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DeBoers Adopt, A Year after Losing Fight for Baby Jessica

June 11, 1994

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) _ The couple who lost Baby Jessica in court has adopted a newborn boy.

Jan and Roberta DeBoer brought Casey home Friday night.

″It is wonderful news and they sound happy,″ said Annie Rose, a friend and the family’s spokeswoman.

The DeBoers declined to be interviewed Saturday, or disclose details of the adoption.

The couple’s long, unsuccessful fight in court for the girl they named Jessica broke hearts across the country. She was returned to her biological parents last summer.

The DeBoers, who have no other children, still grieve over the loss of the child they loved for 2 1/2 years, Rose said.

″Casey is a great joy, in the little time they’ve had him. But Jessie will always be a part of their lives and she will always be their daughter,″ Rose said.

″Jessie is still very much in their thoughts and prayers,″ she said.

The story of Baby Jessica began in 1991, when the girl was put up for adoption and the DeBoers took temporary custody of her. They took her from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where she was born, to their Michigan home.

Within days, the biological mother changed her mind and revealed that she had deliberately named the wrong man as father on the adoption papers.

Cara Clausen told her ex-boyfriend, Dan Schmidt, that he had fathered her child, and he began seeking custody of the girl. The DeBoers fought to keep the baby, waging legal battles in Iowa and Michigan. Meantime, Clausen and Schmidt married in 1992.

The DeBoers lost their final battle last summer, when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear their appeal of a lower court order requiring them to return the brown-eyed, dark-haired child to the Schmidts.

On Aug. 2, the screaming toddler was carried from the DeBoers’ home and whisked away to the Iowa home of her biological parents.

The Schmidts, who renamed their child Anna and now have a second daughter, said earlier this year that the girl has adjusted well.

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