Grandmother fighting for custody: 'This is a form of slavery' - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Grandmother fighting for custody: 'This is a form of slavery'

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The only life two young children know was made with a family in Plymouth, but their grandmother wants custody -- and she is in for the legal battle of her life.

"I'm looking at Princess and I'm thinking that her grandmother doesn't have her," Dorothy Dunning told FOX 9 News.

It's hard for Dunning to look at pictures of her two granddaughters without breaking into tears.

"I'm their grandmother and I love them and I want them," Dunning said. "I want them to know we didn't throw them away."

Dunning has been traveling from Mississippi to Minnesota to visit 3-year-old Princess and the younger who shares her own name, 2-year-old Dorothy, ever since she learned that her son and his girlfriend were having problems with chemical dependency and their parental rights had been terminated.

"This is horrible," she said. "Why can't I have my own granddaughters in America? This is a form of slavery."

When Dunning tried to adopt the girls herself, three separate courts ruled it is in the girls' best interest to remain with the foster parents who have raised them since they were born.

"I think about them every day. They have a right to be with me. Why should someone take my grandchildren because they have a bigger home than me, they're more educated than me?" Dunning asked.

An attorney for the foster parents said even though state law says courts must consider relatives first in adoption cases, the court ultimately had concerns about Dunning's ability to address the girls' special needs and feared potential damage that could be caused by removing them from the only home they've known.

"I understand the emotional issue with the grandmother, but the way she's going about this could be destructive to the children and is certainly hurtful to my client," said Wright Walling, attorney for the foster family.

Yet, Dunning says no matter what the law says, the girls will always be a part of her family.

"I've been up here more than 30 times and I'm not going to stop," she vowed. "I'm not going to stop."

The foster parents are currently working to finalize the adoptions, and Dunning is considering an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. A group of her supporters plan to rally on the steps of the Minnesota Capitol at noon on Thursday.

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