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Couple Claims Agency Denied Adoption Because Of Wife's Disability
by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

MOORPARK, CA, Sept. 17, 2001 --A husband and wife are suing a Pasadena-based adoption agency, claiming that the agency would not allow the couple to adopt simply because the wife has a disability.

Laura and Neil Goldberg had gone through the application process to adopt a 2- to 5-year-old child through Holy Family adoption services. They went through the necessary screenings and paid the required fees. The Goldbergs also purchased a new home near an elementary school, and furnished one bedroom as a nursery. Laura even became certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Last October, on the night Laura was scheduled to start the mandatory parenting classes, the agency director informed her that she and her husband would not be able to adopt because Laura has multiple sclerosis and uses a wheelchair.

"They never asked me a question about what is your disability, what can you do and what can't you do," said Laura, 35.

"It was like being hit with a sledge hammer," said Neil, 39.

Representatives of Holy Family deny the allegations. They say the agency would not discriminate against any couple simply because a prospective parent has a disability.

An attorney for the agency said, however, that officials are nervous when it comes to granting an adoption to a prospective parent who needs to use a wheelchair, particularly when the children to be adopted are young.

"It's a very unusual situation for someone who is in a wheelchair to try to adopt a child through our program," attorney Rosa Cumare told the Los Angeles Daily News.

In their suit the Goldbergs claim unlawful disability discrimination, unfair business practices and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Their attorney has also complained to the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Read the Sept. 10 Los Angeles Daily News story.

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