Amy and Robert Meeker adopted an 8-year-old girl from China from a Morningside
Heights adoption agency, Starfish Children’s Services. While the
couple understood that little Carys (formerly named Kaitlyn prior to adoption)
was diagnosed with spina bifida when they started the adoption process
back in 2013, the agency failed to disclose how severe her health condition
According to the lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court, the Meekers
claim that the agency intentionally covered up the child’s other
significant health issues so that she can find a permanent home. Upon
arrival to their home, the couple discovered that she is blind, deaf,
and suffers from debilitating conditions such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy,
scoliosis, hepatitis C and other illnesses.
An email written in September 2013 by board member Patrick McLaughlin wrote
to an agency worker, McLaughlin was aware of Carys / Kaitlyn’s health
issues and urged the worker to remove herself from the proceedings.
“You are an advocated for K [the child],” McLaughlin wrote,
according to the court papers. “You are not an advocate for the
parents at this point in the process. For better or worse, Starfish has
done it’s [sic] job and the family takes over accordingly.”
Attorney Dean Gresham, who is representing the family in court, referred this situation as,
“the most egregious conduct that shocks the conscience that I’ve
ever seen in my 20 years of litigating,” in an article by the
New York Post.
While the Meekers are not pursuing adoption revocation, if they had been
aware of the full extent of Carys / Kaitlyn’s needs, they wouldn’t
have followed through with the adoption process since they are not capable
of providing complete care for a child with such needs. Based on the suit,
the couple estimates the cost of the child’s care will expand to
an additional millions of dollars, since they’ve spent over $500,000 already.
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