JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Hours in travel, thousands in legal fees, and all the heartache one family can handle.
A First Coast couple trying to adopt a child from South Carolina say they feel like their baby has been taken from them by the system.
"I put my kids to bed at night, and I think 'is she put to bed at night, does someone read to her?'" said Kelly Woods.
The crib where Breanna would sleep is set up for the 10 month old, but stands empty.
"It's gut wrenching. I cry and cry, and I question myself, and but it's just gut wrenching because I feel like my child has been taken from me, and there's just nothing we can do," she said.
Kelly and Chris Woods have been trying to adopt the baby girl from South Carolina for 7 months.
Chris, a firefighter here in Jacksonville, and Kelly, a stay at home mom already have 3 children of their own, but say they felt like they had to help save Breanna.
They've spent more than $15,000 in legal fees, complying with every request of the South Carolina Department of Social Services, but still, they were denied custody.
"I can't just go quietly in to the night. There's a baby girl with no other voice in this here," said Chris.
The child's biological father is Kelly's cousin, but has given up his parental rights.
Her biological mother is in prison on drug charges, but has legally signed over her parental rights to the Woods. She wants them to adopt her baby.
"We've been very open with each other, and this is her wish. It's what she wants," he said.
But the Department of Social Services in South Carolina won't allow that to happen.
The baby is living with a woman named Rebecca Holland. The only connection she has to the baby is she was a roommate of the Breanna's biological mom before she went to prison.
In court papers, Holland said she takes the child with her to collect junk around the city, so she can sell it.
While she did not want to talk on camera, Holland told FCN Breanna had lived with her since birth, and she wants to adopt her.
But the Woods say that's not what her mother wants.
"She's scared for her baby to remain in the custody of this woman," she said.
But last month, a judge ruled that Breanna would stay there, the Woods say, against her mother's wishes.
"She was devastated, she was in tears. She wants nothing more than for us to have the baby," she said.
DSS told First Coast News this is a closed adoption case and they can't comment.
But the Woods say they haven't told them anything either.
"We keep asking why? Why? And no one can give us that answer," she said.
So for now they wait, and worry ... about the child they already consider their own.
"She's in danger. She's not healthy. And I thought DSS and everyone was there for the children, they're not," she said.
The Woods do plan to appeal the judge's decision, but their lawyer told them it's a process that could take months, and even then, there are no guarantees.
First Coast News