Let Christians adopt, Egypt baby trial lawyer says

from: reuters.com

Cynthia Johnston
March 18, 2009

CAIRO (Reuters) - A lawyer for a U.S. couple jailed in Egypt in an adoption case said Egypt should pass a law allowing Christian families to adopt, because a legal gap that disallows the practice is pushing them to do so in secret.

The lawyer, whose clients are in jail on fraud charges as their trial proceeds, also said he believed Egyptian authorities were seeking to warn the country's Christian minority that they could not adopt in Egypt, even through informal channels.

"I think that the first criminal in this case is the state," lawyer Nagiub Gobraiel told Reuters in an interview.

He said Islamic restrictions on adoption were preventing Christians from adopting children born to Christian parents in Egypt, and urged authorities to put a law in place "for Christians to adopt."

"The wife is Christian, the husband is Christian and the child or the children are Christians," he said. "I think that the state is pushing us to commit a crime."

There is no legal mechanism for families -- Christian or Muslim -- to adopt children in Egypt, and Egyptians rarely gain legal guardianship of children not born to their families because of social, religious and legal strictures.

Islamic law restricts adoption, barring families from giving their name to children they take into their homes. Egyptian law allows fostering but it is generally not culturally acceptable for families to take in unrelated children.

MORE SERIOUS CHARGES

Gobraiel's clients, Egyptian Medhat Besada and his American wife Susan Haglof, are charged with fraud over accusations they obtained a birth certificate and passport for a child who was not born to them, listing them as his biological parents.

Two other couples are also facing trial in the same case on more serious charges of buying babies for illegal adoption, highlighting a practice which experts say can easily go undetected in Egypt.

Besada and Haglof were arrested after they tried to get a U.S. visa for the child, and the embassy requested genetic testing to confirm the baby's parentage, Gobraiel said. He said the embassy turned them in when they did not comply. U.S. officials could not be reached for comment.

Two of the couples pleaded not guilty at the start of the trial Saturday, while the third is being tried in absentia.

"When I was in the court, I said to the judge ... Susan is Christian, Medhat is Christian, Mark (the child) is Christian, and their religion allows adopting. Why are you obliged to follow the Islamic law?" Gobraiel said.

Gobraiel said he did not believe his clients, who have been denied bail, could get a fair trial. Egypt says its courts are impartial and independent.

"The government is afraid of some child, who may be Muslim, (being) given to a Christian family and after that may be Christian in the future. I think this is the strong motive for the government to make this case," Gobraiel said.

0

Honor, respect, and culture sensitivity

"When I was in the court, I said to the judge ... Susan is Christian, Medhat is Christian, Mark (the child) is Christian, and their religion allows adopting. Why are you obliged to follow the Islamic law?" Gobraiel said.

Years ago I learned a little about Islamic culture as it relates to adoption [see:  "Islam is a way of life "], and over the years, I learned many adoptees agree with the simple philosophy that a child's name should not be changed, regardless of an AP's wishes.  This is an identity issue that transcends religious belief... after all, I believe a person's name gives a sense of family heritage and lineage... intangibles that need to be respected, whether we like where those blood-ties lead or not.

Although the above article features a "secret/illegal adoption", it's interesting to note what is written in other parts of the world as it relates to rights, adoption, and religion:

Boston Globe journalist who heads the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute in New York. Adoption trends include:

  • Researchers and leaders in the field are stressing the importance of placing children with adoptive and foster families of the same race if possible;
  • Interracial, intercultural and interreligious adoptions are increasing, creating a need for more training and religious and cultural sensitivity on the part of adoptive families and potentially creating identity conflicts and issues for adoptees.
  • Because many older children – many of them African-American or mixed-race – need homes, agencies have opened doors to adoptive parents not previously considered “suitable”: single parents, gays and lesbians, transracial couples, people of modest means, renters and working couples. For parents who are not affluent, adoption from foster care has been the route for some time.
  • International adoptions are increasing, creating the potential for profound identity issues for parents, children and young adult adoptees.
  • Faith communities – particularly European-Jewish congregations –find themselves facing identity questions as they embrace African-American, Asian and Latino adoptees. Pertman, noting implications for the age-old debate about who is a Jew, says he has seen Chinese cultural festivals in synagogues to support the large number of infants adopted from China.
  • An increase in infertility and the lessening of the stigma of single parenthood have resulted in fewer infants available for adoption.
  • Many believe that adoption is remaking the definition of family and redefining parenthood, and there are an increasing number of scholars studying it. “Encountering New Worlds of Adoption: The 2nd International Conference on Adoption and Culture” will take place Oct. 11-14, 2007, at the University of Pittsburgh. See a list of speakers, who include scholars, authors, and activists.
  • Today birth mothers, rather than agencies, more often choose the families who receive their children. The result is a diminishment – though not the elimination – of the role of religion in placement. Previously, birth mothers relinquished babies to agencies, often religious agencies, which selected the adoptive families according to religious criteria.
  • Openness is the trend, to a greater or lesser degree. That means involving birth parents more. In a completely “open” adoption, birth families retain a relationship with adopted children.
  • Religious institutions have played a central role in caring for orphans and finding homes for them since the 1800s. At the same time, some religious groups have at times promoted shame and secrecy through efforts to reinforce moral lessons about marriage and sexual mores, by identifying with more affluent, mostly white adoptive families and by disempowering birth parents, who are more likely than adoptive parents to be single, poor and/or immigrant. Faith organizations and congregations are still big players in the adoption world. They help relinquishing parents place their children and give them support during the pregnancy. They recruit adoptive and foster families and give them support and mentoring. They create their own social service agencies or work with other adoption agencies, and they lobby for just and humane adoption laws and policies.   [From:  "Religious issues complicate adoption"]

 If you ask me, adding adoption to the fight for religious freedom is only asking for HUGE trouble. 

Friend of Couple frustrated and

I have known the couple from North Carolina, accused of Child Trafficking for over ten years. They have always wanted children, and have been trying to adopt domestically for years. I was shocked to see them on CNN yesterday in Egyptian jail for what seems to be a witchhunt put on by the Egyptian government. I am feeling helpless and want to know what can I do to help? I have not had contact with the couple for a few years but I am certian they are innocent and may have gotten into something they were not fully aware of or used as the fallguys by the goverment to make an example of them. I am concerned that since the U.S. Embassy who one hopes is there to turn to as a sanctuary when troubles happen abroad, are the ones who turned them into the Egyptian officials. What chance do they have if they are innocent? What resources are out there to raise awareness of their plight? Trish-N.C

Friends of the family

While I can appreciate the shock and concern friends-of-the-family may be experiencing once they learn upsetting or disturbing news about those they knew for 10 years, I don't necessarily believe or trust reported personal opinion.  [Mistrust in me goes long and deep.] 

I tend to think lots of neighbors, friends and family members would be shocked to learn some of the things people do in private or closed doors. [In fact, that pretty much describes the story of my life.]

I bet Ed Webb , the latest  in the news for "alleged unethical behavior" was seen as a great guy by his friends, and neighbors, too.  That doesn't mean great guys always do great things.  In fact,  these sort of so-called shocking cases prove just how shady and corrupt adoption practices can be.  Liars fakes and frauds exist in the child-service industry.  THIS is reality, and this sort of news and reality is finally making more and more people upset and angry. 

I was shocked to see them on CNN yesterday in Egyptian jail for what seems to be a witchhunt put on by the Egyptian government. I am feeling helpless and want to know what can I do to help? I have not had contact with the couple for a few years but I am certian they are innocent and may have gotten into something they were not fully aware of or used as the fallguys by the goverment to make an example of them. I am concerned that since the U.S. Embassy who one hopes is there to turn to as a sanctuary when troubles happen abroad, are the ones who turned them into the Egyptian officials. What chance do they have if they are innocent?

Perhaps, had AMERICAN judges in previous cases not been so lenient with "nice people" like Lauryn Galindo, (who "helped" other nice people like Angelina Joelie get one of her adopted children), and the Banks couple, witch-hunts and fall-out guys would not be issues "innocent" people have to face or fear.

In any case, a person's disbelief, especially when it relates to adoption scams, child trafficking and abusive foster/adoptive parents can be a very dangerous way to think.

CAIRO (Reuters) - A lawyer

"CAIRO (Reuters) - A lawyer for a U.S. couple jailed in Egypt in an adoption case said Egypt should pass a law allowing Christian families to adopt, because a legal gap that disallows the practice is pushing them to do so in secret."

Smart people to make it illegal. Hopefully they will do the smart thing and keep it that way. And lock up those who break that law. North America could learn something from them.

Make it legal cause they are doing it anyways?

Ummmm no...

People smoke crack in secret. Why don't we make it legal.. I mean hell they are gonna do it anyways, right?

No, If you break a law you go to jail. It's just that simple.

Peoples over all logic never stops surprising me. I guess with humans being so closely related to primates, I suppose I should not be surprised.

People are fighting to make adoption and foster care illegal in north America. Our group only wants to see adoption and foster care nightmares end and making it illegal seems to be our only course.

Seems everyday we are getting closer and closer as thousands join the fight daily.

Not everyone supports adoption. So I don't think they should count on support. The U.S embassy handed them over cause they broke a law. An embassy is not a safe haven for those who break laws.

I love how pro-adoption people think that they are exempt from laws and should be given special privileges. I will be happy to see that mentality come to an end.
Participating in human trafficking does not make you special. It makes you a participant in human trafficking. It's good to know at least somewhere there are people who understand. Even if it's Cairo.

Want a banana?

Pound Pup Legacy