In March, a Houston boy who was abducted nearly eight years ago was found in East Texas. The Houston Chronicle reports that Miguel Morin was abducted when he was only 8 months old by his babysitter and her mother.
Once Miguel was found, he was put into foster care under the direction of Child Protective Services. So far, his real parents, Auboni Champion-Morin and Fernando Morin, have only seen photographs of their son.
For the Miguel’s entire living memory, he was told that the babysitter/kidnapper was his mother. Now, his court-appointed therapist is telling the court that he is not ready to know who his real parents are, or to meet them. Miguel will be in foster care at least until the next hearing in September.
So are you wondering why they don’t just give the kid back to his parents? Well, it all depends on Texas’ custody laws. These laws are the same as those used when a court decides which parent gets custody in a divorce.
In Texas, if parents cannot come to an agreement over custody and in other situations where the court must decide who gets custody, the decision is based on a “best for the child” standard. In determining what is best for a child, Texas allows the feelings of the child to be considered in deciding where custody should fall.
In Miguel’s case, there are some interesting facts that the court will need to consider. First, his parents’ four other children live with another couple, Juanita and Joseph Aguillard, who are their legal guardians under an agreement with the Morins. Second, Miguel has also been living as an only child for 8 years and may not be ready for siblings. Lastly, he hasn’t been called Miguel for 8 years, because the babysitter renamed him Jaquan.
With these facts, it seems like Miguel could be placed with his siblings, who most likely can provide a stable household for Miguel. Without more information from Miguel’s parents, it is hard to say what will happen.
Hopefully a final decision will be made by the court in September so Miguel or Jaquan (whichever name he chooses) can get on with being a kid and not a news story.