Usually things get easier to write about over time. Not this time. It's getting harder.
My First Cousin (technically he's not, but he'll always be my Very First Cousin) was eager to help me. He's an elderly man in poor health, who needed the mental stimulation such a puzzle provided. He's been very encouraging, even as my moods have swung like a weather-vane in storm.
I'm one of the least emotional people you'll ever meet, although I'm self-aware enough to realize that for me this symptom is a sign of an underlying problem. But here I was obsessively combing through genealogies and bursting into tears at every photograph. I desperately wanted to know who these people were, what their stories told about them, and how their stories related to my stories. I craved the stories grownups swapped while visiting and told to the kids on the porch during long afternoons.
I cried the first time I spoke to First Cousin on the phone. It was the first time I'd heard the voice of a blood relation I hadn't given birth to.
Earlier this year, the US Department of State published its annual statistics on inter-country adoption. Again a significant decline in the number of children adopted from abroad could be noted. The year 2012 had already been a low-water mark with 8668 inter-country adoptions. In 2013, the number went down even further, to 7094.
Over the years the church and its daughter organization LDS Family Services had been involved in various dubious adoptions, showing a lack of respect for the rights or unmarried parents. On top of that, LDS Family Services has been the least transparent adoption agency in the world. Unlike other adoption agencies, it is registered as a church and therefore it is not required to submit any financial information to the Internal Revenue Service.
LDS Family Services resembled the type of hush-hush operation one would have expected during the 1950s and 1960s, an anachronistic organization out of touch with the societal make-up of the 21 century.
Two men working in an orphanage in Kathmandu have been arrested and are facing trial next week accused of sexually abusing children in their charge.
Rabin Shrestha, former head of the adoptions at Bal Mandir, and Rabin Chalise, an ex-student who ran a Youth Club at the shelter, were arrested by the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) last week after child rights activists presented evidence of repeated rape and abuse of girls and boys at the orphanage.
Shrestha had been arrested before in 2012 after a British woman lodged a complaint against him for allegedly raping a five-year-old blind girl that she was going to adopt.
“I tried to adopt her, but Shrestha told me I couldn’t do that. He wanted me to sponsor her instead and told me I would get a decision after she turned 16,” the mother told Nepali Times this week.
Nepal -- Rabin Shrestha (alleged child rapist) & Action for Child Rights International
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Rabin Shrestha, the former Head of Adoptions at Nepal’s largest children’s home, “Bal Mandir” (pictured), operated by the Nepal Children’s Organisation (NCO), was arrested this past week by the Nepal police for alleged sexual assault on three minors.
Nepal adoptions chief raped and groomed orphans for prostitution, claims British teacher
The Daily Telegraph
A British woman who adopted a five year old blind girl from a Nepalese orphanage believes she uncovered an abuse and vice ring after her new daughter said she’d been raped every Saturday
By Dean Nelson, New Delhi and Anil Giri in Kathmandu
27 Jun 2014
The former head of international adoptions at Nepal’s largest orphanage is in custody over allegations that he raped young girls and groomed them as prostitutes in Kathmandu dance bars.
One of the alleged victims was a five-year-old blind girl who who was later adopted by a British teacher. Three others suffer from autism and severe learning difficulties.
According to the girls, they and two young boys at the orphanage were sexually abused and raped every Saturday when the adoptions chief, Rabin Shrestha and his friend throw ‘birthday’ and ‘wedding’ parties at Kathmandu's Bal Mandir children’s home.
Nepal Children's Organization -- former head of NCO/Bal Mandir adoptions arrested for child rape (reprinted from PEAR Nepal)
Two held on rape charge
KATHMANDU: Two suspects have been arrested behind alleged rape of three young girls living in a public orphanage, Nepal Children’s Organisation, popularly known as Balmandir. Police arrested Rabin Shrestha, a former employee of Balmandir, and Rabin Chalise, the current president of Balmandir Club, following the complaints of rape and sexual abuse at the orphanage lodged by Action for Child Rights International-Nepal. (PR)
PTSD blankets my emotions with numbness. It's hard to feel any emotion, I think them more than I sense them. Unexpected strong emotions tend to cause an automatic whole-body shutdown response. But this was so unexpected it blew through my automatic defenses like they weren't even there.
It had been a few weeks since I was told that my results would be ready in a month and a half. I checked the site everyday, but the expectation of seeing anything had long since slumbered. I almost forgot to check that Saturday when I remembered it before running off to do some outdoor work.
I logged on to Ancestry.com, expecting to see the now-familiar white page with a tiny "come back later" notice. Instead I saw colors. There were greens, beige, browns, oranges, blues, pinks, blacks, and even a few tiny full color photographs. Some of the colors formed words, but I couldn't read them, too shocked to see that there was something -- quite a lot of something -- there at all.
Searching for my biological family is extremely stressful. Fortunately this time of year my garden can absorb all the nervous energy I can throw at it. But it demands more attention than I gave it recently when distracted by my personal distress I blundered into poison oak and ended up covered in a rash. The medicine they put me on leaves my too drowsy to write my next post. Sorry for the delay, will get back to it in a few days.