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Father reclaims two of his kids
Mother abandoned son in Nebraska
BY MEGHA SATYANARAYANA
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER
The father of a Southfield boy abandoned in Nebraska by his mother under a controversial law in that state regained custody Friday of the two youngest of the couple's four children.
Oakland County Probate Judge Linda Hallmark granted an emergency request from lawyers representing the parents, the children and Michigan's Child Protective Services at a hearing Friday.
CPS and the children's lawyer said the two biological children of Teri and Nathanial Martin were not adjusting well to their foster home, and the Martins showed good parenting in comforting the 5-year-old during a supervised visit after a doctor appointment.
"It shows we're trying to resolve this. These are not bad people," said Lavonne Jackson, the father's lawyer.
Teri Martin is permitted supervised visits with the children, but she is not allowed to be in their Southfield home while the petition of neglect that initially cost her custody of the four children is unresolved. A jury trial on the petition is scheduled for next month.
The Martins lost their children -- two biological and two adopted -- after Teri Martin drove more than 700 miles last month with two relatives and abandoned her 13-year-old adoptive son in Nebraska under the state's controversial Safe Haven Law. The Nebraska legislature is expected to reconsider the law because the Southfield boy and a few other out-of-state children are among those who have been dropped off there at hospitals and other "safe havens."
Her desperate act calls into question her mental health, said Deborah Carley, chief deputy prosecutor for Oakland County.
In an affidavit given to Nebraska police, the boy said his mother was stressed out and was trying to teach him a lesson when she left him at an Omaha hospital in the middle of the night.
"He's been told for a long time that what's happened to him, what's happened to the family, is all his fault," said Carley.
Friday's hearing concerned the Martins' parental rights to the 13-year-old, but CPS and the children's attorney asked to return the two biological children to the father.
The attorneys also asked to change the 13-year-old's custody to temporary, and to leave him with his fellow adopted brother in a foster home. All four children are still wards of the state.
Contact MEGHA SATYANARAYANA at 313-223-4544 or firstname.lastname@example.org.