This could make for awkward dinner conversation a few years down the road.
A New York couple is suing their adoption lawyers, claiming they failed to warn them about their adopted son's serious medical problems. Lynell and Victor Jeffrey say they would never have adopted Ellington had they known of his “serious neurological deficits.”
The suit names adoption attorneys Aaron Britvan and Alyssa Seinden, who advised the couple when they adopted Ellington in 2006. Three months after the adoption, a CAT scan revealed Ellington's neurological problems.
The Jeffreys first sued Britvan and Seinden in Indiana -- where Ellington was born -- but that court threw the suit out, ruling that it didn't have jurisdiction.
Under New York law, adoption attorneys are required to inform prospective parents of any medical problems that the child has.
Lawyer: Suit “an abomination”
Scott Agulnick, who is representing Seinden in the suit, told the Daily Mail, “I hate to say it, but it almost seems like [the Jeffreys] have Buyers’ Remorse.”
“Alyssa has dedicated her career to helping people adopt and this is how she was repaid,” Agulnick said, adding that the suit was “an abomination.”
Britvan's lawyer, Caryn Lilling, echoed Agulnick's disgust, and predicted that her client will prevail. “This case was thrown out in Indiana, and it will be thrown out [in New York] as well,” she said.
The Jeffreys insist that they love their son, but that they want justice for the four years of pain they have suffered.
At least they didn't send him back
As Gothamist pointed out, it could be worse: the Jeffreys could have opted to ship Ellington back to Indiana. That's what happened last April to Justin Artyem Hansen (born Artyem Saviliev), whose mother sent him back to his native Russia with a note citing psychological problems.
The Tennessee mother's return of seven-year-old Justin set off an international feud, with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev calling the act “a monstrous deed,” and citing his “special concern” for the way that Russian adoptees were being treated by their new families in the U.S.
About a week after the incident, Russia halted all adoptions into the U.S., with a Russian official contending that it was “big business” for U.S. adoption agencies to find foreign parents, since it is often much more profitable to offer children to foreigners than to Russian parents.
“We must, as much as possible, keep our children in our country, and keep them safe here,” the official, Pavel A. Astakhov, toldThe New York Times.