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Baby Richard’s Adoptive Parents Vow to Carry on Fight

February 13, 1995

CHICAGO (AP) _ Baby Richard’s adoptive parents, shaken by a setback in the Supreme Court, vowed Monday to proceed with their four-year fight to keep the boy and deny custody to the biological father who has never met him.

``They were very disappointed that the highest court in this country refused to help this child, but they are still hopeful,″ lawyer Richard Lifshitz said.

With two justices dissenting, the high court refused to block a state Supreme Court ruling that gives custody of the boy, who turns 4 next month, to biological father Otakar Kirchner.

``I cried because the whole four years came back to me in my memory,″ said Kirchner, who first saw photographs of Richard a week ago.

Kirchner’s lawyer did not say if he’ll seek to take custody of the boy soon or wait for a possible further appeal by the adoptive parents.

The Supreme Court justices were not asked to weigh the merits of the case. They were asked for a temporary order to prevent immediate transfer of custody.

Illinois’ top court voided the couple’s adoption of the boy in June, saying Kirchner was denied his parental rights. Richard’s mother, Daniela Janikova, put the infant up for adoption, believing Kirchner had abandoned her. Kirchner, at first led to believe the boy had died, began fighting for custody before Richard was 2 months old. He and Janikova have since married and are expecting another child.

Lawyers for Richard and for the suburban Chicago couple who have raised him since he was 4 days old, identified only as John and Jane Doe, are free to ask the justices to consider the substance of their argument.

Last fall, the justices refused to hear arguments over the validity of the adoption.

Kirchner wants the Does to send Richard to sessions with two psychologists to help smooth the custody transfer. So far, there has been little progress arranging such sessions.

Another lawyer for the Does, Jerold Solovy, said his side is ready to negotiate ``the best method of how to inform Richard that he has parents other than his adoptive parents and how best to integrate the Kirchners into his life.″

Solovy said the dissent by two justices was encouraging because only four justices are needed for the Supreme Court to agree to consider the merits of the case.

``We’re halfway there,″ he said. ``We need two more.″

But Kirchner’s lawyer dismissed that as wishful thinking.

``They’re like the San Diego Chargers,″ Loren Heinemann said. ``There are three minutes to go and they’re saying `We can still win this thing.‴

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