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International Relations

Last month, Ponciano paid for his parents to take a bus here from the state of Guanajuato, and the Mexican Consulate in Denver helped secure temporary visas for them. Once here, they testified in court about their home life and their desire to care for Rosa, whom they met for the first time during their visit. But Judge Wakefield said he couldn't justify sending Rosa out of the country with virtual strangers simply because she is related to them. "Why would we send this child to Mexico solely in the name of biology? We can maintain closer biological ties by keeping her here," he said, adding that the risk of breaking Rosa's attachment to her foster parents -- the only two people who have cared for her consistently for more than a year now -- weighed equally in his decision.

Now that Rosa will remain in Colorado, she will be able to see both of her biological parents as well as a newborn sister. Priscilla Gonzales gave birth to another daughter last month. Although DNA tests have not yet confirmed paternity, Priscilla has said she's certain Ponciano is the father. Priscilla passed her recent drug tests and was allowed to take the child home; intensive in-home services are being provided by DDHS to help her care for her baby. By staying here, Rosa may also be able to get to know her half-brother, who has been in foster care since March 1998.

Following the judge's ruling, members of the Gomez family, who were present, burst into tears of joy.

The ruling, however, came as a shock to Ponciano's attorney, Clara Romero, who had seemed confident that her client would prevail. "I'm more confused than disappointed," she said. "This is not a permanent resolution. It puts the child in limbo because the parents still have legal rights...The case could stay open forever."

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