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In re K.A.W.

Supreme Court of Missouri
133 S.W.3d 1 (2004)


A juvenile officer (plaintiff) filed a petition in trial court to terminate the rights of T.W. (defendant), the mother of two infant twins, K.A.W. and K.A.W. T.W. had been working full time and raising three other children when she became pregnant with the twins. T.W. believed that another family could better provide for the twins and decided to give the twins up for adoption. T.W. investigated the adoption process and spoke to attorneys about an open adoption, which would permit T.W. to maintain contact with the twins after the adoption. However, Missouri law did not allow for open adoptions. T.W. located a British family who wished to adopt the twins. T.W. and the British family traveled to Arkansas, a state that allowed open adoptions, and filed a petition for adoption. In the petition, T.W. claimed to be an Arkansas resident. The Arkansas court approved the adoption. Subsequently, British officials determined the British family to be unfit and returned the twins to Missouri to be placed in the custody of Missouri’s division of family services (DFS). The Arkansas court set aside the adoption for lack of jurisdiction. At that point, T.W. decided to forgo adoption and raise the twins herself. While the twins were in DFS custody, T.W. complied with a comprehensive parenting plan that included classes, visitation, financial support, and drug screenings. However, the trial court terminated T.W.’s parental rights based on its conclusion that T.W. abused and neglected the twins. T.W. appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Teitelman, J.)

Dissent (Price, J.)

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