Allison Lee Quets is an
of twins, who were placed for adoption with another family when
they were six weeks old. She was thrust into the international
spotlight in late December 2006 when she fled to Canada with the
twins during a legal visitation with them.
On September 14,
2007, Quets pleaded guilty to kidnapping
in conjunction of the case and was sentenced to time served and
probation in December 2007. Subsequent legal attempts to nullify
the adoption or reinstitute visitation have been not been
Quets was a systems engineer, who had worked for Lockheed Martin
for 21 years. In 2004, she
became pregnant with twins through the process of in vitro fertilization
eggs and sperm. During her pregnancy, she suffered hyperemesis gravidarum
, a severe form
of nausea and vomiting, and gained only 10 pounds during the
pregnancy, spending the last five weeks before her due date on a
feeding tube. During her illness and the pregnancy, a friend
suggested his relatives, the Needhams from North Carolina, as
possible adoptive parents. Prior to the birth, Quets discussed with
the Needhams the possibility of giving up one of the twins for
adoption. She also contacted adoption agencies to make
inquiries.The children were born in July 2005 in Florida; feeling
unable to bring up either child, she asked the Needhams to adopt
both. According to an FBI affidavit, the Needhams withdrew from the
possible adoption following a request from Quets for $30,000 for
medical bills, and Quets approached another couple. Since they did
not accept the visitation rights Quets requested, she returned to
the Needhams and requested less money. On August 16, 2006, she
signed an adoption agreement with the Needhams but changed her mind
within 12 hours. The Needhams refused Quets' request that they tear
up the adoption documents.Quets and her sister later reported that
she manipulated and was under duress to sign the adoption
agreement, and that she was disoriented and suffering from severe
sleep deprivation at the time.
The original agreement, an open adoption, allowed Quets six visits
a year, as well as frequent updates on the children.
became involved in a lengthy custody battle with the Needham family
of Apex, North
Carolina, during which she was allowed to visit the
twins. Quets maintained an apartment in Durham, North
Carolina in order to facilitate her visitation with the
children; she acquired passports for the twins in August
In December 2006, Quets quit her job, and fled to Canada, hoping to
keep the twins in Canada until an appeals court ruled on the
custody battle. She was described by those who meet her in Canada
as being a "good mother" and that the children appeared happy and
loving towards her.
ended on the evening of Friday ,December 29, 2006 when police in
Ottawa, Canada located Quets with the children.
turned herself in to the police, and voluntarily returned to the
US. She was charged with international parental kidnapping and
state charges of second-degree kidnapping, and spent 8 months in
jail before her trial. She pleaded guilty to kidnapping in
September 2007, and was freed pending sentencing. In December 2007,
she was sentenced to five years probation and fined $15,000. Her
rights to visitation of the twins were revoked.
Quets issued several legal challenges in Florida and North Carolina
in an effort to nullify the adoption, and be reunited with the
twins. Courts in both states refused to revoke Quets's consent to
the adoption, and ruled that she lacked standing to seek custody or
visitation since her parental rights had been terminated.
2008, a Wake County, North Carolina judge criticized Quets for legal challenges,
stating that it caused an undue financial burden on the Needhams,
and ordered Quets to pay their costs.) On appeal, the NC Court of
Appeals confirmed the ruling that Quets had no legal right to
custody or visitation, but overturned the order that Quets pay the
adoptive family's legal fees.
Quets has positioned herself as an advocate the rights of
birthmothers, and has used the internet to advocate her case, as
did the Needhams.
- Browder, Cullen. (September 14, 2007) Quets pleads guilty to kidnapping. WRAL Online.
Accessed September 14, 2007.