British couple won't appeal ruling sending twins back to United States

Thursday, April 12th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

LONDON (AP) _ The British couple who tried to adopt the ``Internet twins'' will not appeal a court ruling sending the girls back to the United States, their lawyer said Thursday.

Judith and Alan Kilshaw of Wales ``have now decided in the best interests of the children not to appeal,'' attorney Michael Charles said.

On Monday, a High Court judge ordered the 9-month old girls returned to St. Louis, Mo., where they were born, and where their estranged biological parents are each seeking to regain custody.

There was no immediate word on when the twins, now in foster care in Wales, would be taken back to the United States.

``Throughout the proceedings they (the Kilshaws) have been only too aware of the impact this has had on both the twins and their own children,'' Charles said, reading a statement outside the county court in Cardiff, Wales.

``In particular they are concerned about the continuing effect of being under the media's spotlights, which at times has been unkind and unfair,'' he said.

On Monday, Justice Andrew Kirkwood said the twins would be placed in foster care in Missouri pending rulings there on their future, and he said arrangements for taking them out of Britain would be confidential.

The Kilshaws, who brought the babies to Britain three months ago, say they paid double the fee paid by a California couple who also wanted to adopt the twins.

After the adoption became publicized, a court ordered the twins placed in foster care pending a decision on custody. Subsequently, the Kilshaws' adoption was voided by a court in Arkansas.

Last week, lawyers for each of the twins' estranged biological parents, Tranda and Aaron Wecker of St. Louis, separately filed papers asking Kirkwood to declare the girls abducted children under the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption. Both the United States and Britain have joined the treaty, designed to set guidelines for international adoptions and restrict child trafficking.

The Kilshaws adopted the girls, whom they named Belinda and Kimberley, in Arkansas after locating them through an Internet adoption service based in California. After they brought them home to Britain, a tabloid newspaper, the Sun, broke the story of a custody tussle between the Kilshaws and Richard and Vickie Allen of Highland, California.

The adoption was voided March 6 in Arkansas by the Pulaski County Probate Court, which ruled that the Kilshaws and Tranda Wecker had not met the 30-day residency requirement to qualify as state residents at the time of the adoption. The Kilshaws appealed that decision.

The Allens initially contested the Kilshaws' claim to the twins. The Allens said they had paid $6,000 to A Caring Heart, an Internet adoption service run by Tina Johnson of El Cajon, Calif. The Kilshaws subsequently paid about $12,000.

The Allens bowed out after Richard Allen was accused of molesting two baby sitters. Allen has pleaded innocent, but the couple has also lost custody of a 2-year-old boy they were seeking to adopt.