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EXTRA: Father says children taken because he is deaf

9:13 PM, May 18, 2006   |    comments
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St. Petersburg, Florida - "These are my babies. My flesh and blood, and my babies."

But Ron Perry, legally deaf since birth, cannot see his children Vanessa and Lilly because they are living with Kristi Allison.

Allison is president of Support Services for Independent Living, which helps handicapped people. She met the children in April of 2004 while Perry was recovering from an auto accident.

"I was in a lot of pain and I was dizzy," Perry says. "I was in a lot of pain, because of my ribs. "

Perry had just returned home from Bayfront Medical Center on pain pills. He says Allison convinced his girlfriend, the children's mother to allow the woman to take the kids home while he recovered.

"She was just a stranger to me. I didn't know who she was. I had never met her before I didn't know her background," says Perry.

However Allison and Perry's girlfriend -- who is also deaf -- worked out an arrangement where the children would go to the woman's $700,000 waterfront home in St. Pete beach during the week and then come home on the weekends.

"It seemed to me she was just falling in love with my children and she was trying she was very smart and she was trying to get my children in her own way," says Perry.

Court records show a series of e-mails from within days of meeting the children. On May 6, less than a month after meeting Vanessa and Lilly, Allison e-mails Perry's girlfriend and talks about a shared custody arrangement "so no one will ever take the kids away if something would happen to you and Ron, like a bad accident or death ... We do not want the kids to go into foster care."

Allison adds in the e-mail, "I can talk with my lawyer... so DCF would NEVER been involved."

"I thought, 'What is going on here?' I didn't understand what was going on," Perry recalls.

But Allison seemed to know exactly what was going on. On May 17 she sends an e-mail about going to the lawyer for guardian papers and adds that her own boys loved Vanessa like she is a sister.

Perry started to get suspicious.

"She is really stealing my children, and I'm very upset."

In June, just two months after meeting the girls, Allison e-mails to Perry's girlfriend, "I would never steal your kids and hope that you trust me."

She says, "We have the appointment  with the lawyer and it is to protect the kids, which we all agreed to do. It is really no one's business except for you, me and Ron."

On July 1st less than three months after meeting Vanessa and Lilly, Allison becomes the guardian of the kids and two weeks later sends an e-mail saying, "I am tired of the stories that are not true and having all the paranoia and lies just floating around."

"From then on it was just one step after another."

In December, Allison gained control of the social security disability insurance the government pays to Vanessa and then in January of 2005, less than 10 months after Allison met the children, she convinced Perry and his girlfriend to sign adoption papers.

"Kristi took advantage of the fact I have minimal language skills and she took advantage of me and pushed me aside," says Perry.

While Ron Perry admits he signed papers at Gift of Life Adoptions, at the time he wasn't represented by an attorney. There were also sign language interpreters there to try to explain what was going on, but Perry says he had no idea what he was signing and a sign language expert familiar with the case says there is good reason to believe what Ron Perry is saying is true.

"It is my strong opinion that Ron does not understand the word adoption."

Certified sign interpreter Linda Losacano says Perry doesn't understand English past grade 2 level, because he communicates in a different language.

"And what they don't understand is that a lot of hearing-impaired people use American Sign Language and it is very very different," Losacano says.

And now Allison, once appeared to be helpful and friendly, is now saying do not contact through e-mail, telephone, the postal service, come to her home or office again. Do not contact the children's school -- all communication should be terminated immediately.

"This hurts my heart. It hurts and makes me made mad. I don't smile all the time."

Allison's attorney, Anthony Marchese, says it is unfair that we do a story without getting her side, but he can't talk because there is a gag order entered into the case.

Marchese asked for the gag order after we began our investigation. Perry, who can only see his children through the pictures he took, is heartbroken.

"When I dream I can hear, 'Daddy, daddy, daddy.' I need my babies back. Lily and Vanessa, these are my babies. "

But unless a judge rules the adoption was not proper, Ron Perry may never hold his babies again.

Mike Deeson,Tampa Bay's 10 News

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