An Oregon couple is fighting to regain custody of their two children, after the state determined they were incapable of caring for them because their low IQ.
“They’re thinking that because we have this disability, we can’t safely parent our children,” the mother, Amy Fabbrini, told KTVZ-TV in a recent interview.
According to court documents, the 31-year-old and her partner Eric Ziegler, 38, have “limited cognitive abilities” that leave them incapable of providing a safe living environment for their children. Psychological evaluations revealed Fabbrini has an IQ of 72, placing her in the category of “extremely low to borderline range of intelligence.” Ziegler scored a 66, which is considered in “mild range of intellectual disability.” The average IQ is between 90 and 110.
“We personally think that IQ shouldn’t have anything to do with it,” Fabbrini said. “As long as you have the abilities of being able to support for your child, being able to care for your child.”
The couple’s battle began four years ago, when the Oregon Department of Human Services took away their first son, Christopher, just four days after his birth. Crime Online reported that Fabbrini didn’t even realize she was pregnant with Christopher until she gave birth—chalking her symptoms up to reoccurring kidney pain. Fabbrini, meanwhile, told KTVZ-TV that the state intervened after a friend who was living with them reported Ziegler was “neglecting” the child and not “picking up on his cues.”
In February, history repeated itself when Fabbrini gave birth to the couple’s second child, Hunter, and the infant was removed from their care before even being discharged from the hospital.
While Fabbrini and Zeigler’s intelligence has publicly been cited as a factor in the custody battle, DHS said it cannot comment on specific cases. It did note, however, that IQ cannot be the only factor for removing children from a home. Reports suggest that the testimony of Fabbrini’s father—who, along with his late wife, raised twin sons she had from a previous relationship—has likely played a role in the case.
“She doesn’t have the instincts to be a mother,” Raymond Fabbrini, 74, said of his daughter.
Prior to DHS getting involved, he had apparently encouraged her to give Christopher up for adoption, but she refused. Additionally, the Oregonian obtained child welfare records from the couple that state Ziegler had been found sleeping with the baby on the floor and almost rolled over on him. There were also reports that Eric is easily frustrated and often forgets to feed his dog.
All the while, Fabbrini and Ziegler maintain that they have fully complied with all the state requirements for parenting, CPR, and nutrition courses, but their boys remain in foster care and available for adoption.
Sherrene Hagenbach, a former Child Protective Services volunteer who oversaw home visits with the couple, is now fighting on their behalf.
“I never saw anything that was alarming to me, at any point,” she told KTVZ-TV. “They’re very proactive. They have done so much more than what they have been asked to do.”
Hagenbach claims DHS relieved her of her services after she determined Fabbrini and Ziegler to be fit parents. In her opinion, the state’s logic that the children will have a better life in foster care is fundamentally flawed.
“They’re saying that this foster care provider is better for the child because she can provide more financially, provide better education, things like that,” she explained. “If we’re going to get on that train, Bill Gates should take my children. There’s always somebody better than us, so it’s a very dangerous position to be in.”
With the case dragging on in court, Fabbrini lamented that she feels like she and Ziegler have reached a frustrating dead end.
“We’ve just done everything and more than what they’ve asked us to,” she said. “It doesn’t seem like it’s good enough for them.”
(H/T: Crime Online)