TAMPA — Angel Yulee Adams told a judge Tuesday that she is not expecting her 16th child.
"No, I am not pregnant," she said. "No, my children have not been around any men other than their fathers."
The revelations came too late.
After refusing to answer a judge's questions last week, the homeless mother landed in jail, lost custody of her 12 minor children and missed out on the chance to move into a rent-free, six-bedroom home.
By the time Adams arrived in court Tuesday, Circuit Judge Tracy Sheehan was ready to release her from jail no matter what she had to say.
The judge said she didn't want to further burden taxpayers with providing the woman "three hots and a cot." And, because the children are now in foster care, concerns about whether Adams was pregnant were moot.
"I don't reward you by letting you out," said Sheehan, who did not lift a civil contempt finding. "I seek to be practical."
Adams, 37, will be allowed supervised visits with her children, who are living at a children's shelter near Brandon.
Asked where she will live, Adams said, "I have no idea."
Adams has lost her children to the state before. Her latest chapter began in late April when authorities learned that she and her 12 youngest children were living in a small motel room after being evicted.
She told state workers the kids had no clothes or shoes and the family had no food. According to Sheehan's court order, she was receiving about $2,600 a month in food and cash assistance.
Adams showed no gratitude when social service workers secured housing for the family and paid off her $6,000 debt to the Tampa Housing Authority. In court last week, she said she wanted them all out of her life.
On Tuesday, she softened her stance. "I do want to apologize to you and say I'm sorry to everyone in the room," she said. "I understand these people went out of their way to get a house for me and my children. It wasn't an issue of I wasn't appreciative."
Nick Cox, the Department of Children and Families regional director, said he visited the children on Monday.
"Everybody seems to be doing absolutely fantastic," he said.
He hopes that Adams is sincere about working with the state to get her kids back.
"Only time will tell," he said.
Colleen Jenkins can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3337.