Same-sex couple denied custody of child they raised since birth

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - An Overland Park couple fought for nearly a year to regain custody of a child they raised and planned to adopt.

Shyla was Mike Parsons's and Brian Davis’s bundle of joy. The two were even in the delivery room when she was born.

After everything, the two lost custody, and they suspect it was because they are gay.

At a custody hearing last year, Shyla’s biological mother, April Ramon, fought to give the two custody.

“It means the world to me, I want her happy and safe and in a place where she's loved and cherished and Mike and Brian give that to her,” Ramon said.

Piles of papers in the couple’s home show the documented home studies, letters and hearings all in order to adopt Shyla. However, when the couple moved across the state line from Missouri to Kansas, plans turned south.

“I do feel like we were treated differently ... when [the social worker] came out and did that home study, he was very fake with us and went back and wrote that letter and lied to us,” explained Davis.

In part because of that home visit, nearly a year later, a judge denied granting the couple custody of Shyla. They said the judge cited “the law” and instead gave Shyla’s grandparents custody of the now 2-year-old.

The law prefers to place children in homes with siblings or relatives; however, Shyla’s five other siblings are also in foster homes.

Davis said, “In the end, nothing. I agree, it's a witch hunt, really.”

This, despite a record number of Kansas children in foster care.

“That's what drives me insane, they waste time, like on this instance, where there was no issue. She was very well cared for, never missed a doctor’s appointment, Brian and I showed up at every court date, every FST meeting, every staffing, every everything,” Parsons said.

An audit is underway into the Kansas Department of Children and Families. But for Parsons and Davis, nothing will ever bring Shyla back.

The two say they have given up on any plans to try and adopt again.

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Shannon Halligan can be reached at shannon.halligan@kshb.com.

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