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February 22, 2012 permalink
Noah Bond, separated from his parents at birth by an adoption under duress, has been reunited with his family after a seven-year-struggle that reached the Missouri supreme court.
Parents Regain Custody of Son After Six Year Legal Battle
RAYTOWN, Mo. — Seven years after he was born, a Raytown boy is finally living with his biological parents. Noah Bond’s birth father fought all the way to the Missouri Supreme Court to get his son back.
Until August of 2011, Noah was living in Texas with a couple who wanted to adopt him and who had raised him since he was an infant. But the birth father, Craig Lentz had never agreed to the adoption and his girlfriend, Ebbie Bond says she only did so under duress.
Noah Bond is now seven-years-old, but his birthday in December was the first he ever spent with his parents. It was December 2004 when Craig Lentz filmed the birth of his son when his girlfriend gave birth. But during a bout of what she says was postpartum depression, Ebbie Bond agreed to give up custody.
Lentz’s name wasn’t on the birth certificate so he had no legal standing to stop the process.
“When we went to get it, there was no record that Noah was ever born.”
More than six years of legal battles followed with Stuart and Megan Taylor, who refused to talk with us the one time we caught up with them outside of court.
“Somehow the Taylor’s had changed Noah’s birth certificate without ever having an adoption and that if I died in the accident there would be no record that he was ever born and he would’ve just disappeared into Texas and that would’ve been that,” said Craig Lentz.
The accident Lentz refers to was a car crash on Highway 350 in June of 2010. He died on the operating table twice only to survive months of painful rehabilitation and more delays to his expensive custody battle.
“If you’ve got a college education and you’re able to raise a million dollars and you have a strong faith in god that you may eventually get part justice,” Lentz said.
Justice for Craig and Ebbie came in August when Craig was finally awarded permanent custody of Noah.
“I knew a time when I missed him so much and I wanted to see him every day and every child I ever saw reminded me of him and know I can get up in the morning and see him, see his face I don’t just have to imagine his face,” Bond said.
Now, in first grade, Noah’s parents say he’s adjusted well with the help of therapy.
“These people played keep away for six and a half years and now Noah’s returned to us, they wouldn’t even participate in the therapy that was ordered by the court,” Lentz said.
FOX 4 asked Noah if he wondered why he wasn’t living with his biological parents when he was living with the Taylor’s in Texas. Here’s how he responded.
“I didn’t know they were my mom and dad,” he said.
When the Taylor’s handed Noah off in August they left him a letter explaining they would be cutting off all contact.
“He needs to attach to Craig and Ebbie and the family he will be a part of,” Taylor said.
“I didn’t think I could love him more but my love has just deepened so much from actually being able to take care of him,” Bond said.
Craig Lentz was allowed visitation with Noah over the last six years but it was limited and Ebbie Bond wasn’t allowed to see him at all because legally, she had given up custody. But there’s nothing to keep her from seeing Noah since now that Craig has custody and the two are still a couple.