March 2014 update:  Bail Romero has filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court, seeking to overturn the adoption of her son.  Carlos was taken from her and her parental rights were terminated against her wishes, largely in part because she entered this country as an undocumented immigrant. 

il·le·gal    [ih-lee-guhl]
1. forbidden by law or statute.
2. contrary to or forbidden by official rules, regulations, etc.: The referee ruled that it was an illegal forward pass.
3. Informal.  illegal alien.


In May 2007, Encarnacion Bail Romero was arrested during an immigration raid at a Barry County (MO) poultry processing plant. Her son Carlos was then seven months old. Bail Romero’s parental rights were subsequently terminated and her son was adopted by a Missouri couple.

Bail Romero never wanted to give up custody of her son. In a September 19, 2007, conversation, Bail Romero’s son is obviously at the forefront of her mind:

Laura Davenport (a school district worker): What are they saying about your case?

Bail Romero: I called about the child and they said there was nothing they could do.

Throughout the transcript, she repeatedly talks about her son.

I told them I want to take my child.

… if they do deport me, I want to take my child with me.

Well they [her family in Guatemala] already told me that if I get deported they will help me take care of him … They said send the child, and we’ll take care of him.

The school district employee repeatedly tries to get Bail Romero to agree to adoption, talking about all the benefits the child will have if adopted. At one point Davenport says “You don’t really care about him that much.”

Bail Romero’s words say exactly the opposite.  She is adamant she does not want her son to be adopted.

I want to have my son even if I don’t give him a good education.

I feel tortured because I don’t have my son.

She [Bail Romero’s sister in the U.S.] wants to know if I’m going to give him up and I told her that I’m not giving him up.

He is my son and I’m going to take him.


Romero (who speaks only Spanish) additionally wrote letters to the court and to the attorney hired by the Mosers for her, Aldo Dominguez.  In her letter to Dominiguez, she asks him to arrange for Carlos to be sent to her sister in Guatemala.

Seems clear enough, doesn’t it?  Yet Bail Romero’s son was taken away from her because she “abandoned” him and because she never communicated that she wanted to keep him.  Also she was not a fit parent:

[Jasper County court judge David] Dally also wrote that the biological mother’s lifestyle, “that of smuggling herself into a country illegally and committing crimes in this country, is not a lifestyle that can provide any stability for a child. A child cannot be educated in this way, always in hiding or on the run.”


Oh, that explains it.  She’s an illegal.  A law-breaker.  Guilty of entering the country without permission and working under a false identity.

As opposed to the adoptive father, who was incarcerated for almost a year and who had a felony criminal conviction.  He had been arrested in the past for grand theft auto and resisting arrest after a high-speed car chase, shoplifting and assault and admitted to use of marijuana, cocaine and acid.

Source (pdf file).

Funny how the slur “illegal” can bear so much weight with it when it basically just accuses people of crossing a border because they wanted a different life.  And yet “illegal” does not cling to people who repeatedly broke the law and yet somehow are found to be better parents.

I’ve written about this before (many of the posts can be found under this tag), but I’ll say it again:  Adoption should not occur and children’s rights cannot be terminated on the basis of who is the “better parent.”  “Better parent” is often framed around race, class and privilege, and is largely used against people of color whose babies are being taken away by white people.

Heck, I could argue that I’d be a “better parent” than many white people.  But that doesn’t mean I can steal their children.

If this case concerns you, make your voice known.  Write to the Supreme Court and urge that they take this case.  Write to your representatives about forced removal of children and immoral adoptions.  Write to the agencies you have dealt with and ask how they are ensuring legality and morality of adoption.

You can find some background information here:

St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Jan. 26, 2011): Disputed adoption gets new hearing

Riverfront Times (Oct. 20, 2011): In a tiny town just outside Joplin, a landmark adoption case tests the limits of inalienable human rights (Make sure to read all the way through, as the end of the article discusses immigrants’ rights with regard to their children and how many times this has happened before.)

The Joplin Globe (Aug. 14, 2010): Carthage couple battle for their adopted child


4 thoughts on “Illegal.

  1. Reblogged this on Daniel Ibn Zayd and commented:
    “As opposed to the adoptive father, who was incarcerated for almost a year and who had a felony criminal conviction. He had been arrested in the past for grand theft auto and resisting arrest after a high-speed car chase, shoplifting and assault and admitted to use of marijuana, cocaine and acid.”

  2. Pingback: Encarnacion Bail Romero: A Mother Denied. | Daniel Ibn Zayd

  3. Any adoptee or immigrant rights orgs willing to sponsor a friend of the court brief to urge the Supreme Court to take this case? Contact me at acubbage @ I’m willing to work pro bono but need a sponsoring org. A brief with me as client just doesn’t have the same force! Thanks Resistance for getting the word out.

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