the same time as Ruth.

The judge's order ruled out any possibility of a guardianship in lieu of a permanent adoption. Ruth's parents have recently come to Oregon from their home in England and are attempting to be the adoptive parents. No reason was given for refusing to consider Brian's mother for adopting the girls, which would at least unite all four (hopefully five, now ) sisters.

The potential guardianship of baby Abbey Rose by her grandmother in Indiana took a severe turn for the worse when Milt Datsopoulos, the lawyer we retained, even after I promised him the payment he required for filing guardianship papers, withdrew via facsimile message literally at the last moment, as last weekend began, thereby all but guaranteeing that the baby would be born without guardianship papers being timely filed, thereby opening the door for Oregon to step in and attempt to seize the baby.

Though Mr. Datsopoulos, of Missoula, Montana, had promised to help the Christine parents and their unborn baby several weeks ago, he offered no reason for his withdrawal, other than that the case was too "complex." Datsopoulos heads what is reputed to be the largest law firm in Missoula. I am prevented from filing the required paperwork myself because I am not admitted to practice law in the state of Montana, as I am in Oregon, Idaho, Washington and California (lawyers must be separately admitted to practice in each state in which they practice, by passing that state's bar exam along with all other lawyers fresh out of law school in that state).

The fund appeal for the Christine defense costs stalled when the World Trade Center disaster occurred. A little over $2,000 had been collected at that time, barely enough to pay Datsopoulos the amount he estimated for filing the guardianship papers.

Even if we get the guardianship papers filed and little Abbey Rose out of harm's way, we still have three major pieces of litigation ahead of us: Ruth's criminal trial, Brian's criminal trial and the proceeding to terminate their parental rights. Costs are anticipated to be substantial, particularly if we have to hire lawyers and/or experts. I, of course, am admitted in Oregon and am representing the Christines pro bono (for free), as a public service since their plight is such an important object lesson in governmental bureaucracy run amuck.

� 2001 Edgar J. Steele - All Rights Reserved

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"Ruth was denied the opportunity to call anybody, even her lawyer, as she was taken in chains to the hospital delivery room.

Welcome to the New World Order, where it "takes a village to raise a child"