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Internet baby couple vow to fight on

Kilshaws
The Kilshaws say their lives have been ruined  

LONDON, England -- A court will on Tuesday decide the immediate fate of twin girls adopted over the Internet from the U.S.

And the British couple at the centre of the case have again insisted they have right on their side ahead of the hearing in Birmingham in the English midlands.

Alan and Judith Kilshaw from Buckley in north Wales are facing a legal battle with social workers who want the six-month-old sisters, Belinda and Kimberley, to be made wards of court.

The case prompted an outcry after it emerged the Kilshaws paid a U.S. adoption agency $12,000 (8,000) for the girls, but Judith Kilshaw vowed on Monday: "We are still fighting for our children, because they are our children."

The twins are currently with temporary foster parents, having been taken away from the Kilshaws by Flintshire County Council on Thursday night.

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Kilshaw added: "I'm upset at the thought I may never see them again. I might miss their growing up, miss when they turn 18 and when they get married.

"I am hopeful that they will still be with us and if they are not with us physically they will be with us in our thoughts."

A Californian couple, Richard and Vickie Allen, claim they gave the adoption agency $6,000 for the twins and had already raised them for two months before they were allegedly duped into handing them back to their natural mother, Tranda Wecker.

Wecker then handed the girls over to the Kilshaws, but has since appeared on U.S. television to say she wants them back.

Twins
Belinda and Kimberley are being looked after by foster parents  

It was revealed on Monday that Britain's health minister John Hutton has written to the country's Internet Service Providers' Association (ISPA) warning that they could face prosecution for posting material which breaks UK adoption laws.

Under British law, only local authorities and voluntary adoption agencies approved by the health secretary are allowed to advertise children for adoption.

The UK Department of Health announced on Sunday that the case has prompted it to speed up the passage of new laws protecting babies being adopted abroad and brought back to Britain.

Under the laws, due to be in place by April, parents adopting children from abroad without proper approval face up to three months in prison and a fine of 600.

The regulations aim to make it an offence for parents to adopt abroad unless a home study report has been completed and a local authority or approved voluntary adoption agency has deemed the parents suitable.

UK Health Secretary Alan Milburn said: "Adoption is a service for children. It is not a service for adults.... The interests of the child will always come first. And that means children from other countries as well as our own."

The Kilshaws claim their lives have been ruined by the media interest in their case, which they say has turned them into hate figures.

Judith Kilshaw has denounced as "lies" newspaper allegations that she was a witch and had admitted that she was prepared to use black magic to keep the girls.

In a TV interview she said she and her husband will leave the country if they win the case.



RELATED STORIES:
U.S. parents' Web twins plea
January 20, 2001
The pitfalls of Internet adoption
January 18, 2001
Internet baby row deepens
January 18, 2001
Legal battle over Internet twins
January 17, 2001
FBI investigates adoption Web site
January 17, 2001
Couples fight for Internet twins
January 16, 2001

RELATED SITES:
Department of Health
Federal Bureau of Investigation
US Department of State
Flintshire County Council Social Services
British Agencies for Adoption & Fostering

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