The case of the day is McEachern v. Inter-Country Adoption Board of the Philippines (D. Mass. 2014). In 2012, Geraldine McEachern traveled to the Philippines to adopt two half-sisters, one ten years old and the other sixteen. The older girl was reluctant to travel to the US to be adopted, but the younger was eager. Nevertheless, McEachern brought both back to the US with her. Six months later, the older girl began having behavioral problems and, according to McEachern, was abusive toward her half-sister. McEachern informed Pearl S. Buck International, the agency that facilitated the placement, that she was uncomfortable going forward with the adoption of the older girl. So the older girl was placed in foster care. According to McEachern, the younger girl then began to do very well, and also according to McEachern, experts determined that removing the younger girl from her home would not be in the girl’s best interest. Nevertheless, the Inter-Country Adoption Board of the Philippines determined that it was in the girls’ best interest to be adopted by the same family, and the ICAB denied McEachern permission to adopt only the younger girl and told her that it had found another placement for the two girls with a family in New York. McEachern sued in the Suffolk County Probate and Family Court, seeking an injunction forbidding the ICAB to remove the younger girl from her home.
McEachern first attempted to serve the ICAB by delivering the summons and complaint to the Philippine Consulate General in New York. Service was refused. McEachern then served the documents on the Consulate General via Fedex, and someone in the consulate signed for the papers. The court issued a temporary restraining order. Ultimately McEachern sought a default judgment against the ICAB, at which point the ICAB removed the case to the District Court. McEachern moved to remand the case to the Probate and Family Court.
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