Samoan Adoptions: Nua Family

Date: 2009-01-07

Samoan Adoptions: Nua Family


Photo Captions:
Sioka Nua and his wife, Avea Nua, sent four children to this Ululoloa nanny house, run by Utah adoption agency Focus on Children. Under the care of agency employee Tagaloa Ieti, the children lost weight and had sores on their bodies, the Nuas said. Older children said they were beaten when they asked for more food, the parents added.

Days after the Nuas realized Heta was sick and took her from the nanny house, the 17-month-old girl died at a hospital, malnourished and dehydrated. Her 2005 death sparked a Samoan investigation into FOC that is still underway.

Semi Nua, 4, the second boy on the right, was once scheduled for adoption through Focus on Children. He and his toddler sister, Heta, lived at a nanny house run by the agency. (Left to right) An unidentified Nua cousin; Semi Nua; unidentified Nua cousin; Marima Nua, 10; sister Maneo, 5; brother Mamino, 8; and Sofia Nua, 12. Maneo and Mamino accompanied Semi and Heta to the nanny house and lived there with them, but were not offered for adoption.

Parents Sioka Nua (left) and his wife Avea Nua (right) were shocked to learn of the life-threatening lack of care their daughter Heta received at an Focus on Children nanny house.

Sioka Nua (left) and his wife Avea Nua (right) talk about the death of their 17-month-old daughter Heta, who was malnourished and dehydrated when she returned home from an Focus on Children nanny house.

Daughter Sofia Nua, off in the distance, cares for her siblings as their parents describe the events that led to the failed Focus on Children adoption of their son Semi and the death of 17-month-old Heta.

As he listens to his father, Sioka Nua, describe his sister Heta's death in 2005, Semi, 4, (right) reaches out to offer comfort. Focus on Children had been arranging for Semi and Heta to be adopted by an American family.

Semi Nua, 4, (left) once scheduled to be adopted by a family in the United States, is surrounded by his siblings, left to right, Maneo, 5, Sofia,12, Mamino, 8, and Marima, 10. Maneo and Mamino also live temporarily in a Focus on Children nanny house.

Avea Nua said she wanted a good future for her children Semi and Heta. Believing they would be cared for by a family who shared their Mormon faith, then returned home, the Nuas agreed to surrender the children to Focus on Children.

Sioka Nua and wife Avea buried their baby Heta just outside the family's home, among red and yellow Gerber daisies. They are called "mataolela" in Samoan, or "eyes of the sun."

The Nuas beside Heta's grave. She had been named for Cyclone Heta, which hit Samoa in January 2004.

The baby clothes of Fogalele, 1, the Nua's youngest son, dry in the sun on the grave of his sister, Heta.

These three Nua children lived in a nanny house run by Focus on Children. Left to right, Maneo, 5, Mamino, 8, and Semi, 4. The Nuas noticed they lost weight and developed sores while staying in the nanny house. Their younger sister Heta died of malnutrition and dehydration just days after her parents took the four children from the nanny house.


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