Because it can only get worse: Update

Short synopsis of previous story:  Couple adopts a baby from China. The adoptive father dies, leaving behind a trust for his kids.  Years later the adoptive mom dissolves the adoption and attempts to argue that child is no longer entitled to inheritance.

Update:  Adoptive mother reportedly adopted another child from China shortly after the adoptive father died but dissolved that adoption.  From the NY Daily News:

A wealthy widow who gave up her Chinese daughter for readoption after eight years — then tried to cut the girl out of her husband’s $250 million estate — had years earlier dumped another baby she adopted from China, the Daily News has learned.

Christine Svenningsen, 55, adopted a baby boy from China after her husband died in May 1997, then changed her mind after she brought the child she named Eric home to Westchester County, court papers reveal.

Svenningsen already had five biological children, plus the first child she’d adopted from China, Emily.

“Now after your adoption of Emily, did you go to China to adopt a boy named Eric?” Stephen Hochhauser, the lawyer for Emily’s new parents, asked Svenningsen in a 2009 deposition.

“Yes,” Svenningsen answered.

“What happened with Eric?” Hochhauser asked. “What did you do with him?”

“He was adopted,” Svenningsen said, by “a person in New Jersey.”

Court papers did not disclose when Eric was adopted or readopted.

“And what was the reason for terminating (your) adoption?” Hochhauser asked.

“I couldn’t handle seven children,” Svenningsen answered.

The NY Daily News also details some of the treatment the girl received when Svenningsen was her mother.  No word on whether Emily has citizenship.

Edited to add:  Apparently Emily was readopted By Christine Svenningsen after her first husband’s death, so she does have U.S. citizenship (assuming Christine is a U.S. citizen).  Also, Christine had another biological child around the time Emily was adopted and then adopted Eric shortly thereafter.

This is yet another case where I ask What the f*ck were the social workers thinking?  The adoptive father, John Svenningsen, was diagnosed with cancer in March 1996, while the couple was in the process of adoption.  Christine travelled to China in May 1996 to adopt Emily.  John died on May 28, 1997.  Sara (their youngest biological child) was born prior to the finalization of Emily’s adoption and John’s death.  Eric was reportedly adopted “shortly after John’s death.” This guy claims Christine was in his travel group when he adopted in 1997.  So in the course of maybe 18 months at the longest, the Svenningsen family added three children and lost their father.

Sources:  In Re: The Petition of Maryann Campbell and Fred Cass as well as In The Matter of John Svenningsen, Deceased. Maryann Campbell, et al., Petitioners-Respondents; Elisabeth Anne Svenningsen, et al., Appellants; Emily Fuqui Svenningsen, Respondent. (File Nos. 1997-1519/A, 1997-1519/C, 1997-1519/D), 2010-11057.

Note also that the first document cited includes this erroneous footnote:

In 1997, it was common practice for parents who had adopted a child from China to seek to re-adopt their child in order to seek his/her United States citizenship (see, Scheinkman, Practice Commentaries, McKinney’s Cons Laws of NY, Book 14, Domestic Relations Law § 115-a, at 201). The law has since changed obviating the necessity for a re-adoption proceeding.


Children adopted by a single parent in a two-parent household must be readopted to acquire “automatic” citizenship.

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