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Internet baby-buy saga goes on

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The incredible story of the twin baby girls advertised over the Internet, nabbed and driven across America and then finally brought to the UK (with their third set of parents) is still going on.

For those of you that haven't heard the tale: two baby girls were put up for adoption by their natural mother and advertised on the Caring Heart agency on the Internet. There they were picked up by an American couple - the Allens - for £4,000. The Allens can't have kids and have already adopted one child.

However, when the natural mother came for what they believed was a final goodbye in San Diego a few months later, she absconded to Arkansas with the kids and two new British parents - the Kilshaws - who had coughed up £8,000 for the pair of them. The Allens were in hot pursuit across America and bizarrely, the Kilshaws believe the mother was being paid by the Allens to give details of their location.

Arkansas laws make quick adoption easy and so the natural mother - Tranda Wrecker - lied about being a resident, the adoption was rushed through and the family flew over this side of the Atlantic where they sold their story to the Sun and got the paper to put them up in a hotel.

Now firmly in the media spotlight, both sets of parents have started popping up on the TV getting increasingly irate and a whole number of other interesting facts have appeared. The Kilshaws, for example, already have four kids - two from Mrs Kilshaw's first marriage and another two from her second.

Apparently there were no checks on the Kilshaws as parents but then the Allens aren't whiter-than-white either - Mrs Allen has a conviction for embezzlement. Both couples are middle-aged and you have to ask why they want the poor babies in the first place. Some would say that this is precisely the sort of people you will get if babies are sold to the highest bidder. The Kilshaws have admitted they have spent around £30,000 trying to get the girls. Obviously, there's a premium on twins.

And, of course, now the politicians and law agencies are involved - the FBI, Home Office, the Welsh National Assembly, the various adoption agencies, Department of Health and god knows who else. Is it legal? Is it illegal? Is it a right royal cock-up?

Prime Minister Tony Blair just gave a press conference and said he was "horrified and disgusted" by the whole saga and while it is illegal to buy and sell kids in the UK, he says he will make it illegal for UK couples to buy them abroad.

Surprisingly, the Internet itself has escaped the usual accusation of corrupting the world. Perhaps people will eventually change their focus to the hideous creatures that we have managed to nurture thanks to over-enthusiastic capitalism. How much do morals cost again? ®

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