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Allison Lee Quets

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Allison Lee Quets is the American birth-mother of twins Tyler Lee and Holly Ann, who were placed for adoption with the Needham family when they were six weeks old. She was thrust into the international spotlight in late December of 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 of 2007.[1]



Quets was, until December of 2006, a systems engineer for Lockheed Martin. At the age of 47, she became pregnant with twins through the process of in vitro fertilization with donated embryos and sperm.[2] She spent considerable time and money on becoming a mother; however, when complications arose during her pregnancy as a result of hyperemesis gravidarum, she began to have serious concerns about her health and the children's well-being if something should happen to her.

As recounted in a Florida judge's order granting custody to the Needhams, Quets had thought about adoption as an option for four months before signing the final consent forms.[2] Upon discovering she was pregnant with twins, a former boyfriend, John L. Gurley Jr., recommended his relatives, the Needhams from North Carolina, as possible adoptive parents.[3] Having gained only 10 pounds during the pregnancy and having to spend the last five weeks of her pregnancy on a feeding tube,[3] according to court documents Quets considered adopting the boy and keeping the girl and began to contact the Needhams, asking to name the twins and requesting $33,000 for reimbursement of medical expenses related to her IVF treatment.[2] The Needhams said that they could not pay the expenses, and Quets then contacted another family about adoption of the twins. The second family agreed to pay the expenses, but did not want to agree to Quets' requested open adoption terms; after the babies were born, Quets hired a nanny and took care of the twins with Gurley's help.[3] A friend offered to take the twins until Quets recovered, but Quets did not take her up on the offer.[3]

Quets again contacted the Needhams and agreed to meet with them when the twins were five weeks old, at their attorney's office in Jacksonville, where she signed an agreement for an open adoption. Friends reported that she spent up to 10 hours with the Needhams negotiating the agreement, but she then changed her mind and called 911 at the urging of a friend.[3] After two days caring for the twins, she decided adoption was again her best option and drove to Jacksonville with Gurley, where she handed the twins over to a Needham relative, before changing her mind again shortly after. Once an agreement is signed, Florida adoption agreements are irrevocable for children under six months old.[3]

Custody battle and kidnapping

Quets then became involved in a lengthy custody battle with the Needham family of Apex, North Carolina, during which she spent more than $400,000 in legal fees, which represents most of her life savings.[4] The Needhams have incurred similar legal bills. 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 2006, months before she fled to Canada with them.[2]

The search for Allison Quets came to an end on the evening of Friday December 29, 2006 when police in Ottawa, Canada located her. Her case, her flight to Canada, and her status as "Wanted by the FBI", were featured prominently in the North American media in late December 2006. Quets was brought back to the United States. The children are safe and have been returned to the custody of the Needhams.

In March 2008, a Wake County, North Carolina judge reprimanded Quets for continuing her custody battle, knowing that the case was burdening the Needhams financially.[5] She ordered Quets to pay the Needhams' entire court costs in the case.[5]

Allison Quets Timeline

Nov 2004 2 yrs of fertility treatments, IVF with 2 embryos, excited to be pregnant.[citation needed]

Feb 2005 Vomiting blood, seeks help; feels she and twins might die.

Mar 2005 Diagnosed with bleeding ulcers & esophageal tears; researches twin support groups.

May 5-14, 2005 Emergency hospitalization: hiatal hernia, vomiting copious blood, bleeding in eyes, severe acid reflux; can't keep any water or food down - totally dependent on IV nutrition; constant pain, worries she won't survive so adoption/guardianship are explored.

Jul 6, 2005 Delivery by cesarean (37 weeks) with life-threatening complications, severely hypothyroid, dehydrated, malnourished and anemic. Others intensify pressure to consent to adoption.[citation needed]

Mid-Late July 2005 Outside pressure for adoption unrelenting. Nannies unreliable. Increasingly malnourished.

Early Aug. 2005 Overwhelmed, sleep-deprived, and exhausted. Cares for twins alone most of the time. Makes many calls for help, including ones to Denise Needham.

Aug 12, 2005 (Friday Evening) Quets' boyfriend and relative of Kevin Needham, John, drives Allison to Jacksonville on way to NC to get help with twins from parents. Allison plans to again tell Needhams no to an adoption.[citation needed]

Aug 13, 2005 (Saturday) Is kept at office of adoption attorney, Michael Shorstein, for 11 hours without meals and pressured to sign consents.[citation needed] She repeatedly refuses, but is too weak to drive twins home. Calls 911 after consents are forcibly taken from her.[citation needed] (Needhams disagree with the story told by Quets' friends and assert as evidence that a trial court has found in their favor, but they are prohibited by law from speaking in their defense.[3]) Gurley drives her back home to Orlando and leaves her alone.[3]

Aug 14-15, 2005 Cares for twins alone, changes mind again on adoption.[3]

Aug 16, 2005 John drives Allison back to Jacksonville. She reluctantly[citation needed] signs a consent strictly contingent upon an Open Adoption Agreement. The Needhams had left Florida, and a relative of theirs collected the children.[3] Immediately after leaving, Quets wants to revoke consent. John will not take her back. Makes many calls for help.[citation needed]

Aug 17, 2005 Calls Needhams to revoke. They refuse and sign the papers later that day.

Aug 18, 2005 Motion for Revocation of Consent filed and overnighted. Children are not returned to her custody.

Interest in this case

Quets' case is of particular interest to mothers who feel that they have been coerced into surrendering their children to adoption. This is because the Quets case touches on most of the more contentious issues surrounding adoption law in the United States.

  • The adoption took place in the state of Florida which is a state where many mothers claiming coercion have alleged aggressive and intimidating practices from people in the adoption industry and uneven judicial treatment in the courts.
  • Quets has alleged that extreme pressure to surrender her children was applied to her by people in the adoption industry. Among her allegations are assertions that lawyers, with whom she initiated contact for the purpose of making a plan for guardianship when very ill, have a financial interest in facilitating adoptions and used her health conditions and age to scare her into surrendering her children.
  • Quets allegedly revoked her relinquishment verbally within twelve hours and in writing within forty-eight hours. The state of Florida has a three-day grace period during which a mother is supposed to have the right to change her mind, but there is some contention as to whether this is applicable in the case of private adoptions.
  • The case concerns Open adoption. While litigation was ongoing Quets had visitation rights, but the Adoption was nearing finalization which would leave the case as a standard open adoption case. The majority of open adoption agreements in the United States are not considered legally binding and the openness then relies upon the continued consent of the adoptive parents.


  1. ^ Browder, Cullen. (September 14, 2007) Quets pleads guilty to kidnapping. WRAL Online. Accessed September 14, 2007.
  2. ^ a b c d Nancy Grace transcript. (January 8, 2007) Runaway 14-Year-Old Found Safe After Internet Escapade. CNN. Accessed March 24, 2008.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Weigl, Andrea. (January 14, 2007) Despair fueled custody saga. Raleigh News and Observer. Accessed March 25, 2008.
  4. ^ Police suspect birth mom took twins [1]
  5. ^ a b Barksdale, Titan. (March 24, 2008) Judge criticizes Quets in custody fight. Raleigh News and Observer. Accessed March 25, 2008.

External links

Categories: Year of birth missing (living people) | Living people | People associated with adoption | Systems engineersHidden categories: NPOV disputes from December 2007 | All articles with unsourced statements | Articles with unsourced statements since March 2008

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