'Stolen babies' adoption racket

24/08/2008 9:55:00 AM
 
A CANBERRA family who adopted two children from India is still waiting for an investigation into their case more than a year after notifying Indian authorities.

Julia Rollings and her husband Barry adopted brother and sister Akil and Sabila from Madras Social Service Guild orphanage in Chennai, in August 1998.

They understood the children, then aged about two and three, arrived at the orphanage in October 1996 after being relinquished for adoption by their mother.

The Rollings family mounted a private investigation in India after reading reports that one of the orphanage's staff was arrested on charges of kidnapping.

In April 2006 they discovered Akil and Sabila's father had sold them to child traffickers for 500rupees ($A50).

At least 30 children adopted from India by Australian families may have been kidnapped and sold by child traffickers, according to Time magazine. The investigation, published this weekend, reveals kidnappers stole ''pretty'' children from poor neighbourhoods in southern India and sold them to adoption agency Malaysian Social Services for $A265 each.

The adoption agency and the orphanage are based in Chennai in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Both had their inter-country adoption licenses suspended in 1999 after revelations they were implicated in child trafficking, but were later re-licensed.

In one case, a Queensland family recently learned that the girl they adopted through the agency, who is now nine, was snatched from outside her family home as a two-year-old.

''I feel a great deal of sympathy for the Indian families that have been caught up in this drama and also for the Australian families,'' Ms Rollings said.

After learning the truth 18 months ago, the Rollings family tracked down Akil and Sabila's birth mother and met her in India.

''We're now in a position thankfully that our kids feel very positive about their reunion and the wonderful relationship that has developed,'' Ms Rollings said.

The Rollings family are continuing to call for an investigation into the case of their son and daughter.

''We want an investigation so our children can know for certain what happened. And most importantly so their other mother can get justice. She's the one who's lost the most in all this,'' Ms Rollings said.

India's Central Bureau of Intelligence insists birth families should be allowed to see their children again in India.

But Ms Rollings said adoptive families would need assurances from Australian and Indian authorities that their children would not be taken from them.

''The families need to feel very confident there was no question of the children being removed.''

''There was no way my children would have come overseas unless they felt completely confident they would be returning back home with us.''

Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson said yesterday that if inquiries revealed children had been kidnapped, there was a moral responsibility to ''do the right thing''.

''And the right thing, we would expect in most cases, will be to look at returning them to their rightful families.''

Attorney-General Robert McClelland said it would be a matter for the courts.

''Under Australian law, these children are Australian citizens and the children of the adoptive parents. Under the Hague Convention, birth parents may bring an action in an Australian Court to have the adoption revoked. However, any decision would be a matter for the courts, which would apply the principle of protecting the best interests of the child.''

He said the Government was treating the allegations seriously.

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/local/news/general/stolen-babies-adoption-racket/1252437.aspx

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AP's need "assurances"?!?

Ms Rollings said adoptive families would need assurances from Australian and Indian authorities that their children would not be taken from them.

''The families need to feel very confident there was no question of the children being removed.''

Yes, God Forbid someone takes a child away from the mother or father.   [As if that doesn't happen all the time.]

As a mother, and as an adoptee born in a different country than my AP's residence, I am absolutely FLOORED an adoptive mother would want to keep a child she knows was kidnapped.

Who keeps a kidnapped child?  

If authorities refuse to have a child brought back to his original family after a kidnapping, wouldn't most people think that was not only cruel, but criminal as well?

''Under Australian law, these children are Australian citizens and the children of the adoptive parents."

Doesn't India have any laws against kidnapping, child abduction, or child trafficking? 

Inter-state compact/inter-country compact

In the U.S. there are inter-state compacts where the adoption can go from one state to another.  Are there no compacts
that both countries use in cases like this?  Are there NO safeguards for these children and birth families?  If there is
a breaking of laws (that should already have been in place) then there should be an inter-country council to appeal to.
In a perfect world there would be no adoption.

As an AP, I did not start out to steal anyone's child; but the deeper into each adoption I felt and saw a lot of things that
were bending/breaking moral laws as well as laws of the land.  Does an AP REALLY have the capacity to believe the
child could be stolen?  Think about the pressure and stress of an adoption on all sides and you'll find PAP'S who
dissociate from the reality of what is going on in order to go through with what they sub-consciously know is FULL
of illegalities.  I do NOT put up for AP'S as you well know... just a thought about what really happens in a world that
has made humans far less than their worth. 

"I can be changed by what happens to me, I refuse to be reduced by it." M.A.
One Step Up From Bottom
Teddy

International Court

Are there no compacts that both countries use in cases like this?  Are there NO safeguards for these children and birth families?  If there is a breaking of laws (that should already have been in place) then there should be an inter-country council to appeal to.

It's my understanding like the US has their Supreme Court, the international community has The Hague.

The International Court of Justice (known colloquially as the World Court or ICJ; French: Cour internationale de Justice) is the primary judicial organ of the United Nations. It is based in the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands, sharing the building with the Hague Academy of International Law, a private centre for the study of international law. Several of the Court's current judges are either alumni or former faculty members of the Academy.

Established in 1945 by the UN Charter, the Court began work in 1946 as the successor to the Permanent Court of International Justice. The Statute of the International Court of Justice, similar to that of its predecessor, is the main constitutional document constituting and regulating the Court.[1] The ICJ should not be confused with the International Criminal Court, which also potentially has "global" jurisdiction.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Court_of_Justice

 

Some details on international justice

There are two international treaties that apply to child-trafficking in relation to international adoption. One is the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, the other is the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption. The latter convention, which was ratified by the US in April 1, 2008, most resembles the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children and regulates the procedures an international adoption has to comply with. Although it outlines proper procedures it doesn't make any statements about what to do when proper procedures are not followed.

If a child is obviously stolen, the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction applies, which was enacted to "secure the prompt return of children wrongfully removed to or retained in any Contracting State". This convention has also been ratified by the USA, but not by for example India, Guatemala, Haiti, Liberia, Russia, Ethiopia, Cambodia, South Korea. Generally speaking it is signed by most of the receiving countries, but by few of the sending countries. So while the convention secures the prompt return of children, it doesn't apply in most international adoption cases.

If a child has been stolen and adopted abroad and both countries are signatories of both conventions it is still possible that a child may not be returned. The receiving country can, in spite of ratification refuse to do so. In that case the sending country can sue the receiving country before the International Court of Justice. Even that is not a guarantee in case of the USA, because the country withdrew from compulsory jurisdiction in 1986, and so accepts the court's jurisdiction only on a case-to-case basis. If the US doesn't want to send back children, they can in no way be forced to do so.

"Moral Keepers"?

I found this last sentence very disturbing:

If the US doesn't want to send back children, they can in no way be forced to do so.

Even if a kidnapping has taken place, American's can simply say "We don't want to return the child, (this child is ours), and you can't do anything to change that"?

Who came-up with this policy?

The Peter Pfund Memo

The below link might help. But the US is not alone in this. In other countries it is the same. Adoption = adoption = legal.  Even if kidnapping or fraud is later discovered, the adoption still stands:

http://www.amfor.net/childtheft.html

It's about power not politics

Who came up with this policy?

Well it is not necessarily a policy but more a question of power and self-interest. A country like Sri Lanka could always start a war against the US over a child-trafficking case, but I doubt they'd be very successful in their attempt. Who is going to force the US into international compliance? There are simply no mechanisms and the USA has especially in recent years mostly shown contempt towards the international community, which was well expressed by former ambassador to the United Nations, John R. Bolton, who said:

There is no such thing as the United Nations. There is only the international community, which can only be led by the only remaining superpower, which is the United States.

'Despite being less antagonitic with regards to international affairs, most other rich countries are just as much going after their own interest only and use their power to get whatever they want. I bet France would not return children to the original country either, nor would probably Italy or Spain and I seriously doubt if Australia will do what is just. I bet they will claim it is in the child's best in interest to stay within their country.

picking your brain

Interesting.

So how is it the U.S. even bothered to participate in the Hague convention at all? 
Who managed to help us get there?
Whatever forces those were, it has created a lot of upset in the PAP communities.
Fortunately, in the U.S.  it is very hard to undo beaurocracies once they are established.
How can we help whoever those forces were/are to keep moving us in the right direction?

The direction of what is truly in the best interests of the child?

if i may...

I have seen answered prayer do the impossible.  IMHO, God is faithful to hear and answer prayer.  And this is just ME
and my experiences with God, not any kind of advice; only an answer to a question.

"I can be changed by what happens to me, I refuse to be reduced by it." M.A.
One Step Up From Bottom
Teddy

Some roundabout way to answer your questions

The US was, as with all major international treaties one of the parties intimitely involved in drafting it. In many cases the US chooses not to ratify the treaty, but that's another issue and doesn't apply to the Hague convention. In 2000 Bill Clinton signed the Intercountry Adoption Act that prepared for ratification and eventually in 2008 all preparations were finished and the US became a Hague country. Especially over the last couple of years the pressure to ratify the Hague conference became stronger, because more and more sending Hague countries only wanted to do business with receiving Hague countries only. Affraid to lose resources needed to keep business as usual, eliminated the final reserves the US had against ratification.

While I am critical about the Hague, it does eliminate some of the worst agencies in the international adoption industry. Since last April several have gone down and more are likely to follow. On the other hand it gives more economic and political power to the agencies that were accredited. But most importantly, the Hague doesn't really do anything against child trafficking. It pays lip service to it, but is effectively impotent in preventing it. That's why there is a need for an independant watch dog organization that monitors international adoption on the issue of child trafficking. An organization that has the funds and the resources to actively investigate cases and file charges against agencies, orphanages, central authorities when child trafficking has been discovered.

When will they be held accountable?

"We're now in a position thankfully that our kids feel very positive about their reunion and the wonderful relationship that has developed," Ms Rollings said.

The Rollings want assurances that "their" children, children that they purchased, were not return to their first parents. Fortunately for  all adoptive parents of stolen children, it is highly probable that "their" children  would want to stay with them rather than going back with their "bio" parents.

The adoptive parents of stolen children  will continue to live with "their" children, with their desire (to become parents) fulfilled, without consequence and  probably without regret.

It may be impossible to prosecute foster parents based abroad for their unwitting role in the crime, legal experts said. http://poundpuplegacy.org/node/21143#comment-5724

I know that in Canada, before concluding a transaction to buy a vehicle (or any object), the buyer should check if the vehicle is free of debt or if the vehicle is stolen. If not, the new buyer of this vehicle could then be held responsible for paying the debt to the creditor or be forced to surrender the vehicle.  Sometimes, people are victims of criminals, they buy a stolen car unwittingly but before the law, they are held responsible and they live with the consequences. Having such a law which makes any person responsible of a crime, even in its unwitting role, make the citizens think twice before buying a car.

Now, we are talking about human beings and children, not cars or objects, laws should be even tougher.

The demand (all the demands of the adopters put together) have created this lucrative business of baby sellings but because the adopters are not held accountable, there will always be people (PAP) who will continue to fuel the adoption racket.  Adopters should also be punished by laws. They shouldn't have the excuses of  "We did not know",  "we are not responsible" or "we were victims too".

go sister go

go sister go

Okay...

What should the laws say that would punish an AP; what do you see as the outcome of such laws?

"I can be changed by what happens to me, I refuse to be reduced by it." M.A.
One Step Up From Bottom
Teddy

I find it difficult to have compassion for APs.

I find it difficult to have compassion for those APs knowing that in adoptees forum, when there are plenty of PAPs/APs lurking in adoptees forums. There are  plenty of testimonies of adult adoptees who, after being reunited with their birth families, have found out that they were put up for adoption without the consents of their parents or after being kidnapped.
Today, there are enough stories  coming out about child traffickings, PAP and AP have no excuse, they can't say they didn't know.

kimette

I understand why you feel so disgusted with AP's and you have every right to feel this way.  No one but you can
know how devastating your life was/is as an adopted child/adult, I feel such raw emotion and honesty from
you; it's very difficult to know this happened to you.  I can't speak for other AP's but I do feel I must tell you how
much sorrow I feel for that betrayed little girl you were and how much it has hurt you all these years.  If I could do
something, I would, but we all know the damage was done and now we must proclaim the rights of others just
like you, before it happens more.  Words are needed to be thrown at this horrific lie that is being told to countless
numbers of PAP's.  Your words are worth a great deal: you experienced the lie of adoption and people need to
hear your words.
Thank you for sharing; each time you add something to your story it breaks my heart, but that's a good thing; maybe
others will have their hearts broken instead of more children's hearts.

"I can be changed by what happens to me, I refuse to be reduced by it." M.A.
One Step Up From Bottom
Teddy

I can't understand the mentality

Earlier this morning I posted an article that sheds more light into the motives/mentality of those looking at international adoption as their best workable option... and I'll tell you, it sickened me; my stomach actually clenched into knots when I read the following:

"This is the money we saved, our adoption money," said Amanda Peppers, 31. She and her husband, Jerry Peppers, 29, who live in Alabama and were dealing with Commonwealth's Florida office, invested thousands and received a partial refund when news of the closure hit. It's not enough to start the adoption process over with another agency, the family said.

This is after the couple spent nearly $20,000 on fertility treatments.

"We're just a common family," Amanda Peppers said. "Adoption is just not affordable."

The Stevenses said they had a problem with Commonwealth in 2006, well before the Hague accreditation became an issue.

They wanted to adopt a child from Colombia, which requires an extensive psychological evaluation.

Tom Stevens said the evaluation came back with statements that were not true, and he brought it to his caseworker at Commonwealth with the hopes of talking it over to see how the evaluation could be refuted or redone.

Instead, he said, the caseworker submitted it to Colombia, and the adoption was denied.

Stevens, 64, took the agency to court in 2006 and was awarded $1,100 in a partial refund of Commonwealth fees, records show.

He took his business to Adoptions Avenues, a private agency he found online, and began to explore adopting from Ethiopia after reading an article about widespread starvation in the country in Time magazine.

"I just think these children are in worse shape than the American children," he said of his decision to adopt internationally.

In addition to difficulties in China, Guatemala and Vietnam, local agencies said, once-popular Russia is rife with delays, as is the Ukraine.

Countries gaining in popularity include Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Ethiopia.  http://poundpuplegacy.org/node/21180

I'm so sick of adoption's rollercoaster being a matter of money, time and investment that is adult-oriented and focused on pleasing the PAP's rather than the needs of children who HAVE BEEN ABUSED BY THEIR BIOLOGIC FAMILIES.  Time and time again, I read how PAP's do NOT want a child who was sexually abused, and so they find themselves looking to buy a child from a poor country's orphanage, (even if it means that PAP will have to take a child of color.)  Who, exactly is being serviced when only the cute and cuddly are being scooped and saved?

There is a HUGE difference between not being an affluent American, (or any other person with enough money to pay for a child and traveling expenses), and being a negligent/abusive parent.  There is a HUGE difference between not being able to pay for medical expenses and beating/abusing a child because the child is in the way.  For some reason the concept of "need" does not translate well in the international language of adoption, and this truly, deeply sickens me.

I shudder to think we live in a world where AP's won't want to return the children they bought from a black market because they will see it more as a waste of time and money than a crime.

If a person is "called to parent", then help parent those children who need it and are closest to you.  Don't play God, and act as if you can "pick and choose", just because you have money in your pockets, and a willingness to learn a new culture. 

 

IMO

I do not know why people are wanting to adopt from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Ethiopia.   Why are people willing to
just blindly adopt a child that could end up being kidnapped and traumatized; or with RAD from so much neglect from
moves in their short lives?   Isn't all this information out there being passed around? 

I'm from a small town with a lot of small towns around; adoption is prominent and accepted.  BUT, most of the adoptive
families, unless it's with other adoptive families, stick close to home and do NOT want to hear bad things about adoption.
Sticking within the adoption support groups is how the fairy tale stays alive.  Especially if the honeymoon is over and
truth has set in and they are too afraid to let others know, and then, some just become recluse.

The community that can help stop the abuse and get help for the child is the one hiding what is really going on. 
Does anyone really believe any AP's would willingly let the children go back?  I don't.  Only when there is openness
from both sides, and the child, who maybe is torn between the two families and their love is able to be a part of
both families while the final decision is made; until something like this happens there will be more and more
shoved under the table. 

That child may be kidnapped, but in some cases that child has learned to love the adoptive family and needs time to adjust to whatever happens.  It's easy to say, those kids belong with their own families, but to get them there is a long
hard battle and the U.S. does not like to lose.  Stopping all adoptions and cleaning up the mess would be a good
start; but after everyone has already tasted that money, no one wants to go on a diet.

"I can be changed by what happens to me, I refuse to be reduced by it." M.A.
One Step Up From Bottom
Teddy

Cover-up claim over 'stolen' child's adoption

from: theaustralian.news.com.au

August 27, 2008
Sean Parnell

THE Bligh Government has been accused of covering up the case of a Queensland couple who unwittingly adopted an Indian girl now alleged to have been stolen from her parents.

The two-year-old Chennai girl was allegedly kidnapped in 2000 and sold to an Indian adoption company, Malaysian Social Services, as part of a child-trafficking scam that is now under investigation in several countries.

A Queensland couple adopted the girl, now aged 9, with the approval of Indian, Australian and state authorities, not learning of the devastating allegations until years later.

The Queensland Department of Child Safety first learned of the case in May last year, having been notified by the office of the then federal attorney-general, Philip Ruddock.

The Howard government minister had been alerted by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in April.

It was unclear whether DFAT was contacted by Indian authorities or the adoptive parents.

Queensland's Opposition child safety spokeswoman Jann Stuckey yesterday took aim at the Bligh Government.

Ms Stuckey used question time in parliament to quiz the Premier - the minister responsible for adoptions in 2000 - and criticise Child Safety Minister Margaret Keech for keeping the case "secret".

"It's beyond comprehension how a government can keep something like this secret for more than a year," Ms Stuckey said. "The heartache and pain over finding out that your adopted children could have been stolen is terrible enough, but to learn that the Government knew for over a year and said nothing is just reprehensible."

Ms Bligh has no recollection of the case, but the files are being checked.

Ms Keech's department conducted an audit last year, which found the only other adoption handled by MSS was in 1995, before the period in which child-trafficking allegedly occurred.

Those records are also being checked, amid questions over Queensland's decision to keep dealing with MSS, even though other states had stopped using the company due to separate controversies in the late 1990s.

The West Australian government last used MSS in 1995.

It was informed by Indian authorities in 1999 the company's licence had been suspended.

The Victorian government sourced two children from MSS in September 1992 and is reviewing the circumstances. Although it had no further involvement with MSS, it is not yet clear whether that was the result of warnings from India or interstate.

The South Australian government - which in 2000 had informal responsibility on behalf of all Australian governments for monitoring Indian adoptions - found no record of any adoptions in the state involving MSS, nor any warnings about the company.

Courts should rule on stolen kids' fate

from: theaustralian.news.com.au

September 02, 2008
By Julian Drape and Sandra O'Malley

THE Federal Government believes the courts are best placed to determine the fate of Indian children stolen from their birth parents and adopted in Australia.
It is believed at least 30 children adopted in Australia may have been stolen from their parents by a child trafficking ring operating in India between 1998 and 1999.

Canberra has been in touch with authorities in New Delhi to raise concerns about the allegations.

"This is cleary a tragic set of circumstances for the parties - and particularly the children - involved," Attorney-General Robert McClelland told parliament.

"In working to resolve these issues, we must not lose sight of the best interests of the child and the need to be sensitive to the concerns of both the Australian adoptive families and the birth families in India."

Mr McClelland said birth parents had rights under the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption to seek the return of their children.

But the adoptive parents also had rights "to meet any such application".

But the primary concern was "the best interest of the child".

"These aren't issues for politicians to deliberate on they are heart-wrenching issues for a court to deliberate on and that is appropriate," Mr McClelland said.

The Opposition believes the government response leaves many questions unanswered.

Opposition legal spokesman George Brandis said Mr McClelland had failed to provide clarity about the respective rights of the parties involved.

"Although it appears to be the case ... on the core issue of whether the rights of and interests of Australia adoptive parents are to prevail over the rights and interests of the birth parents from whom these children were allegedly stolen, there is an inconsistency in Mr McClelland's statement," he said.

"Elsewhere he says the matter is to be referred to the Family Court so that the issue can be determined on a case by case basis."

Opposition justice spokesman Christopher Pyne says the government isn't doing enough to assist the Australian adoptive parents.

"All (Mr McClelland) is doing in reality is deferring the matter to the courts and hoping for the best," he told parliament.

He had not assured Australian parents they would not face expensive court action in India, had not promised government assistance, or said whether new legislation was planned to deal with similar situations in the future, Mr Pyne said.

When the claims were first raised, Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson suggested that the right thing to do in most cases would be to return the children to their rightful parents in India.

Senator Brandis and Mr Pyne did not say whether they supported this position.

"We look to the government to clarify its position," Senator Brandis said.

"It may be that in a proper case, depending on the length of time which the children have been members of the Australian adoptive family, the knowledge of the (birth family) ... and other considerations..., may be in a particular case that might be necessary."

The intercountry adoption program between Australia and India remains open but Australia is no longer dealing with the agencies allegedly involved in child trafficking.

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