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The BBC's Fergus Walsh
"Stripped of the twins, the Kilshaws are nonetheless determined to get them back"
 real 56k

Flintshire County Council's Philip McGreevy
"The twins are safe and well in the council's care"
 real 28k

Friday, 19 January, 2001, 18:11 GMT
Court battle for internet twins
Judith and Alan Kilshaw
The Kilshaws have vowed to fight the court order
The British couple who say they have rightful custody of the twins at the centre of an internet adoption row have threatened to fight plans to make the girls wards of court.

Alan and Judith Kilshaw are considering filing a complaint against Flintshire Social Services, who took the twins into care under an emergency protection order on Thursday night.

The Kilshaws adopted the twins in the US state of Arkansas, after paying 8,000 to a broker, but an American couple is disputing custody, saying they adopted the children first.

We have right on our side - I am convinced of that

Alan Kilshaw
The authority has said the babies, who are now with temporary foster parents, are "safe and well".

Speaking at a press conference, Mr Kilshaw said the social service department intends to apply to have six-month-old Belinda and Kimberley made wards of court.

He said: "We have right on our side. I am convinced of that. Whether that is enough remains to be seen."

He added that he was considering a complaint against the social services for the manner in which the girls were taken on Thursday.

"I rather suspect there is someone behind this in a political context," he said.

Mrs Kilshaw said they were considering leaving the country following the media interest in the case.

Asked what their next move would be, she said: "Finding a new home, maybe a new country. We have been slighted so much that we cannot really remain in Buckley. There is nowhere for us to go."

Complex legal issues

Flintshire council's chief executive, Philip McGreevy, said in a statement on Friday that the emergency protection order had been obtained, in a "careful, considered and proportionate response to the emerging circumstances".

"Further legal steps are now in hand which will place all of the issues, including the complex legal, practical and international dimensions, before the High Court prior to the expiry of the emergency protection order on 26 January."

It would appear in this case that there are a number of villains and thus far no heroes

Judge Ellen Brantley
Meanwhile, a senior judge in the American state of Arkansas has cast doubt on the validity of the original adoption application.

Some UK newspapers have reported that the babies' natural mother, Trandar Wecker, had not been living in the state for the required 30 days before an adoption can take place.

In an exclusive interview, Judge Ellen Brantley told BBC Radio 5 Ms Wecker could be charged with perjury if it was proven she lied in court about how long she had lived in the state.

Social worker and baby
Social workers took the children into care on Thursday
Ms Wecker now says she wants her daughters back.

Judge Brantley said: "It would appear in this case that there are a number of villains and thus far no heroes."

She also revealed she had been contacted by officials from North Wales social services.

Kilshaws 'confident'

It certainly can't be in the children's interests for them to be placed in foster care

Alan Kilshaw
Social workers and police officers removed the children from a hotel in Mold, North Wales, where the Kilshaws were staying on Thursday night.

It is thought they were concerned at the Kilshaws' use of the media, but only acted after a second visit to the hotel.

Mr Kilshaw said earlier: "Flintshire County Council have no grounds whatsoever for removing these children. We think it has been done because of the high-profile of the case and because of government pressure.

Mrs and Mrs Kilshaw
The Kilshaws have vowed to keep the babies
"I cannot see that placing them with a temporary foster family is going to help," he said. "What can that family offer that we cannot offer?

"There is no evidence these children were ill-treated."

The international controversy surrounding the adoption erupted when Californians Vickie and Richard Allen said they had agreed to pay an internet baby broker for the same twins.

But they say the babies were taken from them and given to the Kilshaws as they were finalising the deal.

Ms Wecker told CBS she handed over the children before learning the Kilshaws and another hopeful couple had both paid more than $12,000 (8,000) to the woman who arranged the adoption.

The Kilshaws deny Ms Wecker's claim that they knew about the first "adoption".

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19 Jan 01 | UK
Q and A: Internet twins
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