Whose Child Is This? - The Fight for Baby Jessica Deboer/Anna Schmidt Adoption Case

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From the Begining

I watched the true movie called Who's Child Is This? The War for Baby Jessica.

After watching it I had quite mixed emotions. On the one hand I cried when I saw the little girl being taken away from all that she knows but I also felt for the birth mother who was fighting to get her baby back.

I started to research the real story behind the film. We all know films are never totally honest with the facts after all that is not what makes the ratings. Here is what I discovered while researching this case.

Robbie Deboer got an infection while on her honeymoon which resulted in her having to have a hysterectomy. This was obviously very traumatic for Robbie as it meant she would never be able to become pregnant.

Later, Robbie heard from friends in Iowa that a woman named Cara was pregnant. Robbie was told that Cara didn't want the baby and so Robbie and her husband Jan began proceedings to adopt the baby from birth.

On February 8th 1991, Cara gave birth to a baby girl. Delighted by the news, Robbie along with her mother drove up to Iowa to see the baby and start the adoption ball rolling.

Robbie received signed parental release forms from both Cara and the baby's apparent father Scott. The Deboer's were ecstatic as they finally had the baby they always wanted. The Deboer's called their new baby Jessica.

A few days after bringing baby Jessica home they received a letter from birth mother Cara which read,

"I know you will treasure her and surround her with love, god bless you all."

However just days after receiving this letter it all started to go very wrong.


The Fight For Baby Jessica Begins

Cara, who was 25 at the time of the birth, had lied about who the baby's father was. Cara had originally said it was a man named Scott but the father of baby Jessica was actually her ex- boyfriend Dan Schmidt.

After giving her baby to the Deboer's, Cara went to see Dan and told him what had happened. Cara had already been having second thoughts about her decision when she went to a support group for birth parents and heard the hurt other mothers felt after giving up their children.

So on March 6th 1991 when Jessica was just under three weeks old, Cara filed a motion to get her daughter back. A week later Dan also filed a motion to get his baby back. Believing her Daughter would be returning to her a hopeful Cara went shopping for baby things.

Meanwhile the Deboer's were in complete shock. They believed they had done everything right. They had signed all the relevant forms and thought Jessica was officially their daughter only to discover that they may lose the baby they had already bonded with.

Before a decision could be made the courts had to first prove that Dan Schmidt was in fact baby Jessica's real father. However the paternity test results took six months to come back meaning The Deboer's bonded more with Jessica.

In the meantime, birth mother Cara missed out on more of her daughter's life. A lot of people say that the Deboer's should have given Jessica back to her mother at the very start. However, by law the court could have placed Jessica into foster care until the paternity test results came back in. Surely neither party wanted that for the baby girl.

When the test results proved that Dan Schmidt was indeed the baby's father the whole adoption case was voided because Dan had never signed a release form. On the 27th December 1991 the Deboer's were ordered by the Iowa court to hand baby Jessica back to her natural parents.

It didn't stop there though. Instead of handing Jessica over while she was still a baby the Deboer's decided to fight to keep Jessica. In doing so they were legally allowed to keep Jessica while the appeals proceeded.

The Deboer's argued that Dan was not a fit father as he already had two children that he doesn't see. The Deboer's couldn't understand why Dan all of a sudden wanted to be a father to Jessica.

In January 1992 Iowa heard the supreme case but the appeals dragged on for months. During this time Dan and Cara got married and just wanted their baby girl home.

When the case went forward, Iowa court upheld the lower court hearing stating that although Dan Schmidt's fitness as a parent was questionable and the court was tempted to leave Jessica with the Deboer's for the sake of the child, Dan's rights had priority over Jessica's and so the child must be handed back to the Schmidt's with immediate effect.

Despite the ruling the Deboer's still refused to give baby Jessica back and moved their case to Michigan where they won their first victory.


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Jessica is Returned

In February 1993 when Jessica was two years old, the Michigan Court ruled that Jessica should stay where she was as they believed moving her from the only parents she had ever known would have a terrible effect on her. The Judge then told the Schmidt's that if they gave Jessica up they would become heroes, sacrificing their hearts desire for their child's well-being. However the Schmidt's declined to give up the fight for their little girl and in March 1993 the state appeals court threw out the Michigan Judges ruling.

The Court stated that the Deboer's had no right to ignore the first Iowa ruling which was already in place. On July 1st 1993 the state's highest court confirmed that Jessica would be returned to the Schmidt's in a month.

During the court battles, Cara Schmidt had given birth to her second baby girl Chloe. The Schmidt's said that when Jessica returns to them her name would be changed to Anna Lee Jacqueline clausen Schmidt. Some people argued that changing the little girl's name at 2 and a half years old would be very confusing and upsetting for her. However the Schmidt's argued that Anna was always the name mother Cara wanted for her little girl and they didn't like the name Jessica.

The Schmidt's went to visit Jessica at the Deboer's eight times before she was handed back. Little Jessica was last seen screaming and crying when she was taken from her adoptive parents home.

The Deboer's were the only family and home that Jessica had ever known at that time. Just six months later and now back with her birth parents and baby sister Chloe, Jessica seemed very healthy and happy.

This was a far cry from what the courts and the Deboer's said would happen to this little girl if she was returned to her natural parents.


Anna Today

Anna Schmidt now 19 is doing really well. She is living with her Mum Cara and partner and her younger sister Chloe.

Anna still sees her father Dan on a regular basis. Anna says she has no memories of her time with the Deboer's and feels angry towards them for what she calls, "legally kidnapping her."

Anna believes that the Deboer's caused her birth parents to miss out on her baby years. To this day the Schmidt's still don't have any baby photos of their daughter as they are all owned by the Deboer's.

Anna says she has no wish to contact the Deboers and finds it creepy that Jan Deboer keeps a portrait of her on his mantelpiece.

Anna's mother Cara said the day the nation saw Anna crying when she was being taken from the Deboer's home was because they had cruelly kept her little girl up all night and panicked her about all the cameramen outside. Cara says she will never forgive them for that.

After Jessica (Anna) was returned to her natural parents the Deboer's adopted a little boy named Casey. However, the upset of no longer having Jessica in their lives coupled with the strain that the court and media battles caused, they got Divorced. The Deboer's later remarried but then divorced each other again and now remain separated.

Should the Deboer's have handed Jessica back at the begining?

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Robby DeBoer Interview (@TS Show)

Final Thought


So there is the story that kept everyone griped and every adoptive parent panicking that their child could too be taken away from them.

But who really is at fault here? The Deboer's just wanted to adopt a baby. They were just trying to love Jessica and give her a good home. Should they have given her back at the start?

I would have said yes until I read the court news and found that a judge had clearly stated, if the Deboer's had decided to give Jessica back, then she would have probably remained in foster care until Dan Schmidt's paternity results were in.

Why would they want to unsettle the poor girl further? On the other hand they could have given Jessica back when the results were first in. The Deboer's were ordered to give Jessica back to her birth parents but instead of giving her back they carried on fighting it. Should they really be criticized for this? Don't we all fight for what we love?

I also felt for the birth parents. Cara was depressed and she had no legal representation when dealing with the private adoption. Cara said that she didn't want to shame her family as the neighbours were very judgemental where she lived.

But then there is Dan who didn't even know he was the father. Dan never even got the chance to stop the adoption going through until baby Jessica was already two weeks old.

As soon as Dan found out the truth, he tried to put a stop to the adoption straight away. Cara however had the option but she chose to lie about the father and have her baby adopted to stop the neighbours talking about her. She gave the Deboer's her baby and later sent them a letter, writing "I know you will take good care of my baby girl."

However Cara eventually changed her mind and chose to take her daughter back from the Deboer's. She was a Mum who yearned for her baby and wanted her back.

There will always be wrongs on both sides but I think the real victim here is of course the child, Anna Schmidt (Baby Jessica).

Despite Anna's traumatic start in life and being in the middle of an emotional game of tug of war; I hope Anna can find true happiness now.



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Comments 43 comments

lisa cooper 4 years ago

i know the truth about this case, as my family was close friends with dan and clara's lawyer. clara (birth mother) attempted to stop the adoption five days after giving birth. iowa law states that no adoption can be finalized and no physical placement of the child can occur before a thirty day waiting period, precisely to allow the birth parents time to change their minds or for other legal issues to be resolved. the deboer's were in violation of the law when they took physical custody of the child before the thirty day waiting period. when the deboer's then crossed state lines and fled to michigan, a warrant for their arrest was issued on kidnapping charges. had they ever set foot in iowa, they would have been arrested. this was a legal travesty from the beginning. the deboer's and their lawyers knew from the outset they had no legal right to the child and could never win custody based on the law. so they waged media war and threw 'sand in the gears' of the legal proceedings hoping these tactics would delay things until it appeared the child was so old they would somehow win their case. of course there was never any possibility they would be allowed to keep the child. in the meantime, the media's continued campaign of misinformation, lies, and character assassination of the schmidts played out to become one of the worst assaults on a family in american history. the deboers and their legal team should be seen and recorded in the halls of shame. what they perpetrated was apalling.


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zoey24 4 years ago from South England Author

Thank you for your comment Lisa, i found the whole case very interesting. And there certainly appeared to be a lot of wrong doing. By not giving her back when Iowa first made that ruling, they were just making it harder on everyone. The Deboer's were only prolonging their own hurt by bonding more with the child, and hurting Dan and Cara by missing out on their babies life. But most of all i felt so sad for little Anna, who was stuck in the middle of a very public battle.


J Dorrust 4 years ago

If the person ( Lisa Cooper ) REALYY knew the TRUE facts of this story....WHY was the BIRTH MOM's name spelled WRONG ( CLARA instead of CARA ? ) hmmmm seems to me if "Liss" truly knew every fact....wouldn't she have gotten "Birth mommy's" name right ?

I was disgusted with the story....Cara Clausen was a complete liar....she knew it the day she signed the papers, and the sadness I feel for the DeBoers is most likely felt around the world....


Jalissa 4 years ago

I'm happy that Cara got her baby back and living with them


Bridget 4 years ago

I don't know why no one saw the red flags with Dan Schmidt in regards to him abandoning son Travis and other daughter Amanda. Even a psychologist said she had vast reservations about him as a parent to Anna and Chloe and as a husband to Cara.


Helen 4 years ago

Anybody who thinks a 3 year old won't suffer lasting psychological trauma from being taken from her home and parents and given to strangers has got to be in serious denial or else extremely stupid. Supposedly Anna is happy and well adjusted now, ahh huh...I'm sure she is. Nobody claims that she can't have a reasonable, normal life, but trauma and after effects are a given.


michelle 4 years ago

I find this story to be so disturbing. My husband and I are using an angenct herre in Florida that has been arounf for over 100 years. We went with a smaller agency because we didn't want to deal with flip floppers and stuff like that. It can happen at any agency (birth mothers wanting their child back), but that doesn't make it right. My husband and i agreed to pay this birth mother living expenses, traveled over 9 hours each way to meet her and everything. She often called the case worker to see how were doing and even sent hand written notes. We just knew that everything would go well. There were some problems with the birth father not signing, but he was notified and had knowledge of the adotpion plan. She seemed to be onboard with everything.....She signed all documents and the baby left the hospital with us.....we got a call 2 days later that she wanted her baby back.....ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!! We have a nursery, baby shower planned, family and friends excited....this is our baby girl and we did everything right. We won't even discuss the fact that we put you in an apratments and were prepared to pay your living expenses for the next 3 month (1 of the 3 months had already been paid). We are heartbroken to say the least....Our agencys attorney has decided to fight the case on our behalf. When people decide to adopt it's not just a fly the the pants decision. It's expensive and heart wrenching. There needs to e more certanity in place for adoptive parents. I have seen the effects on birth mothers. I had a friend in highschool that placed two of her children for adoption while we were in highschool. But, there has to be some protection for adoptive parents.


JJ 3 years ago

I remember this well. I had a one year old son and this case destroyed me. Along with the Baby Richard case. My heart broke for the adoptive parents in both cases.....not to much for the others.....if you don't want your child at some point then why would you be trusted to do the right thing in the future?


KMR70 3 years ago

Michelle, I find your comments unsettling. I understand you are longing to adopt but you have to realize that no woman owes you her child even if you paid for living expenses. Expecting the birth mother to relinquish because of this would be you buying the baby and that is not legal in any state in the US. Put yourself in the baby's mother's position..YOU are longing to parent and YOU are very hurt about your potential birth mother changing her mind and choosing to parent HER own child. Imagine being that woman and having the child taken from her arms after bonding with your child who has been a part of you for 40 weeks. Imagine being told thanks for all of your suffering but now we are taking the baby home and you can get on with your life. Think about how much you hurt right now and multiply that pain by 1000 that is what a birth mother feels. The fact that you used the term "flip floppers" is also of a concern to me, no woman or girl is of any obligation to provide a newborn to an infertile couple. I am sorry you are most likely unable to conceive and/or carry your own baby but you have to realize that unless a woman is abusing or neglecting her child every child belongs with their mother. If you long to parent then maybe you should look into fostering or adopting an older child who needs the love and attention of a family just as much if not more than a newborn whom you will provide a false birth certificate for and deny them the family they are born to. I hope your situation works out for you in some way..but you seriously need to rethink your opinions about birthmothers


Bridget 3 years ago

I also feel sorry for Amanda, the older half sister of Anna and Chloe. After son Travis became a toddler, Dan had an affair with a woman and his oldest daughter Amanda was born. Dan found out about her when she was 5. He never pursued a relationship with her or gave her support in the way of money. I am sure that this girl's feelings were hurt when she saw Dan playing with her small half sisters and reading about the relationship he had with her older half brother. I am sure she thought, "What's wrong with me that my father doesn't want to spend time with me? Sure, Anna and Chloe are cute, but I need a father too!"


Kali 3 years ago

Really? She finds it creepy that the man that raised and loved her for the first 2 1/2 years of her, only to have her snatched from him, would want to keep a portrait of her displayed to remember her by? Certainly that can't be true, and if it is, she is truly heartless. It is not like these people kidnapped her- her mother gave her up for adoption.


Heartbreak for ALL 3 years ago

I agree in any other situation this would be heartless of her to have said such a statement. But you have to realize for Anna who likely has little to no memory at this point of her time with the Debore's.

At this point most of her memories are what has been told to her by her parents Cara and Dan - This is the patients that have raised her. Of course she is going to be loyal to her parents as anyone one rightful be.

Her parents understandable are bitter - Although she was out up for adoption, Cara changed her mind and could not go through with it.

They expected to get her back and it took 1/2 years to do so. So they lost a very long time of their child growing up that they could never get back.

The Debore's gre to love this child in there home, as anyone would. Most people fall in love with a child the moment they set eyes on them.

In this case a childless couple who wanted a child so bad and though their dreams had come true, so of course they bonded right away. They had finally had a child.

I think there are NO winners in the situation. I blame the legal system that this mess dragged on for so long.

The Debores - lost their child - no matter how you look at it.

The Schmidts lost 1/2 years of their childs life that can never get back.

Anna had to make adjustments at a very young age, tsill has no pictures

of her early years.

Loves her parents natuarlly. and even if she was curious to meet the Debores likley feels she woul betray her parents to do so.

Such a heartbreaking story for all....


Bridget 3 years ago

I know it is kind of shallow, but I think the DeBoers were better looking and much classier than the homely Schmidts! Anna was a pretty little girl and I wondered how two repulsive looking people could have had two beautiful children, Anna and Chloe! I think of the Xmas card with Santa Claus and his reindeer in the sleigh and they are perched on an outhouse. Santa's yelling, "Rudolph, you idiot, I said the 'Schmidt house'!". Plus, I think the name Anna Lee Jacqueline Clausen Schmidt is too much of a mouthful for a kid!


Bridget 3 years ago

I think neither name suited this child very well! To me, she looked like a Leah, a Julia, or a Lily! I think Julia Rhiannon would have been better than Jessica Anne or the trashy Anna Lee Jacqueline when everyone on the planet knows Anna goes better with Marie!


Davina 3 years ago

I remember this story vividly and my family followed it throughout. From the beginning I hoped for the adoptive parents to be allowed to keep Jessica. These were two people who simply put, did nothing wrong. They just wanted a baby and thought that they were following the letter of the law. Would you have placed your child in foster care while awaiting a paternity test? And like in the case of "Baby Richard" I've often wondered why these birth mothers were not prosecuted for willing naming another man as the infants father? How is this not some form of perjury or fraud? The sheer hell they created all because they knowing and willingly lied! They did this to their own flesh and blood and then our courts reward these women with custody with no penalty whatsoever...something is very wrong here.


Bridget 3 years ago

Davina, you're right! I feel sorry for Cara's fiancé Scott because she was cheating on him with that behemoth, Dan Schmidt! This guy thinks his wife-to-be is loyal to him and then she gets pregnant by another guy! Not to mention that Dan threw Scott against the glass window in his rig! If Scott was killed, Dan would be sent to prison. Cara is a lying slut and Dan is someone with anger issues and I feared for Anna when she was sent back to him! I thought if she made him angry or did some stupid kid thing, he would rip her hide off! I do think that Cara was probably ashamed of who she slept with when she ended up pregnant with Anna. I know if people lie in court they are charged with perjury. I think she was rewarded for being dishonest.


SueAnne 2 years ago

I have the book Robby wrote. I still feel that the Schmidt did wrong, and Jessica /Anna paid for it. They lied to that child who is now an adult. I read a comment about about Cara and her "partner" ? Is Cara gay?

The DeBoers should have been allowed to keep Jessica, they did nothing wrong. If you read the book, they waited until it was time to take the baby to Michigan etc. The Schmidts were the wrong-doers here...Jessica, it would be a lot better for you to see the DeBoers, so that you can learn the real truth, as you have obviously been lied to. I also disagreed with the fact that the book Robby wrote was given to Anna /Jessica as a CHILD...to read ? Why ? To ensure hatred.....? Why does Anna think it's "creepy" that Jan DeBoer has a painting of her hanging in his apartment ? Get real Anna / Jessica, that man RAISED you for 2 yrs...while your lying schemer parents went about their business. Does anyone remember the expenses that the DeBoers paid for Cara ? I doubt it, and if so, did the Schmidts have to pay the bills that Cara rang up when Baby Jessica was born ?

The reason for the long name given to Anna was because they wanted to honor the lawyer that helped them....and her first name was Jacqueline, in case anyone wanted to know.


LFORD 2 years ago

KMR70 I find it disturbing that someone who accepts money for all their living and medical expenses from a prospective adoption couple only to change their mind after birth. One this is selling your child (illegal)and two it is fraud among other things. There should serious consequences for these mothers and or parents who take advantage of prospective adoptive parents only to change their minds. Not only should they fully payback all monies accepted they should be financially made to pay restitution for emotional distress.


Bridget 2 years ago

SueAnne, I look at Cara and I think she could swing either way in terms of sexuality! She's not a lesbian and is probably bisexual. I think Robby wrote the book about Jessica out of love and it was therapeutic for her because it doesn't do a person any good to let bad feelings fester. I think Cara and Dan thought her book was a joke and they wanted Anna to join the bandwagon! I saw the painting of Jessica-Anna and thought it was lovely and a fitting tribute. Jan obviously adored her and he wanted a remembrance of her. As for the name Anna Lee, Quagmire on "Family Guy" has a daughter named Anna Lee and her nickname is Anal. I do think Jacqueline is classy and it makes me think of Jacqueline Lee Kennedy. As I said before, Lily, Megan, or Julia would have suited this girl better than Anna Lee Jacqueline Clausen Schmidt which is quite a lot to write down and when she gets married and wants to keep all that plus her husband's last name, oh good lord!


Jojo 2 years ago

I know the family, Anna is 23, Cara and Anna don't have a relationship right now, because Anna is an exceed and other drug addict! Wonder what made her ths way? Was is the way Dan was or was it due to the trama of the adoption? I feel bad for Anna she won't have a good life, but Chloe seems to be doing alright in life!


Ginny Hudson 2 years ago

Everyone talks about "their" rights to Jessica. What about Jessica's rights? Taking her from the only parents and home she ever knew was cruel. Cara gave her up, lied about who her father was; therefore, in my mind Jessica's "rights" trump theirs.


Robin 14 months ago

How is Anna now? Is she still on drugs?


Guest 3 11 months ago

Well,Well....so Cara & Dan Schmidt did a great job raising Anna ? I don't think so. Think about it....it was so much more cruel to put Anna BACK with her bio parents rather than leave her in a home that she knew from a few wks old. Dan and Cara were the best people in the world to start with. I couldn't believe how the courts acted...knowing full well how many children Dan had abandoned prior to Anna.

Then Dan & Cara set about teaching Anna to hate the DeBoers....good parenting technique! The Schmidts ( even though they are divorced how ) make me sick !

In closing....has anyone ever heard how the little boy the DeBoers adopted after losing Jessica is doing ? Of course he isn't a "little boy" any more, he is a young man. I have tried to find out about him...but can't. any info would be helpful !


Guest 3 11 months ago

Not only was she arrested once....she was arrested twice...!!! Did anyone else catch this fact, that Anna Schmidt has been arrested twice ? ( Once in April 2014 and once in May 2014.......Yup, she sure had a great home life. I really think had she been left with the DeBoer's her life would have turned out so much better.

BTW.....in the 1st comment I posted I mean to say the Dan & Cara Schmidt WEREN'T the BEST PARENTS to start with....


Kit 11 months ago

Plenty of young adults go off the rails a bit at some point without it being the fault of their parents or upbringing. However I've always felt a bit sceptical about claims that Anna adjusted perfectly to a completely new environment, identity and family at such a vulnerable age. There has been a lot of research that would suggest that a child removed from his/her psychological parents at this age might well appear to be 'fine' but in reality be internalising profound distress and grief (see for example www.thechildrenwerefine.co.uk).

Neither side of this case was perfect, but I was struck by Robby deBoer's admission in her book that she was told by her lawyer, after the court ruling in December 1991, that her chances of keeping custody of Jessica (as she was known then) were less than 10%. The deBoers chose to keep fighting anyway, knowing that they were almost certainly just prolonging the inevitable. In doing so, they contributed to the very situation they were criticising. Conversely, the Schmidts had the law on their side but in some ways a weaker moral case; Cara Schmidt was ultimately rewarded for her fraud on the court, and Dan Schmidt allowed to assert his parental rights despite having previously abandoned two other children and feigned ignorance of the possibility that Anna might be his daughter until it suited him to do otherwise.

Anna Schmidt was the innocent victim in all this; the legal system should not have made it possible for this fight to last as long as it did, particularly with no visitation from the Schmidts. If only the courts had ordered that the Schmidts should be allowed to.see her regularly while the case was decided, the whole issue of sending a child to live with 'strangers' could have been avoided.


Cathy 8 months ago

I remember this case long ago, and people wonder why others don't adopt. The USA is a nightmare for adoption and the biological parents taught their daughter, Anna Schmidt, how to hate the people who wanted her. Very sad and sick.


Kit 8 months ago

I've seen a few comments to the effect that the Schmidts taught their daughter to hate the DeBoers, but I don't think there is really any evidence of this. The Schmidts gave very few interviews after the case was finally settled - as far as I'm aware the last one was when Anna Schmidt was only ten or eleven. Since then there has been nothing in the public domain apart from a few comments made online by people claiming to have some kind of connection with the family. So it isn't really clear that Anna Schmidt does hate the DeBoers, or if she does then how she reached that position. She must be in her twenties by now, so will be more than capable of deciding for herself how she feels about the case.

In an interview they gave a few months after taking Anna home, the Schmidts were filmed talking to Anna about the DeBoers and 'the house on Pear Street' and telling her it was ok that she missed the DeBoers sometimes. In a later interview, Anna was seen looking through a copy of Robby DeBoer's book. So it seems that actually the Schmidts did try to help their daughter understand what happened. Obviously they felt that the DeBoers should have given Anna back much earlier in the proceedings, and presumably at some stage Anna would have become aware of that. But it doesn't follow that she would go through her life thinking about the case exactly the way her parents did. She could read any number of articles about the case if she wanted to, as well as reading the book, watching the film or even reading some of the court judgments. it isn't as though her parents are her only source of information about what happened and why.

In some ways I actually think it would be a good thing if Anna did grow up thinking the DeBoers were in the wrong. What that would suggest to me is that she felt secure in her identity and her family, and therefore resented the idea that anyone tried to keep her from that life. Ultimately if she feels that it was right that she be returned to her biological parents, then the DeBoers were indeed wrong to argue that it was in her best interest to stay with them. The whole basis of their argument was that she thought of them as her parents and wouldn't be able to build the same attachment with the Schmidts.


Amanda Schlicht 7 months ago

I'm not when see hell your father put her through and still has no content with you. Yes I'm one of two older children he had no contact with and still don't


Deanna 7 months ago

I was back in the UM law school today. This is the place I first met Jessica as I know her. Couldn't help but look her up. SO sorry to see all this.


Cigi 6 months ago

Amanda.....you are way to "old" to be writing like this.....you're not 10.


Kit 5 months ago

If complete strangers find this case interesting enough to debate over 20 years after it was resolved, I don't think we can criticise people who were actually involved if they still feel affected by it. It must have been very hard for Dan Schmidt's existing children to see how hard he fought for Anna.


Cathy Probst 3 months ago

These sad situations will continue as long as people don't respect themselves and prospective partners enough to use precautions unless they both feel they are ready to be parents. Then they expect to be able to make their problems into everyone else's problems! There are people who not only want to end unethical adoption(so do I!) but they want to end ALL adoption. Those who advocate this last should do an extensive study of the social, legal and cultural histories of the world. Throughout most of history and indeed, throughout much of today's world, (like Asia) a child's status in society, indeed his very intrinsic worth , are determined solely by the marital status of his biological parents. No father...no worth. And in so many societies, because "blood" is worshipped as "everything," anyone without those ties is refuse, to be killed, sold, thrown to the street, or turned into some household servant. Is that the world to which we aspire to returning? If so, there will be an awful lot of the very young...and the very old, since they are a "burden,", left to a life of hell, or to dying in the streets.


lisawilli2620@gmail.com 2 months ago

Please can someone tell me which website I can watch the movie

whose child is this? The war for baby Jessica. I have looked everywhere I am sure it is somewhere out there to watch.

Thank you so much!


Nightskies Aurora 2 months ago

I remember this case well, as my parents had a similar experience back in 93 in Iowa.

In 1983 baby Bryce was born in Iowa to a prostitute, thief, extortionist, etc.

Her pimp was the baby's father.

Right after the baby was born, the mother dropped him off with me. I was 14. My parents worked 3rd shift so I had the baby to myself "for a couple hours".

I knew nothing about changing a diaper, mixing formula, or taking care of a newborn.

The mother did not come back for 5 days.

She left the baby in our care. Then later got into trouble with burglary, running a teenage prostitution ring, taking her son away from our home when he was 2, and selling him black market for $10,000 in Texas.

She went to prison. We found the boy. And thru lawyers were able to bring him home 6 months later wearing the same clothes and shoes he left in.

He had suffered.

While his mother was in prison she promised to sign him over to us in adoption papers.

The father said he wanted us to raise Bryce.

When Bryce was in Kindergarten she was released.

While she was in prison she claimed a guard raped her, he didn't, but later he committed suicide. She continued extorting people in prison.

She rarely sent Bryce anything of the Mommy loves you nature.

She rarely mentioned him at all except promising adoption.

When she was released Bryce didn't know her. He didn't want to be with her. He begged me to hide him somewhere as I was 19 then and he had been to my apartment in another city.

I told him that we would get in trouble. He grabbed me and cried so much. And so did I. I was his big sister and his hero.

She went to the lawyer knowing that unwed mothers get huge benefits in Iowa. A free apartment, healthcare, food stamps, government money, etc.

She saw him as a cash cow.

It wasn't about love.

What kind of mom sells her child?

We lost him and the same words were used that the DeBoers heard

"It is in the best interest of the child".

He was taken from our home.

My parents soon after split up and divorced.

It personally has effected me to this day.

No family Thanksgivings

No Christmases

No family get together.

My dad lives in southern Iowa pretty much staying in a bedroom watching TV alone

My mom walks with a walker near Waterloo with health issues.

I'm just simply bitter and angry.

And sweet Bryce. How was this best for him?

By age 11 he set a fire and burned a house down.

He got a little cash cow, err emm brother that he had to raise so his mother could whore around and hang out with criminals and land in jail again.

Did we get our boy back?

Oh heck no.

The state felt it best he stay with his step father who was his mothers Jon at one time.

His step father resented and abused him.

Bryce to this day is in and out of jail. Mostly for theft. Guess who he learned it from? I guess it was in his best interest, rather than to continue living with us, being a bright student, and a happy little boy with a normal family.

I cried over Anna/Jessica.

I knew how she must have felt, and probably continues to feel.

PTSD likely. Being Baby Jessica for the rest of her life.

If she's on drugs its probably to cope.

I hope she contacts her adoptive family.

She will find peace if she does.

I wish I knew her and could be a supportive friend to her.

I wish I could find Bryce between his arrests and be his big sister again.

The State of Iowa needs to re examine what is best for these kids in situations like this.

If there is a stable adopter who has papers stating they have adopted or have had custody for a length of time and the biological parents are unfit, then for Gods sake leave the child in the stable home environment they know and are flourishing in.


Bridget 2 months ago

Guest 3, I think you're right about Anna staying with the DeBoers as Jessica because they would have taught her to keep herself out of trouble and out of prison! I figure Chloe was the upstanding child of the family while Anna was the troubled one! It happens to families. Look at Martin Sheen's son Charlie and the rest of the Sheen/Estevez clan. Every time something goes wrong with that family, it's Charlie's fault! I hope Anna got off the drugs and she stops acting like Dan Schmidt her father whom she looks like and acts like!


Bridget 2 months ago

I did want this case to be like Baby M. Mary Beth Whitehead gave birth to Melissa Elizabeth Stern in 1986 and didn't want to give her to bio father Bill and his wife Betsy. She bonded with her surrogate baby she called Sara Elizabeth Whitehead and ther was a huge custody fight MB lost. The last I heard of Melissa, she divorced MB after seeing her for years and is married to a man in the UK. She is a medical guide writer and has never been in trouble with the law. Mary Beth, on the other hand, married lawyer Dean Gould and they became representatives of this dying millionaire Jack Dreyfus. They fired people Mr. Dreyfus liked, took away the nice furniture and replaced it with old stuff, and the newspapers declared this to be a Brooke Astor kind of fraud on MB &

Dean's part. If Melissa's custody was given to MB, she would have been forced into this fraud! As for Anna, I hope she gets off the drugs and I guess her drug use in genetic because Dan probably had drug problems as a young man too!


Bridget 2 months ago

JoJo, I saw Chloe's college picture and she seems to be doing fine in athletics and is majoring in history. I guess Cara did something right with the raising of her. I just don't get how Anna who seemed to be doing well in school and was a church goer ended up being arrested 3 times? I think getting arrested once would make a person determined not to get arrested again!


Nightskies Aurora 2 months ago

I sure hope she can get things in her life worked out so she can be happy.


Kit 2 months ago

If Chloe Schmidt is 'doing fine', that would suggest that there wasn't anything unfit about the Schmidts as parents. If Anna Schmidt is having difficulties it might be because she has been adversely affected by what she was put through when she was two and a half, or it might be something completely unrelated.


Nightskies Aurora 2 months ago

She needs prayers

She needs to find peace

She needs to feel normal.

I'm sure she gets questions a lot and this stuff brought up to her and I'm sure it drives her crazy.

I wish none of this had happened to her.


Eileen D 2 months ago

The film was so moving I had to search on line to find out what had happened to baby Jessica,Anna. Very sad to read all the reports here. What a waste! I feel the DeBores would have been a much better family for her to live life with! Blood ties".......... The mother was so wrong in giving her up, but she appears to be a liar etc. What a sad sad story.


Terri Shields 2 months ago

I was crushed by this case. I wish they would go public so the world can see how they are doing


Kit 5 weeks ago

I think the Schmidts felt very badly treated by the press at the time (with some justification), so I'm not surprised they've never gone public apart from a couple of interviews when Anna was young.

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