by Health Impact News/MedicalKidnap.com Staff
Her court-appointed attorney called it “an offer.” Haly Boothe calls it “blackmail.” She was devastated by the choice that met her when she went to Shelby County Family Court in Alabama. Her family has been fighting to get 10 month old baby Avyonna back from state custody ever since the Department of Human Resources (DHR) social workers came to the hospital 3 days after her baby was born and took the newborn baby girl from her mother’s breast. Original story:
At the time, they told her that the reason that they were taking the baby was because the state already had her other 2 children, children that were born to her when she herself was in foster care. She and her grandparents have maintained that the real reason the first 2 children were kept by the state was because she was a foster child when she had them. The choice that was presented to Haly on Friday lends credence to that assertion.
Her court-appointed attorney, Meagan Moncus England, reportedly met in the judge’s chambers with Judge Crowson, DHR attorney Jennifer Newman, GAL (Guardian ad Litem) Erin Welborn, as well as Haly’s husband Anthony’s attorney. None of the discussion happened in open court with any of the family present. They had apparently made a decision as to the fate of little Avyonna, and they came out of the chambers with this “choice” for Haly:
- Voluntarily allow Avyonna to be adopted by her foster parents, the same ones who recently adopted Haly’s other 2 children. If she were to agree to this, DHR said that Haly would no longer have to pay child support, and that DHR would agree not to take any other children that Haly might have in the future. Or
- They would move to terminate her parental rights.
The family was floored. They see this as an admission that DHR had no valid reason to take any of the children.
Rodney Prince, Haly’s grandfather, was with her and Anthony at court, and he says that he doesn’t trust that DHR would keep their word even if Haly were to agree. He says:
They had no grounds to take that baby in the first place. It’s all about money and greed now.
Haly emailed GAL Erin Welborn, DHR attorney Jennifer Newman, and her attorney over the weekend to clarify what she, Anthony, and Rodney had heard:
So let me get this straight, DHR said my only option is to let Avyonna get adopted with my older two and they will drop all of the child support and ANY FUTURE children I have DHR will not take?
The only one who has responded as of Wednesday evening is Haly’s attorney, Meagan England, who emailed back:
That was the offer on Friday.
Later, England emailed again to add:
Correction: they would not take any future children based on the fact that your other 3 were taken. If they have cause in the future, they will be taken.
Notably, that last part was not mentioned at all on Friday to the family. DHR and the GAL did not respond at all.
Haly is understandably devastated. She wrote to her attorney:
It is not blackmail. It is an OFFER.
You will not get your 2 oldest back. They have been adopted.
We can fight all you want. You keep that attitude and smart mouth and you will get nowhere. I am not a babysitter.
Older Children Adopted Out
The family reports that they were never notified that the older 2 children were adopted out to the foster parents, who were strangers to the family. A friend of the family stumbled upon a Facebook photo posted by one of the foster moms showing the foster parents and 2 of the children that Haly gave birth to, all dressed up sitting in a courtroom. The photo was dated March 6, and the family assumes this must be the day they were adopted. Their adoption was mentioned as a foregone conclusion at court last Friday.
Isn’t Attorney Supposed to Fight FOR Client?
The family does not believe that this recently appointed attorney has any interest in standing up for Haly. The county pays the public defenders, and this one seems to side with DHR as far as the family can see.
Social workers have apparently complained to the attorney that Haly is difficult to work with. She freely admits that she is angry. DHR has caused a great deal of pain in her life.
She is only 20 years old. She was taken away from her home and the grandparents who raised her when she was just 12 years old, and that was based completely on a story that she and each of her 4 siblings insist is a lie – that her twin sexually assaulted his siblings, when all that they say that he did was to pop Haly’s bra strap.
See story here:
She spent the remainder of her childhood in foster care, and bore 2 children. She was shifted around to a total of 8 different placements. She grew to love the next to last foster mother that she was placed with, Mrs. Howard, but right after Haly graduated from high school, Mrs. Howard died suddenly of a heart attack.
Haly and her 2 children were placed in another foster home, but that foster mother kicked her out and kept her children, and then reportedly accused Haly of abandonment. From then on, she has been fighting to get her children back.
She says she was lied to and told that they would not take her newest baby, born last May, but social workers seized Avyonna when she was only 3 days old.
Haly has been accused of being hostile, but those who care about her do not report that they find her hostile. She is, however, angry with those who continue to keep her children from her.
In any other context, a mother’s anger would not be held against her. If it were masked men who broke into her home and kidnapped her children, the media and the world would join her in her anger. But since it is government officials under color of law who have taken her children, is she not allowed to be angry?
GAL Who Sued Mother Remains on Case
Despite many requests for her removal from the case, Erin Welborn remains as GAL for Avyonna, as she was for the other 2 children. She was also the GAL for baby Braelon, Avyonna’s cousin. After Welborn filed a lawsuit last summer against Haly and many others, including Health Impact News writer Terri LaPoint, for talking about baby Braelon’s story, the GAL has been allowed to stay involved with the case. At one point, the family believed that she had been removed and another GAL assigned, but they later learned that was not the case. Apparently, the court sees no conflict of interest here.
See story about the lawsuit:
Haly Rejects “Offer”
Haly struggles and tries to maintain hope, but she is finding that difficult when the deck seems to be stacked against her. She feels that nothing that she does is good enough. She is married. She has a job, and a car, and they have their own apartment. Like many parents report, no matter how many hoops they jump through, it seems that there is always something else.
Haly has rejected the “offer” from DHR, believing that DHR will be consistent with their pattern of not keeping their word, as Haly has seen many times during the course of her nightmare journey with DHR. She vows to keep fighting for her children, ALL of them, and she says she will never give up.
She doesn’t understand how DHR could make such an offer to her. If they can tell her that they won’t take future children from her, isn’t that a clear admission that they never had reason to take any of her past children from her?
How You Can Help
There is a defense fund to raise money for Haly to be able to hire an attorney who will fight for her. See:
Senator Cam Ward is the Senator for their district. He may be reached at 334-242-7873, or contacted here.
Representative April Weaver represents their district. She may be reached at 334-242-7731, or contacted here.
According to the Alabama Family Rights Association, ALFRA:
Alabama has a nine-member task force created to examine the work of the Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR). If you have issues or concerns about DHR services, your best plan of action is to contact the following legislators/lawmakers and committee members:
Connie Rowe, State Representative, has replaced Mac McCutcheon as the Task Force Chair / 334-242-7600/ email here.
Chris England, State Representative / 334-242-7703 / 205-535-4859 / email here.
Greg Reed, State Senator / 334-242-7894 / he is on Facebook.
The complete list of committee Members can be found here: Executive Order Number 11
Shelby County DHS Director Kim Mashego at https://dhr.alabama.gov/counties/county_results.aspx?id=Shelby
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