COLLEGE PARK, Ga. -- "I'mgoing to Iowa, going to Atlantic, Iowa."

Sherryl Earhart is doing curbside check in at Hartsfield Jackson International Airport. It's the easier option when traveling with a toddler.

16-month-old Luke stands unsteadily on the ground, just a month into walking, staring in wonder at the airplanes as they take off. He has no idea his life is about to change.

"I don't fully understand it myself, I wish I could," Sheryl said.

In the few minutes before they have to catch their flight, Sherryl Earhart sits in the airport atrium,recounting a story she finds hard to believe -- how last summer they heard through friends abouta four-month-old baby in Iowa who had been abused.

"He suffered a skull fracture and handprint bruising and a broken arm from his biological parents," Sherryl says. The baby's parents accepted a plea deal and both are in prison in Iowa.

Sherryl and her husband Mark, a family physician, had enduredeight years of fertility treatmentsbefore they had their five year old son Eli. They wanted another child.

As Luke plays at her feet, Sherryltalks of the decision she and her husband made."There's a lot of kids out there that get hurt everyday. We may not be able to help all of them but we can help this one."

The Earharts began the adoption process. In June, Luke came to Georgia and their family, including their little boy Eli, now a big brother,quickly fell in love.

The Earharts say officials in both states said everything was going well.

An adoption attorney advising the Earharts saycaseworkers in Georgia and Iowa said Luke belonged with his new family. But a paperwork problem between the two states is forcing Luke to go back to Iowa, back into foster care, after spending the whole summer with his new family.

Sherryl says, "From what I understand it's that the correct foster home study has not been completed, though we completed a private home study and we've complied with every request we've had from Iowa and from Georgia."

The family has begged that the paperwork get completed and signed by Wednesday.

Sherryl Earhart says one caseworkertold her things don't happen that fast. They are devastatedthat bureacracy seems to be trumping the best interest of a little boy, who had finally found what he'd never had -- a loving home.

Before they go through security, on their way to Iowa, Sherryl says, "It's so frustrating that paperwork or the lack of paperwork or whatever, is going to cause this child, who has already been a victim, anymore harm than has already been done. He'll be very confused.

Who's going to be there for him? And we want to be the ones there for him."

11 Alive is going with the Earharts to Iowa and will have more on Wednesday.

Read or Share this story: