Share story

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A couple in Kentucky has won a lengthy battle over the right to adopt a 4-year-old girl from Klamath Falls, Oregon.

Laila Sloan’s Kentucky foster parents, James and Angela Sloan, are her biological aunt and uncle, and Oregon welfare officials sent the child to live with them two years ago, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported Sunday. The couple intended to adopt Laila.

The state later decided, however, that Laila should be adopted by an unrelated Klamath Falls couple who were fostering her younger brother with the goal of reuniting the siblings, the newspaper reported.

An older brother lives in Oregon as well in a Eugene-area residential center for children with severe mental health problems.

Before the Oregon family could adopt Laila, a Kentucky judge ruled that the Sloans could adopt her because their state has jurisdiction. The Oregon Department of Justice then hired a Kentucky lawyer to challenge that state’s jurisdiction and the Sloans also hired lawyers in both states to fight for adoption rights.

Laila has never met the younger brother and calls her Kentucky foster parents “Mommy” and “Daddy,” the newspaper reported. She and her siblings were removed from their parents’ care because of neglect, emotional abuse and drug use, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported, based on a review of confidential court records. The birth parents could not be immediately reached

“It is official, she is staying with us,” said Angela Sloan, who declined to comment further upon the advice of her lawyer.

The Sloans’ lawyer also announced the win on her firm’s Facebook page.

“We are overjoyed to announce that our mission is complete and Laila will remain with her family here in Kentucky,” Hailey Scoville Bonham, the Sloans’ attorney in Kentucky, wrote Friday. “This has been an incredible journey and there have been numerous moving parts and people to get us to the finish line.”

Andrea Cantu-Schomus, a spokeswoman for Oregon’s Department of Human Services, said she could not comment about a specific case due to confidentiality.

In a statement, she said any decision made by her department was with the best interest of the children in the state’s care in mind.


Information from: The Oregonian/OregonLive,