Sunday, October 18, 2009

Stolen Children Sold into Adoption

This post edited 10/119/09

The Star Tribune of Minneapolis, MN ran  story entitled: Burned by a baby broker

It is a story of sypathy for one sandy Hibbs, a 50-year old single women who "flies all over the world for her job" and who tried to adopt not one, not two, but three young babies from Guatemala.

So sad for Sandy, who spent approx. $170,000 in total for the three (which might include moneys spent for a previous failed attempt from Russia or somewhere) and she cannot get the girls out of the country cause of illegalities in th adoption. Now isn't that a heart breaker that babies are not allowed to be sold illegally?

Turns out the mother of the twins and third girl wa sonly 15 when she gave birth and thus cannot legally sign any relinquihsment papers and so they were forged, Also turs out their grandmother is seeking to raise the, Pity. Poor, poor sandy wallowing in a room with "three empty cribs."

Turns out that there are 17 agencies in Minnesota, the largest importer of babies of all the states.
In the past three years, state regulators began 14 investigations against eight of these firms.

A Family Journey, which handled Hibbs' failed adoption, was cited for 13 licensing violations this year, including overcharging her. Investigators also found that Hibbs paid $9,000 in foreign fees before she fully qualified for adopting.

"Attorney Scott Hillstrom, who represents the agency, said state investigators conducted "a blatantly incompetent investigation," but his 24-page appeal was rejected on every count. Hillstrom said his sister's agency handled 175 adoptions and failed to deliver children in just two cases, including Hibbs'.

"Experts say the willingness of Americans to spend $25,000 or more adopting a child is a big part of the problem and has contributed to illegal activities in such countries as Guatemala, where that kind of money is a fortune.

"The agency was run by Tamara Hillstrom out of her Minneapolis home. Before starting the nonprofit agency in 2005, she was in the clothing business, selling hand-painted goods to retailers and running a Mall of America kiosk. She had no social work experience, but had adopted a child from Guatemala."

The article goes on to report that: "So far, criminal charges regarding Guatemalan adoptions appear to have been filed against just one American, Mary Bonn, an adoption coordinator who worked for A Family Journey and other U.S. agencies. She was arrested while working for a Pennsylvania agency in February 2007 after smuggling a baby out of Guatemala to her home in Florida. She pleaded guilty to harboring an illegal alien and spent 10 months in prison."
Hibbs reportedly became "uneasy," however, when the attorney started demanding more money. In June 2008, the lawyer suggested to Hibbs by e-mail that she come to Guatemala, pay him $33,500 in cash and meet the children's mother and grandmother. Hibbs said she didn't go because paying in cash seemed unsafe, even unethical.

But not to worry, because the reporter reminds us that "most Americans come home with the children they wanted"  [despite corruption.] Yes, in fact, even "Hibbs still hopes for a happy ending in which she gets the girls." 
And, we can also take solice in knowing that:  As punishment, state officials made the agency's license conditional for one year. Until next August, Tamara Hillstrom must disclose the state's findings to all current and prospective clients. Scott Hillstrom said that could put the agency out of business."

If A Family Journey closes, it would become the second agency effectively forced out of business by the state in recent years. In 2007, the state revoked the license of Reaching Arms International of New Hope after regulators received dozens of complaints about bungled adoptions. Investigators found forgery, false documents and other problems.

What was this single 50-year old who "flies around the world for her job" thinking to consider three babies at nice?   The title of the article and THIS accompanying photo (left) put 100% of the focus on the disappointment of the prospective baby buyer.

4 comments:

triona said...

You know what made me sick about this article? How they showed the cribs and all the clothes she bought for these kids. That to me demonstrates how these adoption agencies feed prospective adopters' dreams with the assumption that they are guaranteed kids so they better hurry up and get clothes and other material items for them--before anything is even close to final. It also illustrates to me that these children are bought just like all these items are bought: to finish off the perfect kid-room, complete with Real Live Kid.

Anonymous said...

or, just maybe, triona, since the woman had already MET the children and felt connected to them, she bought all the things to get them ready for the children. just like most parents do before having biological children. that must be their sense of entitlement--after all, the baby could have died in utero or at childbirth, so why buy all the stuff for him /her?

AdoptAuthor said...

I had the a similar thought viewing the photo.

Jewish superstition disallows bringing any baby items into the house prior to the birth so as not to count your chickens before they are hatched, so to speak, or create bad mojo.

But it does REEK of the entitlement I so often hear and read on blogs about "bringing OUR baby HOME."

Those with children who had been in the pipeline when Guatemala stopped int. adoption came to to the Ethica/Donaldson conf waving photos of "their" children who needed to "come home" their anger at the UN reps was palpable and fiercely virulent.

Yet no one is doing a damn thing for the children of Guatemalan mothers who were kidnapped and living in the US with their "adopters." What about allowing THOSE kids to go HOME?

triona said...

Anonymous--I see a difference between a child dying in utero or childbirth and a failed adoption. It's reasonable to expect if you're pregnant that you are having a baby. With adoption there are no guarantees, and that's where I think adoption agencies fail to set appropriate expectations. For example, by doing so they put pressure on expectant mothers who feel obligated to relinquish to this nice couple who has spent so much money on clothes etc. The agencies should tell potential adopters, okay go ahead and get stuff but bear in mind that until the paperwork is finalized these children are not guaranteed--however much prospective adopters may fall in love with photos. Of course the agencies don't say these things because the first rule in selling something is keep the customer hooked.

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