On January 29th, inside a northwest Houston UPS store, the mother of a one-year-old boy made the biggest decision of his young life, relinquishing her parental rights to a private adoption agency with the stroke of a pen.
"It shouldn't have went that far, but at the time that's how I was feeling and I didn't understand," said Kiara Citizen-Williams.
What the 20-year-old didn't understand was that she was giving up her son Bryce for good. The document given to her by the caseworker from Christian Homes and Families circumvented the State's 11 day reconsideration period guaranteed parents by including the powerful word "irrevocable".
Kiara's attorney Holli Palmer says even attempting to remove a parents right to change their decision within a reasonable time frame is wrong.
"What they did was unconscionable. So many of these people are young, they are uneducated, they are single parents, no financial resources, they have no legal resources and they don't realize what they've done or what they are doing before it's just too late," said Palmer.
Palmer will enter a Ft. Worth courtroom and argue Bryce should be returned to Kiara because Christian Homes coerced the mother to relinquish the boy without appropriate counseling, two face-to-face visits as required by law, and without attempting to contact the young woman's family or the boy's father.
"So now they've taken this child not only from his mother, but his father and his side of the family. You can't do that in Texas. That's against the law," said Quanell X, a community activist advocating for the family.
Kiara's mother Erika Williams was unaware of her daughter's decision to give up her grandson. She fears Texas lawmakers may have allowed a loophole that destroys families in the name of creating them.
"Give them the paperwork and give them the time to look it over and think, Is this really something you want to do? Not just come right down as soon as they call you and take the child. I don't think that is right at all," said Williams.
Christian Homes and Families has declined comment citing pending litigation, but say it operates within the law.