British couple promises appeal ruling nullifying adoption

Wednesday, March 7th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ The British couple caught up in an international custody battle over twin 8-month-old girls promised Wednesday to appeal a court ruling that nullified their adoption.

If the couple can't have the girls, the children should go to another family rather than their natural mother or father, Alan and Judith Kilshaw told the CBS News' ``The Early Show.''

``We haven't sold them and we haven't said they're not our children, which both of the biological parents have done _ not once, not twice, three times and over _ so maybe biological parents aren't always best to bring children up,'' Judith Kilshaw said.

The Kilshaws adopted the girls in Arkansas on Dec. 22, setting off a dispute with an American couple who had also tried to adopt the children through the same Internet broker.

An Arkansas judge said Tuesday that neither the Kilshaws nor the American birth mother, who put them up for adoption, met Arkansas' 30-day residency requirement. As a result, the Arkansas courts had no right to grant the adoption, Pulaski County (Ark.) Probate Judge Mackie Pierce said.

Pierce also recommended to British courts that the children be returned to the United States for further proceedings on who should get custody.

``Let the courts decide as quickly as possible,'' said Alan Kilshaw, wearing a tie with an American flag design.

The twins are now in foster care in Britain.

Richard and Vickie Allen of Highland, Calif., say they paid a $6,000 fee to a San Diego-based Internet adoption broker. They say they had custody of the girls for nearly two months and were in the process of legally adopting them when the children were taken to Arkansas by Tranda Wecker, the twins' birth mother.

The Kilshaws say they paid a $12,000 fee for the same children and adopted them from Wecker in Little Rock. Wecker, who lives in St. Louis, used the address of an Arkansas aunt for the adoption.

Both the Allens and Kilshaws, as well as the girls' now-separated biological parents, Tranda and Aaron Wecker, are seeking custody.

The Kilshaws argued Wednesday against either of the Weckers.

``I think they should go to a family that wants them. We are a family that wants them, but if that can't be, find a decent loving family for them girls,'' Judith Kilshaw said.

Tranda Wecker's lawyer Gloria Allred said the Arkansas ruling ``certainly paves the way for the British court to return the twins to the U.S.'' She said her client would not speak publicly about the case.

The judge was ruling on a motion from the Allens, who had sought to nullify the Kilshaws' adoption. He said the Allens did not have standing to ask that the adoption be voided, but he had decided to nullify the adoption based on his own review of the case.

Kelli Cashion, the Kilshaws' attorney, said they would appeal this week. Cashion said Tranda Wecker lied to the Kilshaws by telling them she lived in Arkansas, and that they were not to blame.

The Allens' attorneys in Arkansas asked a judge for permission to drop them as clients last week when Richard Allen was charged with molesting two of his family's baby sitters. Allen, 49, pleaded innocent Friday.