Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Anatomy of a Black Market Adoption

They were young in the 1960's, in their twenties and had been trying for five years to get pregnant when they were told she could never have children.
He was a school teacher in a NY suburb. They contacted a group he recalls as The Adoptive Parents League "or something like that."

First he claimed there were no babies available in NY at the time. When I rebuked that, he amended it saying that they were told by this group that NY is a hard place to adopt and that SouthCarolina was more "friendly" to adoptive parents. In New York, it could take years and was very invasive "they looked up your asshole" he said, and in some cases - they knew personally of one - the mother changed her mind and it made for a long ugly legal battle.
They were advised to go through a South Carolina attorney named Robert K. Wise with offices in the very “prestigious” Barringer Building in Columbia, SC. He worked with his nephew, Birge Wise who was also an attorney, Wise and Shealey. This firm is linked to several other quick and slip shod adoptions to the New York area.

The young couple engaged in a colorful and notorious "60s lifestyle" behavior that no doubt made avoiding straight-forward adoption agencies and home study. This short-cut "gray market" method suited their "cool" "hip" lifestyle far better than probing busy-body social workers.

Once they contacted Wise, first came a phone call that a beautiful blonde-haired, blue eyed little girl had been born and was "available." They were asked what they wanted to name her and gave the name of the adoptive Mom's mother and flew off to take the little bundle straight from the hospital. No papers signed. Nothing. How they got on a plane with her is anyone's guess.

Two weeks later came another call that a baby boy had been born on Jan 28, 1964. Did they want him? They said yes, gave another name and this time flew to S.C. and were met in their motel room. They were told this child was "from out of state" - maybe Georgia? Who knew, who cared? 

They were told the parents were married, marriage in trouble. Mr. & Mrs Johnson.

I met this family in the early 70s when the little boy and girl were about seven. Two weeks apart in age they were quite the source of conversation in their school and everyone knew they were "adopted." Plain and simple. Two adorable toe-headed kids who grew up like twins and always knew they were "adopted."

Shortly after I met them, the adoptive parents divorced. The wife took off leaving the two kids behind and the father remarried. I told the father that if either of the kids ever wanted to search for their families, I'd help. He was very open to the idea and said he would help them anytime they wanted to.

The two little adopted angels at their a-dad's second wedding.

The father's second marriage produced two natural heirs to the family business (teaching had long one by the wayside) and these two were treated like royalty while the adopted daughter got pregnant by one of her father's biker friends, had an underage marriage and two more kids with him before they divorced. Long story short, she has had a TOUGH life, overcoming many tragedies and hardships.

Flash forward and the adopted son is now an adult and we are friends on Facebook. I ask if he has thought about searching and he said he tried with no success. At his request, I contact his a-dada wh told me he'd help.  He was very open about what occurred and sent me a copy of an amazing letter, written on the legal letterhead of Robert K. Wise, that accompanied the two birth certificates he received three months after the babies were born. It states:

"This adoption is under our new law and if anyone should write you inquiring as to how this adoption was put through without waiting six months, do not answer the letter but forward same to me and I will tell you what to tell them. If anyone should call you over the telephone do not tell them anything but get their address and tell them you will advise them at a later date. Tell them nothing not even the name of your attorneys.

"Trust that both you and the little boy and little girl are doing fine."

The birth certificate is an abomination. It lists place of birth as Richland Co, NY which is in Oswego, no where near the actual birht or adoptive family home.  Did he list the county as Richmond because that's the county in SC his office was in? It then lists the hospital as Columbia in the city of Columbia, which is in SC and home of his office and the hospital where the girl was picked up from, but it lists the hospital location as Merrick (the Long Island, NY residence of the adopters at the time.)

Two doctor's "signatures" are typed in: Ben J. Neeley and as registrar, C.R. Slaon, MD.

This young man will never know the truth of his birth or who his kin are. Does he have siblings, full or half?

Certainly if the mother was in crisis, she received no counseling, nor did she benefit one red cent from the sale of her child. She may have been told her child died.
In all likelihood the sleaze bag lawyer Wise had a nurse at Columbia hospital who got few bucks for calling any time there was a mother giving birth with no family around. Then whatever scam they played - either telling young frightened girls afraid to tell their parents that they had a "wonderful' couple to adopt their child, or simply having the child disappear and being told it died.

R.K. Wise and other member sof his firm made a hbit of offering twp-fers and made many double adoptions from D.C. to Brooklyn.

No one the wiser. The lawyer richer. A-dad recalls paying $3500 each in "legal fees"! A real bargain!  They were a happy little family and any qualms they had settled by convincing themselves that an unwanted child, after all got a "good" home with parents who'd love and care for him. All guilt assuaged. Ya' know - "If we didn't take them someone else would have." Alls well that ends well...

Unless the child grown up and needs a vital organ! Hadn’t thought of that had you?

A-dad tells me he has no fear of the young man finding his parents! Why fear the impossible!

Do not for a moment think this is all in the past. Gray and black market adoptions happen every day!  People wanting babies are all to eager to ignore obvious red lights of wrong-doing pay bribes, do whatever is necerssary and keep quiet about it.  It is done domestically and internationally. It is done through attorneys, adoption "facilitators" and even so-called "repuatble" adoption agencies.

As long as there is a demand and people willing to pay and look the other way, there will be baby thieves willing to do whatever it takes to fill the order and collect the fees EAGERLY handed over!


Gaye Tannenbaum said...

Mirah - Thank you for following this. There is hope for black and gray market adoptees - and even the garden variety fully legal ones - with DNA testing. Send this adoptee over to the Yahoo Group "AdoptionDNA". We'll take good care of him. #AdoptionDNA

Gaye Tannenbaum said...

Mirah - Thank you for posting this. There is hope for black and gray market adoptees (along with donor conceived and even fully legal adoptions) - DNA testing. Please send this adoptee over to the Yahoo Group "AdoptionDNA". We have answers.


Anonymous said...

I have a hard time believing that adoptive parents were and are now really vetted or being looked "up the asshole". I was adopted by a very mean and crazy women who gave me no love at all. How did she pass? Do you think that ap's over exaggerate or just lie about being investigated? Do you think adoption agencies tell them to do this? I am really starting to wonder.

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