Judge sides with foster parents

A child at the center of an international adoption case will remain with her foster parents.

Judge Robert Childers terminated Jack and Casey Hes parental rights, opening the door for foster parents Jerry and Louise Baker to adopt five year old Anna Mae He.

For four years the two sets of parents have been in and out of courtrooms, each couple seeking to claim the child as their own. "It's about what's in her best interest, and with all our hearts, we feel like this was in her best interest," said Jerry Baker.

The Bakers have cared for Anna Mae since she was three weeks old.

Financial and legal problems drove the He's to place the child in foster care in 1999. The Hes believed they were only giving the Bakers temporary custody, but the Baker's wanted to adopt her. The case eventually ended up in Circuit Court before Judge Robert Childers, who sifted through weeks of testimony. "It was grueling. I have never seen a judge work so hard in my life," said Sue Allison a court liaison.

For the Baker's, the judge's decision brought elation. "We're thankful to the lord that he's going to allow this little girl to wake up in the same bed since she was three weeks old," said Mr. Baker.

For the Hes, devastation. "I'm too emotional so to speak," said Jack He. But attorney David Siegel did speak on behalf of the He's

"The whole thing was a complete surprise. I was very optimistic about the outcome of the case and felt that the record was very clear and very favorable to them," said David Siegel.

It was clear that Jerry and Louise Baker's fortune was also Jack and Casey He's pain. The Bakers walked away from the media vowing to get a good nights sleep for the first time in several years. The Hes went home with their other children looking exhausted and bewildered. But perhaps gearing up for the next battle. "We do intend to file an appeal as expeditiously as possible," said Siegel, making it clear that the tug of war over Anna Mae, is far from over.