Victims of scam will visit Western Samoa in summer

by Sharon Roznik

April 6, 2009 /

The biological father of a Samoan girl adopted by Fond du Lac's Patti Sawyer heard his daughter's voice recently for the first time in almost five years.

With tears streaming down his face, Upega Isaia, 59, of Tufulele, Western Samoa, told 9-year-old Jayden Sawyer in a telephone call to the United States on March 22: "I love you."

The telephone call was arranged by Samoa Victim Support Group, according to the Samoan Observer, the newspaper that covered the story. Melei Isaia, Jayden's biological mother, was unable to be present during the phone call due to illness.

Jayden is the youngest of the Isaias' eight children and was adopted by Sawyer in 2004. The young girl's story made national news and was featured on "Good Morning America" when, earlier this year, a federal judge convicted members of the adoption agency, Focus on Children, of crimes involving an adoption scam.

The agency told Samoan families their children would be educated in America, correspond through e-mails and phone calls, return home for visits, and come home for good when they reached age 18. Adoptive families in the United States — Sawyer among them — were unaware of the deception.

A total of 37 children had been placed with families.

Trust fund

The Samoan government has since deemed the adoptions legal, and the U.S. judge has ordered the convicted to set up a trust fund to help the Samoan children keep in touch with their birth families.

Sawyer said she has taken it a step further by being the only adoptive parent so far to arrange for a visit between Jayden and her biological family.

Sawyer and her three children will depart for Western Samoa on July 28, accompanied by a film crew from "Good Morning America." The visit will coincide with Upega Isaia's 60th birthday celebration.

"I don't know yet how we will afford it, but I will take out a loan on my home if I have to," said Sawyer, adding that all of West Samoan is awaiting Jayden's visit.

An Appleton woman had come forward and volunteered to pay for the Sawyer family's plane fare, which totals about $7,000, as well as travel expenses, but has since then been unable to commit to the funding, Sawyer said.

Despite the setback, plans will go forward, especially now that Jayden has spoken with her father, Sawyer said.

"Jayden's parents understand the situation, and they are just thrilled to be part of her life but realize that she is adopted in America," said Sawyer, who was recently interviewed by People magazine. "That is why it is so important for me to get her there to spend time with them. They are all innocent victims and don't deserve to lose a child."

Good future

Isaia explained in the Samoan Observer interview that Jayden left them when she was 4 years old. Because she was the youngest of their eight children, they felt that giving her up for adoption would allow her to have a good future.

Even after learning of the Focus on Children adoption scam, Isaia said he still did not worry " … because we knew that she was in good hands." Over the years the family had petitioned God to "guide her and protect Jayden."

"I just thank God that our prayers are answered," Isaia said.

For Jayden, the conversation was bittersweet.

"I think she kind of felt like she had to make a choice as to who to live with. I told her it is not her choice — that she will live here but that we will visit her parents," Sawyer said.


this is sooo fucked up

some one kidnapped your kid basically, sold the child.... and you get to talk to her on the phone...

what is the world coming to?

Why can't the kids just go back to their parents? Only that one man who sent the kid back was in the right.... all the rest of these people are being stupid..

"I told her it is not her

"I told her it is not her choice"

That is right it's never our choice. That is why you call it slavery.

Scott and Karen Banks liken to CORRUPTION

Scott and Karen Banks are corrupt for sure. I liken their sentence to a corrupt judge who should have never been benched.
Teens get more of a sentence for sextexting.
The Banks were motivated by the American Dollar pure and simple.
Scott and Karen Banks, will have to live with this shame and the death of the child in their 'secret nanny house" for ever.
Scott and Karen Banks will have to live with the fact that they dumped three and more of their own adotped children. Lying and saying the children would not attach to Karen. Can a kitten attach to a snake?
Lying to birth mothers and A. P. with a child as a barter tool makes me want to dump them both in a pile of Indian rice and poor tuna fish all over them.
Good luck ever trying to get a job, you have ruined your corrupted lives, Banks. You will pay for this dearly, your ousted from our
inner circle of baby smuggling.

Building families "in the name of (something else)"

Unfortunately, the Banks are only more recent examples of those who have profited from the selling of poor children to more wealthy (often barren) families.  This practice is not only supported by the government, (as the one sentence clearly states, "The Samoan government has since deemed the adoptions legal "), the selling of children to so-called pre-screened "respectable married couples"  is encouraged by many churches, as well.  In fact, all one has to do is read about the lives touched by Barnardo (child migration in the UK), Brace (father of The Orphan Trains), Tann (the mother of falsified birth records) and the Youngs, (owners of "The Ideal Maternity Home") to see how politics, religion and corruption have always worked and operated together in the business of family-making.  I have often wondered, had each of these people not been so glorified by their peers, would the nature of child placement / infant adoption (child selling and family-making) be what it is, today?

In any case, if you think about it, it's quite amusing to see how the fertility of the poor has created a strange sense of's as if taking from the rich (the most fertile) and giving to the poor (the most barren) is the most noble thing a person could do!  With the amount of money this makes and saves, do people honestly think many judges/courts and members of many governments are going to say no to the trading/exchanging of (poor/unwanted) children for money?

Last, but certainly not least, if you think the Samoan/Banks situation is bad, take a look at what's been taking place in countries like Guatemala, where business was really booming, thanks to so many who want to adopt: .


Scott and Karen Banks

Scott and Karen Banks:

I gotta problem with this, found it on your Focus on Children or $$$$$ website,

"""Karen knew she had to go to Romania. While there, amongst the rubble left by a shattered country, she found and adopted 3 children who were in need of a family and home. Fortunately, an understanding husband and 2 young sons awaited at home, and welcomed these new additions to their family. A purpose was born!"""

Where are these three (3) Romanian children today. And for some reason, I get the feeling your two sons were not so damn welcoming other wise, these Romanian children would not be stuck on a remote island of Samoa, with no legal paper work to leave.

Building families, I dont think so,,,destroying existing families yes.
Also, the child was Romanian that you put in a state "home" wasnt he?

Scott and Karen Banks, owners of Focus on Children adoption agency adopt kids and dump em at their whim.


At least one of the Romanian children is in Samoa after the adoption was dissolved.

Scott and Karen Banks Focus on da bucks

Scott and Karen Banks

In the Salt lake Tribune, it was reported that two Romanan children that the Banks brought from Romania to the United States were sent to Samoa to grow up. Were they adopted, we dont know the article did not say, only that they were dumped off with no legal papers to get off the island to be real people.

In a previous article one that dealt with the Little Chinese Daughter of the couple in Kansas, there was information on a child that was from Romania as well, but he had C.P. and he was sent away by Scott and karen Banks

For a total of Three very unlucky adoptees.

Two of them lucky enough to find some decent people in Samoa, with HEARTS to love them FOREVER

Other Banks children

In addition to those three, there are three other children who appear to be M.I.A. One adopted from Guatemala and two from Russia.

2 Romanian Children in Samoa

I know the two Romanian Children that were sent to Samoa....I went to high school with them...we graduated last year ..their last name is Banks.........I feel sorry for them because they cant leave the island because they have no travel documents........I just came across this article so I wanted to ask is there anyone that can help them?

Banks romanian children in Samoa

If the 2 children are now aged 18 or over (really adults not children), it would seem to me that they can apply for a US passport or a certificate of citizenship on their own.

If they do not have the adoption decrees and so on needed for the applications, they can ask for the INS (now USCIS) packets that accompanied them when they immigrated to the US. I beleive that would have the documentation they'd need.

certificate of citizenship

copies of alldocuments in their UCSIS file

return of any 'original' documents in thier USICS files

let me know if this helps or if you have more questions



They are over 18 years old but they have no legal documents to show that they are over 18 years birth certificates, passports or anything.......when they came to Samoa.....with their adoptive parents they were left here with a local samoan family and the Banks returned to the U.S. with all their travel documents......... so they have no way of leaving the island.....thanks for the information I will let them know about it.......

Romanians in Samoa

The USCIS packet will have their birth certificates from Romania

Please let us know what happens, or if they need further help.

US Consulate in Samoa


Walk-In Services: Monday-Friday 9.00am-4.00pm.
Telephone inquiries: Monday-Friday 9.00am-4.00pm.

Postal Address:

U.S. Embassy
P.O. Box 3430
Apia, Samoa

Street Address:

5th Floor,
Accident Corporation Building,

Phone: +685 21436 / 21631 / 21452 or 22696
Fax: +685 22030
Email: Email link 

thanks again

I will let them know and keep you posted.......on their status.........

Banks "A purpose was born" R U KIDDING ME?

Just finished reading this thread.

Thank GOD that there are Child Advocates who are trying to help these former Banks children who are "stuck" on an Island.

Why are these children suffering like this. Why are the Banks making these children jump thru these hurdles in life. The Banks need to cough up and give these kids their paperwork.

A message to these former Banks kids.

Go, do not look back, dream, wonder, ponder, question, work, smile, achieve, be a success, laugh, no giggle, hug, hold, LOVE.

PROVE THE BANKS WRONG. Tell your story, it will help you heal.
Enjoy you lives and thank your forever family that gave you what the Banks could not.

We did the International homestudy, filled out the forms, the medical check-up, the fiancial docs. the letters of recommendations the FBI report, the fingerprinting, the Child Abuse check, the Police background check, we paid the fees, and more fees. and were WAITING.

Without using the word, CORRUPTION, in this already adoption corrupted world, how did Karen Banks walk into a Romanian Orphanage and walk out with three kids?

Tell me is that a triple copy of your international homestudy that will provide you with the needed paper work? Or is that ....................
They did not own the Focus on Children adoption defunct agency then, (this is were the purpose was born, remember). So how does an individual walk in and walk out with three kids? Then to dirupt their lives by sending them to an island to be raised, while the other side of your mouth is telling native Samoans that Samoa is not where they should educate their children but the big old fat, ice in your Coke, America, is?

Then we heard via the net that they have three Russian kids,,hope their still there or maybe I do not hope they are still with them. So how do you go to Russia and come back with three.

More importantly how do you get INS approval, we were approved for one. Sure, you dream of building a family, one by one, but when do you get the idea of an instant family three by three, while your still in the states, or when your in the Orphanage, country of choice, staring at the children in their enviroment. We know the average "JOE" never steps foot inside of an foreign orphanage.

Is it the water in Wellsville, Utah, that instantly makes you the "almighty orphan savior"? Do they bottle the Wellsville, Utah water, where can we get a case or two to give us the POWER of CORRUPTION, at the expense of CHILDREN, and their futures.

Please someone tell me that this nightmare is over that no more children will be victims of such "mucky muck".


Focus on Children Scott and Karen Banks People Magazine

To are you kidding me.

Did you see the June 22, 2009 People Magazine article on Focus on Children and Scott and Karen Banks.
Heart rendering. Tear jerking. Very sad what these people the Mike Nybergs and Ms. Sawyer are going thru because of a less than professional adoption agency and its owners.
Isn't it a darn shame that Mr. Nybergs marriage fell apart and Ms. Sawyer is shuffling around getting ready to meet her daughters realy parents. I bet there are many more stories out there like this. They should be told and heard. I certainly would love to know how in the heck did these people get away with this and much more. Oh to be Mormon.

Adopted Banks children STUCK in Pago

Were these children of the Banks ever officially adopted by the Banks,, how do parents leave children that they have had in their home in Samoa for over nine years? Or what kind of parents leave their adopted children in Samoa for over nine years. What about those "fake educational scholarships, Karen, that you were offering the Samoan children, didn't your own adopted children ever qualify for one?

three approved orphan visas...

You asked this question:  " did Karen Banks walk into a Romanian Orphanage and walk out with three kids?"
In Vietnam, December of 2002, I was there as the country was preparing to shut down adoptions.  I had a dossier and application for one child to adopt.  BUT, I met (in the Rex Hotel, Saigon/Ho Chi Min City) , a woman who had TWO dossiers and TWO orphan visas approval so she could go to the orphanages and pick TWO children, from wherever in VietNam to adopt.  I did meet her at a plane changeover in Japan, by accident, on my way home.  She did say she only picked one child and kept the other dossier and visa approval (which she would not get to use since the country shut down the first of 2003).
THIS is how it is done...  Find the right people to hook-up with and ANYTHING is possible.  It did/does happen.  And the AMERICAN government did/does approve such things, at times.

What did I ever do to deserve this... Teddy

Focus on Children owners sashay into orphanges

Focus on Children adoption agency owners with "orphan clout".
So your telling me that the Banks got the approval for three prior to leaving the U.S. We did an international adoption. INS gave us approval for two. There was no box for three. Maybe I am mistaken, but I can understand how corrupt adoption agency owners can put pressure on orphanages in unstable countries but how do they sway U. S. officials. According to Karen Banks and her defunct web site, "I walked into a Romanian orphanage and walked out with three children" (these kids are not in the Banks home to date)
The rest of us AParents wait and wait and wait and wait, yet Karen with "orphan clout" can sashay into an orphanage and walk out with three! That is corruption. A few years later she does it again in another Russia.
I hear cash helps.

money talks on both sides of the ocean...

A sibling group... there is a place to check for a sibling group on the orphan visa application.  But what I saw was a woman with two SEPARATE orphan visa approvals, which meant she could pick a child from Hanoi and one from Saigon, if she so pleased.  Isn't the box for two children, for a sibling group of two?

What did I ever do to deserve this... Teddy

Pound Pup Legacy