Friday, July 31, 2009
Immigrants are particularly in peril, especially in the southwest. Families are torn apart when parents are deported and children left here.
Keith Campbell and his Japanese-born wife Akiko, and their two sons, ages 4 and 1, were forced to live half a world apart because of a 2007 immigration dispute.
Naomi Hagen grew up in farm country in central Wisconsin. Her mother and step-dad still live on a farm there. Naomi moved to Minnesota, got a bachelor’s degree in education, and is “close” to completing a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Bethel College. She has a teacher’s license, and has worked for nonprofits and for a consulting firm.
Naomi's husband, Nana Opoku Asare, is from Ghana. During a year-long wait for his citizenship, Naomi became pregnant with their son, Martin.
Nana Opoku Asare says: "After the United States immigration center took thousands of dollars of our money for processing fees, they asked me to return to Ghana for my immigrant visa interview. I came to Ghana literally without much money. And to make matter worse i was refused the visa. The judgment letter they gave me said I could file for an appeal which also costed me about $700. Another $545 for waiver fee. I patiently waited for two years for the embassy to tell me that my application is being denied."
“We thought it would be a few months, we would complete the paperwork, and he would return,” Naomi says. “Now, nearly four years and three filings later, he is still ‘stuck’ in Ghana, and we have not seen him since then.”
Campbell and hagen are two of untold numbers of tax-paying, legal U.S. residents torn apart from their families.
In Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, is heavy-handed in applying a Bush-era program called "287(g)" -- a program that basically gives Sheriff Arpaio all the power and freedom he wants to enforce immigration as he sees fit. Program 287(g) is not only still being implemented, but Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is planning to expand the program, according to ACORN, Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, who is asking people to sign a petition to end the proposed expansion of 287(g) and phase it out.
Please support this Family Preservation effort.
Our home base in Guatemala will not be a 4-star hotel in Guatemala City, or in one of tourist/resort spots of this beautiful nation.
The home base for the Human Rights delegates will be Sister Parish which was established in 1988 for the express purpose of foster mutual understanding and commitment to peace and justice among people in the United States and Central America. Since then many church and other faith based communities as well as delegations form the U.S. have been welcomed.
The vision of Sister Parish is:
Consciousness-Raising. We will seek to transform the world by sharing each other’s experiences so that we can better understand and overcome the sources of injustice and oppression.
Solidarity. By putting ourselves in the reality of others and by building an interdependent community of brothers and sisters within and among countries, we will promote mutual respect and dignity for all people, advocate for human rights, and work for social and economic justice for all.
Reconciliation. We will live in peace with one another by finding the courage to recognize our own failings and to forgive each other despite the history of violence that has caused so much pain.
Ecumenism. We will accept each other and respect each person’s beliefs and practices, as we unite to work together so that all may share equally in the fullness of God’s creation.
I am extending my stay to add to the previous itinerary of meetings, meeting with Claudia Rivera, former executive director of Casa Alianza and human rights lawyer who is now forming a new NGO for street children in Guatemala City with an outreach program for children and families living in the most extreme poverty.
Please note that I will have very limited access to email, if at all during my stay. I will try to get to an Internet cafe to update this blog before returning home, but cannot count on it!
The journey starts tomorrow. Stay tuned...
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Attorneys for Rowe, the biological mother of Jackson's two oldest children, announced that
Michael Jackson's children will remain in the care of their grandmother, Katherine, under the terms of a custody agreement that includes visitation rights for Debbie Rowe. her attorneys say that no money is changing hands as a result of the agreement.
Rowe's visits will be determined by a child psychologist selected and paid for jointly.
The cynic in me wonders if she will ever actually visit. The "yenta" in me would love to be a fly on the wall if she does.
DNA tests will confirm that the baby belonged to 23-year-old Darlene Haynes, who was found dead Monday in a closet in her Worcester apartment.
Julia Corey, 35, of Worcester - an acquaintance of Haynes's who aroused suspicion when she showed up with a newborn - faces a charge of kidnapping in Massachusetts for allegedly taking the baby.
The baby is well and in foster care.
The dismembering and beheading of a Texas baby allegedly by his own mother this past Sunday is the most recent example of why new mothers need to be carefully monitored by their physicians during and after their pregnancies, and a call for mandatory postpartum depression screening.
Otty Sanchez, of San Antonio, Texas, told police she "didn't mean to kill her child" and that the devil made her dismembered her newborn son and eat some of his body parts before stabbing herself during a grisly rampage.
Scott W. Buchholz, the infant's father, said Sanchez suffered from postpartum depression and that she told him she was schizophrenic a week before the slaying. Buchholz, who said he is also schizophrenic, said he wants her to receive the death penalty.
Some may recall the case of Andrea Yates - also ironically of Texas - who drowned her five children. She too suffered severe depression and schizopheqria, unbeknownst to her husband who was not allowed access to her diagnosis because of HIPAA laws, despite her telling a doctor she though she might hurt her chidlren.
• Article 16(3) - The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.
• Article 25(1) - Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control. (2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.
Other quotes that support these positions
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Adoption 101: How do I place my baby up for adoption?This outrageous post on Examiner.com suggests:
You can elect to financially aid the adoptive family, receive photos and updates on your child and meet the family before the adoption takes place. It is important to do only as much as you are comfortable with.
HUH?!! I read it 3 times thinking surely it was a typo and the author mean RECEIVE fincial support from adopters, i.e. housing and medical costs....which always advise against as it creates indebtedness and disallows a change of heart.
But this is outrageous! Are they suggesting now that mothers who lose children to adoption BRIBE adopters for contact?
Wouldn't being paid to care for a child make them feel like babysitters???
Please add your comments at this link.
You can also email the author, Taylor Olson - who is ABOUT to graduate with a degree in journalism in 2009, at: email@example.com
I think she ought to stick to writing about what she knows something about.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Expectant mothers are lured with sales pitches that make open adoption sound like joint custody in a divorce which it most certainly is NOT! In the majority of divorces -- unless one parent is adjudged unfit -- both parents are still parents. The chld is free to live with either or both and the visit liberally with the other parent. In divorce,there are restriction on moving our of state and other major decisions involving the child that both are still parents of.
Adoption of course begins with the relinquishment or termination of ALL parental rights. This leaves the natural parents no rights whatsoever. no say in how the adoptive parents raise the child and no way to enforce contact agreements....IF they had the money to take it to court and fight when adopters decide to simply pack up and leave the original parents high, dry and betrayed. The best that can happen in such a situation is a mediation, though the mothers who have been betrayed by false promises, as in the case of Carla Moquin, really want the adoption overturned rather than have their chid live with people who would act in such deceitful ways.
Carla is far from the only one who has been deceived. Ever since adoptions were "opened" in this way, mothers have reported being lied to or open arrangements falling part within a relatively short time. Some establish phone numbers for pre-adoption negotiations that are turned off as soon as the child is in their arms.
Some mothers - like the fictionalized charactr in Juno - beleive it best not to have openess or even see their chidl at birth. This was depicted recently on the MTV series "16 and Pregnant." All throughout her pregnancy the young women who was planning an adoption, was sure she did not want to see her baby becsuse it would be too painful. She'd cry every time she said it. It was so utterly pinful to watch. In the end she did not only see her child and hold her, she actually had to wind up leaving the hospital with her and hading he rover in the hospital parkign lot! What kind of adoption agency didn't know these rules to prepare and protect this young woman from such cruelty when she had stated all along she did not want to even see her baby!?
Even if the contact is ongoing, emotionally it is still not as healthy and happy for mothers as thy are led to believe. In fact, it can be in some ways more painful to see your child but to feel utterly helpless. One mother recently told of her child telling her she had been abused by her adoptive parents. The first mother confronted them and they disappeared. No she is left to worry every day.
The pain of ongoing contact was recently expressed very articulately in a blog post entitled Missing My Child by Coley S. I wish every mother considering an open adoption would read this. This is the reality, not the pretty picture painted for expectant mothers by adoption practitioners who feed on our losses like vultures.
Monday, July 27, 2009
“This is a country where patriarchy dominates on an institutional and familial level.” – Dora Bagley of the Presidential Secretariat on Women
Some of the highlights of the trip with meetings with:
- women from STITCH, Organizers for Social Justice
- Gladys Monterroso, lawyer, University professor, and Secretary General of the Encuentro por Guatemala party, and wife of Human Rights Ombudsman Sergio Morales, was kidnapped in Guatemala City on Wednesday March 25 at 7am and released 13 hours later. She was interrogated and burned with cigarettes on different parts of her body; no ransom was demanded. Her story was covered internationally, including the Washington Post.
- Norma Cruz' Survivors Foundation
- Myrna MAC FOUNDATION, established in 1993 to focus on the elaboration of studies and proposals that promote the fight against impunity, the construction of rule of law in Guatemala and for the consolidation of peace and democracy.
- Rosa Franco, whose daughter Maria Isabel was killed in 2001, at age 16.
- Hilda Morales Trujillo, member of the 'National Womens Office' (ONAM) and the 'Network against Violence against Women' who has spent her life tirelessly defending the rights of women by challenging discriminatory laws and campaigning for change.
- Sandra Moran Reyes, a national leader of the women's movement, director of Women's Sector at Casa Artesana
- Carolina Alvarado and female sex workers
I have added two days to my itinerary to meet with children whose adoptions are in limbo.
I also hope to meet the mothers who children were kidnapped for adoption into the U.S. who await DNA testing.
You do not need to travel to Guatemala to help, PLEASE go to Three Days / Three Daughters to see how you can show your solidarity and raise consciousness and hopefully create some legal help.
I hope you will support them and spread the word to all in your address book as well as church groups, etc.
This is the story of a little girl named Perri, separated from her mom, her dad and her two sisters, one older and one younger.
Perris' Mom, Carla Moquin has been in touch with me for years as she fought this battle. I offered her the only help I could - publicizing her case in the hopes that would gain her support. Carla, who has been acting as her own attorney for much of this case, decided it wa snot in her best interest to do so until now, because she has no other alternative left (read no money left!).
Peri was born into a married family with a two-year old child, but a family struggling financially. Against her better judgment, but persuaded by her husband, Carla found a couple who promised an extensively open adoption for their daughter, Perri
This openness and contact lasted, it turned out, until approximately nine days after the adoption was finalized. Things went downhill from there...and ultimately led to protracted litigation because of fraud committed by the adopters and Independent Adoption Center:
I was very concerned for Peri's welfare being raised by people who could so methodically and callously commit fraud on a family in order to get a baby. I was also heartbroken that the situation had taken such a disturbing turn. I tried several more times to persuade the couple to reconsider the allowed contact or to compromise to the slightest degree, and I discussed the situation with the adoption counselor (who, after I explained the evidence I had discovered, said that she also believed that they had defrauded us).PLEASE Read the full story and help Carl and Perri in any way you can.
Ultimately, I decided that, for Peri's sake, I had to try everything I could to regain custody of her. I had not previously considered this prospect even with the restrictions on contact that had been imposed, because I am very aware of the importance of attachment and bonding for children.
However, when I came to understand the detailed plan that this couple had pursued to intentionally deceive us into placing Peri with them (even though they said in the Discovery Channel Show footage that they had only recently decided they wanted to have children at all and they had only recently pursued adoption when we contacted them), I became very concerned about what other disturbing aspects of their personalities they could have hidden from us. I decided that I could not simply abandon Peri to be raised by people who could pursue such a carefully-crafted plan to defraud an entire family and to procure a child through that fraud, with no concern for the effects of their actions....
California case law and statutes make clear that fraud in procuring an adoption is grounds for rescission of the adoption and return of custody to the biological parent, and there is California case law holding that an adoption can be conditioned on an agreement for post-adoption contact. There is no California case holding that fraud is not sufficient grounds for rescission and return of custody. According to California law, if an adoption was procured by fraud, the relinquishment signed by the biological parent is not valid and the adoption is null. There is no California case law contradicting these statements related to a lawsuit for rescission of an adoption based on fraud. Although I believe that Peri's best interests involve her return to my care, the law is clear that if fraud in inducing relinquishment of parental rights is shown, the best interests of the child are not legally at issue in returning custody to the biological parent.
At a recent hearing, the judge on this case expressed frustration that the case has dragged on as long as it has, and she wants us to get to trial soon after August, 2009. I am trying to move as quickly as possible on everything that needs to occur (every day this case gets further delayed is critical for Peri and for the ultimate determination of the case) but my financial situation (because of the many thousands of dollars I spent fighting the appeal filed by Susan and Demyn, which was based on their fabricated claims) is now a major obstacle to continuing the case.
Note there has been visitation during this protracted visitation and Perri KNOWS two sisters!! What will these fraud-committing adopters tell her if they succeed in permanently keepng her apart from them?
Sunday, July 26, 2009
If you are in touch, in any way, with adoption issues, no doubt you have seen the headlines: "Adoption Community Protest Movie 'Orphan'"; "Horror movie 'Orphan' is panned by adoption groups"; "New Adoption Horror Movie Causing a Stir"; "'Orphan': A Movie That Reinforces Myths About Adoption"; "Adoption Groups Boycott 'Orphan' Horror Movie."
Concerns that have driven some 1800 persons to sign an online petition to boycott the film began with a line in the trailer asking: "Can you love an adopted child as much as a child of your own?" a line purported to make adopted children feel unloved and subjected to teasing.
According the latest trailers, the "orphan" character, Esther is neither a child or an orphan, and spoiler alert may in fact be a young adult prostitute who specializes in pedophiles as clients because she looks young. This aspect of the plot seems far more objectionable than that which is being protested.
Adoption proponents are claiming, however, that this celluloid fictional horror not unlike The Bad Seed reinforces myths about adoption and will scare off potential adopters of the 129,000 children in U.S. foster care or children who could be adopted from orphanages, globally. Truth is, these kids are systematically left behind by those who demand younger children for adoption.
With far more people vying to adopt than children who need homes, and the demand creating exploitation and coercion even kidnapping and global child trafficking - why is it a concern to reduce the demand? It is in fact estimated that if one in five people who would consider adopting, took a child from U.S. foster care, they would all find home. Seems we need not be afraid of scaring a few off.
Rather than create or reinforce myths, this film may in fact go a long way to dispel the myth that love can cure all problems and may, in fact, have the positive effect of ensuring that only those who are prepared to take on children with serious problems from previous abuse and institutionalization, do so as it seems to illustrate the real lack of transparency in adoption and that those who adopt do not always know and receive preparation to deal with troubled children who may have been abused or subjected to FAS and who very often have difficulty attaching an may replicate abuse toward siblings or classmates.
In order to weigh the real concerns, we must follow the money which is not to imply that Warner Brothers cooked all this controversy up to market their movie's opening. Those spearheading the raucous are organizations that represent adoption attorneys and other entrepreneurs who rely on adoption for their income, or a major part of it: The Association of American Adoption Attorneys, ACT for Adoption, and The Congressional Coalition for Adoption Institute, and The National Committee for Adoption which represents adoption agencies.
Adam Pertman, Executive Director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute recognizes that "It has been a long time since a movie caused this much angst and worry in the adoption, foster care and orphan care communities, even before its release," and Pertman believes "their concerns are well-founded."
But not all in the adoption community agree. Brenda McCreight, PH.D, adoptive says that when interviewed about the film she was asked if she would be taking her children to see that movie. She said "no" but. She writes on her blog, that she "didn't tell her it's because I didn't want them to get any ideas rather than because I was opposed to the movie. She also asked me if I thought this kind of movie distorted the public's view of adoption. My answer to that was that all movies distort the public's view of everything...I told her that I thought that all adoption movies that I'm aware of can lead to a wrong view of adoptees. They either present the child as too cute and precocious for words, or as psychotic, or as a type of person that doesn't exist. They also tend to present them as having problems that can all be cured by love." McCriehgt concludes: "I've discovered over the years that it doesn't matter what the credibility of the magazine or tv nework, they still sway anything you say to fit the pre- chosen slant of the article - if they can't slant your words, they just don't use what you said."
Other bloggers and adoptee organizations believe that the real horrors of adoption is not depicted in this silly film.
The real horror of adoption is that it is a multi-billion dollar, loosely and under-regulated industry in which anyone with no education or training in child welfare or social work can hang out a shingle and arrange adoption, placing children with whomever can pay their fee, with no regard for the best interest of the child whatsoever - only their bottom line.
The real horror is that as a result of these lax entrepreneurial adoption practices, children are placed with pedophiles - most recently a social worker from Duke University named Frank M. Lombard, and most notably children placed with Matthew Mancusco and William Peckenpaugh.
The real horrors in adoption are 14 children adopted by Americans from Russia that were murdered by their adopters and far more adopted children who were abandoned, sent back, and abused in unthinkable ways.
The real horror of adoption is that our government lobbied by the same pro-adoption profiteer's organizations behind these protests - uses the children in foster care as pawns to increase tax benefits every year while allowing the majority of those funds to be used not to adopt kids from foster care, but for international adoption and private domestic infant adoption, adoptions which do not encouragement, promotion or incentives.
Selling on Café Press is a tee shirt that reads: "Esther wants her original birth certificate" created by adoptees who are using the film to call attention to the real horror adoption causes them. Once adopted into the US, adoptees are issued a falsified birth certificates that not only change their name and permanently severe their ability to locate kin, but often changes the date or place of birth, and even their race. It is a real horror that adopted persons are denied equality in regard sot their own birth certificates - a right taken for granted by all other non adopted citizens.
Marley Greiner of Bast*#d Nation notes on her blog Bastardette noting that Warner Brothers, who removed the offensive trailer, apologized asks: "who is going to apologize to us for sealed records, identity theft, forged documents, government lies, adoptee blacklists, coerced surrenders, "safe havens," profiteering, child trafficking, the child sex trade, and all the other garbage cans bastards are tossed in to make everybody else feel good? Oh that's right. Nobody will. We're not a B-movie. We're just B-people."
But it all leaves one to wonder if questioning one's parents love is so offensive, what about the adoptive mother screaming that she wants Esther "out" and that she needs to protect "her" children.
"Think about it," asks reviewer Jeffrey Bloomer. "Does "The Exorcist" throw down for the devil because a priest dies in the end? Does seeing "Wrong Turn" mean you'll never drive through West Virginia again? For a more recent example, should every mortgage broker who eschews conscience to bolster her bottom line be dragged to hell?"
It also might make one wonder why the Realtors of Connecticut are not protesting "Haunting in Connecticut" or why airlines are not protecting "Snakes on a Plane"? Why? Because even though the former is base don a true story, they are both horror movies, that's why. They were made to be entertaining, not educational or as warnings. No one in Connecticut has packed up and moved, tourist have not visiting, nor have thousands of travelers stopped flying on airplanes.
Since the "orphan" Esther is not from an orphanage after all a fact anyone who cares knows before having to endure two hours actually seeing it - it seems adoption, with all its horrors, is not the issue in this Warner cinematic creation at all.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
It is of importance to all working for equal access in all states as it addresses the issue of falsified information being forced on - not requested by - mothers who subsequently lost their children to adoption, with no other options.
It is also very interesting to see the naiveté of the newscasters that this is SOP. It points out how little the general public knows and yet they make judgments about alleged "rights" of mothers without any real knowledge of the facts.
It is also intersting how it is all framed in the past - as if no records are still being flasified in almost every state in the union still today whan and adoption takes place.
Friday, July 24, 2009
HIGH LEVEL EXTERNAL PRESSURE
U.S. and EU force reopening international adoptions
Source: Jurnalul National, 23 July 2009
Jurnalul National came into possession of an official document of the U.S. Congress, in which 8 senators and 13 members of the American Congress ask the Romanian Government, since May, to reopen international adoptions. In parallel, the Committee on the Rights of the Child has given the same "advice" following the presentation of the country report of Romania in Geneva on June 5.
American lobby by the hands of Ms. Hilary Clinton
Romania has become the target of pressure from some interest groups and some foreign NGOs that fight for more than about 5 years to re-open international adoptions from Romania.
In fact, foreigners require the changing of Law 273 of 2004, which brought the regulations necessary to resume international adoptions after a suspension of over three years by the moratorium since 2001. The new law, however, accepts that children can only be adopted by foreigners who are relatives of the children.
Trafficking in children, unable to stop
Last week has come to light a new scandal concerning the illegal adoption of two Romanian minors in Italy, which has reopened the issue of international adoptions, a real battleground between the National Authority for Protection of Child Rights and several members of the European Commission, on the sidelines, and several private groups in the U.S. and EU which require reopening pressure through adoptions made at the highest level, from Western governments to the Romanian authorities. Exclusively Jurnalul National shows you an incredible document, bearing the letterhead U.S. Congress and signed by 20 U.S. senators and congressmen.
The letter, non published until, has been given to the Foreign Minister, Cristian Diaconescu, by U.S. Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, in May, when Diaconescu was at an official visit overseas. On top of that, although the document bears the heading U.S. Congress, the signatories declare to be members of a NGO, "The Congressional Coalition on Adoption".
Although the 21 signatories state functions congressmen and senators, they claim to be a simple group of American citizens who require a change to Law 273, which forbids international adoptions of Romanian children. The letter contains two misinformations: the number of children "adoptable" in the U.S. is not 60 thousand, but 129 thousand, according to international statistics, as regards the fate of 84 thousands of Romanian children, the figure is exaggerated, it includes all children who are included in the system of child protection, reintegration into their families or are in family care in Romania.
It has to be said that the Coalition, a private body whose members are senior U.S. politicians, is an initiative of Mary Landrieu, a signatory of the letter, the U.S. senator who has strongly demanded in recent years to resume adoptions from Romania
In July 2006, when President Traian Băsescu visited the United States Senator Mary Landrieu introduced successfully, to vote in the U.S. Senate Resolution 359, which relates only to the ban on international adoptions by the Romanian authorities. And Hilary Clinton was involved in the issue of adoption of children from Romania and Croatia. In 1995, when she was the American First Lady, she spoke in favour of the adoption of 28 children, through the foundation of a Californian pastor, Wayne Coombs, whose organization, Adams Children's Fund, had no license for international adoptions.
ROMANIA FACES INTERNATIONAL OFFENSIVE
The same pressures have resulted in recommendations for the Child Protection Committee of the UN, made following the submission of the country in Geneva from June 5, which was submitted by the Romanian delegation headed by State Secretary Ileana Savu, director of the National Authority for Child Protection. It recognized that external attempts to change legislation forcing Romanian.
Despite bans in force, Ileana Savu leans towards a compromise with countries wishing to adopt children from Romania. "There were and there is pressure. The issue concerns us, but especially to the Romanian Adoptions Office. We have found a new system for national and international adoptions. If we claim we are an EU member state, then we must find mechanisms to control what happens to our children, even if it be adopted in other countries and is not abused. It is okay to forbid a law, that of adoption, so just because we want us. have been pressure from the 90s and are still pressures, especially for children who are already in other countries that can legally remain there, "he said Ileana Savu.
Foreign Minister Cristian Diaconescu, said, exclusively for the National Official, that Romania will keep its position on the issue of international adoptions under current law. He admitted meeting and veracity of the document received from Hilary Clinton in May, meeting with the foreign ministers of Hungary and Serbia, the last Saturday, from Timisoara. "Both in terms of regulations and how they have implemented and the international relations of Romania has not anything new, so it is clear that this view does not intend to make any change, we he said.
CHILDREN, INSTRUMENT OF POLITICAL BLACKMAIL
International adoptions have become a hot topic immediately after Romania suspended this procedure in 2001. Since then, several Western governments have pressed Romanian politicians for the reopening of such adoptions, particularly through non-governmental organizations, through American congressmen and French, Italian, Spaniard and Germans Euro-parliamentarians, but also by other EU Member States . For example, reopening the international adoptions was "2" on the agenda of talks between Romanian officials and former state secretary of the U.S., Colin Powell, before the acceptance of Romania into political NATO.
Another demonstration of force was made by Silvio Berlusconi, in 2003, when he forced the hand of then Prime Minister, Adrian Nastase, for adoption by Italy of 105 children, although the moratorium signed by Romania forbade this. Interest groups have used the accession to the European Union, to ask repeatedly, to agree with the adoption of children by families in other countries.
The European Commission did a tough battle to halt international adoptions, after it emerged many cases where children were abused or have become victims of trafficking in children. The corridors of these pressures and the European Commission’s fight with the "black market of international adoptions" by foreign NGOs and politicians have been disclosed by Roelie Post, who coordinated the work for child protection in Romania, for the European Commission between 1999 and 2006. The details of this fierce lobbying and blackmail to which Romania has been subject to re-open international adoptions are presented in her book, "Romania - For Export Only, the untold story of the Romanian orphans", a book that got no attention whatsoever in our country.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
As I prepare to leave for Guatemala, three mothers are in the midst of a second hunger strike.
In the hopes of easing their pain with the knowledge that they are not alone, I have made each mother a Solidarity bracelet.
I have also made one for each mother with their name and the name of their child.
Mother of Arlene Escarleth. She has no been without her daughter for almost three years.
Mother of Anyeli Lisseth. Loyda has been without her daughter for three years this November.
Three Adoptive Families
Here in the U.S. three families are aware the children they adopted from Guatemala are possibly these three kidnapped girls and are steadfastly refusing to let the girls be DNA tested to clear up the mystery.
- One family has apparently moved,
- Another is simply ignoring requests,
- And one family said they will fight to their last breath and last dime.And our government is allowing these possible felony crimes to go unsolved - not even attenpting to assist in uncovering the truth, though you could be they'd raise holy hell if the situation were reversed and an American mother believed her child had been kidnapped and trafficked overseas for adoption. Did not our government intervene just recently in a divorce custody dispute involving David Goldman's 9-year-old son, who's being raised in Brazil by the boy's stepfather.
"It's an anguish that's with us 24-7," Goldman said. "Awake, asleep, working, walking ... no matter what, it's with us."
Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., is suggesting legislation to require better tracking of international custody cases. The proposal also would spell out what the U.S. could do to countries that fail to cooperate in resolving custody disputes.
What about laws requiring the U.S.to cooperate? Goldman's son was taken to Brazil by his mother who later passed away. Heidy, Anyeli and Arlene were likely KIDNAPPED! On wht plant is a claim of kidnapped ignored by the jurisdiction in which he child is being held captive - when that jurisdiction is within the U.S.?
"Our current system is not doing justice for parents who are left behind or for the children who have been whisked away from their mom or dad," Smith said.
Amen to that, Rep. Smith!I want to give a special Thank You to Mary Sullivan of DNALady.com who said she was moved reading my previous post on this situation. Mary offered three free DNA tests for the mothers and the children. Unfortunately, as you have already read, it will be impossible because of lack of cooperation of the adopters.
Three Days of Solidarity
Please show your support by signing up to participate in a 3-day fast on September 1, 2, and 3, 2009....and pass the link on to ALL who are concerned with human rights.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Esther attempts to kill both of her siblings on several occasions, threatens to castrate the brother ("I'll cut your hairless little dick off before you even know what it's for"), brains a bird, stabs a guy to death... pretty brutal.
Esther turns out to be a former prostitute, whose clients were pedophiles. She wears the ribbon around her neck because of scars from her former occupation.
But wait it gets worse, the reason she's trying to get rid of her foster family is that she wants to seduce her "foster father"!
What the heck were Alex Mace and David Johnson smoking when they came up with this idea?
Did they think it titillating like Lolita to see 9-year-old a girl seducing a grown man? And is there anyone who is going to go into this movie not knowing this and come out thinking that they just watched a good movie?
This is way beyond adoption!! This is repugnant on far too many levels.
This article reveals a letter dated July 9, 2009, representatives of 11 of the nations most influential adoption advocacy organizations requested a meeting with Warner Brothers Chairman and CEO Barry Meyer to discuss their concerns about the upcoming release of the horror movie, "Orphan".
The letter, written five days before a similar one sent by members of the House and Senate, was signed by:
- Kathleen Strottman, Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute
- Celeste Bodner, FosterClub
- J. McLane Latyon, Equality for Adopted Children
- Jedd Medefind, Christian Alliance for Orphans
- Rita Soronen, Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption
- Tom DiFilipo, Joint Council on International Children's Services
- Kathi M. Crowe, National Foster Care Coalition
- Chuck Johnson, National Council for Adoption
- Kathleen Hogan Morrison, American Academy of Adoption Attorneys
- Nicole Dobbins, Voice for Adoption
- Terry Baugh, KIDSAVE
According to Kathleen Strottman, Executive Director of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, executives from Warner Brothers have yet to issue a formal response to the letter.
"Orphan" is scheduled to open in theaters nationwide on Friday.
Authorities in South Carolina say that what went wrong was Gray's care and feeding of her son, Alexander Draper. Gray, 49, of Travelers Rest, S.C., was arrested in June and charged with criminal neglect.
Alexander is now in foster care!!
The case has attracted national attention. With childhood obesity on the rise across the USA, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Gray's attorney says it could open the door to more criminal action against parents whose children have become dangerously overweight.
"If she's found guilty on those criminal charges, you have set a precedent that opens Pandora's box," Grant Varner says. "Where do you go next?"
State courts in Texas, Pennsylvania, New York, New Mexico, Indiana and California have grappled with the question in recent years, according to a 2008 report published by the Child Welfare League of America.
In all of those cases, except the one in California, courts expanded their state's legal definition of medical neglect to include morbid obesity and ruled that the children were victims of neglect, the report says. Criminal charges were filed only in the California and Indiana cases, but the parents weren't sentenced to jail time in either.
What the court can order
The New York case in 2007 involved an adolescent girl who weighed 261 pounds, the report says. The court ordered nutritional counseling, cooking classes and gym workouts.
Criminal charges should be a last resort, says Linda Spears, vice president of policy and public affairs for the Child Welfare League of America.
"I think I would draw the line at a place where there are serious health consequences for the child and efforts to work with the family have repeatedly failed," she says.
What's more often needed is a structured plan of action that's accountable to a court, she says.
Most of the time, the health problems tied to childhood obesity don't become chronic until adulthood, which makes it difficult to charge parents with child abuse, Spears says.
In the South Carolina case, Gray followed nutritional guidelines set for her son by the state Department of Social Services, Varner says, but Alexander apparently got other food on his own while not under his mother's supervision.
The boy has been placed in foster care, and Varner says he hasn't been allowed to speak to him. Gray has signed an agreement with a film documentary company for exclusive rights to her story and couldn't comment for this article, Varner says.
"There's a strong likelihood that this kid is going to school and could eat whatever he wanted to at school, because you've got friends who will help him buy food or will give him their leftovers," Varner says. "The big question is: What is this kid doing when he's not in Mom's care, custody and control?"
Greenville County School District spokesman Oby Lyles declined to comment.
"This is not a case of a mother force-feeding a child," Varner says. "If she had been holding him down and force-feeding him, sure, I can understand. But she doesn't have the means to do it. She doesn't have the money to buy the food to do it."
Slippery slope ahead?
The case could have ramifications beyond parental control over obesity to other eating disorders, and even other behaviors not related to weight, Varner says.
"What about the parents of every 16-year-old in Beverly Hills who's too thin? Are they going to start arresting parents because their child is too thin?" he asks.
Jolene Puffer, a personal trainer in Asheville, N.C., says the problem often is parents "loving their kids to death," especially in low-income families where food is one of the few things they can afford to give their children.
But school officials and doctors are "not sounding the alarm" when they should, she says.
Puffer took a local family on as a volunteer project and helped a 16-year-old boy who weighed 434 pounds lose 110 pounds, while his mother lost more than 80 and his sister shed nearly 50.
A social services counselor had recommended that the boy apply for Medicare, which Puffer says could have set him up as a lifelong disability case.
States have been taking steps to combat childhood obesity, according to a report released this month by the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
For example, 20 states have passed requirements for schools to do body mass index (BMI) screenings or other weight-related tests of children and adolescents, up from four states five years ago, says the report, title "F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies are Failing in America."
But it also says that, although every state requires physical education in schools, the requirements "are often limited, not enforced, or do not meet adequate quality standards."
The same report says 30% of children in 30 states ages 10 to 17 are overweight or obese, with the rate hitting a high of 44.4% in Mississippi. [Solution: Put them all in foster care so they can add abandonment - and possible abuse - to their list of problems they already have as obese kids! Great solution!]
The CDC says the number of obese children ages 6 to 11 more than doubled in the past 20 years, while the rate for adolescents more than tripled.
A comparison to drugs
Ron Jones, a corporate wellness expert based in Atlanta and Los Angeles, uses the phrase "child obesity is child abuse" in his promotional materials and says the nation has turned its head the other way when it comes to accepting that concept.
"If you gave your child a drug, you'd be held in the court. But if you kill them with food, that seems to be acceptable," he says.
The difficulty with prosecuting such cases is that most state laws require that the child's health be in imminent danger for criminal charges to be filed, and the parent must be capable of helping the child but hasn't taken the necessary action, says Richard Balnave, a professor at the University of Virginia School of Law.
Obesity, although potentially dangerous, does not generally put a child in imminent danger, he says.
Supreme Court rulings have recognized the right of parents to raise their children how they see fit, Balnave says, but not to the point that the child's health is endangered.
The arrest warrant in the Gray case alleges that her son's weight was "serious and threatening to his health" and that she had placed him "at an unreasonable risk of harm."
Virginia Williamson, counsel for the South Carolina Department of Social Services, says her agency sought custody of Alexander "because of information from health care providers that he was at risk of serious harm because his mother was not meeting his medical needs."
The department "would not take action based on a child's weight alone," she says.
Gray failed to appear at a family court hearing in which her child was to be turned over to foster care, according to a warrant issued in May.
Police later found her with the boy in Baltimore County, Md., and took her back to South Carolina, where she was released on a $50,000 bond, her attorney says.
Barnett reports for The Greenville (S.C.)
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
They are striking for three baby girls who were kidnapped from their Guatemalan mothers and subsequently "legally" adopted by US citizens. The girls names are Heidy, Anyeli and Arlene, and they were all stolen in 2006 for the lucrative international adoption business. The mothers want their daughters back, but they have found no support, no justice, and are essentially powerless due to issues of impunity, lack of equal rights, and financial and social status.
I support their endeavor and the work of the strike organizer Norma Cruz and Fundacion Sobrevivientes in the search for justice. My own government in the US seems frozen to act morally or judicially, perhaps even covering up their role in the immigration of these girls —and maybe hundreds of others— through a corrupt DNA testing system employed as a method to prevent such fraud. Meanwhile, the Guatemalan mothers are starving themselves to be heard.
Imagine if the girls stolen were American (and white). Imagine the difference in response.
To continue the work of the strikers, there is another hunger strike being planned, this one based in the US but stretching around the world. The dates are September 1, 2, and 3.
One of the strikers is am=n American in solidarity with the women out of her belief she is they doing the true work of Christianity and Jesus. Whether you agree with their personal motivation or not, please read what her husband says and thinks about social justice:
"...While the U.S. Adoptions community debates the rights of the adoptive parents to privacy, the rest of the world lumps all Americans together, and believes we condone stealing babies from their mothers.
"I just left my wife, Shyrel, in the middle of Guatemala city, and drove away with more than a lump in my throat, past prostitutes and pimps, and drunks, and all sorts of night people. ...Three of them are mothers whose children were stolen. They have not eaten since Tuesday, and will not until the judges respond to their request for a review of the cases of their stolen children.... She is sleeping in a small tent in front of the Supreme Court of Guatemala. She and a small number of women have engaged in what the press is calling a hunger strike. The participants say it is fasting and praying. They are seeking justice. They are so vulnerable there in that tent tonight. The “Palace of Justice” towering above them is locked tight, with a high tech security system. They look so helpless during the day too. Among the hustle and bustle of the high court litigants and supplicants, they maintain a humble stance, and a broken hearted vigil. ..
"Shyrel’s determination to do this has moved our theological discussions from theory to reality. ...What would you do if someone stole your child? What would you do if you knew where your stolen child was? ...I would go to my police, the FBI, or Interpol if needed, and they would for sure hear my case, or my congressman and Senator would be all over them. I would have my child back. When something bad happens to us who are privileged, we have resources. We will get justice.
"Now, try to imagine you are a poor Kachikel woman in Guatemala. The last thing you remember is that you were offered a cool drink on a hot day by a woman who offered to help you walk from your bus stop to the bus stop that would take you to a relative’s house. ...But you know people who have adopted from Guatemala. And isn’t adoption a good thing? You heard for years that there were rumors of “corruption”. You relegated those rumors, if true, to be simply that of government officials accepting bribes. You didn’t ask why there would be a need for bribes if everything was above board. Let it lie, you say. Focus on the good. Ignore the bad...
"Now, with at least 3 cases proven of stolen children having been processed for adoption, these helpless, hopeless, vulnerable women make them feel very uncomfortable. This may be only the tip of a sordid ice berg. So they do not want justice. They want it all to go away."
Please pass this on to all concerned with social justice and human rights and stay tuned here for more news about the September Solidarity with Guatemala Social Action.
Also, be sure to see video at this link.
Defendants in Samoan adoption case must pay $100,000 to trust fund
A federal judge in Utah has ordered five operators and employees of the now-defunct Focus on Children adoption agency to contribute $100,000 to a trust fund that would allow Samoan children adopted by U.S. parents to connect with their birth families.
U.S. District Judge David Sam said the payments will serve both as punishment and a form of "restorative justice."
The money would be paid in monthly installments over the next five years. Sam's order, issued Tuesday, marks the end of the court proceedings in the case.
A 2007 indictment accused the five of tricking Samoan parents into giving up their children to the Wellsville-based group for adoption.
Prosecutors alleged relatives or friends in Samoa pushed the adoptions as a program that would educate children in the United States and return them at age 18.
Also, the adoptive parents in the United States were falsely told the adoptees were orphans or abandoned and that communication with the birth families was forbidden, according to the indictment.
The charges involved about 80 children, 66 of whom were placed with U.S. families.
The five defendants pleaded guilty to various misdemeanor counts of aiding and abetting the illegal entry of an alien and were sentenced earlier this year by Sam to five years of probation.
They also were ordered to pay into the trust fund, with the amounts to be determined later.
In addition, the agency, which ceased operations in summer 2007, pleaded guilty to a felony count of conspiracy and was ordered to officially dissolve.
The defendants and the amounts they must pay are:
» Karen Banks, 48, who managed the adoption agency, and her husband, Scott Banks, 47, who also held a management position, $85,000.
» Dan Wakefield, 72, who helped locate children in Samoa for adoption, $8,000.
» Coleen Bartlett, 52, who facilitated the adoption of Samoan children, $4,000.
» Karalee Thornock, 36, who served as a Pacific Islands case worker, $3,000.
The U.S. Attorney's Office had asked for a minimum total of $108,000. Spokeswoman Melodie Rydalch said Thursday that while no amount of money can rectify the damage done, prosecutors are satisfied with Sam's order.
"We believe this money will be a significant help in opening the long-awaited lines of communication between children and families affected by the defendants' actions," she said.
Sam said he took into consideration that the defendants "are not people that have indicated that they have lived an irresponsible lifestyle of excess and deviant behavior."
"While each is culpable in their criminal actions, they appeared to be acting in what they considered to be the best interests of the children and not in their own selfish interests," the judge wrote.----------
I pray this will set a precedent for the Guatemalan children and ALL others...
Monday, July 20, 2009
Amidst bizarre stories of contract hits, drug running, and Mexican gangs all involved in the killing of the Billings' who owned this sprawling home, is this stranger than fiction tale...
A bizarre scheme
One unexplained blemish on Billings' past involves a bizarre scheme he started early this decade that aimed to make millions by apparently copyrighting his children's names.
About 2003, he began filing dozens of confusing documents that attempted to copyright his children's names, then demanded millions of dollars for copyright infringements when government agencies used those names.
The documents, obtained from the Escambia County Clerk of Court and the Florida Department of Children and Families, reference "genocide acts," maritime law and "corporate fictions.'' He signed one purported affidavit "Byrd Billings, Agent, Attorney in Fact, With the Autograph, Non-Domestic."
DCF attorney Katie George said every time the agency addressed a letter to Billings that included his children's names, he would reply with an invoice demanding millions of dollars in copyright infringement.
Generally, he demanded silver coins or federal reserve notes of equal value. After nearly two years, Billings began addressing invoices to DCF employees at their homes, and a DCF lawyer sent Billings a sharply worded letter warning him that legal action against him was a possibility.
"At no time in any of your correspondence have you made a plain demand for damages under a clear and cognizable theory of liability," Assistant District Legal Council Richard Cserep wrote in a Dec. 9, 2005, letter.
After that letter, Billings stopped sending invoices.
When asked if she was aware of Byrd Billings' copyright claims, Ashley said he had mentioned copyrighting the children's names to her but said the goal was to protect their privacy.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
The real horror is that once again organizations such as The Congressional Coalition on Adoption, The Assoc. of Adoption Attorneys, ACT for Adoption -- all of whom are spearheading the campaign.
Why are they doing so? Simple! All these organizations represent adoption attorney who feed on baby selling, fear a loss in sales and a drop income flow. These vultures are once again using the numbers of children in foster care and in orphanages around the world, as if they cared at all about that. Unfortunately, such kids are left behind as predatory baby brokers pressure, coerce, and find babies that have been stolen or kidnapped and trafficked around the globe to sell for international and domestic adoption and fill their coffers! These are the same slime than use foster kids to promote ever increasing tax benefits for their constituents to adopt internationally and ignore the kids they purport to help.
And now they worry this film might scare off some potential customers. They pretend to worry and act concerned and benevolent because they know their customers don't really adopt orphans any more than Madonna did! And their customers know it too.
Those few special souls who are willing to take in special needs kids are not going to be scared away by a stupid fictionalized movie about a girl who did not even really come from the orphanage!
The real horror of adoption is this: that the children who might benefit from a new family are left behind in a market economy that seeks younger and allegedly healthier children.
The horror is the total lack of control of who can hang out a shingle and call themselves an adoption "agency".
The real horror is the coercion, exploitation and child trafficking!
Real Life Horror Exploited
Mean while MTV sees fit to exploit the lives of young women in crisis with a series entitled "16 and Pregnant". I bet the adoption vultures applaud this, or at the very least would not raise on syllable against it. Will we??
Byrd, 66, and Melanie, 43, Billings of Pensacola, FL.had 17 kids, 13 of them adopted. Three of their children have died - not sure if they were adopted, some of which reportedly has autism and Downs syndrome.
Byrd's love for adopting children began while he was married to his second wife, Cindy Reeve.
That love for obtaining children didn't always care about doing so legally, apparently. In 1989 he served two years probation for violation of adoption, committing fraud to obtain a birth certificate, and forgery of a birth certificate regarding the adoption of a boy named Justin.
Note how...hmmm...stiff are the penalties for forging one's life's history and identity!
Within a couple of years, however, Byrd "Bud" Billings - a former strip club owner-turned used car dealer - and his third wife, Melanie, were able to arrange to adopt Justin legally.
Court records show that 20 years ago a debt-ridden and pregnant Pensacola woman named Vickie Taylor checked into Sacred Heart Hospital under the name Cindy Reeve. She delivered a baby boy June 4 and listed the father's name as Byrd Billings. Taylor told deputies she had agreed to the fraud in exchange for a $2,100 loan, so the Billingses could claim the baby as their own.
Sheriff's deputies learned of the plot when someone with knowledge of it called authorities, the documents say. A deputy found the baby, named Justin, when he went to interview Reeve and Billings. All three pleaded nolo contendere, which means they did not admit guilt but agreed to a punishment.
Now fast forward. Byrd and Melanie Billings have been killed in what police believe to be a home invasion by masked men who removed a safe and guns from the house. Eight people were arrested — including a teenager, an Air Force Sergeant and an antique mall owner — there remain almost as many questions as answers and the safe was alleged to contain papers such as adoption finalizations and birth certificates. The safe was reportedly found in the backyard of one of the suspects.
This is a case to follow as police round up the likely suspects. Could it have been someone who knew there was a safe and guns in the house? Could it have been an "inside job" by one of the children they so "lovingly" took and cared for as their own...through broken marriages, a home that was as crowded as a group home, and some who may have bee ill-begotten?
A very unlikely setting for a reunion
And, yes...there's more to this sad story. The report above about the illegal adoption later (shutter) allowed to be legalized negelcted to include the fact that the mother, Vickie Taylor, who desperately allowed the illegal adoption - already had four children.
One of those four children, Regina Spence, 21, and just a year older than Justin was also subsequently adopted with her three other siblings. Their adoptive parents knew of Justin and told them, even sharing news clippings of adoption fraud case.
Regina Spence met and hugged her long lost brother for the first time at the fineral for Byrd and Melanie Billings. They hope to continue a relationship.
Friday, July 17, 2009
Be it known that today I received an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: July 17, 2009 4:20:26 PM EDT
Subject: You have been unsubscribed from the Cub-All mailing list
The message area was blank. The subject had said it all. No explanation.
I wrote to list moderator Jon Klaren and asked if there was a reason for this sudden dismissal without explanation and was told it was a "board decsion" due to "recent behavior on the list" which he alleges I had "warned about" previously.
I have no clue what "behavior" that is, but I am posting this so that anyone wanting to keep up with the many news articles I had been posting there, can find them and discuss them here as well as keep apprised of my Guatemala trip and other activities such as an upcoming presentation in Toronto in October.
I can also be found on Facebook where this has led to a discussion about the long history of in-fighting and other problems in adoption reform organizations.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
In 2006, Jana Dickson gave birth to her son while in a relationship with Gena-Louise Edvalson. The couple resides in Utah, a state that does doe sot allow for same-sex unions and so Edvalson was unable to adopt her partner's son. Instead they drew up an agreement regarding their mutual intent to share parenting of this child they both agree dot have within their relationship.
The relationship ended a year alter and Dickson - the natural mother of the child - legally married a man and proceeded to cut her former partner out of their son's life.
Edvalson sued for parental rights to the child relying upon the apparently unenforceable agreement. The court dismissed the lawsuit, Edvalson v. Dickson, ruling that state public policy designed to protect the best interests of children trumps any such “agreements” that people make, especially when there are no allegations of abuse or neglect.
Interesting though that one can agree to allow a stranger to adopt one's child without any allegations of abuse or neglect.
A Utah court has ruled that a 2-year-old child’s right to his mother outweighs the demands of a woman unrelated to the boy who sought parental rights. Where are the rights of children who are adopted by unrelated strangers as they grow up with no true information?
Dickson, the mother, was represented by Frank D. Mylar of ADF, a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Remember this was all happening in Utah, folks. A bit of homophobia in place here.
Myler said: “A parent’s fundamental right and responsibility to raise and care for her child cannot be bargained away or lost through contract.” Isn't this the very essence of relinquishment?!
Myler also said: “The fundamental rights of parents to raise children the way they see fit should not be threatened by the wishes and desires of a legal stranger. The court correctly ruled that this little boy’s right to his mother under state law is of far greater value than the wishes of someone who has no legal relationship to the child.” Sure wish the ADF would be there in contested adoptions!
But the court ruling could be used in cases of contested adoptions:
The court dismissed the Edvalson v. Dickson lawsuit, ruling that state public policy designed
to protect the best interests of children trumps any such “agreements” that people make, especially when there are no allegations of abuse or neglect.
The Utah Supreme Court has held that contracts that offend public policy are void.... [but surrogacy contracts, which basically sell a human being, are OK, as is the selling of eggs and sperm with accompanying anonymity agreements?] Therefore, while people are generally free to bind themselves to any contract, those contracts which are contrary to public policy are illegal and void,” wrote Third Judicial District Court Judge L.A. Dever in his ruling issued June 30.
This case speaks volumes, albeit silently, about the rights the person totally absent in this case: the sperm donor father. Was their an "agreement" to leave him out? Is this acceptable to the court and public policy? This does not "offend" anyone? Are not the rights of surrogates likewise contracted away? Even in traditional adoption: Is a surrender a contract? Did i not buy signing "agree" to let go of my parental rights ad 'agree" to let someone else parent my child? If so, why am I the signer of such a contractual agreement, disallowed a copy of said contact I signed - even redacted - and even after 42 years. If it is not a contract or agreement, what is it?
Why is it that when the word "adoption" enters into any transaction involving a child, it trumps everything else and makes the perspective adopter appear superior to all laws of human nature and common sense and many rights otherwise upheld and protected?