Oriana Lee made a decision that was in the best interest of her children more than a year ago.
The Kansas City, Kan., woman was headed to jail for a drug charge and signed over temporary custody of her children to her adopted mother.
Now, Lee has made a lot of progress.
She is out of custody and has completed a court-ordered program. She has relocated to the Missouri side of the Kansas City metro.
The only thing missing is her children, Solara, 3, and Anario, 2.
She left the toddlers in the care of Denise Lee, who resides in rural Platte County near Parkville.
When Oriana Lee tried to get her kids back, she didn’t expect what happened.
Her mother didn’t have the children and wouldn’t tell her where they were, according to Oriana Lee. All she knows is they are with Denise Lee’s biological daughter.
The Citizen attempted to contact Denise Lee, but received no response by press time.
Oriana Lee said she didn’t want her kids in foster care while she was in jail and she thought giving temporary custody to her adopted mom, would help her get full custody when she was released.
She went into jail in November 2017 and was released in May 2018.
“I thought I’d get out and get my stuff together and I haven’t had any problem,” said Oriana Lee, who graduated from treatment on June 4.
“By all rights, she would be within her rights to go pick the children up,” said her attorney Bill Yocum.
Last week, he applied for guardianship from Oriana Lee’s mother back to her.
The plan initially was a phased-in return of the children to their mother, but that offer was declined.
Family mediation was also suggest and also declined, Yocum said.
He believes the children are still in the area but hasn’t gotten confirmation from Denise Lee.
There has been confusion on whose case it is. The Platte County Sheriff’s Office, when reached, said the case is based in Wyandotte (Kan.) County due to where Oriana Lee lives.
However, Oriana Lee said she has an address in Jackson County after staying in Missouri after being released from jail. She said her adopted mom still lives in rural Platte County near Parkville.
“This is the first (case) I have had the person caring for the kids and had custody just refusing to cooperate,” Yocum said. “She isn’t communicating. We have to go to a court. It will take some time to get through the system and frankly, I’m hoping this gets her attention and talk about it like a responsible person.”