Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Adoption and Deportation

The United States of America - land of the free?
Give me your tired, your poor,Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free;The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,Send these, the homeless,Tempest-tossed to meI lift my lamp beside the golden door!
US law immigration laws and state adoption laws can be used to snatch kids away from their countries, send them helplessly back, and separate families against their will.

US law, until recently, relied on those who adopted internationally to file for citizenship for their children, some adoptees have been - or are faced with - deportation to a country now foreign to them.  These tragic situations dispel two myths: 1) that adoption creates "forever families," and 2) that adoption is "the same as if' a child is born to" their adoptive parents - despite falsified birth certificates that make it appear so. These adoptions are mere shams and are a shameful abuse of people's lives.

Shame, shame, shame on the U$A and our too lax adoption policies and practices that fail to protect innocent children we so glibly claim to "rescue" as we use immigration laws as a yet another excuse to create more faux "orphans" of living, caring parents.

Give me, give me, give me.... translates onto give us your children and we will discard them like garbage when we are displeased or simply we because we "forgot" or never got around to fining a paper that is vitally important for them. Or we take the kids and discard the parents like so much unwanted trash.

The laws requiring adoptive parents to file for citizenship changed in 2004, however, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), "a large number of adoptees have been deported in recent years. Many of them said they were unaware of their non-citizen status." 

Jennifer Edgell Haynes was adopted from an Indian orphanage by an American couple from Atlanta Georgia via American Aid for International Adoption. She was seven years old.

"Unfortunately the adoption was a fraud and within a year of arriving in the United States I found myself placed with a foster family who later adopted me, where I was sexually abused and physically beaten. Thereafter for the next ten years I was shuffled from foster home to foster home," she said.

All the while Jennifer had no reason to doubt her American citizenship. She married and has two children. But in 2008 she was deported back to India as a result of a minor drug charge and is now desperately trying to return to her husband and children. She was reunited with a brother in India but longs for her children.

Kairi Abha Shepherd faces a similar fate. Born in India, Kairi, now thirty and diagnosed with MS, was adopted by an American single mother from Utah in 1982. When Kairi was just eight years old her single adoptive mother died of cancer and Kairi was cared for by "guardians."

In 2004 Kairi was convicted of forgery to support a drug habit. The Indian government is begging for compassion but the US government, so far, says she must be deported simply because her adoptive mother or guardians never filed for citizenship on her behalf.

A Korean-born woman, unnamed by the press, was adopted at eight-months old to America was being held in detention in Arizona facing deportation in January 2011. Like Jennifer, this 31-year-old is also a mother - of three children!  The Korean consulate requested the deportation decision be withdrawn. But the US government insisted. She had been arrested twice for theft and the US was following standard protocol for ILLEGAL RESIDENTS. “Although [she] was adopted as an infant, she is only a green card holder and not a citizen.” 

Blanca Catt was born in Mexico and smuggled into the US as a toddler. She was then removed from allegedly abusive parents and placed in foster care in Oregon. She was placed with the Catt family when she was five and adopted by them 3 years later. Blanca committed no crimes. She found out when she applied for a driver's license at 16 that no one ever filed for citizenship for her and faced deportation.

"The state's not really denying that DHS messed up," said Blanca's attorney, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of Catt and her mother. "The state's position is that because Blanca and Lisa didn't bring suit until October, 2009, it's too late." 

But Oregon's Department of Justice also says its responsibility for Blanca ended the day the Catts finalized her adoption, regardless of whether her legal status had been resolved at that time. 
"There's no statute that requires DHS to finalize the citizenship of children in their custody," said Kate Medema, an Oregon Department of Justice spokeswoman. If the Catts had gone to Mexico to adopt Blanca, she would have automatically become a U.S. citizen when she entered the country thanks to the Child Citizenship Act of 2000. However, that federal law does not apply to anyone entering the country illegally. Blanca was just 19 and very frightened, facing deportation in 2010 without speaking any Spanish. 

Despite a great deal of press surrounding her case at the time (2010) I can find no follow-up on how it was resolved.

Russell Green was born to a Korean mother and an American soldier and has lived in the U.S. for over 30 years. He arrived in Massachusetts from Korea as a 12-year-old boy, but after only a few months, his "forever parents" returned him to the adoption agency before his adoption was finalized. Russell was then placed with a single foster parent living in Brooklyn, New York who cared for older boys and who promised to adopt him. Although this foster parent renamed him "Russell David Green," he did not legally change Russell's name, adopt him, and facilitate his naturalization. Instead, he exposed Russell to alcohol, marijuana, and abuse and the state neglected to file citizenship papers.

A father of three, Russell currently faces possible deportation to Korea – a country whose language he cannot speak. 

For a complete list of 20+ such cases, see Deportation case at PoundPuppy Legacy.

ADOPTION & DEPORTATION - DEPORTATION & ADOPTION: Either way it shatter lives and destroys families

Felipe Montes is marred with two children he provided sole support of his family because of his wife's disability. She is a US citizen, he was not. On Dec. 3, 2010 he was arrested for driving without a license and sent back to Mexico and as of the last report, his children - all under five - were facing being placed with the state for adoption.

This is just one such case. The Applied Research report "Shattered Families" revealed that more than 5,000 children of deported parents or in ICE custody are currently in adoptive homes.
In just the first six months of 2011, there were more than 46,000 cases involving deported mothers and fathers who had left their U.S.-born children behind.

More than a fifth of the 391,000 undocumented immigrants deported last year were the parents of U.S. citizens.

Encarnacion Bail Romero, says her son Carlos was taken from her against her will while she was in federal custody for an immigration-related crime, and hopes to regain custody in a trial that starts later this month. Seth and Melinda Moser of Carthage, Missouri who want to adopt the five-year-old boy have waged a court battle.

The case is being called part "a growing trend in which immigrants are being deemed unfit parents because they crossed the border illegally." More on this case here, and here where I first blogged about this case 12/21/10.

Threats of deportation also impact undocumented citizens and cause them to loose custody of their children. It happened to Vilma Ramirez, 35, from Brentwood, Long Island. Originally from El Salvador her lack of English skills coupled with threats of immigration caused her to allow a NYC couple to take custody of her child who she subsequently battled unsuccessfully to block the adoption of. Her story is here first blogged about here on 3/20/11.

After asking Adam Pertman yesterday why he has not spoken out about these atrocities, he has written this Huffington Post on the subject.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Reform Adoption & Safe Families Act of 1997

Sign this petition to stop Federal bonuses and eliminate incentives to destroy families!

Khrysti Martarello-Lunnar writes:
    Above you will find the link for our newest petition. As some of you know, we've created it to eliminate federal funding for children adopted from foster care. I made the decision to void the previous petition upon discovery that some of the people who signed it had, in fact, actually abused, neglected and even molested their children but signed the petition. My intention is NOT to pave the way for guilty parents/family members to regain custody of their children, nor is it my intention to eliminate CPS as a whole. CPS is needed for the children who are legitimately abused, neglected and molested at the hands of the people they love. I believe that abolishing the bonuses paid to state and local government for children adopted from foster care will eliminate the incentive to destroy innocent families. ....

Pass it along so we can quickly reach our quota for signatures. The sooner we reach our goal, the sooner some of these children may come home.
    I'm writing to ask you all to sign this new petition as this is the petition we will submit to the U.S. President and U.S. Congress. We do need a LOT of signatures but I have faith that if we all share and sign the petition, if you havent already as only ONE signature is needed, we can achieve this much needed change for our children and future generations.

Thank you all so much for your support in our efforts to protect our Nation's children from abuse at the hands of the very Government assigned to protect them!! Should you have questions or concerns, you may visit our website at www.reformasfa1997.info , join us on FB at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Citizens-for-Reformation-of-the-Adoption-Safe-Families-Act/355654914495219 , or simply reply to this email and I will personally get back to you within 24 hours. Thank you again and take care.
***Since the enactment of ASFA in 1997, the number of children placed in, as well as adopted from, foster care has risen at a disturbing rate. Children are being removed from falsely accused parents without tangible evidence of wrongdoing. Nearly 99% of all children in foster care are now deemed 'special needs', which further increases federal funding. The title 'Special Needs' was previously only assigned to children with documented physical, mental or psychological disabilities; it now encompasses children in therapy, those on psychotropic medications and suffering with attachment/abandonment issues as a direct result of being removed from loving parents and homes.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Bring Savaughn 2, and Amrbia, 3, BACK HOME to Their Loving Family

This story must be heard.  PLEASE FORWARD!  

Watch the imbedded video and you will see two loved and very well cared for little  for little girls. 

A relinquishment of parental rights was taken from a 17-year-old with mental health issues without the knowledge or consent of her mother and extended family who were supporting her and the children and helping with their care.
"At 16 and 17  you can't legally  sign a contract for anything EXCEPT to sign over rights to your children!!
Some laws need to be changed. They should have to check to make sure the girls are mentally competent at least. 
Of course these girls aren't going to say "oh yes I have mental issues" 
A lot of them don't really understand what they are doing, they don't know how hard it is to fight the system 
to get your babies back.

Family Adoption Services - do the right thing for these children and their family!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

What's Wrong With Surrogacy

To Americans of means - especially celebs - how one chooses to have a child is a matter of choosing selections from a menu: chow mien or lo mien; red car or blue. "It's just another option."

But it is NOT. Not for the women who risks their lives to serve as Handmaids for those who use them as human incubators.

Renting out her womb to a US couple cost Amraiwadi resident Premila Vaghela, 36, her life. Trying to give a child to the couple, she died on Monday leaving her two sons motherless. But, her family has refused to demand compensation for her death.
Doctors at Pulse Hospital, where Premila was undergoing treatment, said that they would request the biological and adopting/contractual parents  -- who are overjoyed with their new baby that costs his mother her life -- to give more compensation to Premila's family.  Guess they hadn't thought to offer on their own, or were just too busy celebrating their good news.

Premila's mother, however, , more than 80 years old, had anger in her voice. "I have lost my daughter. Now, we don't want anything from anybody," she said. 

Dr Pravin Patel said that she was admitted in the hospital for four days after complaint of pain in the stomach. While she was waiting with her husband for a routine check-up, she got a sudden convulsion and had to be shifted to the operation theatre. "We controlled her fluctuating blood pressure twice and also revived her," he said. Premila's blood pressure was low and the fetus received less blood and oxygen but is OK.
BOOKMARK THIS PAGE, so you can reference it when someone lauds surrogacy as a fine "choice" or asks what's wrong with it!

And to Oprah Winfrey who hailed Indian surrogacy as a win-win, I hope you've seen this news article and make a  public retraction. It was shameful watching Winfrey chuckle about a photo of tiny little Indian woman carrying a child for a huge hulking six-foot plus man without a thought to the RISK. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Tammy Smith has been found guilty of forgery and conspiracy to commit custodial interference in the case of missing baby Gabriel.

Smith was not charged kidnapping or harming Gabriel, but with conspiring with the baby's mother to sever the parental right's of Gabriel's father, Logan McQuery, so Smith and her husband, Jack, could adopt Gabriel.
Smith, described as being obsessed with baby Gabriel, is also charged with forging a court document challenging McQuery's paternity.
In her closing argument Tuesday, prosecutor Angela Andrews slammed Smith as a manipulative liar, saying, "The defendant wanted this child for herself. She wanted to make Gabriel Johnson her own and she was going to do that at any cost to Logan McQuery."
During her closing argument, Smith's defense attorney, Ann Phillips, told jurors that her client "was not obsessed" and that "it's not a crime to want to adopt" a child.
But Gabriel is by far the only child Tammy Smith tried for. 
She tried for this mother's baby but failed.
AND...here's the scariest part. 

Tammy Smith, guilty of fraud and deceit in adoption practices is owner an operator of Stones of Grace whose mission is:
To give an incredible opportunity to young single mothers or mothers to be, who may feel helpless or hopeless in their ability to raise their child as a single parent and does not want to rely on the government to take care of them.  We want to give them the opportunity to raise their child in a drug free environment while going to school in order to gain a career as well as restoring hope, self love and self respect.
Our vision is to instill Peace, Comfort, Joy and love in young mothers or mothers to be.  We are able to give them peace in knowing that they have adequate food, clothing and shelter for them and their child.  Comfort in knowing that they will get to go to college or career classes to make something of themselves and one day have their own home.  Joy in the ultimate love surrounding them as they grow through healthy friendships, Christian counseling, parenting classes, Christian classes, legal services, Church, Fellowship and leadership opportunities.  Love by helping in the restoration of their families, as well learning how to co-parent with the birth father and his family if the birth father & family desire that. 
Tammy, self-described "good Samaritan" believes that "Stones of Grace will help stop the possibility of child abuse, child abandonment, domestic violence and abortion as well as empowering these women to be loving, caring, independent individuals that can be a great example to their child and others, as well as making a difference in America for the better. " She forgot to mention empower "these women" to commit fraud against the fathers of their babies.

The Stones website provides this information:

Tammi & Jack Smith
2801 East Camelback Road
Phoenix, AZ. 85016
(623) 687-1887

I hope that the Arizona attorney general is investigating this "charitable" organization that is seeking donations via its website.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Finding Fernanda

Finding Fernanda
Two Mothers, One Child, and a Cross-border Search for the Truth 
by Erin Siegal
Book review by Mirah Riben

Finding Fernanda is a riveting, powerful, excruciatingly detailed view of the underbelly of international adoption, particularly in – but not limited to – Guatemala.  It is investigative reporting at its finest, deserving of a Pulitzer…and at the same time is a heartfelt drama that makes damn good reading as a real life mystery (which tops any fiction). The author’s passion and writing skill puts the reader right in the midst of every scene of this high stake tale of kidnapping, gray/black market adoption, and international child trafficking.

Despite the title, it is really the story of one mother and her two children taken from her by criminals and her unwavering battle against disbelief, accusations against her, bureaucracy, incompetence, and death threats. Mildred Alvarado is a young mother who lived in a middle class Guatemalan neighborhood with her common-law husband and 3 children. Becoming pregnant again and leaving her cheating man, thrusts the uneducated and easily manipulated Mildred into poverty and makes her the perfect victim of the baby broking adoption pimps who exploit ignorance and poverty for a living. She is at once quite and shy and an extraordinarily brave woman of “fierce dignity” and unwavering determination who at 34 refuses to put on makeup to go to court because her father would “kill her” if he ever knew.

The other mother in the title is a brave American named Betsie Emanuel who – in stark contrast to all other adoptive parents in the book – stands up to the corruption and helps solve the case of Mildred’s two missing daughters from her home computer in Gallatin, Tennessee. Betsie is a stand-out whistle blowing exception to all the other mothers she befriended along what was to be the adoption of her sixth child (including three non-adopted). Others saw the same red flashing lights, the bribery, the lies, the changed names and dates of birth, the duplicate photos of children…and made a choice to ignore it out of “fear” not of retribution, but that they would loose out on obtaining the brass ring they sought. “No one wanted to anger [Hedberg] or risk the chance of losing a referral.” They wanted a child, no matter what the cost or what ethics or laws were bent or broken to obtain their goal.

The other characters in the book are the bible-toting, Jesus-quoting, holier than thou, Sue Hedberg, CEO of Celebrate Children International (CCI) a Christian International adoption agency in Florida and a crew of her Guatemalan “contacts,” lawyers, physicians, intermediaries, and baby finders that comprise a chain of “not me” criminals, the majority of whom – including Hedberg – have gone scot free to continue selling children.  Hedberg earned a salary $209,750 doing “God’s work” and “saving” babies in 2004 with CCI netting $2.5 million. The following year, 2005, the net revenue reached of $4.5 million, and in 2006 Hedberg’s salary was over $250 thousand.  CCI currently has adoption programs in Ethiopia and is setting one up in the Republic of the Congo, inasmuch as Guatemala is closed to US adopters. Shame for the baby brokers and child traffickers, as it’s a country of known for criminal impunity and no law against child selling. On the upside for CCI is the Hague Convention on International Adoption's failure to prevent signatory countries from adopting from non-signatory countries making Ethiopia and the Congo prime targets for agencies like CCI which failed its Hague accreditation.

CCI has been investigated by the State of Florida three times, with 19 complaints filed since 2005. DFC, which has a 3,000 plus page report on their investigation of the agency has no authority in Guatemala and nothing but Hedberg’s total denials to go on.

Whatever CCI knew or didn’t know about Mildred Alvarado’s children or any other questionable adoptions such as that of Karen Abigial are among the “murky” unknown facts washed clean by the laundering of children through a massive chain of unscrupulous and occasionally naive characters. In nations as poor as Guatemala there is a pervasive see no evil attitude toward making a buck.

Other players of note for those within the adoption community include, in no particular order: Susana Luarca, the website GuatAdopt.com, Lauryn Galindo, kidnap victim Karen Abigail adopted by the Monahans of Missouri, the Joint Council on International Adoption, Marvin Bran Galino, the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, Guatemalan Judges and government agencies both Guatemalan and American. An entire chapter (6) sidesteps the story-line to detail the depth of the corruption in Guatemalan adoption. 

Between 2008 and 2010, CICGI [the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala] found 90 percent of all children who left Guatemala in adoption had been relinquished, and in many cases, illegitimately so. Some relinquishments were not made voluntarily, one CICIG investigator said, or had been made by women who were not the true biological mothers. More that 60 percent of the transition adoptions contained abnormalities, including “theft and illegal purchase or sale of children, threats and deception to biological mothers, forgery of documents to carry out ‘adoption processes…’” Guatemala’s participation in international adoption in 2008-2010 was a “lucrative form of human trafficking,” CICIG noted…

If ninety percent were relinquished, that leaves 10% abandoned, taken by the state, or truly orphaned. And with a 60% rate of abnormalities, one is very hard pressed to find substantiation to the “anomaly” or “rare” claims of the pro-adoptionist profiteers.

Spoiler alter beyond this point:

Mildred is among a very small handful of Guatemalan mothers whose kidnapped children were miraculously found and returned because they were located before being sent to the US for adoption. However, the majority of the criminals involved have not been charged nor have Mildred and her children been given any compensation for their year-and-a-half ordeal during which the children report being hit and were left with long-term damages. No one in jail, no adoption agency closing, despite the very clear fact that an alleged relinquishment was dated a full month after Mildred had filed missing persons reports for her girls.

This book should be required reading for anyone considering international adoption. And three facts need to be recognized: 1) there is no line between gray and black market adoptions and perfectly legal ones; 2) ethical, reputable adoption agencies can - and do - all too easily unknowingly place children who have been obtained illegally; 3) these atrocities are not limited to Guatemala, which has currently closed adoptions to the US. Any internationally adopted child could be a kidnap victim!  With child trafficking for adoption documented in India, Nepal, Vietnam, China, Ethiopia and elesewhere, prospective adopters need to think long and hard if they want to risk being the recipient of a stolen child.

For more see: FindingFernanda.com 

Who Does Adoption Serve?

How can we as a nation - as a society with any ethics, conscience or moral compass at all -  pretend that adoption is a social service to help children in need when the children in most need are regularly ignored whole adopters pay tens of thousands of dollars for children who may have been stolen or kidnapped or coerced from loving mothers under pretexts? And we promote and encourage more and more family dissolutions via adoptions and reward those who reap the spoils with tax benefits and kudos; societies thanks for the 'good deed' they did in taking someone's child.

In "the old days" twins and triplets were separated by adoption agencies in order to garner two or three adoption placement fees instead of just one, and also so the children could be used as human guinea pigs - without the knowledge or consent of the children or their adopters - studied to help unravel the nurture/nature controversy. Oh, we've evolved!  That is no longer done (we hope).

Now, with domestic infant adoption privatized it's anyone's game!  I recently heard a story of a couple who, after five failed IVF treatments found a family with 3 or 4 kids who could not afford a new baby on the way and decided to place it for adoption. They housed the mother and her children for nine months and adopted the newest member of this family. Then, they shut the door behind them. No further contact with a family they had cared for all that time...full siblings to the child they planned to raise, and no interest in maintaining contact. Whose interest was that in?

About 16 months later, they received a phone call from the attorney who had arranged the adoption. They were informed that the mother was expecting again and wanted them to have the child so the siblings could be raised together.

The adoptive mother had just missed a period and didn't dare dream it was possible that after all the failed IFV she could be pregnant, but she stalled off answering the attorney until three months passed and she was sure it was true.

Well, now, about to have a baby of her "own" she didn't "need" an extra adopted one! It's like the furniture company called and said we just got in some chairs that match that couch you bought, would you like them? And she said, no I already have enough chairs.  This about-to-be-born child, a full sibling to a child she was raising, did not meet HER needs and so she let it go to strangers, never knowing to whom so that "her" adopted son could know his sibling.

A family member of this adoptive mother had two or three sons and said that is the baby-to-be was a girl, she'd like to adopt it. But other family members quickly talked her out of it saying how WEIRD it would be that cousins would be blood brothers. Yes, weird for brothers to be kept in the same extended family unit, but not weird at all to send them off to strangers? HUH?  I guess they feared they'd figure it out  eventually and  they'd likely want to know why neither of these relatives had thought to adopt BOTH of them! That would indeed be WEIRD... for the adopters!

My own family made similar choices. My sister told me decades after loosing my firstborn to adoption that she, newly married at the time, had considered adopting my daughter. The reason she didn't? She feared that I would get my act together and want my daughter back, and that would be too devastating FOR HER - my sister! Again, the prime consideration was what was best for the prospective adopter, not what was best for the child. Let your niece go to strangers in a closed adoption rather than risk some pain to help your sister and niece out in a time of crisis. Nice.

It is always about what was best for the adopters - the ones with all the money, power and control. And so the siblings - already severed from the rest of their family -  were separated from one another.  Against the wishes of the REAL mother who had the best interests of her children - as any King Solomon would note - in mind.  her wishes were ignored. She no longer mattered nor what she wanted. She has given up that right!  And her two children was placed in two closed adoptions and likely will go through life never knowing all the siblings they have, those kept and those placed.

Internationally, this happens all the time. First children are taken away from families and siblings initially and many times another sibling is offered for adoption. In the book Finding Fernanda, an adoptive mother turns down the opportunity to adopt a sibling of a child she is raising! What can an adoption agency do? They can't force anyone to take a child's sibling. The choice lies with the paying client to do the right thing or do what is in their one best interest.

Is such a decision not more reprehensible than a married couple with a kid or two aborting an unintended pregnancy? The child they are saying no to is not being aborted, it - and THEIR child - are being cruelly cast into lives with long-lost blood siblings without a thought to how that will hurt and effect them. Not even a self-protective thought that these kids might hate and blame their aps some day for this awful decision. Just do what it is most convenient in the here and now. Isn't that behavior that is generally - under other cirumstances (such as a pregnant young mother-to-be) defined as IMMATURE and SELFISH??? Doing what feels good right now without thought for future consequences or what is best for your child? But when APS do it no one tells them they are being selfish. 

And we pretend that adoption is serving the best interest of the children? How? How can anyone dare utter that description of adoption when there are no regulations in place to prevent such horrors from occurring? When it is a FREE open MARKET place and those who pay set ALL the rules and set them to suit THEMSELVES and no one else?!
“Regrettably, in many cases, the emphasis has changed from the desire to provide a needy child with a home, to that of providing a needy parent with a child. As a result, a whole industry has grown, generating millions of dollars of revenues each year . . .” The Special Rapporteur, United Nations, Commission on Human Rights, 2003.
What were these separated siblings allegedly saved from? There was no mention in the story of this family having abused or neglected nay of their children. No mention of drug use. No one suggested having the other children rmeoved to "rescue" or 'save" them.

No these kids were separated because of POVERTY!  In the United States of America! families loosing kids and having no control of their placement - simply because they lost their jobs. How do we justify this as in in the children's or the family's best interest? How do we as a society sleep at night tearing families part like this? Not finding other solutions for their problems?

I heard some hisses while this story was being told. Why did the $%&* mother get pregnant if she couldn't afford more kids - and the do it yet again?  We don't know how that happened whether it was  defective birth control or lack of knowledge as to proper use of birth control. But blaming the mother is no solution either. In Guatemala, for instance, women have to get birth control injections on the sly because it is such a macho culture that their husbands insist on keeping them pregnant and disallow any birth control use.
"Over the past 30 years, the number of families from wealthy countries wanting to adopt children from other countries has grown substantially. At the same time, lack of regulation and oversight, particularly in the countries of origin, coupled with the potential for financial gain, has spurred the growth of an industry around adoption, where profit, rather than the best interests of children, takes centre stage. Abuses include the sale and abduction of children, coercion of parents, and bribery."UNICEF's position on Inter-country adoption.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Truth Behind the Adoption Curtain

Scratch the shiny veneer surface of the adoption happily-ever-after fairy tale, and as in most fairy tales the sinister appears...

Dig beneath the facade online and you find things like the observations below, posted on China Adopt Talk a blog for those in the process or having newly adopted from China. The post is entitled "The Not-So-Rosy Part" which is actually, for the most art a constructive article on anticipating and how to overcome attachment problems, but begins with these horrifying realities:

"I’ve read blogs of people who are home and who are miserable."I’ve read about recent disruptions."And I’ve read posts from people on various groups and blogs, where the people are sure their new family member hates them, and some of them sound like they’re starting to hate their child."

Those of us in the adoption community know full well that these issues are far from limited to adoptions from China. In fact, Russia has the highest rate of adoptees murdered by their US adopters (a two-page listing is posted on the pro-adoption Adoption.com site. While there are other sources of this information I use this one to "prove" that this is not anti-adoptionists making false claims or exaggerating truths) and the most notable case of abandonment - Artyem put alone at 7 years of age on an airplane back to Russia.

Buried beneath layers of popular beliefs about the nobility of adoption as way of "saving" and "rescuing" "unwanted" "orphans" are admissions such as this comment to my previous blog post by Jess:
"Regarding the Wo Ai Ni (I Love You) Mommy incident with the PAP counting out the cash. I just want to clear up something... It's not *exactly* a bribe..... Officially, it's a compulsory "orphanage donation".... The requirement is that the money be brought in clean, undamaged, US bills. Since my trip, the amount has gone from 3K - 7K. 
"I am not defending the cash at all, and it is the source of corruption in the adoption process, absolutely. But it has also gone to fund the social welfare institute system in China, generally improving the state of orphanage care, including for children with special needs, and care for the elderly.
One can argue, of course, that this doesn't excuse the system and that China had the money to revamp the SWI system. But it chose not to, and chose instead to make PAPs pay. 
"In some ways...a bribe would be less contentious. The cash in the China system has done more than pay off individuals: it has corrupted the system entirely so that even in the face of dwindling numbers of children, the machine just keeps running.....
"China says 'cash only, madam' you say how much and when.... Foolishly I thought that graft was the only issue and supposed that they were not making improvements to the SWI system as promised. However, it looks as though they did use the money to improve the system and there was some graft (cars, that kind of stuff), but most important, the donation for each child created a kind of ponzi scheme in which middlemen would receive a small percentage of the funds to entice, bribe, or otherwise coax children away from parents so that a supply of children--each valued at $3000 - $7000, depending on the time frame--would be somewhat assured, and yet everyone knew that there would never be enough children to meet the demand of adopters."  
The same is revealed in Finding Fernanda and The Stork Market.  The willingness of those adopting to ignore red flashing lights to get what they want.

Behind the curtain in Oz was not a wizard, but an old man blowing smoke.  Behind the curtain of all the altruism and nobility of adoption is the sheer selfishness of any junkie who "wants what I want" and doesn't care the cost to anyone in terms of dollars and cents or harm.  Every person who adds to the demand creates and supports the corruption and perpetuates child trafficking and baby brokering. Every person who CHOOSES to hand over those bribes or turns a blind eye and  deaf ear to obvious "irregularities" as glaring as two children with the same photo and different name or vice versa...is causing and contributing to the exploitation, coercion, lies, deceit of adoption.

There would be no drug dealers if no one used narcotics. There'd be no prostitution if men did not buy sex. And there would be no child trafficking without people willing to ante up the fees - even when doing so under the guise of the best intentions or missionary work, or the voice of God....or the justification that they are giving kids a "better life." better by whose definition? Do the kids get to choose whether they thinks it's better to have a color TV or their REAL Mom, siblings, languages, culture?

And the irony of this is that we mothers were told that we were selfish to even think about wanting to keep, raise and nurture our own flesh blood children. We were selfish - but those who prey on the weak and poor marginalized mothers of the world and commodify their children to fill for their own desires - are they not the truly selfish ones?

Friday, May 4, 2012

Mothers Day: A Time of Loss and Sorrow for Mothers and Their Children Separated by Adoption

As Mothers Day quickly approaches a young mother in Columbus, Georgia  has gone public with the search for her daughter she relinquished to adoption in 1984.  Dove Founz discovered she was pregnant at 18 while already the sole care giver for her mother who was undergoing chemo therapy for cancer. Dove says:
"Love was not the issue. I loved her the second I knew she was there. I loved her the whole time she grew in my tummy.  Because I loved her so much I had to give her a better life. I had to give her a chance.  She deserved it." 
Her story is beautifully told and for once with all the empathy and compassion focused on the mother for whom adoption is not a joy, not an answer to years of prayers and a celebration....but a lifelong loss and eternal pain and heartbreak.

I look at everything adoption through eyes and ears that have seen, heard and shared this pain with hundreds and hundreds over the course more than 40 years. For more than 50 years - since adoptions became secretive, records sealed, and birth certificates falsified by states to maintain the secrets...adoptees such as Jean Paton and Florence fisher have spoken out seeking their rights and equality.

In the late 70's they were joined by Lee Campbell standing up and becoming the first public face for mothers who lost children to adoption. Campbell founded Concerned United Birthparents. I was there at some of the earliest meetings.  Annette Baran, who once followed the dictates of her chosen profession - social work - and helped separate mothers and babies, became a whistle blower for the industry and called for changes, calling mothers who relinquished the silent, voiceless, marginalized members of the adoption process.  Annette and Campbell led the battle and soon others of us followed...

I was among the first group of mothers who followed Lee in going public. I did TV shows in the 80s saying: This is what a mother who looses a child to adoption looks like. We are mothers, school teachers, housewives, doctors and layers. We are your sisters, your mothers, your wives. We are not whores and drug addicts. We LOVE our children and were forced by our parents or pressured by societal norms that deemed us "too young" and undeserving for being "unwed."

And here we are all these decades later and this mother, Dove, was not "allowed" to hold her own child at the time of birth, before signing any relinquishment papers! Whisked away by a doctor.

Dove's local newspaper covered her story with empathy and compassion for her and her loss without the need to "balance" it. This is a oddity in a world in which so much press and public sympathy is cast upon the "plight" of these who struggle with infertility and then the "agony" of the long and expensive adoption process - as if they are so "deserving" of a child and so "entitled" to one, it should just be handed to them, and we should all feel sorry for them that it is not so easy...  As if adoption is all about meeting THEIR needs!! And a great deal of publicity is likewise focused on the joys of celebrities who adopt with never a mention of those for whom their gain is a horrific, life-altering, heart-wrenching, grievous, tragic loss. Such falsely one dimensional media coverage repeats over and over a message to the public of the joyous side of adoption, ignoring the pain and loss.

I am thus glad that as Mothers Day is quickly approaching this one story has been published that refocuses the public's compassion for those for whom adoption represents a tragedy, a lifelong loss and eternal pain. Far too often that a side of the story is still swept under the carpets as adoption is applauded, promoted, encouraged and celebrated as win-win when it very much a win-LOOSE.

Even in the happiest. most loving and caring of adoptions, the adopted person LOOSES their identity, their original birth records, their name, their family, their lineage, their heritage, their medical history, their genealogy, and in some cases their culture and language. They loose their TRUTH and they loose the right to be treated as equal US citizens - forever denied (in most all states) access to their own birth certificate that is hidden from them, having been confiscated by the state and replaced with a falsified state document claiming they were "born to" those who adopt and care for them.

My eyes and ears have seen and heard some progress over the past 40+ some odd years. A scattering of states have begrudgingly given back some crumbs to those who are adopted. In the majority of states that have given adopted persons any rights at all, they are still far less than equal, having hoops to jump through to obtain their own birth certificate - hoops that do not exist for those not adopted.

I've also witnessed Open Adoption become a viable option for a small percent of domestic infant adoptions - a small percent of adoptions to begin with.  Openness is given lots of lip service as the way adoption 'should' be.  It was a forced conclusion as with so many international and inter-racial adoptions its pretty hard to keep them secret anymore and pretend the child was 'born to' their adoptive parents. And yet, the "as if" pretense still exist in all but two states which never sealed the original records in adoptions to begin with: Kansas and Alaska. Openness is how it should be - everyone knows that, everyone says that -and yet every adoption (with the exception of those two lone states) every adoption to this day still begins with a falsified birth certificate denying the truth of adopted person's creation.

And, at the same time baby steps of progress are being made to restore adoptee right...children are being stolen and kidnapped worldwide to meet a demand.  Now that single motherhood is acceptable (for those who can afford private nannies etc.) and birth control is more readily available than it was in past decades....far less American mothers can be pressured top part with their babies. The supply has dwindled as infertility steadily rises with more women delaying childbirth for graduate school and careers. This increased demand coupled with decrease supply has created the perfect storm for unscrupulous bay brokers and child traffickers to operate within an industry with virtually no controls!

Adopters open admit and document (as in the documentary Wo Ai Ni (I Love You) Mommy) to paying bribes with o consequence whatsoever. She counts out the cash in the film and comments that some might think it wrong but "it's how things are done." And that's that. No shame. No guilt. No fear of recriminations by having that filmed and shown all over the world - she glibly pays off whomever needs to be paid off in order to whisk her new 'daughter' home to America! She has bought herself what she wanted and is happy and proud and the world applauds this as altruism, turning a blind eye to the exploitation and corruption her US dollars have supported.

The book Finding Fernanda likewise documents adopters and those hoping to adopt blatantly choosing to ignore "irregularities" like seeing the same child's photo with different names, or different names on the same photo of a child being "offered" for adoption. They hold their tongues and report no such obvious red flashing lights for fear of being black-balled and never obtaining the prize they so desperately seek.

We read about missionaries swooping in on places like Haiti and in their over zealous religious fury not carting if the children they are grabbing for redistribution in the US are actually orphans or have family who are searching the rubble for them.

And still the public is able to ignore all of this - call them 'anomolies' and remain focused on the joy adoption brings and how it 'rescues' children in need - while more than 100,000 children in US foster who COULD be adopted are IGNORED as too old, or 'too dmamaged' as if any child being taken from the only language they've heard since their conception and in an orphanage for any length of time is not equally "damaged." Ad out government supports all such adoption equally with the same tax benefits - benefits that were created originally to serve ONLY 'special needs' children in US foster care that now are used instead to supply more "appealing" to those with the money to pick and choose.

With nary a thought of the mothers and families left behind...in the same impoverished conditions...having still more babies, still lacking proper pre-natal care, proper nutrition and medical supplies. Still without schools. While wealthy Americans and Europeans pay $40k and more per child. And all of this is labeled noble and charitable, despite the pleas of the UN, UNICEF and other NGOs on the ground who plead for the money to be better spent to help these people instead of exploiting them to meet a demand.

This Mothers Day let us hold in our hearts all the mothers who have needlessly lost their children to corruption and poverty and social pressure. All the children unnecessarily torn from their loving arms.  And let us reach out and help mothers and families in need her and abroad.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Random Thoughts: Adoption and Anger....

Random Thought Number One: On Anger

I've been wonder why anger - in and of itself - is seen as a bad thing. A negative. A criticism for everything one with passion says. Anger out in violent ays, yes. That's not nice at all and should be squashed.

Also anger held in, denied, can cause many issues for oneself and for others.

I was angry with my friend I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe; I told it not, my wrath did grow.
—William Blake

Someone also said: "Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret."

But anger that is expressed in intelligent discourse and or motivates? What's wrong with that? It's actually the goal of anger management classes.

Does anyone criticize the mothers of MADD for using their righteous mother lion anger at their kids' senseless deaths to empower them into trying to spare other kid's lives???

Why then should those of us hurt by adoption not channel our anger to saving others our hurt? Why are we too often dismissed as angry and bitter as if:
1) we have no right to be, and
2) that makes everything we say untrue or less valuable or significant?  Why?
"....the red-hot emotion has a positive side, say psychologists who study anger. In studies and in clinical work, they find anger can help clarify relationship problems, clinch business deals, fuel political agendas and give people a sense of control during uncertain times. More globally, they note, it can spur an entire culture to change for the better, as witnessed by the civil rights movement of the 1960s and the earlier women's suffrage movement.
"Imagine what the women's suffrage movement would have been like if women had said, 'Guys, it's really so unfair, we're nice people and we're human beings too. Won't you listen to us and give us the vote?" says social psychologist Carol Tavris, PhD, author of "Anger: The Misunderstood Emotion" (Simon & Schuster, 1989). "To paraphrase Malcolm X, there's a time and a place for anger, where nothing else will do."  When Anger's a Plus
Of course, note that I did say anger expressed intelligently. Cursing and ranting and raving do not win points, and certainly do not educate anyone.  When you feel like you want to strangle someone - take lots of deep breaths. DO NOT HIT SEND whether in email or a blog comment.  Instead, open a word file and begin to compose your reply. Then edit it. Remove all insults and attacks.  Reread and edit again before sending or posting.  When I am REALLY, REALLY pissed, and/or it's a close friend or family, I wait a day to a week and reading it yet again before sending. You will discover how much more effective your anger can be when it is tamed in this way!

Also, re-read the email or post you are replying to. If you are like me, I find that when I am pissed, I mis-read!  I too easily can skip a "not" that is vital, or basically misinterpret a lot.  re-reading when you have a cooling off period can be very enlightening. Too bad far too many "conversations" on the net are rapid fire.

If you follow this method and are STILL called angry or bitter, in a dismissing way, then stand your ground and say: Yes I am and I have every right to be! And my righteous indignation does not detract in any way from the facts I am presenting or the points I am making.

Random Thought Number Two: The "Better" Life 

Recently I've encountered the joyful, happy adoptee - more insidious to me than an angry one, any day!

Their rhetoric goes like this: "I'm glad I was adopted. My life is so much better than it might have been."  Yes, you've been told that, it's been ingrained into your brain since you were a tiny tot and told that you were rescued, saved and chosen!  But do you ACTUALLY know for a fact what the truth is?

Have you met your mother and father? Siblings? Do you know if anyone ever abused or neglected you or if your mother was just deemed "too young" to even TRY to be a mother? Was she pressured, coerced, forced to relinquish? Did she marry? Is she a career woman? A professional? School teacher, mother, nurse? Is she  a good, worthwhile human being?  Could she have been any of this had she not suffered the trauma of carrying a child and loosing it?

Amazingly, the vast majority of happy, joyful, glad-to-have-been-adopted have never met their mothers because they "don't need to" and yet they make all kinds of assumptions that confirm how much better off they are and how grateful to have been adopted.

Others look at the financial aspect, how many more material "advantages" or a better education adoption provided them with. One argued that she knew for a fact her mother as poor. So i asked would it not have bene better than for someone to have helped her so she could have kept you? maybe given her a job with day care? Helped her find affordable housing?

Recently an "anony" MOUSE commented on an old blog post saying this:
I'm a victim of "family preservation", I would have given anything to have grown up with a family that wanted me, and because everyone was so scared to violate THEIR rights or preferences, I'll be dealing with the emotional fallout for the rest of my life. I would have rather lived in a cardboard box with strangers that wanted me rather than been forced to stay with "parents" that didn't. 
My reply:
You are only a victim if that is how you CHOOSE to see yourself! You are also the capability of being a survivor! 
Look, NO ONE gets to choose their parents (with very rare exception) - not the parents we are born to or those who raise us. It's ALL a crap shoot! A spin of the wheel of fortune. AND, there are good and bad natural parents, good and bad foster parents, and good and bad adoptive parents. 
Adoption does not - by any means - guarantee a better life. It only guarantees a different life!  
AND, no matter how good and loving one's adoptive parents are, adoptees still have to deal with feelings of having been rejected or abandoned, and they have to deal with lack of being treated equally as compared to non-adopted folk in regards to access to their own birth certificate and thus their medical history.  
So, at best, it's a trade-off and not equal trade. You MAY gain in the bargain, but you are guaranteed to loose your medical history and your equality. 
Adoption: You may gain in a re shuffle of the cards you had no control over or choice in to begin with, but you are guaranteed to loose your identity, your medical history and your equality....as well as your kin, your heritage and in some cases your culture and language.

Not exactly a win-win. Very much a win-loose, at best.

And those are my random thoughts for today...Watch this space for updates.

#3: Bio

The term "bio" is very offensive to most mothers. We are mothers who lost children to adoption or others who relinquished. natural, real, first, and original mother is also acceptable. But please refrain from using "bio" - it is so very cold and clinical. ALL of my children were born to me. Flesh of my flesh. They are my children. NONE are my "bio" children.

Conversely, we are ALL biological creatures. Unless anyone has a robot for a mother or a child! :-)

Bio is a science class or a brief biography.

#4. On the Utter Randomness of Adoption

So many adoptions occur because people are made to believe that adoption offers a child a "better" life.

Truth is that all adoption is a random reshuffling of the hand you are dealt. It's a spin of the wheel of fortune, a toss of the dice. A crap shoot! And it's totally random as to who is next up at bat and gets your kid.

Choosing photos and a bio (ah, see, that's where that word belongs!) guarantee absolutely NOTHING! As Doctor Gregory House is fond of saying: People lie! people especially lie when they want something and they likewise may want to hide some things, like even their true identity or location.

They may be good people they may not. They may stay married, they may not. You may get married, finnish college and wind up better off than them!  You may marry your child's father and have his or her full siblings. You may never be able to have any other children and thus have given away the only child you'll ever have - that was not something you were prepared for, huh?

Mother I have known PERSONALLY have found their kids, living in a car; abandoned at boarding school; deceased since they were infants, toddler or as teens or young adults...beaten, battered, sexually abused, emotionally abused,

Adoption provides NO guarantees. the only way to guarantee who your child is raised is to do it yourself!

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