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British Couple To Fight for Twins

January 22, 2001

LONDON (AP) _ A British couple who adopted U.S.-born twins after finding them on the Internet pledged Monday to keep up their battle for custody, a day before a court hearing to decide whether the babies become wards of the court.

``We are still fighting for our children, because they are our children,″ said 47-year-old Judith Kilshaw who, with her husband Alan, adopted the twin girls in Arkansas and brought them back to their home in Wales.

The adoption is being challenged by a California couple who maintain they were already in the process of adopting the 6-month-old girls, known as Kimberley and Belinda, when they were taken by the birth mother and turned over to the Kilshaws.

Both couples acknowledge paying a San Diego Internet adoption service called A Caring Heart. Richard and Vickie Allen of San Bernardino, Calif., paid $6,000 and the Kilshaws paid about double that.

British child welfare authorities took the babies from the Kilshaws under an emergency custody order on Thursday, and applied Saturday to have them made wards of court until their future is decided. A hearing was set for Tuesday.

``I’m upset at the thought I may never see them again. I might miss their growing up, miss when they turn 18 and when they get married,″ said Judith Kilshaw.

The outcry over the case has prompted the Department of Health to speed up laws aimed at regulating overseas adoptions in which children are brought back to Britain.

And on Monday, Health minister John Hutton wrote to Britain’s Internet Service Providers’ Association warning they could be breaking the law if they provided access to illegal adoption Web sites. Critics, however, said it would be unworkable to hold Internet service providers responsible, urging the government to instead target those running illegal adoption services.

The proposed law would make it illegal to bring a child into England or Wales for adoption unless a proper home study report is completed. Adoptive parents must also be deemed suitable by local social welfare authorities or an approved adoption agency.

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