Just in case you were wondering, as I was, what happened to Baby Simone, I am sorry to
report that she is still floating around in legal limbo.
She is 4 months old today.
When she was born, her 35-year-old birth mother surrendered all rights to her. Signed the
papers. Signed off. So did the father, a married man.
Now, the Middletown woman wants her back, admitting that she was gambling on red tape to
give her another chance to change her mind. Doreen Wilkinson told The Enquirer she felt
pressured by Lutheran Social Services, a widely respected agency, to surrender the infant. She
brought suit in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court.
Oops. More delays. The judge is on vacation. It's Presidents' Day.
A day and a delay
According to David Lamb of Lutheran Social Services, attorneys for both sides have
''agreed that this case belongs in juvenile court.'' So today, there will be a hearing before
Judge Robert Kraft.
Then it will be lateralled off to somebody else.
Excuse me. I don't mean to be unreasonable, but this is an emergency.
People have wondered how cases like Baby Richard and Baby Jessica have dragged on for so
Just like this one. A day and a delay at a time.
''I discovered that the safest way was to adopt internationally,'' wrote a Hyde Park
woman after my first column on Baby Simone last month. ''The morning of Dec. 12, 1994, in a
freezing orphanage in China, 10 workers filed into a room and handed 10 baby girls to 10 new
mothers. We laughed, we cried, we hugged them to ourselves and held them up to each other for
''After seeing all of the other babies, I was convinced that I had been given the most
beautiful, brightest, sweetest baby of them all. I was determined that no one would catch me
off-guard and switch their baby for mine. All the new parents felt the same way.
''My prayers are with the adoptive parents of Simone, and I hope that they have the
courage to hang on to their daughter and that the judge will have the courage to do what is
Well, I don't know if Simone is with adoptive parents. For all I know, she's in temporary
care with foster parents or even in an institution. Mr. Lamb is bound by rules of
confidentiality, and all he'll tell me is that she's getting ''loving care.''
I suspect she is with a couple who are holding their breaths right now. Who are
congratulating themselves that she finally slept through the night. Who are laughing when she
splashes in the bathtub. Who have spit-up stains on the shoulders of some of their favorite
shirts. Who are terrified that they will lose her.
She is probably starting to eat solid food. Dr. Donald Nofziger, a pediatrician who has
been taking care of Cincinnati babies for about three decades, says by now she can distinguish
between a friendly voice and a stranger. She can squeal in delight and laugh out loud.
She can turn in the direction of a voice, ''particularly Mom's. She is bonding.''
'A priceless gift'
Kathleen of Mount Washington wrote, ''I have a 6-year-old adopted daughter. My one and
only. My life. It takes only seconds to hold, smell, breathe in her life to become bonded. She
was given to me by a loving birth mother. A priceless gift.
''I am quiet about my daughter's adoption. I want to keep her forever and forever and
forever. I have fear in my heart, too. I don't believe in our so-called justice system
OK, ladies and gentlemen of the bar. This is your chance to restore Kathleen's faith in
the justice system.
This is your chance to rescue this child and let her remain with the ''familiar voices''
and the people she has been bonding with for 120 days. One-third of a year. Four months.
Could you put a racing stripe on the gavel? Can you make an erasure in your Franklin
Planner? Stamp this child's folder ''URGENT''? Work through lunch? Pull strings?
Now is the time.
A child is waiting.
Laura Pulfer's column appears in The Enquirer on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Call 768-8393 or fax to 768-8340. She can be heard Monday mornings on WVXU-FM (91.7 MHz), and
as a regular commentator on NPR's Morning Edition.