On a Sunday, I thought you all might like the story of a miracle. PR
Granddaughters adoption completes long legal process
By BRENDA SEXTON
Enumclaw Courier Herald Reporter
Aug 18 2009
Alexis Stuth celebrated her birthday Saturday with the best present a child can get – a family.
Earlier in the week, the Enumclaw 4-year-old was adopted by her grandparents Doug and Anne Marie Stuth of Enumclaw.
“Every holiday is huge, every day is huge,” Anne Marie said.
It was a long, ugly battle through the state’s child welfare system for the Stuths.
Brought to the media forefront through a KING-TV investigative series and the work of Sen. Pam Roach, the Stuths fought for nearly two years to bring their granddaughter, whom they have raised since her birth, out of foster care and back to their home.
In a King County courtroom, Aug. 12, the adoption was finalized.
The girl’s biological mother – the Stuth’s daughter – was a strong-willed, pregnant, 15-year-old who didn’t understand the consequences of her actions, her mother said, but as parents and grandparents they cared for both. Somewhere along the way, the state decided Alexis would be better in foster care than with her mother or her grandparents.
“We never would have dreamed it would have happened to us,” Anne Marie said. “Her mom was living with us. It’s enough to rock anyone’s world.”
Little Alexis was taken from the Stuth’s home and placed in foster care. The battle to get her back was exhausting.
“It was nothing but a fight from the start,” Anne Marie said, adding that she and her husband felt like outsiders in the proceedings.
“We couldn’t be a party to the case,” she said. “We couldn’t defend ourselves. We couldn’t present evidence.”
“The fear was we’d lose her forever.”
There are families who do lose the battle and Roach wants that changed.
“This is a monumental case. This is a big deal,” said Roach, who is currently helping other families in similar situations. “This is a huge, huge, huge story for me. I worked on it for a year and a half.”
She said the state unfairly puts children in foster care rather than looking at family as the first option, which is the law.
“Had we not been blessed with Pam I don’t know if we’d have her here,” Anne Marie said of Roach. “She’s a scrapper. She made sure the state followed their own rules.”
She also praised King County Superior Court Judge Ronald Kessler.
“Judge Kessler believed she needed to be with family,” Anne Marie said.
The parental rights of both Alexis’ mother and father have been terminated, but the Stuth’s daughter still visits Alexis.
Saturday’s small birthday celebration of friends and family was a cherished moment. Sunday, the Stuths planned to spend time together with Alexis going out and doing something special.
“It’s amazing how much children change over that time,” Anne Marie said. “They grow, they change. It goes so fast.
“We’ve had a lot of support in this community. A lot of people have been ere for us through the good, bad and the ugly. This small town has been wonderful to us.
“We are very, very thankful to have her home,” Anne Marie said. “Very thankful. I don’t know if we can put it into words. We’re very blessed.”
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Enumclaw Courier Herald Reporter Brenda Sexton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-802-8206.