Adoption guide praises US law-breaker


Leonard Doyle
The Independent

An American adoption agency with a record of illegal activity in the US and close links to the suspected British child-trafficker John Davies, is being promoted heavily in the UK as a "legal" adoption firm.

The company, Aloha Adoption Services, comes highly recommended in a glossy new publication released in Britain this week - The International Adoption Guide: How to Legally Adopt a Child in over 80 Countries.

Written by a retired American "security" specialist, Patrick O'Connor, now living in Marbella, Spain, the book provides the name, address and fax number of Aloha Adoption Services Inc. in Washington State and in Hawaii, while making no mention of the fact that the company's owner, Pamela Iacchei, was found guilty last year and fined $100,000 for misleading 70 couples who paid fees of up to $20,000 to adopt a foreign child.

Aloha Adoption Services Inc. was also found guilty of operating without a license, and Ms Iacchei was banned from continuing to carrying out unlicensed adoptions in Washington State.

Mr Davies, who is under investigation by the Croatian authorities for allegedly coercing several women to hand over their children for adoption, was Aloha Adoption Services' representative throughout Eastern Europe until his arrest in Zagreb last January. He also represented a controversial Californian adoption company called the Adam Children's Fund. Mr Davies is on Interpol's list of suspected child-traffickers, and Britain and the US strongly discourage childless couples against using the services of Aloha, Adam Children's Fund and other unlicensed agencies.

Despite this, the new guidebook gives pride of place to Aloha Adoption Services Inc.

Described as "the first book to give step-by-step instructions on how to adopt a foreign child", Mr O'Connor's handbook tells how there are an estimated 3 million couples and single people world-wide trying to adopt children at any given time.

"Adopting a child can be a frustrating, expensive and sometimes heart- breaking experience, and whilst landing up in jail may be the exception, it can and does happen," Mr O'Connor advises his readers.

In the book he offers his gratitude to Aloha and seven other private adoption agencies "for the vast supply of helpful data they provided".

"This guide has been compiled to give readers a brief but accurate country- by-country reference," he says in the introduction, but advises couples who want to keep informed about changes in adoption regulations and other requirements to subscribe to his International Adoption Newsletter for $125 a year.

In an interview yesterday, Mr O'Connor said he was completely unaware that Aloha was connected to Mr Davies or that Ms Iacchei had been found guilty of illegal adoption activities.

"We will remove all reference to Aloha in the next edition," he said. Mr O'Connor also runs a personal consulting service.

Two years ago Mr Davies and Ms Iacchei were involved in what US diplomats described as a "baby smuggling/adoption scheme " involving 28 Romanian children. The children were taken to "fattening farms" in southern Hungary and were stranded there until the US gave into pressure to allow them into the country.

"John Davies found a way to get around the Romanian adoption laws - legally," Ms Iacchei said at the time. "He took the law to the limit, without circumventing it. Unfortunately, it's turned out to be a lot more complicated than he thought."

Within month of making those remarks, Ms Iacchei was defending her actions in court, accused by Washington State of lying about the number of adoptions she had carried out and of failing to provide medical records for children being adopted.

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