MUMBAI: Nearly 20 years after she was adopted by an American national, 27-year-old Jennifer Haynes is back in Mumbai, seeking action against the Americans for International Aid and Adoption (AIAA), the agency that had processed her adoption papers.
Speaking to DNA on Wednesday evening, Haynes said, "I was fighting with the immigration authorities in the US. They said that my documentation for US citizenship was unfinished and wanted to deport me. With the Indian government accepting my repatriation, I came back in July last year. Ever since, I have been living in a Chembur hostel."
In her petition, which was mentioned before Bombay High Court on Wednesday, Haynes has sought a court direction to Central Adoption Resources Authority (Cara) to deregister AIAA and other foreign agencies, based in the US and registered with the Indian Government, and stop inter-country adoption until she is sent back to her family.
"For all these years, nobody ever told me that I am not an American citizen. It is because of AIAA that I have landed in this situation," Haynes said.
She has stated in the petition that her adoption process was carried out in violation of the UN Convention onthe Rights of the Child, 1989 and the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in Inter-Country Adoption.
Her advocate, Pradeep Havnur, said that the petition had been filed, but it was yet to get a date for hearing.
Born in India in 1981, Haynes was adopted by Edward Hancox, who flew her to the US in November 1989. It was the beginning of a nightmare for her. "I was sexually abused by my first foster father. I changed nearly 50 foster homes, but everywhere the abuse continued. Nobody was willing to accept me," she told DNA.
She married Justin Haynes in 2002 and lived with him and their two children -- Kadafi, 5 and Kanassa, 4 -- in Michigan. "My husband works in a construction company. I used to be a housewife. I talk to my family in Michigan only once in two weeks," said a frustrated Haynes. "I want to be back with my family. I am going crazy here."
Not having the necessary documents, she is finding it difficult to get a job in the city. "Now, I have no means to sustain myself. I am surviving on the money that my mother-in-law sends me," she added.