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Adopted daughter awarded family's millions

new york readpoted trust fund surrogates court

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#1 Hum

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 14:43

A New York appeals court has found in favor of a Chinese teen who was adopted by a wealthy couple and then given up for adoption again, ruling that she is entitled to a portion of her first family's $250 million estate.

In 1996, John and Christine Svenningsen of Westchester, N.Y, adopted a baby girl from China, whom they named Emily Fuqui Svenningsen. Before finalizing the adoption, the couple, who already had four biological children, had one more biological child. Around that same time, John Svenningsen, a party goods magnate, was diagnosed with cancer, according to court documents.

On May 6, 1996, the Svenningsens signed an adoption agreement stating that they would not abandon Emily or "transfer or have [her] re-adopted," and that she would be deemed "a biological child," according to court papers in the case. The agreement also stated that Emily had the right to inherit the estate of her adopted parents, who had established a pair of trusts for their children, as well as one meant solely for Emily.

John Svenningsen died in May, 1997.

In December 2003, Christine brought Emily to The Devereux Glenholme School in Washington, Conn., a boarding school for children with special-needs. According to court papers, her lawyers talked to school administrators about putting Emily up for adoption; the school's assistant executive director, Maryann Campbell, and her husband, Fred Cass, expressed interest in adopting Emily.

On December 16, 2004, Christine voluntarily surrendered custody of Emily to Spence-Chapin Services to Families and Children, an adoption agency in New York. On May 18, 2006, Campbell and Cass formally adopted Emily.

According to court papers, neither Campbell nor Cass had any knowledge of the terms of Emily's will or trusts, but eventually they learned that John Svenningsen had arranged to provide for Emily's educational and medical needs. They were sent a letter by Christine's lawyers stating that Emily's trusts totaled $842,397.

But later, they discovered that a federal tax return valued Svenningsen's estate at more than $250 million. The couple sued on behalf of Emily for a new accounting, but Christine claimed that Emily no longer had any rights to the estate since she was re-adopted. The Westchester County Surrogate's Court disagreed, arguing that John Svenningsen meant to provide for all of his children, both biological and adopted.

Although Christine and her biological children appealed, on Feb. 6, 2013, the Appellate Division's Brooklyn-based Second Department ruled in Emily's favor.

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#2 Simon-

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 14:53

So unexpectedly getting almost a million dollars out of the blue is not enough, have to sue to get more. Is it in the girl with special-needs best interests to get all this money from her previous adoptive parents, or in her new parents best interests, I wonder.

#3 Davo

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 15:03

Good for her. I think it's really terrible that the woman treated her like a second class child after her husband died.

#4 OP Hum

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 15:13

New 'parents' = greedy.

#5 linsook

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 16:03

So unexpectedly getting almost a million dollars out of the blue is not enough, have to sue to get more. Is it in the girl with special-needs best interests to get all this money from her previous adoptive parents, or in her new parents best interests, I wonder.


New 'parents' = greedy.


Well, the new adopted parents can't touch the money. The money is to be held in trust until the children reach 40, that is explicit in the will according to court documents. I'm pretty sure John Svenningsen intended for the money to go solely to his children's benefit, including Emily and that Emily's new adopted parents cannot benefit directly from the trust until she is at the age of 40 at which time she can give it voluntarily. I guess the only thing it helps them with is medical bills and her education. So if anything, the new adopted parents fought solely for the benefit of Emily.

#6 spacer

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 16:10

So how much did Emily end up getting?

#7 Simon-

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 16:17

Well, the new adopted parents can't touch the money. The money is to be held in trust until the children reach 40, that is explicit in the will according to court documents. I'm pretty sure John Svenningsen intended for the money to go solely to his children's benefit, including Emily and that Emily's new adopted parents cannot benefit directly from the trust until she is at the age of 40 at which time she can give it voluntarily. I guess the only thing it helps them with is medical bills and her education. So if anything, the new adopted parents fought solely for the benefit of Emily.


Only 26 more years until they can cash out by manipulating their daughter into giving it into them. She has special-needs, I don't know to what extent, so she might not be able to think for herself. Not a long time for a $40 million or so payout. Meanwhile, they could rack up huge loans before then, knowing that they will be able to pay it back when their daughter is 40.

#8 linsook

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 16:20

So how much did Emily end up getting?


pretty close to $250 million/6 I would assume.

Only 26 more years until they can cash out by manipulating their daughter into giving it into them. She has special-needs, I don't know to what extent, so she might not be able to think for herself. Not a long time for a $40 million or so payout. Meanwhile, they could rack up huge loans before then, knowing that they will be able to pay it back when their daughter is 40.


She was diagnosed with reactive attachment disorder, which her new adopted parents don't agree with. I don't think they will be able to manipulate her. Still fully functional if she has it. If I understand the disorder correctly, if she does indeed have it, she would be even less inclined to share it with anyone.

#9 Davo

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 17:42

Unfortunately for that bitch of a wife, you can't treat kids, even adopted ones, like something you could trade in at Gamestop.

#10 +techbeck

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 18:10

Good, glad Emily got the money. If the father was still alive, I am sure she wouldnt of been readopted and he would be caring for her like he said. I dont think the new parents are greedy at all. Emily is a special needs person and that costs money. It isnt cheap. If the money goes to care or Emily, then there is no problem in my eyes.

#11 LaP

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 18:16

So unexpectedly getting almost a million dollars out of the blue is not enough, have to sue to get more. Is it in the girl with special-needs best interests to get all this money from her previous adoptive parents, or in her new parents best interests, I wonder.


If she will be unable to find a job with a good salary because of her "special-needs" then yes it is totally in her best interest as 800 000 is not a lot of money considering the inflation.

Anyway from what i understand it was the will of the father.

#12 Growled

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 02:10

It seems to me that once you adopt you can't un-adopt. It should be legally binding.