Monday, November 22, 2010

Young Moms and Coercion in Adoption: An Inside First Person Report

Rachel is a very strong, brave, courageous survivor who describes herself as:
I am… a mother, a birth mother, an adoptee, a foster care alumni… I have experienced child abuse (physical, mental, emotional, and sexual), incest (by multiple family members), rape (multiple friends of the family), date rape (several years before I turned 18, which resulted in a pregnancy and subsequent adoption), child prostitution, domestic abuse, and so much more. I have experienced, I have survived, and now I share my story in the hopes that other children don’t have to go through the living hell that I had to go through.
Rachel blogs at GrowingUpLost, and has chosen this, the day after National Adoption Day to reveal her own personal experience into the coercion of young mothers in adoption.  Her story is riveting. She tells of her experience as an underage run-away from foster care who discovers she is pregnant after being raped. It is a story not to be mossed, and one unfortunately many of have heard before...or have lived!

With her newborn having been flown to a NICU unit in critical care, she is repeatedly pressured and then lied to and coerced out of her child!

Her story bears some similarities to this excerpt from pages 66-69 in THE STORK MARKET and shows that it doesn't just happen to very young mothers:
In February 2006 Maxine Buckmeier, an attorney who represents adoptive parents, was found to have been bringing young, often homeless, pregnant women across state lines on her clients’ behalf. Buckmeier set expectant mothers up in apartments paid for by prospective adopters, in an operation no different from those that had elicited concern in Louisiana.
Prospective adopters paid all expenses not covered by Medicare and food stamps. Buckmeier used her law degree to navigate the law, having prospective adoptive parents purchase Wal-Mart debit cards and pay the rent to the apartment complex, so no cash was transferred directly from prospective adopters to expectant mothers.
As of this writing, no charges have been brought against Buckmeier who claims, “the women relocated to Sioux City sometimes plan[ned] to stay in Iowa after the birth and only leave if, and when, they choose.” But, according to reports, payments ended when an expectant mother “backs out of the plan.”
Christine Kilmer was one of two women who wound up in a homeless shelter in Iowa after being kicked out of the apartment Buckmeier provided. Kilmer responded to an ad for Laurie Aragon’s Adoption Insight in a free shoppers’ guide in Florida, where she was living, and was relocated to the Sioux City apartment complex.
When Kilmer gave birth, she decided to parent her daughter. Kilmer claims that Buckmeier called every day, urging her to change her mind. Four days after giv-ing birth, Kilmer was told to vacate her apartment. The prospective adopters confirmed that she had been told that they would no longer pay her expenses.
Almost immediately, the Iowa Department of Hu-man Services (DHS) stopped Kilmer from taking her newborn out of the hospital. A few days later, DHS took custody of Kilmer’s 4-year-old daughter who had been living with her in the homeless shelter. According to a transcript of the hearing obtained by the Quad City Times’ Des Moines Bureau, a nurse in the hospital where Kilmer delivered testified that she had called DHS because she “had gotten a call from Maxine Buckmeier to say that (Kilmer) had chosen to keep the baby, which is her right, but she wanted to let us know that she was homeless.”
The nurse testified that Buckmeier’s phone call led her to speak to Kilmer, a conversation that heightened the nurse’s concerns because Kilmer was talking about driving her family across the country to stay with relatives. The nurse then called DHS.
Hospital employees claim that Buckmeier, who did not testify at the hearing, told them that the adoption was off and simply answered their questions. Buckmeier denies playing a role in the DHS referral. “The social workers asked me, ‘What is her plan?’ And I said, ‘You’ll have to ask Chris.’ Then the social workers asked, ‘Will she go back to the same apartment?’ and I said, ‘Well, she’ll have to pay the rent. That was it,’” Buckmeier said.
As of this writing, both of Kilmer’s children remain in foster care, seemingly for their mother’s “offense” of considering, and then rejecting adoption, and/or for be-ing poor and homeless. Patsy Scallions, a director at the Sioux City Gospel Mission Women’s and Children’s Shelter, said she knows of at least three women from the Sioux City apartment complex where Buckmeier houses pregnant women who “wound up on the streets after de-ciding not to proceed with adoptions.” At least two of the women, she said, wound up losing their babies any-way, because they were homeless.
Adoption Insight (also operating as Adoption Wise), which placed the ad that Kilmer responded to, is owned and operated by Laurie Aragon. Aragon is an adoptive parent and certified nursing assistant who opened Adop-tion Wise as a nonprofit adoption consultancy in 1999, but changed it to a for-profit within six months.
Aragon, a self-proclaimed “adoption facilitator,” has headquarters in Holtsville, California, a state that allows adoption facilitators to operate without any restrictions. However, she advertises in Florida, soliciting expectant mothers, (where Kilmer saw her ad) and sends mothers to Iowa, one of a dozen states that has no regulations limiting adoption advertising or the use of facilitators. Fraud complaints in California are filed with the district attorney in the company’s home county. But conveniently for Aragon, in rural counties, such as the one in which Holtville is located, the district attorney only intervenes after the Chamber of Commerce or Better Business Bureau have said that a complaint has merit.
Gail Betts, an associate of Aragon’s Adoption In-sight, speaking on their behalf, told The [Iowa] Register: Some things are “trade secrets. I’m not going to tell you everything we do. You are not a paying customer.” She said services are provided by the agency based on what individual clients are willing to pay.
“We have no authority and no responsibility over [adoption facilitators] or their activities whatsoever,” said Michael Weston, of California Department of Social Services, which licenses adoption agencies.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey! Just so you know, my name isn't Rachel. Rachel is a friend of mine that I'm keeping people posted on regarding her court battles and her foster children.

My name isn't anywhere on my blog, and I'd prefer to keep it that way...

I'm willing to talk with you directly if you want any additional information surrounding my adoption story. Just email me.

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