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Published: Wednesday, 9/29/2010

Couple win delay in battle to keep locally born boy


COLUMBUS - The Ohio Supreme Court granted a temporary reprieve Tuesday to an Indiana couple seeking to adopt a boy born in Lucas County nearly three years ago.

Benjamin Wyrembek of Swanton has been seeking custody of his biological son, Grayson, since learning of his birth in October, 2007, but has been caught up in a legal battle ever since with the child's adoptive parents, Jason and Christy Vaughn of Sellersburg, Ind.

The Vaughns are asking the Ohio Supreme Court to reconsider its July 22 ruling that upheld decisions in the 6th District Court of Appeals and Lucas County Probate Court that dismissed the Vaughns' adoption petition on the grounds that Mr. Wyrembek began his paternity and custody action prior to them filing for adoption.

Lucas County Juvenile Judge Denise Cubbon subsequently ordered the Vaughns to turn Grayson over to Lucas County Children Services by noon Sept. 22 for transfer to Mr. Wyrembek. The couple refused to do so.

The Supreme Court issued an order that placed all lower court decisions on hold "pending resolution of the motion for reconsideration and further order of this court."

Michael Vorhees, attorney for the Vaughns, did not return calls seeking comment.

He asked the Ohio Supreme Court to reverse its earlier ruling in order to preserve the integrity of the adoption process and protect the best interests of the child.

"This child has been in a proper legal adoptive placement since he was just days old," the motion reads. "The child is integrated into [the Vaughns'] family. If the law had been followed and the clear Ohio statutory provisions appropriately applied, this adoption process would have concluded expeditiously in the Probate Court two years ago."

Mr. Wyrembek's attorney, Alan Lehenbauer, also could not be reached for comment. In a memo opposing the Vaughns' motion for reconsideration, he told the court Mr. Wyrembek "did everything legally possible to establish he was the child's father."

"The child is no longer available to be adopted," he wrote. "[The Vaughns] are legal strangers to the child. A reconsideration of the underlying judgment would be wholly ineffectual to re-establish the child as available for adoption."

- Jennifer Feehan

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