Orphan Wants Adoptive Parents Jailed

Orphan Wants Adoptive Parents Jailed

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — A 30-year-old woman on Tuesday urged a federal court to convict and sentence her adoptive parents to 25 years in prison, the maximum allowed on charges they hid her true identity as a child of dissidents who disappeared under Argentina's dictatorship.

Maria Eugenia Sampallo Barragan accused Osvaldo Rivas and Maria Cristina Gomez Pinto of falsifying adoption documents and concealing her identity at the trial that opened in February.

Thousands of leftists and dissidents vanished after being abducted by security forces during Argentina's 1976-1983 military regime, and human rights groups say more than 200 of their children were taken and given to military or politically connected families to raise.

Sampallo is the first child born of political prisoners who went missing in the "Dirty War" to press such charges at trial against her adoptive parents — and against a former army captain, Enrique Berthier, who is a defendant in the same proceeding.

"The charges against them are very serious," said her lawyer, Tomas Ojea Quintana, speaking outside court Tuesday. "All deserve the maximum allowed by law — 25 years."

Sampallo said her decision to press charges against her adoptive parents was important "for all of society, and for the rest of the children in my condition."

Defense lawyers did not respond to calls seeking comment and the adoptive parents have not commented publicly on the case.

Sampallo learned in 2001 that she is the daughter of missing political prisoners Mirta Mable Barragan and Leonardo Ruben Sampallo.

Sampallo's mother was six months pregnant when she and her father were abducted on Dec. 6, 1977, said Sampallo's lawyer. He said Sampallo was born in February 1978, while her mother was being held at a clandestine torture center.

There have been at least three earlier trials involving suspected illegal adoptions dating to the dictatorship that resulted in convictions — but the plaintiffs were not the adopted children.


Maria Barragan succeeds in getting adoptive parents jailed

In a landmark decision, a court in Buenos Aires sentenced a former military officer and the adoptive parents of one of the country’s many babies “stolen” during the dictatorship to prison for concealing the child’s identity and falsifying adoption documents.

Maria Eugenia Sampallo Barragán, 30, had brought charges against the three after discovering her true identity seven years ago. Ms Sampallo is one of hundreds of people who were snatched from their parents or born in captivity during the country’s dictatorship of 1976-83, but she was the first to face her adoptive parents in court.

Osvaldo Rivas, 65, and MarÍa Cristina Gómez Pinto, 60, her adoptive parents, were sentenced to eight and seven years in prison respectively. Enrique Berthier, a former army captain who handed Ms Sampallo over to the couple when she was a baby, received ten years.

“These are not my parents,” Ms Sampallo said at a press conference on Monday. “They are my kidnappers . . . there is no emotional bond that binds me to them. These are my parents,” she said, picking up photos of her biological parents.

Argentina’s military regime arrested Leonardo Sampallo and Mirta Barragán, suspected leftist dissidents, in December 1977. Soon after Ms Sampallo was born, her parents died in prison and the infant was given to Captain Berthier to pass on to another family, which hid her real identity.

Ms Sampallo learnt about her past from the human rights group Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo. They have found 88 people like Ms Sampallo, children of their own sons and daughters who “disappeared”.

The Argentine military imprisoned tens of thousands of people suspected of being subversives and killed as many as 30,000. The junta also decided to “rehabilitate” its enemies’ children by placing them with families that supported the dictatorship. Many of the children were given to the families of men who may have participated in the torture and deaths of their parents.

The Grandmothers say that up to 500 children were abducted by the military or were born in captivity. During the dictatorship the group kept note of women who suddenly appeared with babies without being pregnant, and began investigations that, with recent advances in DNA technology, have begun to get results. Cases involving abducted children have proved crucial to bringing the dictatorship’s architects and executioners to justice. An amnesty for military and police officers imposed by the first postdictatorship government did not include the theft of babies, jurists contended.

“My hope is that each conviction acts as a step toward building the truth,” said Victoria Donda, an MP and activist who was taken from her biological parents at birth and learnt of her real identity in 2003.

The Dirty War

Approximately 30,000 Argentinians disappeared during the Dirty War, a campaign of violence and intimidation by a series of governments

The collapse of the alliance between left and right factions in the Peronist movement is seen as the catalyst of the trouble. A paranoid conservative Argentinian group backed the army in taking extreme action to control the Left

Most disappearances occurred under the military regimes that ruled the country from 1976 to 1983, after the overthrow of Isabel Perón by Jorge Rafael Videla, then head of Argentina's army

Democracy was swept away and the military became increasingly violent. It regarded a “cleansing” of Argentine society as necessary to the country’s survival

Liberals, trade unionists, and others suspected of less than wholehearted support for the regime were rounded up. After their interrogation and murder, their bodies were never returned

Sources: desaparecidos.org ; nuncamas.org; National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons

From the eyes of a child

I had trouble reading past, “These are not my parents,” Ms Sampallo said at a press conference on Monday. “They are my kidnappers . . . there is no emotional bond that binds me to them. These are my parents,” she said, picking up photos of her biological parents.

For the longest time, I could never understand what would drive a person to purchase another woman's baby.  It used to sicken me as I laid in bed at night praying to God, "PLEASE bring me back my Mommy.  I want to go back to my Mommy and not stay here anymore."

I had to learn to accept even God could not bring me back to my mommy, so I had to lie and say I had a new-one who was just as good. 

I used to blame the women who wanted to buy babies because it seemed like they were buying little dress-up dolls for themselves from a storage of pictured faces and profiles, not young humans from another home.  It wasn't until I started listening to the stories told to me by the OTHER victims of adoption that I realized, "holy crap, nothing but lies are being sold, all in the name of 'saving an unwanted child'".

The more I read, the more I realize the industry counts on the three sides of victimization to neither speak nor share their horror-stories rooted in deception, because that could mean a possible end to a very long and prosperous era. 

There is no triad, there is a trilogy of sadness that affects mothers, fathers and children... and there will be little to no protection anywhere until the general public begins to become more aware of how wrong it is to sell lies with a child'slife.

Appealing the courts

In an earlier article, dated 21 Feb 2008,  is was stated:

The case marks the first time a woman has taken her adoptive parents to court in Argentina. There have been at least three earlier trials involving suspected illegal adoptions dating to the dictatorship that resulted in convictions -- but the plaintiffs were not the adopted children .http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/world/archives/2008/02/21/2003402206

What is the protocol for an adoptee who learns their adoption was the by-product of a kidnapping/abduction?

Does the adoptee or original family have legal re-course in these cases?

In other words, what in the world can the victims of cases like the following do?  :


NAM DINH — Around 300 under five-year-olds have allegedly been falsely put up for adoption abroad in the northern province of Nam Dinh since 2006, provincial police reported.

The heads of two communal healthcare centres were arrested last month under suspicion of forging State adoption documents and of making up bogus histories for the infants, said Nam Dinh Investigative Police Department.

Tran Ngoc Lam, who lives in Nam Dinh City, allegedly picked up abandoned children in the province and took them to healthcare centres in Yen Tien and Yen Luong communes. The centres’ directors, Vu Dinh Loi and Truong Cong Lich, allegedly forged fake birth certificates for the children so they could be put up for adoption.

The children were then sent to centres for disabled children in Y Yen and Truc Ninh districts.

It is believed Y Yen’s Centre for Disabled Children, which was established two years ago and which has a seasonal nursing staff of just four, had, by June 21, sold 100 infants to foreign child adoption organisations.

Meanwhile, Truc Ninh’s Social Protection Centre, which was established in early 2005, has allegedly put 221 infants illegally up for foreign adoption.

According to Nam Dinh’s Department for Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, inspectors found five heavily pregnant women staying at the centre when it was raided.

The investigation was launched following an anonymous letter that claimed the centres were engaged in child trafficking. There had also been rumours circulating among local residents that the centres were selling babies abroad.

The Department’s Child Care and Protection Division reported that they had found 11 infants, aged two to five months, at the Y Yen centre. They are now been taken care of at the provincial Social Protection Centre.

Nam Dinh Investigation Police Department was also looking into the case, said department director Nguyen Ngoc Kha. — VNS  http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn/showarticle.php?num=01CAS150708

Christmas 2002

I sat in the American Embassy of Saigon/HoChiMinh City, watching all the Americans pleading for their paperwork to be shoved through before the country shut down its adoptions in 10 days.  I heard of all the phony paperwork and the social workers who were doing everything they knew to do, to get the paperwork approved.  I saw babies as young as 7 days old
in that place and their paperwork going through.  I met women who had lived there for months while their families were home in the states waiting for her to bring the baby home; women who would not give up.
My adoption agency sent me without one paper: I 171H and I was asked why I was there.  The agency told the foreign agency to use all the overseas fees ($8,000.00) that we had paid up front to make the adoption happen: for them to accept my dossier without that one paper and give me time to get it to them.  I knew of this call only after returning to the states.
 I was given two months to supply the I 171H to the officials in DaNang, VietNam.  Part of my adoption was legal in the sense that I went through a legal agency, but my son would still be over there in the foster home (maybe his mother would have eventually come looking for him) instead of being abused by an adopted brother in America, if the overseas fees hadn't been accepted as a bribe.  SHIT! How I hate those words!  I met his mother, and his foster parents.  I took him from the orphanage that morning with him crying for his foster maa.  He had been bonded there, and so he could bond to me.
I tell you these things so you can know the other victim of the adoption scandal that goes on right at this very moment.  I am the victim of lies and false hope given to a woman who has the money to buy a child, thinking her love will make everything right.  It did not make everything right.  I am a victim of a man who led two lives and destroyed many more.
His mother, in my biased opinion was not fit for such a precious child as he is; but who am I to judge another woman?  He would be dead now from the HepB he is carrying now that was transmitted from her to him.  But was that my decision to make that he be saved from that death only to experience the abuse of an adopted brother from yet another country?
I ask for nothing more than forgiveness for my judgment of another woman and for being part of this horror you all are suffering for the likes of me.  I only need to ask... I know how hard it would be for you to give.
Do I wish my son and daughter not to have been mine?  NO!  Because the selfish wretch that I am still loves them and cherishes all the good memories that we still own as ours;  because I'm all they know and together we will make it.


Pound Pup Legacy