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THE PALM BEACH POST MONDAY, MARCH 30, 1998 6A Adoption agency concealed mother's schizophrenia , J vl J. I, '2, : t' V .v''?.jv.'.- That baby that we were given at that time was not Michael. He became Michael in our home. That was BabyX. And we absolutely would have said no.' PHYLLIS JUMAN ADOPTION From 1A Michael's birth mother's medical history. The Jumans, who live most of the year in Merrick, N.Y., hope their story compels other states to require full disclosure and to allow wrongful adoption suits. But courts in Florida and most states have not recognized wrongful adoption, typically due to a lack of claims. The first one appeared 12 years ago in an Ohio case cited by New York Justice Beverly S. Cohen, in her ruling allowing the Jumans' suit. The Ohio case involved an agency that told adoptive parents that a birth mother lived at home, when actually she was confined to a psychiatric hospital. "In no way do we imply that adoption agencies are guarantors of their placements . . . rather it is the deliberate act of misinforming this couple which deprived them of their right to make a sound parenting decision," the Ohio court wrote in 1986. The closest example of wrongful adoption in Florida ap Juman tamiiy pnoto ADOPTED: The Jumans adopted Michael when he was 5 months old from Louise Wise Services, an agency of the Jewish Federation of New York. ers are at least 10 to 15 times more likely than other children to inherit the disorder. Is ignorance an OK defense? In court papers, Louise Wise Services has argued that the hereditary component of schizophrenia was unclear in 1965. The Jumans contend that the mere knowledge that the birth mother had it would have changed their mind about adopting that baby. "We knew he didn't get sick from his parents or me or the environment he was brought up in," said his sister Maria Juman, 30, of Manhattan. Michael was living in his own apartment, a mile from his parents' home, when he died on March 11, 1994 a month after the court's ruling on wrongful adoption. The cause, according to the medical examiner, was multiple drug intoxication. The Jumans never saw their son's death coming. They said Michael's spirits were high at the time because of the lawsuit, and, though he was prone to depression, he was not at all suicidal. They believe he had a fatal seizure, and the medications took their toll on his body. Michael finally got close to his birth mother at the end. They are buried not far apart in a Long Island cemetery; she died nine months earlier in a Pennsylvania institution. mother held the secret to his illness. He was right. Florence Dayboch had lived in mental wards for years by the time she gave birth to Michael, according to an Oct. 30, 1964, letter from Brooklyn State Hospital to Louise Wise Services: The patient was admitted to this hospital in 1955 with the diagnosis of schizophrenia . . . there was a previous admission to this hospital in 1944 for four years, during which she received a prefrontal lobotomy." Michael's biological father was another patient at the hospital, but his background is unknown, records showed. While the exact cause of schizophrenia is unclear, medical researchers have found that the children of schizophrenic moth .; pi ,;! I . , r after them.' " Mother felt guilty about suing Phyllis Juman said she initially had many problems with filing the suit: How could she and her husband stomach an attack against an agency of the Jewish people? Would suing mean that they regretted having the son they loved so much? And, after all, they couldn't forget that Louise Wise also had given them Michael's younger sister, Maria, in 1968, and she was so precious. The answers weren't easy, but Juman eventually reconciled her concerns. Her rabbi told her that she had every right to seek damages. And a therapist led her to reason that her feelings about regretting her boy were misplaced. "That baby that we were given at that time was not Michael. He Juman family photo. ' HAPPIER TIMES: Marty (left), Maria, Phyllis and Michael; the Ju- ' mans were all smiles in 1991. three vears hefore Michael's death 'i peared in a 1990 case heard in Miami. The court ruled that a Dade County couple could seek to annul an adoption beyond a one-year deadline because the state Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services concealed the full extent of a child's severe psychological problems. Disclosure is selective Today, most states, including Florida, simply require that adoptive parents be told as much background as possible, without giving them the ability to sue for adoption fraud. "The bottom line is that in adoption you are taking a risk," became Michael in our home. That was Baby X. And we abso lutely would have said no," Juman said. "We were 25 years old, we weren't ready for that kind of a challenge. If it was revealed to us, .'j we would say, We 11 wait.' " First 17 years were fine Phyllis and Marty Juman, high school sweethearts from Brooklyn, said they chose Louise i Wise Services because it was one of the city's most prestigious adoption agencies and a part of United Jewish i 4 AppealFederation of New York. They said their preference was r r iv for a healthy, Jewish boy. fVw ( f I i For the first 17 years, they thought they found what they Ham'' asked for: Michael, whose natural "1 - mother was Jewish, turned out to be very bright, athletic, friendly and handsome. His passion in life was baseball, as a player and a fan. He pitched for his high school team and later hurled for C.W. Post College on Long Island. said Charlotte Danciu, a Boca Raton attorney who specializes in adoption law. Bill Pierce, president of the National Council For Adoption, agrees: The problem is, you can't do a warranty on a child. What is known should be shared, but sometimes it's a roll of the dice." Phyllis Juman said her son "got a bad roll of the dice, that's what happened to him." But what happened to Michael Lloyd Juman 's adoptive parents 33 years ago was a gamble they insist they never would have taken if they had known the truth about the birth mother. Instead, the Jumans contend, Louise Wise Services hid the mental illness and created a "fairy tale" about the mother's good health and intelligence, a story that convinced the couple to take home the brown-eyed 5-month-old. They said she wan a scholarship to college, and she didn't," Marty Juman said. "She was a terribly ill person." In court papers, Louise Wise Services has denied the Jumans' allegations, and said the agency wasn't required to reveal psychiatric information at the time of the adoption. Though New York courts didn't impose full disclosure until 1983, the Jumans' case was permitted because the family didn't discover the alleged fraud until 1990. That's when Michael Juman then 25 and living in and out of psychiatric facilities found a cousin who told the Jumans that Michael's mother, Florence Day-boch, had suffered most of her life from mental illness. "My son became enraged," Marty Juman recalled. "He said, We're going to sue these people (the agency); we're going to go During his last year of high school, Michael became depressed and began skipping classes. He told his folks that he felt "a great sadness." 1 ! Michael's mental state wors I i U y ! II i ened after graduation. He heard Detail of Denmark 1000-kroner note. The long-eared squirrel was featured on the note from 1972 to 1986. voices in his head. He slept for days. He thought people were af ter him. He had violent mood swings, and his judgment was so impaired he could no longer ride a bicycle. He suffered endless physical injuries and infections. IRAs FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN HOARDING Consider this: Tax season is Michael saw numerous doctors, got various diagnoses, spent years in and out of psychiatric hospitals, and tried an arsenal of FOR THE FUTURE. 1 i ere. And we've drugs and treatments, including electroshock therapy. He even adopted a puppy. At times, nothing seemed to ease his schizophrenia. At other times, he was quite lucid, never losing his smarts, yearning to get well or desire to find his biologi cal roots. He believed his birth Official's ex-secretary.- got the new tax-free Roth IRA and Education IRA, both of which can be invested in your choice of stocks, mutual funds and CDs. And they come with unlimited investment advice from First Union Brokerage Services, Inc. To find out more of the specifics, visit any First Union location, call 1-800-593-9758 or visit us online at www.firstunion.com I helped in vote scandal She accuses the commission er's closest aides and confidants i hiefofstaffJorgeDeGoti;his father, Jose De Goti; and the commissioner's wife, Esther, and cousin, Lddie Lasseville. "She is a pathological liar," Jorge De Goti said. De los Rios' tale comes after a circuit court ruling that tossed out the November election for mayor, citing extensive voter fraud in Hernandez's district, and an appellate court decision that The woman says she signed a change of address form so she could vote for a Miami commissioner. The Associated Press MIAMI A former secretary for Miami Commissioner Hum-berto Hernandez has admitted she helped cook up a coverup story in Miami's vote fraud scandal, a newspaper reported Sunday. Yarina de los Rios, a 25-year-old political junkie, is awaiting trial on three felony counts of falsifying her address so she could vote for Hernandez. "I will not take a fall for these people." she told Tht Miami Herald. The commissioner has a sect-like following I should know. I was Vtken advantar" of." returned Joe Carollo to office. Im ntmcnn in Mm U bond an J mutual lunj In five hours of conversations recently, de los Rios gave a chro I NOT KO&jrm'NOT BANK GUARANIEDMAY LOSE VALUE N' nological account of her role in the alleged vote fraud scheme. Jose De Goti, she said, brought her a change-of-address card last summer at Hernandez's Coral Gables law office. Hernandez was running for commissioner in District 3. She didn't live there.