Thursday, July 2, 2009

Kidnapping or Adoption?

A "TV expert" attorney commenting on the custody possibilities for the Michael Jackson children, particularly whether Debbie Rowe would have a shot at custody....said that it does not matter if Jackson was nether their biological father or adoptive father of any of the children. He has raised them and that makes them his. HUH?? Does she as an attorney really equate children to possessions? Does the law? Even so, does the law now uphold the schoolyard rule of law: finder jeepers, losers weepers?

Applying the "possession is 9/10ths of the law" rule to children is not only gross and clearly makes property of them - as in slaves (even if their "job" is only to look cute) - it also suggests that the dame would apply for any kidnapper...thus bringing us full circle right back to the start of this post...

Online Legal Dictionary defines kidnapping as:
The crime of unlawfully seizing and carrying away a person by force or Fraud, or seizing and detaining a person against his or her will with an intent to carry that person away at a later time....

As for punishment it says:
A person who is convicted of kidnapping is usually sentenced to prison for a certain number of years. In some states, and at the federal level, the term of imprisonment may be the remainder of the offender's natural life. In jurisdictions that authorize the death penalty, a kidnapper is charged with a capital offense if the kidnapping results in death. Kidnapping is so severely punished because it is a dreaded offense. It usually occurs in connection with another criminal offense, or underlying crime.
I cannot help but think pedophiles such as Peckenpaugh, Mancusco and now social worker Frank Lombard - all of whim "adopted" children with the sole intent and purpose of using them as sex slaves. Why is this still called adoption and not what it is: kidnapping? Even Joel Steinberg who "adopted" two kids but never filed for their adoption and abused both, killing one...was never charged with kidnapping - or murder - and all throughout the case it was referred to as an "illegal adoption'" instead of a kidnapping.

And now of course we have as many as a thousand children in this country who were "adopted" from Guatemala, any number of whom very well may have been kidnapped with no one investigating. See also: DNA.

In Jackson's case, he allegedly never filed to adopt any of these children either and it now appears none are biologically related to him. Does that not clearly constitute kidnapping, or baby selling? Or did he cleverly get around that loophole - at least re the first two by marrying his surrogate?

Wikipedia says:
In modern usage, kidnapping or abduction of a child is often called child stealing, particularly when done not to collect a ransom but rather with the intention of keeping the child permanently (often in a case where the child's parents are divorced or legally separated, whereupon the parent who does not have legal custody will commit the act, also known as "childnapping").

One legal explanation/opinion about surrogacy and adoption appears at: Michael Jackson’s Kids and the “Parent Child Relationship” - An Intro to Legal Issues with Surrogacy, Third Party Reproduction, and Adoption

It all leaves this blogger wondering: Is there a difference between adoption and kidnaping anymore? Where is the line that separates what is considered a noble act of altruism from a felony that is just on step short of premeditated murder?


maryanne said...

All these things are horrifying but the only one that actually involves kidnapping is the Guatemala situation.

Jackson's kids were created for him by people he paid. They were not "kidnapped" in any sense because there was nobody to kidnap them from. Surrogacy is morally problematic and in a case like this especially heinous and disgusting, but it is not kidnapping.

Pedophiles adopting is another horrible thing, and studies of prospective adoptive parents need to be much more stringent to prevent this from happening. That is has happened even once is too much, but I hardly think it is common, and evil as it is, is not kidnapping but misuse of the adoption system for evil and immoral ends. It is a crime that any agency or facilitator placed kids with pedophiles, but those kids were originally surrendered, not kidnapped.

Yes, there is a difference between adoption and kidnapping, which is why the Guatemalan kidnapping cases need to be investigated and prosecuted and some kind of arrangement worked out between the mothers and the adoptive parents, for the good of the children. The complication is that the adoptive parents often did not know that the kids were obtained illegally. The kidnappers did not keep them. This is more complex than just returning "stolen goods" or the cases where kids escaped from kidnappers after years and years.

AdoptAuthor said...

Yes, there is a difference between legal adoption and kidnapping. Not talking about.

Oh...yes, wait a minute - I am! The Guatemalan ones, which, ironically are the only ones you recognize as possible classic kidnapping.

So...then, taking a baby not related to you in any way -- **not adopting it** -- but keeping said child and raising it...what's that?

Is that not baby buying? How does it differ from kidnapping other than by legal technicality and language? Because the child was not grabbed out of the arms of a screaming mother - or because the mother was paid?

How ironic too that we criminalize young women who in a state of shock might abandon a babu=y in a non-authorized location...but mothers can SELL babies into an abyss not knowing who they are going to and we do not criminalize that as abandonment or baby selling/buying?!

maryanne said...

Not too sure what you are going on about here, Michael Jackson's case or things in general. There are lots of bad things in the world but they are not the same bad thing. No, keeping and raising a baby not related to you is not kidnapping. Not unless you stole the baby from someone who did not want to give it to you. In the past, many children were raised in informal arrangements by neighbors or friends if there were no relatives to take a child, and nothing legal was ever done about it. Isn't this the "golden age" some anti-adoption people want to go back to?

The Jackson case is a legal and moral nightmare, but does not have a whole lot to do with anything or anyone else. Big money is involved, which is the prime motive in any seeking of custody of those unfortunate kids.

If the mother was paid, it certainly could be baby-selling, but baby selling or surrogacy are not kidnapping either. Not that they are good, but they are a different bad thing. Outright baby selling IS illegal, but there are many ways to get around that.

Surrogacy is legal in many places. Paying some expenses of a surrendering mother is legal, although the way many entrepreneurs in adoption operate is questionable, it still is not the crime of kidnapping. Ugly, irresponsible, and unethical, yes. But not the same thing.

Criminalizing abandonment is a whole different unrelated issue, apples and oranges.

AdoptAuthor said...

I see two HUGE difference between the good ole days of informal adoptions, what many family preservations strive towards...and baby buying:

#1) M-O-N-E-Y


These two differences are ENORMOUS because they reverse something that was done for no reason but to provide necessary care for kids in need to a greedy, sick, perverted way of buying babies for any perv who want them!

Diff between abandonment and selling one's kid is once again: M-O-N-E-Y! The later is far more reprehensible as far as I am concerned. It is more calculated as opposed to those abandonments done in a moment of shock and denial. Yet the former is criminalized, unfairly IMHO.

Motivation matters. The law recognizes many differences in someone being killed. Avehicular accident that resuklgs n someone;s death is far different than killing someone during the commission of a crime such as a robbery. Likewise self-defense is a far, far cry from hiring a hit man to kill spouse you fear divorcing will leave you broke or for his insurance money.

*Motivation based on monetary gain* counts when determining the seriousness of an offense in most of our legal system.

Current adoption is clearly on a continuum, between these two extremes, with all stranger infant adoption (except the few that involve foster children, and are thus not infants) - involving fairly large sums of money ...and ALL beginning with a falsified birth certificate that creates some level of anonymity.

I am thinking outside the box of legal definitions as I said. I think legal definitions are far too limited, and the word "adoption" tagged onto the most reprehensible practice seems to make it somehow OK or makes the end justify the means.

NOT! At least not in my book.

I take the liberty of calling people who place babies in the hands of pervs - flesh peddlers.You can argue they are not. I take the liberty of labeling baby selling - selling no matter what pretty bow it is tied up in.

I am just DYING to know what agency was involved in the James Barnes, Duke U social worker adoption for sex case!

And BTW - we have no way of knowing how many kids are being abused by their adopters for sexual pleasures, because no one checks up on adoptions once they are final - nor those that are never filed as adoptions.

Anonymous said...

I thought his name was Frank Lombard, not James Barnes.

maryanne said...

When speaking of crimes, it is best to stay "in the box" of legal definitions. Kidnapping and baby selling are two different crimes. "One of these things is not like the other" as they say on Sesame St.

Both are bad, both are illegal, but to get back to your original "are adoption and kidnapping the same?" no, not the same thing. Communication about abuses in adoption would be better served by addressing them each separately rather than lumping them together.

AdoptAuthor said...

Is it kidnapping when "adoptive parent" keep a child after ordered by the court to return it as was the case in all of the major publicized disputed adoption cases?

Is it not kidnapping when coercion is involved to obtain the child in the first place? If not, why not?

Kidnapping is not as B/W a thing even in in legal context as you might think. Consider my (June 9) blog post about Jamie Kiefer who was originally charged with kidnapping her child but those charges were dropped because it turned out to be her baby. Yet in other cases of parental kidnaping such charges have remained. the legal lines are fluid and allow for interpretation and flexibility on the part of the courts.

Well...some agree with me that asking the question and raising these issues and comparisons is an important first step in ending, unethical, coercive adoption practices. Copy and paste link with no spaces:

H said...

"He has raised them and that makes them his. HUH?? Does she as an attorney really equate children to possessions?"


No, as an attorney she's aware of the existence of "de facto parent" status for longterm caregivers where no one else can make a more compelling claim of parental rights. When or not you agree that this should be possible, it has nada to do with property rights, and is completely a custody issue, so let's not misrepresent that.

The difference between kidnapping and adoption is that kidnapping is predicated on the custodial parent/legal guardian being unwilling to surrender the child. (A child could be kidnapped for adoption, but they're still separate things where one precedes the other.)

If they child is deliberately surrendered, whether through official or unofficial channels, it's not kidnapping. There may be other crimes involved (falsification of documents, sexual abuse, even murder, etc.) but it is not IN ITSELF kidnapping if it doesn't fit any of the actual criteria for that crime.

That's not to say these situations are ethical, or even that they aren't criminal... but "kidnapping" is not the proper word for a situation where the child is willingly surrendered by the custodial parent, even if other crimes are committed.

"Kidnapping" is NOT an equally generic equivalent to "did something bad," or even "did something bad that involves child custody." The actual circumstances matter.

Anonymous said...

I think when Human services takes a baby 24 hours old away from her family and does not tell us where she is or how she is and then steals them away by not following state laws is stealing. when there are family and siblings involved . Such as the case in Blue Earth County Human Services In Minnesota

RussiaToday Apr 29, 2010 on Russian Adoption Freeze

Russi Today: America television Interview 4/16/10 Regarding the Return of Artyem, 7, to Russia alone

RT: Russia-America TV Interview 3/10

Korean Birthmothers Protest to End Adoption

Motherhood, Adoption, Surrender, & Loss

Who Am I?

Bitter Winds

Adoption and Truth Video

Adoption Truth

Birthparents Never Forget