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Ohio Rebuffs Adoptive Parents

August 23, 2000

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) _ The Ohio Supreme Court refused on Wednesday to intervene in the case of two Kentucky parents who changed their minds about letting an Ohio couple adopt their son.

The 7-0 ruling upholds a state appeals court decision deferring to Kentucky’s jurisdiction.

Richard and Cheryl Asente of Girard had wanted Ohio to claim jurisdiction because an Ohio judge _ unlike one in Kentucky _ has agreed to a hearing on what is in the best interest of the boy, 3-year-old Justin Asente.

Justin has lived with the Asentes in their Ohio home for more than two years, and he calls them his father and mother. The couple have also adopted Justin’s brother.

The case began when Justin’s biological parents, Regina Moore and Jerry Dorning of Covington, Ky., signed consent-to-adopt forms but then changed their minds.

A Kentucky judge backed Moore and Dorning and refused to hold a best-interest hearing. The Asentes are appealing. If they win, they could file for adoption in Ohio.

Several national adoption and children’s advocacy groups have filed documents supporting the Asentes.

Justin will continue living with the Asentes pending Kentucky court action, said Moore’s attorney, Richard Cullison.

``I just think this is a good day for the principle that we live in a nation where the rule of law prevails,″ Cullison said.

A lawyer for the Asentes said the couple will ask the high court to reconsider.

A best-interest hearing is crucial to adoptive parents in such a case, a lawyer who specializes in adoptions said.

``If you can get a best-interest hearing, 99.9 percent of the time the adoptive parents will prevail,″ said Thomas Taneff, who is not involved in this case.

``You can line up 100 child psychologists who will tell you when the child has bonded, it’s clearly in the best interest to keep the child in that setting with the people who loved it, nurtured it, cared for it from shortly after birth.″

Richard Asente, an office supply store manager, has said he believes Justin is better off living with him and his wife.


On the Net:

Ohio Supreme Court: http://www.sconet.state.oh.us

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