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Britain’s ‘most hated woman’ who tried to buy twins from the US for £8,200 in cash-for-babies scandal wants to meet the girls one last time now they have grown up

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11438577/Judith-Kilshaw-tried-buy-twins-8-200-wants-meet-girls.html

Britain’s ‘most hated woman’ who tried to buy twins from the US for £8,200 in cash-for-babies scandal wants to meet the girls one last time now they have grown up

Judith and Alan Kilshaw adopted Kiara and Keyara Wecker from US mother
Tranda Wecker, then 28, had put the girls up for sale on the internet
Another couple, Richard and Vickie Allen, had already bought them for £4,000

By Harry Howard For Mailonline

Published: 11:21, 17 November 2022 | Updated: 13:36, 17 November 2022

A mother who was reviled as Britain’s ‘most hated woman’ after paying to adopt baby twins from the US said she wants to meet the girls one last time.  Judith Kilshaw and her husband Alan sparked an international storm after it emerged they paid £8,200 in December 2000 to adopt babies Kiara and Keyara Wecker.  The Kilshaws then flew to the US and brought the girls back to their home in Buckley, North Wales.  The girls’ mother, Missouri hotel receptionist Tranda Wecker, then 28, had put them up for sale on the internet.  The trouble and publicity began when it emerged that another couple, Richard and Vickie Allen, had already bought the babies for £4,000.  The Allens, who had been caring for Kiara and Keyara for two months when they were taken to the UK, furiously insisted they had had been kidnapped.   The FBI became involved, with the subsequent international legal battle ending with the children being raised by a third set of foster parents in Missouri.  Now the story is being re-told in Amazon Prime documentary Three Mothers, two Babies and a Scandal, which launches on Friday.  According to the Mirror, Ms Kilshaw, now 67, says in the programme that she would ‘like to meet’ the girls so she can ‘find peace’.  It emerged in 2018 that the girls, then 18, had just started university and were both studying social sciences.  Mrs Kilshaw left her husband in 2007 for a man 13 years her junior who she had met in a nightclub. Mr Kilshaw passed away aged 63 after suffering from lung disease.  Mrs Kilshaw said in the Amazon documentary: ‘Every day I think about what might have happened, what life might be like now if the girls had stayed with us.  It’s usually a nice outcome in my mind, but that’s all ifs and buts and maybes really, isn’t it?  You’ve got to face reality. I’m glad they moved on, I’m glad they went to university, I’m glad they have a life that’s the best thing you can hope for.  All I want now is to find peace, and that’s the thing I still haven’t managed to find. I would like to meet them, but together with the others.  It would be a very interesting if everybody involved could come together, say our piece and make our peace.’

The Allens had bought Kiara and Keyara, then six months old, from an adoption agency named A Caring Heart after being among the first to see the internet advert.  The girls’ mother had fallen pregnant as her second marriage was coming to an end and had decided to part with her unwanted children by selling them.  The Kilshaws then offered twice as much as the Allens had paid, but did not know the girls had already been sold.  The couple had spent £4,000 on unsuccessful IVF treatment and had looked into surrogacy before deciding to adopt abroad.   With the Kilshaws offering a much better price, A Caring Heart’s boss, Tina Johnson, told the Allens that their mother wanted to say a final goodbye to them and they would be away for just a couple of days.  Johnson then took the twins to a nearby hotel and passed them to the Kilshaws.  When the Allens saw the British couple apparently leaving with the babies, a fight broke out.  The Kilshaws, who went on to rename the twins Kimberly and Belinda, drove away with the babies and their birth mother, as the Allens gave chase in their car.   The couple ended up driving 4,000 miles to Arkansas, where they could formally adopt them.  During the drive, the Allens had called them and said: ‘We know where you are. We are going to find you.’

The Kilshaws ended up paying more money to Wecker, for her flight back to Missouri, as well as £1,400 to a lawyer to organise adoption papers.  Eight days later the Kilshaws were back in the UK and were at first cared for at the couple’s farmhouse.  But a protection order was served on the Kilshaws in January 2001 and the twins were taken into the care of Flintshire social services.  Flintshire County Council later lodged an appeal to the Family Division of the High Court to make the twins wards of court.  Then-Prime Minister Tony Blair even weighed in as the scandal grew, calling the sale of the children over the internet ‘disgusting’.  In April 2001, the Kilshaws lost their battle to keep the children after a judge ruled it would not be in the ‘welfare interests’ of the twins.  In California, the Allens were forced to withdraw their custody claim after Mr Allen was arrested in the spring of 2001, when two babysitters, ages 13 and 14, said he had sexually molested them.  The outcome of that case is unclear. Kiara and Keyara ended up being taken in by foster parents in Missouri.  The case came after Mrs Kilshaw had offered her grown-up daughter £3,000 to act as a surrogate mother.  Louisa Richardson, then 22, angrily rejected the offer. Mr and Mrs Kilshaw already had two young sons at the time but wanted a daughter.  It was after that refusal that Mrs Kilshaw found the advert for the US twins.   In their quest to keep the twins, the Kilshaws had even been on TV personality Oprah Winfrey’s US show, where they faced Mr and Mrs Allen.   Mrs Kilshaw has since split from her second husband Stephen Sillett, whom she married when she was 53 and he was 40.

May 2024
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