Judge puts 'Internet baby' into temporary care
Dutch judge grants child care authorities temporary guardianship of a four-month-old Belgian boy.
ZWOLLE - A Dutch judge Thursday granted child care authorities temporary guardianship of a four-month-old Belgian boy allegedly sold by his parents to a Dutch couple over the Internet.
"The court accepts the request by the Child Care and Protection Board for temporary guardianship of Baby J," judge Willem Miltenburg told reporters at the end of a closed hearing in the north-eastern Dutch town of Zwolle.
He gave no indication when the child would be removed from the custody of the Dutch couple, who he said "had acted in contravention of the rules.
"They took a child from abroad without permission, to absorb into their own family."
The pair, who are unable to have children of their own, made contact with the boy's biological mother after seeing an advertisement on the Internet, and took him a few hours after he was born in a hospital in Ghent, Belgium, in July.
Dutch media have claimed that they paid the child's biological parents between 5,000 and 10,000 euros (6,000 and 12,000 dollars).
The Dutch child care board said it had asked the Youth Care Agency, which will now have guardianship of the boy, to place him in an emergency foster home.
"Subsequently, a final solution can be realised in the interests of the child," it said in a statement.
"Since Baby J is still very young, he has not been able to grow attached to the commissioning parents to such an extent that custodial placement would be detrimental to his development."
The local Youth Care Agency said it was speaking to the Dutch couple after which "a definite solution in the interest of the child will be found," its director Martin Dirksen said in a statement.
As a Dutch newspaper reported Wednesday that the Dutch couple wished to adopt him legally, Belgian television said the boy's biological parents, who have another child, now want him back.
Belgian prosecutors have opened an investigation into the pair giving up their child for adoption without official authorisation, an offence that carries a five-year prison sentence in that country.
Dutch police have also launched an inquiry.