Lid lifts on the anguish of China's stolen generation

By Barbara Demick

September 26, 2009 / Brisbane Times

The man from family planning regularly prowled around the mountaintop village, looking for nappies on clotheslines and listening for the cry of a hungry newborn.

One day in spring 2004, he presented himself at Yang Shuiying's doorstep and commanded: ''Bring out the baby.''

Yang wept and argued, but, alone with her four-month-old daughter, she was in no position to resist the man every parent in Tianxi feared.

''I'm going to sell the baby for foreign adoption. I can get a lot of money for her,'' he told the sobbing mother as he drove her with the baby to an orphanage in Zhenyuan, a nearby city in the southern province of Guizhou.

In return, he promised that the family would not have to pay fines for violating China's one-child policy.

Then he warned her: ''Don't tell anyone about it.''

For five years, she kept the terrible secret. ''I didn't understand that they didn't have the right to take our babies,'' she said.

Since the early 1990s, more than 80,000 Chinese children have been adopted abroad, most going to families in the United States.

The conventional wisdom has been that the babies, mostly girls, were abandoned by their parents because of the traditional preference for boys and China's restrictions on family size. No doubt that was the case for tens of thousands of the girls.

But some parents are coming forward to tell harrowing stories of babies taken by coercion, fraud or kidnapping. Parents who say their children were taken complain that officials were motivated by the $US3000 ($3447) per child that adoptive parents pay orphanages.

Doubts about how babies are procured for adoption have begun to ripple through the international adoption community.

''In the beginning, I think, adoption from China was a very good thing, because there were so many abandoned girls. But then it became a supply-and-demand-driven market, and a lot of people at the local level were making too much money,'' said Ina Hut, who resigned last month as head of the Netherlands' largest adoption agency because of concerns about baby trafficking.

The Chinese Centre for Adoption Affairs, the government agency that oversees foreign and domestic adoption, rejected repeated requests for comment.

For adoptive parents, the possibility that their children were forcibly taken from their birth parents is terrifying.

Says Cathy Wagner, an adoptive mother from Nova Scotia: ''I love my daughter, but if I had any idea my money would cause her to be taken away from another mother who loved her, I never would have adopted.''

The problem is rooted in China's population controls, which limit most families to one child, two if they live in the countryside and the first is a girl.

Each town has a family-planning office, usually staffed by Communist Party cadres who have broad powers to order abortions and sterilisations. People who have additional babies can be fined up to six times their annual income - fines euphemistically called ''social service expenditures''.

''The family-planning people are actually more powerful than the Ministry of Public Security,'' said Yang Zhizhu, a legal scholar in Beijing.But the law does not give officials permission to take babies from their parents.

Some families said beatings and threats were used to force them into giving up their daughters. Others said they were tricked into signing away their parental rights.

''They grabbed the baby and dragged me out of the house. I was screaming - I thought they were going to knock me over,'' said Liu Suzhen, a frail woman from Huangxin village in Hunan province. She was babysitting her four-month-old granddaughter one night in March 2003 when a dozen officials stormed her house. She said they took her and the baby to a family-planning office, where a man grabbed her arm and pressed her thumbprint on to a document she could not read. Once a child is taken to an orphanage, parents can lose all rights. ''They wouldn't even let me in the door,'' said Zhou Changqi, a construction worker whose six-month-old daughter was taken in 2002 by family-planning officials in Guiyang, in Hunan province. Zhou tried repeatedly over three years to get into the Changsha Social Welfare Institute, one of the major orphanages sending babies abroad, until one day he was told: ''It's too late. Your daughter has already gone to America.''

In much of China, villagers have long lived in dread of surprise visits from family-planning officials. In Tianxi, a mist-shrouded village of 1800 people tucked high in lush mountains near Zhenyuan, family-planning officials have made inspections as often as twice a week - no matter that getting to the village requires a two-hour drive down a rutted dirt road and then a 30-minute hike uphill. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, when families were too poor to pay, officials would punish them by ransacking their homes or confiscating cows and pigs, residents said.

Then, in 2003, things changed.

The year after the Social Welfare Institute in Zhenyuan was approved to participate in a burgeoning foreign adoption program, family-planning officials stopped confiscating farm animals. They started taking babies instead.

''If people couldn't pay their fines, they'd take away their babies,'' said a retired municipal employee from Zhenyuan who once worked as a foster parent for the orphanage.

Under Chinese law, officials are required to search for the birth parents of abandoned babies. Four months after Yang Shuiying's daughter was taken, her photograph ran in a notice in the Guizhou City Daily along with those of 14 other babies. The ad claimed, falsely, that the baby was ''found abandoned on the doorstep'' of a home in Tianxi village.

''Whoever recognises this child should contact the orphanage in 60 days; otherwise, the baby will be considered an orphan,'' read the August 14, 2004, announcement, which the parents never saw, because the newspaper was not available in their village.

The US embassy said in in July that it had been advised by China's Central Adoption Authority ''that seven officials implicated in this case have been arrested''.

But in Zhenyuan, officials denied that anybody was arrested or fired. They said penalties ranged from demerits to warnings and a demotion.

Zhenyuan officials defended their conduct.

''It's a lie that they took babies away without their parents' permission. That's impossible,'' said Peng Qiuping, a party official and propaganda chief for Zhenyuan. ''These parents agreed that the children should be put up for adoption. They understood that they were greedy and had more children than they could afford.''

Wu Benhua, director of Zhenyuan's civil affairs bureau, said: ''They're better off with their adoptive parents than their birth parents.''

From 2003 to 2007, the orphanage in Zhenyuan sent 60 babies to the US or Europe. Wu said money received from adoptive parents went towards food, clothing, bedding and medical care for the babies and to improve conditions in the Social Welfare Institute.

But, before adoption, most of the babies were housed with families paid $US30 a month for their services, according to one foster parent. There were no obvious signs of renovation at the institute, a grim three-storey building with barred windows. Reporters were not permitted to enter.

''We don't know what happened to the money, and we don't dare ask,'' said Yang Zhenping, a 50-year-old farmer from Tianxi.

7
Average: 7 (1 vote)

Any brave AP's willing to comment?

Since PPL started, we have been collecting various articles/pieces reflecting a different side to the adoption-story so many want to believe.  Among the many child trafficking cases we have collected, we have found many articles/videos circulating the web-circuit featuring similar government abduction/agency coercion stories.... meaning, China is not the only sending country facing questions regarding the authenticity of orphan-ship and legality of a formal adoption.   As such, there are some pieces I think many more PAP's should see:

It's my hope others WILL follow those links, but in the meantime, I'm very curious... as an adoptee "sent" from another country, and as one who finds many adoption practices so utterly disgusting, what are AP/PAP's thinking?  It seems the comment made by a Canadian AP follows a common theme many AP's seem to say.

For adoptive parents, the possibility that their children were forcibly taken from their birth parents is terrifying.

Says Cathy Wagner, an adoptive mother from Nova Scotia: ''I love my daughter, but if I had any idea my money would cause her to be taken away from another mother who loved her, I never would have adopted.''

Here's my question: What, exactly, is terrifying? 

Terrified that the child

Terrified that the child would have to be given back.  It's what all adoptive parents fear...  That's why most people go overseas to adopt.  Here in the states it's too easy for the bio family to walk up to your door and want contact with the child, or want the child back.  It's why I got out of foster care and did not adopt from foster care; the family knows where the child is...
sorry... you asked and I always try to tell the truth as I see it.  Even though I saved information for my kids about their birth families, something in the back of my mind hopes it never comes to that... BUT, I would never make it so they could not find their families.  It's the selfishness of adoption that ALL honest AP's feel at some time.

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

Anyone see the very tragic irony?

Before I comment, let me offer my most sincere deep-felt appreciation.  Teddy... YOU and your honesty... your willingness to get dark and dirty... and your careful offering of brutal truth has been like a salve to my very angry/wounded soul.  Your personal story represents so many things to me... it represents how an abused/neglected child grows wanting and craving love through a family; it represents the desperate things a desperate love-starved person will do to feel loved and appreciated; it represents how an adoption agency preys upon the ignorant (NOT the dumb or stupid... simply the ones who just "don't know".... the ones who need to be told, "No.")  Your personal story ALSO represents how a person with a most hideous past can learn to become a responsible person, friend AND parent.  Your story horrifies, humbles AND blesses me.  Your bravery impresses the hell out of me.

That being my personal opinion.... let me address the rest in a more general (for all AP's reading) approach. 

Reading this: 

Terrified that the child would have to be given back.  It's what all adoptive parents fear... 

I can appreciate this... the money, the emotional investment... the idea of having to return something/someone a person worked SO HARD to become one within the home.  I can identify with not wanting to return all that represents so much.

However... there is a truth many adoption agencies/orphanages are not telling. 

This is the real human tragedy -- not all first parents "gave-up their babies" because they never wanted to see their babies again.  Many parents were/are victims of a very deceiving corrupt system.

In many cases, those children sold as so-called orphans, were kidnapped and stolen!  In many cases, accusations of abuse and abandonment are LIES.  In many cases, those parents who relinquished their children did so because they were promised housing and education (for the child), with the expectation that the (lucky, chosen) child would be returned.

Imagine having your adopted child kidnapped.  That kidnapped child then had his/her original name changed and sold as an orphan to a person who desperately wanted a child.  Imagine sending your (lucky, chosen) child "to school", never having contact with that child again.

What would you do?  Wouldn't you want your child returned to you????????  Would you really want to let-go... give-up?

Even if you discovered the child was living with "better" parents, wouldn't you feel a profound loss... a profound sense of injustice?  What if you discovered  that child of yours was being neglected and abused, and nothing was being done to those who made that possible?  (Wouldn't you lose your mind?  I know I would!)

What would you... the parent of a child.... do (want to do or have done) if someone... some agency... some government... did any of that to you and your child? 

If it any of this happened to me, I would want to make sure NO OTHER PARENT had to go though what I went through.

[If any of this happened to me... it would kill me.]

Kerry, dear Kerry...

Kerry, your children are so safe being yours...  I would want a mommy like you; someone whose emotions run so deep for me that they would die for me rather than give me up or do me harm.  Only people who have children biologically know and feel what you feel.  No matter what adoptive parents say or feel, it can never compare to what I hear coming from deep within you.  I have no biological children and can only love my adopted children with what is deep within me as an adoptive mother.  I envy you what you feel and are, that I can never be.  What I am is enough though, because it is all I have to give, and it is all my children know.  But believe me, I know what is missing when I listen to your words.  I never knew the true love of my own mother; she could have done without me; nothing in me brought out in her what you have for your children.  I know this is fact.  So not all bio mothers CAN feel what you feel; not all do, anyway.  Isn't it sad?  But because I can understand what you are saying and feeling, it makes me happy, just getting that close.
I have seen what you are talking about: women who do NOT want to give up their children.  I saw it on the faces of the mothers who placed the babies in the arms of the adoptive parents and had to watch the "giving and receiving ceremony."  I've sat and watched, after my turn was over; watched the eyes of those mothers.  None of them had anything to offer the child they were giving; nothing except the fact that they were the REAL mom and it hurt like hell to be doing what they were doing.  It's not easy remembering those eyes and those tears.  After the G & R ceremony, there was a "party" for all the kids in the orphanage, where the birth moms and the adoptive parents sat at a big table and ate strange food and acted happy, happy, happy; when all we wanted to do was get the hell out of there and go back to the hotel.  We took pictures; we gave presents; we all smiled.  But the eyes of the mothers whose children were leaving forever that day said a lot.  Even though the mother of my last little boy took the time to lean over the balcony and flirt with some strange man down in the courtyard; even though she was pregnant with another child, I remember the way she hung onto his hand; the way she caressed my oldest daughter (she went with me) and clung to the pictures I gave her of our home.  She knew she would never see him again.  I can still see the whole thing, like it is a movie running in my head.  I can never forget.

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

true orphans...

"In many cases, those children sold as so-called orphans, were kidnapped and stolen! "
OK...  this brings to mind when we would have to fill out the paperwork to apply for the "Orphan Visa."  We were always told what to put in what blank, and it had to be word for word or the government would not accept it.  Which meant that somehow the paperwork from the sending country had to match the filled in blanks... 
For an example:  my son was not an orphan.  He had a live birth mother; she was quite retarded and lived with her brother (who we believe is the birth father).  We were to write:father unknown, and mother unable to care for child.  It didn't work.  So the Vietnamese officials requested more information from the uncle/father, which meant getting the "proper" paper stating that the family were relinquishing him and the mother was incompetent.  They always, ALWAYS have ways so the information from the sending country matches what is written on the Orphan Visa.  AND, the United States was always willing to wait until the proper paperwork matched.
For a Korean adoption, the child was made a "family of one" on the legal papers that claimed the child was an orphan.  The parental rights were relinquished to the child; most times the father was unknown.  It stated that the adoption agency was the legal guardian, so they could sign all the papers to satisfy both governments.  Birth dates were sometimes wrong, and we were told it would take another 1-3 months to get it straightened out, or we could leave it and get the child sooner.  Paperwork sometimes does not have to be true in order to satisfy both governments

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

Terrifying

Im sorry to see the comment was misunderstood. The terrifying aspect is in relation to the victimization of those mothers and whether we contributed (which surely the IA/we APs did).
It was not at all related to giving back a child. This was a story of Chinese parents who had children stolen. This to me qualified as terrifying.
It's hard to get a point across in a few sentences. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

and if...

And "if" your adopted child had been taken from a victimized mother, would your terror not include the thought that your child "should" go back to the real mother?

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

Devastation

Terror would not be the word I would describe if such a scenario happened. I would be devastated.
But after years of dealing with this twisted system, in many ways we would feel relief with some truth as well.
Ultimately I want to see this victimization end.
The children, the adoptive parents and the parents all have been exploited or lied to by the adoption industry.
I may not be perfect when speaking about these tough issues (and much in the media comes out different than intended) but I am serious at seeing change happen.

Be creative, make your own "orphans" in Samoa

Your serious at seeing change happen, join the crowd.
Your never going to see change happen if uneducated pigs who at the same time are corrupt and greedy set up shop and call it an non for profit adoption agency and start preying on the innocent, which is AParents, bio-mothers and their children.

We all watched in utter disgust when Scott and Karen Banks of Focus on Children walked away with no prison time.

So maybe we need to start with the corrupt prosecutors, attorneys and judges. That protected these sleaze balls. Of all of the pieces of shit that need to be incarcerated it is them. They had a 135 count indictment against them. The indictment was passed down by a Grand Jury who saw enough evidence against them to indict them. Then, these sleazeballs got "gag" orders and criminal defense attorneys. Red flag there,,something must be true. When the indictment count is that high you know one of the felonies will stick to their foreheads or ass.

Samoa had no orphans, until a "nanny house" was set up and presto, with much coercion the nanny house filled up. But the question becomes "what is the definition of an orphan" Kind of reminds me of one of our presidents when he said during a sex investigation in the White House, "depends on what your definition of IS is? Is an orphan a child who has sleep overs or play dates in a nanny house......or is an orphan a child who is residing in the nanny house and Mummy and Da Da pick them up and go to the end of the island for a cheese burger, then tell him good bye again, honey see you before you get to go to America.

So you see, if you want to make a lot of money and you don't care about humanity you can open up an adoption agency on a remote island and be creative and make your own orphans.

Universal language

When I first started writing on adoption forums, (10+ years ago), I was under the impression most adoption agencies were owned through churches/charities.  As I started collecting information for PPL, I learned something quite different.  Truth be told, I felt stupid.  I was BLOWN AWAY when I learned so many international adoption agencies are owned and operated by AP's -- AP's who knew how to get children, quickly.  Not only that, I was blown away by how many AP's have decided to make it their business to provide therapy for these institutionally harmed/abandoned children .  [See:  Federici]

I started to put two and two together, and smelled something really fishy and disturbing... but couldn't quite put my finger (or words) to it.  Money.  It had to do with money, and greed.  This save and protect the "poor orphans" -- how many are sincerely trying to improve poor living conditions and providing quality care to children from poor families...  and how many see "poor orphans" as being a money-making opportunity?  [Gears click:  who can make what by selling carefully chosen information to whom?]  A network is born.  That network becomes a working system.  A very nice system, indeed... who needs the truth when money needs to be made by those driven by greed?

As my own adoption-story became less about myself and more about current trends and practices, I learned each system has it's own language and so I discovered the new-PC-friendly language adoption-supporters have embraced.  It's called PAL -- Positive Adoption Language.

This is when I began the need to hurl. 

I had to smirk at the above comment --

But the question becomes "what is the definition of an orphan" Kind of reminds me of one of our presidents when he said during a sex investigation in the White House, "depends on what your definition of IS is? Is an orphan a child who has sleep overs or play dates in a nanny house......or is an orphan a child who is residing in the nanny house and Mummy and Da Da pick them up and go to the end of the island for a cheese burger, then tell him good bye again, honey see you before you get to go to America.

I asked the same-but different question some time ago.

I started with the question:

When adoption advocates use the word "orphan", I am reminded of Bill Clinton's attempt to clarify/define the word "is", as it is used in relation to sex.  What is "is" ?  Care to take a guess? And by the way, Mr. President... what is an orphan?  [I guess it all depends on what your definition of is, is.]

I answered my own question with:

Perhaps, just to make it easier, we can call a spade a spade and say the children taken away from their families for financial reasons are wanted orphans... and the children who have no parents, no family, no home and no government fighting to keep them within their motherland are unwanted aliens.

[From:  Semantics]

Perhaps those fed-up with the corrupt practices within the international child-trade system can develop our own language -- like HELoA (Honest, Ethical Language of Adoption.)   Think many would be willing to follow it?

Samoan villages are perfect for Samoan child-rearing.

Sure just remove money, greed, power and control over the bio-mother and maybe you could have less corrupt adoption agencies. Children belong with their mother or extended families, like you see in most parts of the world, and a tad in the U.S. A.

Speaking of the Clinton's, Mrs Bill Clinton, actually was on to something when she said "it takes a village to raise a child". I like that and she is right.
It takes a village to raise a child and one single corrupt, greedy adoption agency to destroy the extended family and village. Look at Western Samoa.
I really like that fact that "is" is in present tense, and "was" as in Focus on Children adoption agency is in past tense.

Isn't it nice when the English language can be used as documents to coerce Samoan speaking mothers out of their children and also be used to define or not define an "orphan" on a web site!

Hi Kerry,I'm an adoptive

Hi Kerry,

I'm an adoptive parent of two trafficked kids, whose story is on PPL (Akil and Sabila - adopted from India in 1998). Please bear in mind that newspaper articles are snapshots that only tell our story in part (and, on occasion, they are factually incorrect).

Our children were 2 and 3 years old when they were taken from their first mother, Sunama, by their father and sold to MASOS orphanage in 1996. They came to our family nearly 2 years later.  Ten years after they were taken from Sunama, we uncovered the evidence of trafficking in their adoption and went searching for Sunama.

For me, "terrifying" was one emotion I experienced, along with many others (anger was a big one!) We didn't know what to do, where to turn, or how to go forward. We didn't know what our children's legal situation was, and we feared losing the children.  We had no idea what the situation may be in their birth family when we went searching. All we knew of our children's birthparents were the lies told by the Indian agency, and our (then) 5 year old son's recollection of the physical abuse of his father.  We didn't know if his memory was reliable, but it did add another element to the search.

In 2006, when we learned about our children's actual history, Akil and Sabi were heading into their teens. They were happy kids who were firmly enmeshed in their lives in Australia, and in our family. The "terrifying" issue for me was the fear that the children may be removed from our family. I was quite open to sharing the children with their birth family, to whatever extent we could manage, but not to lose them. I fully accept the selfishness of that statement...

Julia

Selfish deeds

I appreciate any AP willing to discuss this very touchy/delicate discussion... because truth is, had this discussion taken place 10 years ago, I would have gone on an angry worded rampage because I don't always think PAPs see or agree with the way in which an adoptee perceives the adoption experience.  Knowing how abuse/neglect exists in orphanages, children's homes and foster care, I am not wholly convinced adoption is the solution to so many problems children put-in care have been facing.  For instance, as I type my response, I know many in the adopting-world are reading about yet another "new" discovery of abuse/neglect in yet another country's orphanages.... this time in Turkey.   What will the public response be?  Cry for more international adoptions to be made readily available, more quickly, so those poor abused children can be saved?  Call local governing officials to help remove those children from the abusive hands of heartless people?  Remove the abusive, negligent, greedy hands using and abusing the very young and the very poor and replace them with workers who can properly deliver care to the needy?

What is done, versus what should be done, are often not one in the same.

So what is the role of an orphanage, anyway?  Excuse my Americanism, but aren't local orphanages supposed to represent "safe havens" for those who need temporary care and assistance?  For many locals, aren't these institutions supposed to help, not SELL the children to foreign strangers?

Over a year ago, I posted an article called The orphans left behind.  It tells the story of an Ethiopian boy who lived in an orphanage and watched his friends get taken away.  He had heart problems, so he was not chosen to live a new life someplace else.  

Many times, he watched as other orphans left with new foreign parents for futures much better than the one he faced.

"They were always there for me and when they got adopted, it was hard," he says. "I would rather die in front of them than (keep on) living," says Wolde, his voice trailing off.

No one wanted to adopt the boy, a sickly orphan with a life-threatening heart defect.

His heart is fixed. But more than a decade later, the wound of being left behind still hasn't healed.

"It hurt me a lot. I still feel it," says the 21-year-old, who now works with other poor and sick children in his country.

As one of millions of Ethiopian orphans who are never adopted by foreigners, Wolde has mixed feelings about international adoptions.

The article continues to explain how the Ethiopian government wants to help it's children.

Ethiopians still want to care for their own but given the crushing poverty, there is a feeling that not all the children can be helped.

Despite the sheer numbers of children without parents, ordinary Ethiopians, government officials and those working with the poorest children are divided over the issue.

The Ethiopian government ultimately wants to close its borders to foreign parents, says Maheder Bitew, the official in charge of international adoption for the country.

Calling international adoption "a last resort," Bitew says Ethiopian children should be raised in their homeland, with their people and culture.

To that end, Bitew says government programs help keep many orphaned children living with extended family.

Yet within Ethiopian culture, those orphaned children -- who have lost one or both parents -- are often mistreated or viewed as second-class citizens within the extended family, counters White, an Australian who has worked in the country for three years.

And many orphans whose parents have died from HIV/AIDs are ultimately shunned and abandoned by their kin, she says.

Ethiopia has a 30-year history of international adoption, but has just recently become the global hot spot for foreigners looking for children.

So we enter the betwixt and between portion of the adoption scheme.  On the one hand, forced "donation" fees are supposedly helping the children left-behind get better care.  But how often is this money going towards the children who don't want their friends to be sent away?

Far too often I read comments/statements like the following:

The family received government approval for the adoption of a baby girl, and was instructed to make a donation to the Chinese orphanage of $3,000 U.S. cash, in crisp, new $100 bills. 

That money was officially meant to reimburse the orphanage for the cost of clothing, feeding and caring for the baby until new parents could be found. However, Wagner says their baby hadn't been well cared for, and had suffered what she calls "severe deprivation" at the centre. 

Wagner says according to the orphanage's own information, it would have earned nearly $1.5-million U.S. between 2004 and 2006 in similar adoption "fees." But Wagner says there was little evidence that the money was being spent on children.

[From:  China's adoption system worries Canadian mom ]

Far too often I read AP's complain how the orphanage director drives in a new car whilst the children sit in urine/feces and remain untouched.  That being many an AP witnessed experience, I'm glad to see more AP's are realizing just how much truth goes behind a comment that dares to make the next connection/conclusion:

So you see, if you want to make a lot of money and you don't care about humanity you can open up an adoption agency on a remote island and be creative and make your own orphans.   [From:  Be creative, make your own "orphans" in Samoa ]

The real concern for me, (as it's always been), just how selfish are people going to continue to be when it comes to the adoption-option?  Why always take-out and remove when what is really needed is more people going IN?

Fat, happy and rich Asian orphanage directors

Our referral pic of our daughter from an Asian orphanage had her "displayed" wearing brand new clothes and spanking white shoes and socks. She was staged on a brand new trike, and then again on a brand new slide. Both the trike and the slide lacked scuff marks, she sat with a frightened look on her face, frightened of the toys that were "FOREIGN" to her in more ways than one. The trike and the slide were American products. We also were told to produce "crisp" 100 dollars bills to the tune of $3, 000 U.S.
Six gifts of over $25.00 each were to be in our suitcase upon arrival to the orphanage.

When she was handed to us, it took five seconds and they left the room, her feet were covered in "paper shoes", she had worn, used clothing on, no coat. This was in December and it was cold.

The money went to the "orphanage" director and his staff received the gifts.
The Black Market of Children, at it's best.

For appearance-sake

This story hurts.... the reality behind a given-image is so bloody sad.

[My, how international adoption has changed, and yet still.... it manages to remain the same.]

Many years ago, I saw the photo sent to my AP's.  [I read they were promised three, I saw only one.]

The photo I saw of myself was me laying on some surface, wearing a dress (the photo was black and white).  I was smiling, and I hate to admit this, I thought I looked adorable... flattened hair/head and all.

My Amother told me when they got me, I came with old fashioned diapers, (complete with old-fashioned diaper pins), some horrible smelling talcum powder (in some metal container), and a dress.  My Amother told me she saved those items for me, thinking I'd like to keep the items that came with me.

To this day, I never saw the metal talcum powered container OR the dress.

I saw the photo, though. [Such an odd thing for a "foreign" adoptee to see.]

I can understand why an infertile American couple wanted me.

I can understand how a PAP falls in-love with a photo... an image of what is and what can be.

Above all else, I understand how life is far more than a moment captured on film.

<fades to black>

from Korea...

Korea was different.  My first baby son was spotless and in a new outfit; he was fat and healthy.  The foster mother loved him and actually saved his life.  He had an annular pancreas when he was born and almost died; sent to the foster mother, whom I have met in Korea and in America when she was honored for her years of service to Holt with a trip to the USA.  I saw the bed he slept in WITH her; the home he stayed in, and saw the love she still had for him when we visited almost five years later in Korea.  If not for the quality care he received, he would have died; in fact he was sent to the foster home to "expire."  Her name is Kim Im Soon and to this day all my children pray for her, and all the other foster homes and bio families.
YES!  He was adorable!  And when I went to Korea to pick him up, right after the Olympics in 1988, the first thing I did was kiss his hugely scarred body and tell him that NO ONE could have switched babies because I would know those scars anywhere.
And then my second son...  I took all the presents and money down to Guatemala when I went to pick him up (he was 3 months old and I received him directly from his own 17 year old mother's arms).  Even the missionaries were crooked!  The officials were crooked!  EVERYONE I dealt with were crooked!  I sent money to his mother several times, but the missionaries kept the money!  Sometimes you just can not win.  He had been left to cry because the missionary's wife didn't want to be bothered; which made it very difficult in his getting used to our home and family.  When I was down there, I developed Dysentary; came home without him because of the crooked lawyer taking a vacation down to the coast by Champorico (sp) and I was too sick to stay longer.  I paid someone to bring him home.  If he had stayed longer, it would have been worse because of the neglect.  His mother was forbidden to get up and feed him when he cried in the night.  THIS MADE ME SOOOOO ANGRY!  When I was there, I got up and fed him until I became sick.  His sweet little girl of a mother was so afraid that Dona Flo would be mad at us!  I told her to FEED HIM because I was paying for the formula!!  He had many clothes because I took them for him; plus I had paid for everything for those 3 months; but he didn't get what I paid for...
Kerry, it breaks my heart when I hear about your dress and talc can and the things that were YOURS!  No matter what they were/are, they belong to you.  The smell and the memories that are hidden inside that baby, Wanda Dawn's things.  I can't imagine a ?mother? not wanting her child to have EVERYTHING that was a part of who they were at one time.  No wonder you call her a shrew...
I do have the gorgeous baby clothes my kids were wearing, saved back for their own children someday.  I have all the paperwork.  I have all the information there was.  Will this make a difference for them?  I only hope they will know just how much I treasured everything about them.  I even got newspapers from the town, plus souvenirs; the shoes.  My youngest daughter had the squeeky shoes from Vietnam until I was stupid enough to loan them to a woman who didn't give them back...  Pictures of those that were there.  Costumes from the country.  My two youngest have worn all the costumes to school for show each year... 

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

The poor mother

I have no doubt as a woman who wanted to make the life of a child so much better (than the life you have always known), your heart and intentions were very good.  However, I read:

His mother was forbidden to get up and feed him when he cried in the night.  THIS MADE ME SOOOOO ANGRY!  When I was there, I got up and fed him until I became sick.  His sweet little girl of a mother was so afraid that Dona Flo would be mad at us!  I told her to FEED HIM because I was paying for the formula!!  He had many clothes because I took them for him; plus I had paid for everything for those 3 months; but he didn't get what I paid for...

How do I NOT feel so profoundly sad?!?

The native (first) mother did not give, so you (the paying American AP) would not have to leave without.

 

she had no choice...

She lived in poverty, in the home of her parents; they lived in a home with cardboard walls and a mud floor.  She was living with the missionaries where there were three meals a day, a bed in a home made of cinder blocks, and her son was supposed to have proper care, except for the thieving missionaries who took what was supposed to be for him.
When I arrived at 11pm, from the airport down in Guatemala City, 5 hours up in the mountains of Quetzaltenango, she was waiting up for me.  She placed him in my arms and said, "now he is yours."  Neither she nor her parents could buy anything for him; and she could not go back home if she kept him; they had told her this.
My statements were not so much about what she gave as what the missionaries required from me and then took for themselves.  I really don't understand your statement: "The native (first) mother did not give, so you (the paying American AP) would not have to leave without."  And yes, Kerry, I knew what I was writing would make you sad.  It can't be any other way. I didn't even give it a thought that I was able to give him more than she could.  I did what I was told, by the missionaries to do.  AP's don't plan out what they are going to do, they are told what to do and if they don't like it, TOUGH!  Just like the missionary told me, "if you don't pay that $50.00 bribe for his visa, you don't get your baby."  So I did what I was told to do; only I refused to stand in line with that visa holding that $50.00.  HE stood in line and then came and got the baby, took him to the head of the line and had them ink his foot for the print on the visa/passport.  I had refused that part... but only after I gave him the $50.00.
I hated Guatemala. I hated everything about the adoption process down there.  I hated living in the missionary's home with the "native" mother, and being sick and not really knowing WHAT was going on... just doing what I was told.
His mother, within months got pregnant by the same man (who lived up in the mountains of Quetzaltenango and had several woman and other children.  She gave that baby girl to her sister... and then left for California for a better life, when she was all of 19 years old.  She wrote me four years later stating she was praying God would give her her son back.  And what?  take him back and give him to her sister?  Maybe... anyway, she realized she had made a mistake.
It does sound sweet that the 17 year old "native" mother gave me her son so I could be a mother... but there's more to it than that when you take into consideration that she tried to abort him several times because her own mother thought that was best.  And the fact is, this son has heart problems because of those attempts. In fact, when he came home, the doctor thought he would have heart problems then; but it didn't show up until last year.
I DID leave without!  I left Guatemala without my son because the crooked lawyer went on vacation before completing the paperwork.  This son stayed for a month more because I went home to the hospital; and then he came home with the chicken-pox; which the USA let him enter the country with...  So when I left, he stayed with her one more month.  And as long as he was there, she could stay with the missionaries, too.  But then she was allowed to "go home" ONLY without him. 
She loved him.  But she knew the situation and accepted it the best she could.  No one stole her baby.  She just had no other choice.  They didn't want a boy.  The next baby was a girl and it was different.
The bad guys here, as I see it were the missionaries.  They said for me to bring them a battery-back-up for their computer, and I did.  And when I got there they wanted more money.  I didn't pay it.  So when I paid for the ticket home for my son, they cashed it in and I was forced to buy another one plus a ticket for the woman who was bringing him home.  I was not the bad-guy...  I was very naive and stupid; got in too far to back out; didn't want to back out because I DID want to bring him home. 
PAP's get suckered in from the beginning, and by the time they find out all the illegal parts of the adoption, it's just too late.  We go in blind.  We realize there are some shady parts to adoptions.  But none of us back out, because we don't want to.  We then knowingly participate in the bad part of adoption.  Some get children who were stolen; NONE of mine were stolen.  But most of us are in WAY over our heads in deception of some kind, and we just don't care.  We want the child.
What this "native mother" gave, has nothing to do with me.  She gave because, that's what she got into it to do.  What she lost is another thing altogether.  She lost her child.  She lost control over her life.  She lost a part of her life.  She lost her own flesh and blood.  But she turned right around and did it again.  And she lost that child, too.  But I think this time she kept some control over her life when she immediately moved to California.  AND, she was smart enough to give that little girl to her sister so the child would still be in the family.  She did learn from the first mistake.  I wonder if other mothers have done this, too.

EDIT:  I knew her when she was 17; he is now 20 years old.  He has her firey hot temper and beauty.  You made me take the time right now to remember her.  He looks like her... and my heart melts toward her because of the sameness.  They both have very thick black hair and are truly outgoing in their personalities.  Their smiles are the same.  I look at him and see her.  He is sturdy built just like her, and a little taller than most Guatemalans.  I went to church with her and heard her sing; even have it on video; he has always been a singer and musically talented.  He is an artist; she was artistic in how she presented herself.  I see her because I have memories in my mind, plus the videos of our 13 days in Guatemala. 
Thank you for reminding me of her... she is so much a part of him and he her.  He looks nothing like Grandpa and Grandma Toh.  Yes, I know their full names; have pictures and videos of them.  And the pictures of his full sister as a baby.  She is him, too, in looks at least.  I've offered to go back with him, but he does not want to go back.  For now he is content with his own life.   But the option is there...
He is so handsome; so smart; and his smile is glorious!  He can draw and sing and play the piano like an angel.  He works hard for his straight A's in college.  He works at a job to help the family.  To him, this is his family.  The extended family is there for him to find, if and when he chooses.  He says his mother made her choices and so does he.  He is not angry.  I admire my and her son.

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

A country's people and a cash and carry policy

When I used the phrase "native mother", I was using the terms native as it is defined in the dictionary.

1. Existing in or belonging to one by nature; innate: native ability.
2. Being such by birth or origin: a native Scot.
3. Being one's own because of the place or circumstances of one's birth: our native land.
4. Originating, growing, or produced in a certain place or region; indigenous: a plant native to Asia.
5.a. Being a member of the original inhabitants of a particular place. b. Of, belonging to, or characteristic of such inhabitants: native dress; the native diet of Polynesia.    
Each foreign adopted child has a native mother and motherland.  Good, bad or indifferent, those are the (God-Given) child's origins... origins ripped away because someone has decided neither is good enough for a child.    What's amusing to me about this is, much like the story about the new-arrivals in the new world, the white man from a power/wealth-seeking country comes into a land (that contains natural riches/resources) takes what was not theirs (originally), yet makes it their own and praises God, claiming it's all good.  Is it ALL good? I don't think so... money is being used to get children (natural resources) for those with money and a desire to have ____ (fill in the blank).   So how can foreign trade be made better? [Does it always have to mean a child must be removed from one country and sent to the next?]
The bad guys here, as I see it were the missionaries.  They said for me to bring them a battery-back-up for their computer, and I did.  And when I got there they wanted more money.  I didn't pay it.  So when I paid for the ticket home for my son, they cashed it in and I was forced to buy another one plus a ticket for the woman who was bringing him home.  I was not the bad-guy...  I was very naive and stupid; got in too far to back out; didn't want to back out because I DID want to bring him home. 
PAP's get suckered in from the beginning, and by the time they find out all the illegal parts of the adoption, it's just too late.  We go in blind.  We realize there are some shady parts to adoptions.  But none of us back out, because we don't want to.  We then knowingly participate in the bad part of adoption.  Some get children who were stolen; NONE of mine were stolen.  But most of us are in WAY over our heads in deception of some kind, and we just don't care.  We want the child.

All those wrongs don't make it (an adoption) right.  Just because your adopted son voices no anger does not make the situation OK.  [I know lots of adoptees who would NEVER voice their anger... (at least not to their AP's or first parents.)]   In all honesty, the origins of my adoption-story did not really start bothering me until I became pregnant.  When I gave birth, I definitely saw adoption differently.  That's when I knew adoption hurts.  [I know many adoptees, male and female, who felt/feel the same way.  Becoming a parent changes everything, especially if you learn the truth behind your own parent's relinquishment.  Often times we learn it's not the parent that didn't want us.... it was the grandparent or church or government that said, "that child must be sent away!"] 

Just because we, the adoptee, say we're OK, doesn't mean the details and the odd loss doesn't hurt.  Just because we, the adoptee, don't complain doesn't mean we want what happened to us happen to another child.  Just because the child adopted into a home where profound abuse took place can laugh and sing and do all sorts of things doesn't mean that child is happy and well-adjusted. [Yes, I speak for myself.... and any other adoptee who knows exactly what I mean.]

There is far more to foreign adoption than what the eager to serve/please PAP's want to see and believe.

Let me focus on what bothers me the most about many adoption stories.  Over and over again I read about mission-work.  The missionaries.  The volunteers, the nuns, the workers in the fields trying to make like better for the poor.  The humanitarians who are there to teach the locals (natives) how to improve their lives... what do many of them do?  In many cases, they "help" others make decisions for themselves and their children.  Many of these so-called do-gooders convince/coerce mothers/fathers to let-go of their children, so they (the little ones) can live someplace else, as a permanent solution to poverty. The parents/family members are convinced the best ("most loving") thing they can do for their child is to give that child away.  Meanwhile, there are children being brutalized and in need of rescue.  Who is helping those children so they don't continue the pattern of abusive behavior?  Who is teaching these parents AND children to do and become much better?  [Corrupt child protection workers/services?]

Why is more focus given to the money that can be made/saved by a specific region, and less interest is given to the areas of family services that need great improvement and reform?

Because there are people, with money, who will do just about anything to get what they want.  Cash, child, (new computers, clothing, and other small gifts)... what difference does it make what a person is carrying around these days?  If people are buying and people are selling... it's all good, ain't it?

The very worst part?  This trade child-for-cash is done in poor countries... and it's being done in America, too. (Just look at the operations behind Gladney and Bethany, just to name two.)  Are all of these babies born in American maternity homes victims of abusive addicts....are all these babies in need of protection from their parents?  Or do these new-parents need help/assistance and cannot find it because cash/gifts talks and people listen? 

If a foreign AP wants to believe a mother relinquishes parental rights (agrees to adoption) because "she had no choice", red flags MUST be raised and asked.... WHY?  WHY is relinquishment/adoption the only option these (poor) parents are given?  [What is NOT being done to preserve this existing family?]

I shudder to think how child placement and poverty will begin to operate in the United States.  I imagine as false reports continue to perpetuate, more and more so-called unwanted (welfare/foster) children will be shipped-out to other countries because it will be seen as though "there was no choice".... and those children will be better off someplace else.  I shudder to think how one day native-born American children, sold to foreign lands will see America, and it's people.   

When it comes to adoption, people are always free to choose.  When it comes to family/child services, there IS a choice.  Sadly, because so much money is involved, that choice is not always focused on the future safety and emotional well-being of each child presented and given.

so where do we draw the line?

At what point do we, as we walk toward each other, draw the line?  There IS a line where we must stop and say, there is truth in what BOTH of us are saying.  In this forum, I have bared my soul.  I have faced my sins of Omission as well as Commission.  But out of all the 7 adoptions, THIS son's beginning and subsequent adoption by me does have the substances that  make it an adoption that can be understood.  There has to be those adoptions that fit the rightness of adoption; not many, but some ARE some in the best interest of the child.
I understand you Kerry.  I read and listen because I feel your deep hunger to make things right.  But would you just try to understand about this one child?  Apart from what could have been?  Just see him as one who DID make it in the adoption; one who DOES choose to be satisfied with this life as the one he was given?  There are those who do; you are acquainted with the majority of those who do not accept. 
I personally know his mother.  I wrote to her and called her while she stayed in Guatemala.  I sent her money and clothes.  I tried to buy her a hut/house for her own.  I sent the pictures and loved her; still love her.  But this only goes so far because of who she is and who I am.  This is one time when the AP DID try her best to make things right for Irma Naomi Toj Alvarado.  And then she chose to do differently.  She chose to go on with her life... and allow us to go on with ours.
Irma's parents were all she had, she lived with them; they controlled her life so much that THEY made the decision to try to abort this son.  She could only comply because that is how the culture is down there.  She HATED her parents!  She was 17 and had no other place to go.  NO ONE would take her son or help her keep him.  NO ONE!  This was her reality.
If you believe in God, then here is ONE time when you could see God working.  Sometimes we just have to accept the will of God and go on...  THIS adoption was for a reason: for me to KNOW Irma and the circumstances of her relinquishment of this son. I know you don't want to hear that an adoption is God's will... but sometimes it is.  THIS son was/is special.  THIS son could not be all he was born to be, in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala.  He is here as my son because this is where he is supposed to be right now. 
I read every word you write.  I hear and feel every ounce of anger you push into each word you write.  I care enough for you that I take within myself that pain and anger, because I am part of the adoption horror story that took so much from you.  But what I'm asking you now is this:  TRY to see ONE adoption that was right... even if the mother gave her flesh and blood to a despicable AP who PAID the money and took the child.  Sometimes bad things happen in order for some good to come through.  Of all 7 adoptions, THIS child HAS accepted his adoption and LEAPS forward in life to become all God intended for him to be.  IF YOU KNEW HIM!  He is different.  And there are those SPECIAL people in this world that God places in strange places in order to prove that HE is in control.
I pray the day will come when your anger is lessened because you finally have seen that NOT ALL adoptions are bad.  Just as I have learned to accept that NOT ALL men are bad.  Adoption has hurt most of the people here.  Adoption has hurt me.  and NO I can not EVER feel exactly what you feel, but what I do know and feel; what I have lost and experienced has made me aware that you are ALMOST completely right.  But that one small part that I claim for myself is what keeps me here; continually striving to understand you; hoping that some day you will understand me.
Yes, the RIGHT thing for my son would have been for him to stay in his own biological family.  But they tried to kill him!  Not just once!  NO ONE wanted him to stay in that family!  NO ONE wanted a boy!  They kept the next one because she was a girl, and the sister wanted a girl; NOT the grandparents. 
This son was NEVER abused in any way.  He only knew his dad as a good dad.  You can't take that away from him;  his childhood memories are his, and much different than my oldest daughter's memories. Maybe there will come a day; maybe the day he becomes a parent, when he will think differently about his adoption. But for now, he does not hate his adoption.
 He went and parked outside the prison last month, when he was in that town for a convention of gamers.  The oldest son was with him.  The oldest son stood there, knowing his dad was in an upper window watching them, and he stood there stoically and without emotion.  My second son wept from his heart!  This was very plain to the dad standing in that upper window.  This son is different.  This son feels normal emotions and knows who he is and wants to be.  The oldest son has such bitter anger over what has happened; and for BOTH of them, these are their NORMAL reactions.  And this is why I believe in what I see as this son's NORMAL reactions to his adoption.  Not everyone who is adopted feels like you do, Kerry. 
I'm not defending myself.  I'm describing one adoptee who is different than what is seen here on this forum.  I'm one of your BIGGEST (pun intended) supporters, Kerry.  Have been for 6 years.  I've never lied to you or pretended to be something I'm not.  So all I'm asking is for you to see me still as the Teddy you have HATED and LOVED for these 6 years; just saying what I feel and know as truth in my world.  I come up to the line and say:  can't we both be right?  Isn't there room for both of us in this world?  Isn't this how we make things better?

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

Please don't use God as an excuse

I realize this subject-matter is very sensitive, personal, and very triggering (for many sides here), so I'm trying to use personal examples to help illustrate bigger points that need to become part  of the adoption-option discussion.  Let me begin my response with a wish.  It's my wish others can begin to see where mistakes are made so effective change can begin. 

There has to be those adoptions that fit the rightness of adoption; not many, but some ARE some in the best interest of the child.

I wholly agree.  However, what are those "right conditions" when so much of adoption practice is oh-so-wrong and very very confusing?  How can those "right conditions" be defined if people mistake a child with living family as an orphan? 

Over the last few years I discovered something really significant about myself and my previous state of rage, hate and anger towards the adoption community.  [Please let it be known, before PPL, I hated all aspects of adoption.  Now that I'm learning more from very worried, honest, up-front, and concerned AP's I have learned many new things.]   I can try to understand and sympathize with the plight of an AP who finds herself struggling to make things right in a very  messed-up wicked world.  I can learn to forgive someone who admits his/her actions and deeds were based on selfish want and desire.  I can accept mistakes (in placement) happen, and I can/do strongly believe each victim is free to choose optimisim and hope as the future footsteps that lead to a more productive path.  [After all, I like to believe I am living testimony to all that I am learning.]   However, my ability to approve and accept shuts down when people start using God as the reason behind each and every adoption-story.  "In the name of God" (or "In God we trust", as it's written on American money) seems to be the working excuse for poor decisions made by an adoption agency, corrupt paid workers, and a failing/non-caring government.  How can that be something people want to celebrate?

THIS adoption was for a reason: for me to KNOW Irma and the circumstances of her relinquishment of this son. I know you don't want to hear that an adoption is God's will... but sometimes it is.  THIS son was/is special.  THIS son could not be all he was born to be, in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala.  He is here as my son because this is where he is supposed to be right now. 

Lots of children are special, and lots of children grow to become adults who want to help their own people.  After all, isn't each life born proof life should go on? I believe this over-zealous call from God to adopt is what gets so many on the adoption-band wagon (and thrown to the wolves).  It's like some sort of brainwashing and mixing takes place, justifying bad math.  Two (or more) wrongs can not make all right, not even if you use the name of God as your excuse.  [Who knows, maybe God has waited over 20 years to open your eyes so you can see how much of your adoption-story did NOT come from God...maybe your son will see how badly his people have been treated because so many foreigners want babies.  I don't know... I'm just trying to see how a believer-in-God would find good out of so much that is sad and tragic.]

Please know, I do not condemn or criticize the woman who wanted to be a good mother to as many children as "God" would let her have.  If those are your beliefs, (God made the adoption possible), you are like many.  But who, really, let you have those children?  People... an adoption agency, more than one government, and various corrupt mission-workers and lawyers and "aids" requiring all sorts of added fees. [Key word:  money, not God, being the center of all things.] 

Just to make it personal, so you can appreciate my questions... What did any of those involved in your adoptions tell you... expect from you... do for you and your spouse to prepare for seven foreign children?  How did that adoption agency/governments screen the chosen family for each needy child needing a safe home?  Did the workers for the working bodies (agency/governments) ask about family history of abuse, neglect and trauma?  Did the concerned workers (so-called assistants of God) ask what sort of help/therapy you and your spouse received or needed to receive so you can be non-abusive parents to those children God "allowed" you to adopt?  Was honesty and truth the foundation of all adoption-related information?  How far did these people go to ensure the home and people within that home was SAFE for a child from another country? What did any of these agencies do for you and for your seven adopted children when the shit kept hitting the fan, after the adoptions were made final?

Just to show I'm not picking on you (hell, you're the only AP here who consistently asks great questions and encourages deeper discussion!), please read the Masha Allen case, and see how those same questions/concerns apply to that adoption-story.  [I often feel as though when there is more than one being featured/reviewed, comments and criticisms can become more productive and far less personal.  My point is, I really don't want you to think I'm attacking you (the person)... I'm criticizing a frequent practice done by many.] 

How did God operate in her story?  [I have to warn you, the more you look, the more you see just how f-ed up it is for people to use God as the excuse to do certain things!!!]

If that is God's Hand in adoption, I want and need a new God, because that god cannot be trusted.

Now here's the added twisted part that really sickens me....far too often, I read/hear how loving concerned AP's who need help and need human assistance raising the huge brood they have adopted, turn to church-members because the government-issued money/subsidies is not enough to cover the unexpected damage done to the adopted child(ren).  Are all churches and followers-of God "good" people?  No!  Deception is everywhere, which is why we cannot use God as the reason behind an adoption.  Doing so takes away personal responsibility and accountability, and it dismisses the idea that there is something seriously evil and wrong in many adoption-stories.  We must do something so poor (repeated) placements do not continue to take place.  It's my belief that can only happen once more discussions like this take place, with more people.

Therefore, I do not criticize the person who wants to help parents and children... especially if the gift of care and concern is sincere and freely given.  What sort of world would this be if people did not want to help those who needed help?!?

I loathe the agencies that don't set limits and take advanatage of certain givens (situations/circumstances) because there are benefits that go with each adoption made. 

If we are going to discuss the problems in adoption, we must look beyond our personal situations and see these stories go well beyond "just me".

Just like not every adoption is bad, not every adoption is good.... (even God must know this).   So as an AP and a "foreign" adoptee, I have to believe we are on the same page.... and that truth sets a lot of my kept pain and grief free. 

My conclusion is this... If one wants to use God as a power involved behind adoption, I say let Him be the reason and justification behind honest discussion and ethical reform, not  the excuse to turn a blind eye and deaf ear to all that's bad and wrong within the international adoption industry. 

Personally, I think it's better if people leave God out of adoptions.... in many ways, I think it sure would make things ahelluva lot simpler.

The gravy train

As far as I am concerned, any particular adoption that works out well, is not an indication it was a good idea to do so. There is much more beyond a single adoption than just the well-being of one particular child. Every single adoption, enpowers the adoption providers and helps them expand their business. Every child adopted from Guatemala is $25,000 extra in the pocket of an adoption attorney, money that can and is used for the acquisition of more children to keep the gravy train running. So while one particular child may possibly be well off being adopted, others will be abandoned for the sake of adoption. One mother that really couldn't take care of her child and feels she did the right thing, may encourage other mothers to follow her example.

For so many people in 3rd world countries, the United States is the promised land, the country where money grows on trees and opportunities are available in abundance. The realities of the United States, and Europe, Canada and Australia, are very different from the idealization existing in 3rd world countries. It's hard to understand when living in abject poverty that affluent people in the West can ever be deeply unhappy, can make each other lives miserable and that many will never become a real success.

Every "good" adoption contributes to the myth of the United States as the promised land and because of that, we need to look beyond specific situatuatons, pay close attention to all the side-effects of adoption. If we don't, there will always be an excuse to adopt this particular child, and this one, and this one...

I support your choice

Teddy-

I support your adoption. I support your choices. I know in my heart that you did what you felt was right. I feel it in ever writing you share. In so much as the sensitivity of this subject,  I know your seeking Kerrys approval. She for what ever her reasons are, is stuck in anger. The whole situation is sad, for hungry american families to go to 3 world countries to adopt- there's a problem that we haven't enough good homes for our own children first. I have no answers or way to remedy a situation that I have no control over, I understand and feel for all sides. I admire what you did, inspite of others disaproval,and I admire that you speak out and about it, for all of us to gather some insight into the workings of international adoptions so we may have another perspective.

I hope you can accept the peace you have in your heart for making the choices you have made, and don't let anyone take that away. Not all APs are willing to bare their souls about so much. None of this sites subject matter is easy for everyone to digest. We all have our soft spots, and our own chinks in the armor.

Write as you always do, but do not beg for Kerrys approval, let her be-   as she has to remedy her own anger over a system that screwed her. You did not screw her,(pardon the puns). You did the best you could given the limited knowledge and experiences and trusting everyone that it would be right.

Would you make the same choices now, as you did back then, knowing all you know now. I think not.  While you have loved and do love your children, if you had known that you were participating in outright fraud, I think you'd have likely not done what you did.

So in this forum do not apologize for the love you gave and have for the children you raised. You've earned the right IMPO- to not beg for anothers approval, no matter how much we ALL like them.

Just some diplomacy interdicted into here, b4 I finish reading all the way down-

Angry adoptees

I know you mean well, wanting to let Teddy know she has moral support, her adoptions are good, and those adoptions were not a mistake.  However, there are many disturbing details to her adoption stories (and many like hers) that prove not all actions behind an approved adoption are as nobel or as good as the general public wants to continuously believe.  I know my passion towards a given topic may seem as if I'm attacking a particular person, but when others read the details related to my response, I hope they see a passionate interest and a certain insight that translates far-too overlooked repeated themes that exist throughout the history of child placement.  So much of what we discuss is not allowed, or encouraged to be discussed on "open" adoption forums.  The reason?  It upsets and offends too many.

GOOD!  People should be upset, offended, and angry about the many wrong-doings taking place in the name of "saving children"!!  Thank GOD AP's are coming out and sharing their stories!!  Without their stories, how can uninformed people know what's really taking place when money/gifts get exchanged for a child?

Please don't use my anger towards corrupt adoption practices as a reason or need to insert diplomacy and an apology, by proxy.  And please don't mistake that anger towards a practice as being anger towards a person with whom I have frequent on and off-site contact.  Like most things, this unveiling of the truth as it really exists is a process, and those touched by shady-deals need a way to come to terms with the many consequences.  

In Teddy's (and many AP's) case, those adoptions took place many many years ago.  What's been done has been done, and I'm not afraid to voice my opinion on the sadness behind many a terrible situation.  However, in many areas of the world, where PAP's are looking to adopt, those shady deals and practices are still taking place.  In many ways, nothing has changed and it's my belief that sort of corruption and coersion must stop!  PAP's must be warned, and if the adoption agencies are not telling them the truth, then the many people used by adoption services must speak out and share what they know so PAP's don't help contribute to these shameful acts.  In that sense, my sense of loyalty and diplomacy is very odd and twisted (why would it not be?) -- while I may support a woman to be the best mother she can be, I will NEVER support, condone or help excuse the many lies and shady deals that continue to take place in adoption services.

I'm proud to be seen as an angry adoptee. [I'm angry... not vicious.]   My anger tells people I'm very aware of certain things.  The way I see it, the day I stop feeling angry is the day I need to walk-away from PPL and all the working efforts behind these words and pages.

Far too many people are confused and hurting because of by the dark-deceptive side of adoption, and as an angry adoptee, I make no apologies for the passionate frustration that still lives inside of me.  This is a fueling emotion that is felt by others -- first parents, adoptees AND AP's.  Our anger is justified, and many of us try to use that anger as a source of power, motivation, and energy to bring a greater awareness to people so adoption can become what it should be -- a service that helps, not hurts.

I can and will support mothers...(and many know this about me)... I will NOT help support corrupt adoption workers, and their affiliates.  I would like to think as more people become aware of what's taking place in other countries, (in the name of international adoption), more will begin to share that same general opinion.

from my point of view

With all due respect- Kerry~

~ my response didn't show up where it should have-

I don't mistake your rage and knowledge of this subject of unethical adoptions, and the power/money used against many women and children and prospective APs too.. Mine is quite limited. I admit. Ok.

Perhaps,- I shouldn't have spoken up for her, as I did.   But- IMO your comments towards her for relating information about the adoption of her 1 child, were harsh on her personally. She can't change what has been done-  I realize (in my limited capacity) she may not have adopted a child that was truly an orphan along the way of adopting 7.

Your comments to her though- hurt my feelings. I realize you 2 have a long history personally on & off site. - but reading your responses to her- it sounded and felt harsh...

There are people that need your wrath, sure, many. But Teddy is not the culprit here. She like all of us- is a victim, to a system she knew nothing about. She was victimized differently than we adoptees- and she is no more at fault for being a victim than any of us. Surely- I want all sides to come forward and tell the truth from their point of view. Surely I want all prospective adoptive parents especially to see ALL the ramifactions of wanting to be a parent so badly that they see nothing else.( a big reason why there is such a demand for stolen babies). I want them to know how families are destroyed and people devastated on all sides of the Adoption Industry.

There is a mountain of issues to get pissed off about,  just pick a side.

Orphans, Adoptees, Birth parents, Adoptive parents, extended families, etc;   Everyone has a side or an angle. There are slick individuals who are out there cashing in at all our expenses.  We're all in pain, and they get paid. WTF. I'm more confused now about alot of these issues than I was before I came here. I'm more informed and way more confused. Go figure. The only folks not confused are the 1s profitting from it. Hell I'm mad about that....

~children need good homes,- where they can thrive and learn to become good, well adjusted, sufficent citizens no matter where they live.. I don't know how we're ever going to get there- but the need will always be the same as long as children keep getting born.

I'll just go back to reading and mind my own fingers here.......

What else could you feel???

Julia, you stated, "I was quite open to sharing the children with their birth family, to whatever extent we could manage, but not to lose them. I fully accept the selfishness of that statement..."
This statement is not selfish.  It is the normal response of a woman who gave herself to two children, only to find out her happiness came at the cost of others' pain.  And only knowing in-part, you can only express your emotions with the part that you are involved.  It takes courage to open up and feel others pain.
As adoptive parents we want to believe what we are told, and we do.  And along the way, if we find out there was deception and pain in which we were given happiness, it's a real kick in the stomach for those of us who thought ourselves innocent.
I believe we are obligated to do ONLY what we are aware needs doing.  If we go about searching for what is "our fault," trying to make things right for everyone; this can only bring more pain.  What's done is done.  What can be done needs to be done.  Nothing more CAN be done to right the wrongs of our own adoption mistakes.  It's up to others to change things for future adoptions.  We need to deal with our own involvement, which is the lives of our adoptive children from this point on...
I would like to ask you this:  What were the reactions of your children, finding out they had been sold by their own father without the knowledge of their mother?  And what blame do you put on yourselves?
Thanks for your input here at PPL.

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

But in the greater scheme of

But in the greater scheme of things, were the children yours to "share"?

Were the children ours?

Well, legally they are ours. I looked into their legal situation before we launched our search, when we first learned that we couldn't trust the orphanage director (he'd just been arrested in 2006 on an unrelated case of child trafficking).  The children left India with a guardianship order, placing the children in our care. We then received an adoption order from an Australian court.  They subsequently lost their Indian citizenship when they were granted Australian citizenship - which is automatic on the granting of an Australian adoption order. Both the Indian Guardianship Order and the Aust Adoption Order were based on the information that had been provided. If our children's first mother wanted, she could have applied to an Indian court to have the guardianship order overturned, as it was based on false information. She could then have applied to have the adoption order overturned, on the same grounds. 
However, until and unless she took these actions, the two orders remain in place. 
Were they emotionally and psychologically ours? The children had been in our family for as long as either could remember. By the time they reached their teens, neither had memories of their first family or their orphanage. We had travelled through India with the children, and had revisited their orphanage, but even that didn't spark any memories.  Both totally related to us as their parents, and to their siblings in our family as their brothers and sisters. They are now 14 and 16 years old, and continue to feel that way - though their family now also includes three sisters and two brothers in India, as well as their other mum. 

guardianship v. adoption

I'm a little confused...

The children left India with a guardianship order, placing the children in our care. We then received an adoption order from an Australian court.  They subsequently lost their Indian citizenship when they were granted Australian citizenship - which is automatic on the granting of an Australian adoption order. Both the Indian Guardianship Order and the Aust Adoption Order were based on the information that had been provided. If our children's first mother wanted, she could have applied to an Indian court to have the guardianship order overturned, as it was based on false information. She could then have applied to have the adoption order overturned, on the same grounds. 

If I understand this correctly, in order to get an adoption order, one must first have a guardianship order.  [Is this common practice?]

As an outsider, and as a parent who struggles keeping sane with four children....(expense alone is killing us!)... I can understand a poor mother wanting/needing "outside" help, especially if her spouse was known to be abusive.  If I were in a very desperate situation, I would consider temporary guardianship until I was able to be full-provider for my children.  So here's my question... do many mothers understand the difference between temporary guardianship and permanent adoption?

In regards to this case, specifically, did the first mother agree to guardianship or adoption and was she given the opportunity to verify all information before it was submitted? [I can't imagine any impoverished mother being able to afford court-fees needed to overturn a legal order!]

Looking back, do you believe she had full-understanding once "the guardians" got the paper-work sent to the right places, all her parental rights to her children would be removed... making them no longer (legal) members of her family? 

Guardianship vs Adoption

This was the common practice in India, as it still is in Korea and elsewhere.  However, our chilldren's mother did not sign anything. The children were taken from her while she was sleeping and sold by their father. She didn't sign any paperwork and wasn't aware that the children had been adopted until we located her, 10 years after they were taken. She thought they had either been killed or had been sold into a begging gang.
Our children were presented to the court in India as having been relinquished for adoption by both parents. The consent to adoption was signed by their mother and father, who stated in an affidavit that they relinquished the children for adoption due to chronic ill health and inability to parent the children (though we now realise this was untrue and the signature was forged). 
At the time we adopted there were two legal Acts in India that covered adoption - the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act - and the Guardians and Wards Act.  If children were adopted by a Hindu family living either in India or overseas, they would have been granted an adoption order by an Indian court, under the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act. As we were not Hindus, we had to apply to the Indian court for a Guardianship Order, under the Guardians and Wards Act. Our children's guardianship order states that they were to be placed in our care and were to be adopted under the laws of our country.  This was the standard practice in India. There was simply no legal avenue at that time for non-Hindus to adopt in an Indian court.  The Indian law has since been changed to enable non-Hindus to adopt via the Juvenile Justice Act, but this wasn't an option back then.
There is a similar situation in other countries.  Children being adopted from overseas either leave their countries with a full adoption order (Ethiopia, Taiwan, China, etc) or under a guardianship order, with the final adoption order to be granted in the adoptive parents country of residence (Korea, India non-Hindus, Thailand, the Philippines). This is detailed on the Attorney General's Department website at http://www.ag.gov.au/www/agd/agd.nsf/Page/IntercountryAdoption_Theinterc... (see dot point 11 - "Finalisation of the Adoption").
The situation you suggest, where an impoverished mother might place her children for temporary care while she tried to sort out her living situation, is a common one. Most children in institutional care in India are from this type of family situation and should never be made available for adoption. Their parents don't intend for that to occur, even if the children remain in an orphanage for years. Some parents, however, are tricked into signing a consent for adoption when they believe they are signing for their children to receive temporary care and an education. This was the case with the Smolins two Indian daughters but it didn't apply in our case.

So very very sad!

What a horrible situation for all five (both AP's, both siblings and first-mom) to have to face!  I can only imagine how that reunion must have been.  Wow. 

The situation you suggest, where an impoverished mother might place her children for temporary care while she tried to sort out her living situation, is a common one. Most children in institutional care in India are from this type of family situation and should never be made available for adoption. Their parents don't intend for that to occur, even if the children remain in an orphanage for years. Some parents, however, are tricked into signing a consent for adoption when they believe they are signing for their children to receive temporary care and an education. This was the case with the Smolins two Indian daughters but it didn't apply in our case.

I've read much written by/about both Smolin parents (blog and articles).   They were perhaps one of the first AP's I saw making a real dedicated effort trying to right some of the many wrongs they discovered during their "adoption journey".  My profound respect (and deep heart-felt appreciation) goes towards AP's wanting to set records straight.  It's a very much-needed beginning, especially when the average person can turn on the TV, watch the latest celebrity adoption story/interest, and see just how misleading the orphan-world is being presented.

The children's reactions

Our children were aged 12 and 13 when we found out that their history was very different to the one we'd believed to that date.  The children both reacted differently. My son, who was the older child, was hurt to discover the truth. He also understood that it must have been an utterly traumatic experience for his mother. However, he wasn't devastated by the news. I wondered whether his earlier recollection of abuse, which was later substantiated by his first mother, meant that at some level he wasn't so caught by surprise. We had already told him that he'd spoken about his father's abuse when he first came into our family, though he could no longer remember anything about his first family by age 13 (when we later met his first mother, she told us that the scars on his back were caused by his father, and his other memories were all correct).
Our daughter reacted very strongly to the news. She was the one who had asked us to search, whereas our son was not particularly interested. She curled up on my lap and sobbed for about an hour, and continued to cry on and off for the next few weeks. She then became very quiet and didn't want to talk about it at all. After a few days I gently questioned her, to find out why she wanted to shut it all out. I then found out that she was terrified that it might mean she would be taken from our family. That thought never occurred to my son.
What blame to I put on us? I don't directly blame us at all. We chose to adopt through an Indian agency that was licensed by the Indian government and came well recommended. We chose one that we believed we could trust. We were wanting to adopt older children, and siblings, and were open to special needs. We weren't adopting children who were in high demand. We believed we would be adopting the type of children that an orphanage was struggling to place. What I didn't know then, was that I couldn't put any faith in the Indian government or Indian courts. We believed the long, slow legal process of adopting from India - which took over 20 months from accepting the referral of our children - would protect everyone. We were wrong ... but it wasn't as if we had ignored any warning signs.

The warning signs are all

The warning signs are all over the internet .. a little research and it's pretty hard to miss.The pro-adoption and government care side is losing very badly and is dwindling at a great rate I must say. now days I can hardly find anyone who support the trafficking of children. It almost gives me a little hope this insanity could end in my life time. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. It's just to bad the children have to pay for this road.

How lucky children are to be born into a world where right and wrong no longer exist. And people refuse to take responsibility for their part in this insanity. And blame it on the next guy or say "well it's up to others".
That is bull shit.. total and complete bullshit. It's up to you just as much as it's up to me.

You think that because it causes you pain it's not your responsibility? Man if I could give you a slap I would. Why is it up to me and others hu? You don't think reliving a 20 year long nightmare of abuse, rape molestation and starvation and fear don't cause me sadness? And pain and tears? Most of your lives compared to mine are picnicking at club med.. and make me want to slap your head right off. So instead you put on people like mines shoulders. Don't you think we suffered enough? Don't you think you should share some of this responsibility Or is it just simpler to let yourselves believe you are the victim? . because it might cost you a little pain? But still I am forced to relive those moments over and over and the humiliation of sharing it with total strangers. Man people make me so mad I could just scream...

Why is it up to me and not you? Hu? Why do people like me have to die and those unlucky of us to survive have to do all the work?

Why would you think for a second that your so special? Hu? Please do tell. All I hear here is "poor me poor me"
Shit pick yourself up and have some fucking dignity. It's up to all of us.. not just me.. their is alot you can do.. and a little pain is good for the soul... it will remind you of what it means to be human.

Man sometimes I am so ashamed I am of the same species as the rest of you. Other times many of you make me proud I am. I just don't understand how people fail to have the same intelligence I have. I am not different then you. My brain is no bigger then yours. I am not special, I don't have super powers. I have the same genetic structure as you. But for some reason people range from just fucking utterly retarded to brilliant. You are only as smart as you choose to be. And I guess what they say about ignorance is bliss.

Sorry if this post seems attacking. it is not my intention. I just wonder how people think this is not their responsibility and pass it on to others... I guess it just comes down to the level of cowardice one is will to sink to to feel comfortable.

Warning signs

My post has obviously pushed some pretty strong buttons with you, Bizzi, so I will do my best not to react defensively. I believe you have read a lot more into my message than I wrote and, frankly, you have no idea what responsibility I have accepted. Teddy asked me if we blame ourselves. We don't - but we have not shirked responsibility.

The warning signs are on the internet now, but they weren't back then. We sent our application to adopt to this orphanage in 1996. At that time I hadn't heard anything to concern me about this Indian agency. Our adoption predated the scandals that have plagued India since then... in Hyderabad, Chennai and elsewhere.

How exactly have I avoided responsibility? When we had cause to suspect something may be wrong in our children's adoption (that "something" being us hearing in 2006 that the orphanage director appeared to have been involved in an illegal adoption) we initiated a search to confirm whether we had been told the truth about our children. Through that search, we were the ones to discover what had happened, and we brought our case to the attention of authorities in Australia and in India. We were able to locate our children's first mother and initiated contact. With the permission of our children and their first mother, we have gone public with our story. I have had a book published about our experience and we allowed a film crew to accompany us on our last visit to India, which resulted in a program on child trafficking being shown on national tv earlier this year. Through a lawyer in India I have lodged an application with the Madras High Court, requesting the court to order an investigation into our case by the Indian Central Bureau of Investigation.

What other responsibility would you like me to accept?

Julia

I was stolen from my family.

I was stolen from my family. And forced to live with strangers. I was sold and returned 5 times. I was then forced to live in institutions. The entire time I can remember I just wanted my family. Nuthing made me more angry then having to call other people mom and dad. Or have strangers tell me they are my parents. I never said anything about it as I knew it was pointless. People wanted what they wanted. That is just how it is. It's not the I read to deeply.

 I have just talked to so many adoptees and adopters, foster kids, street kids and the list goes on. Did it ever occur to give the child to the family? Their family?
 I understand the loss and the feelings that it would cost. But,

1. Your are not the real parents.
 2. You are in possession of a stolen child like myself. And the idea of sharing the child is just.... I lack the words to describe what I think of that.
3. The child's real family, extended and others are victims just like the child. Sometimes doing the right thing is painful. As a child I did not state how I felt.

But people should have returned me to my family, not forced me to grow up with strangers a stolen child. The children's culture, background and heritage are lost when they live with strangers. Their past is that of a hollow tree trunk. The more you hang onto them like you own them the more damage you are doing ....even if you can't see it.
Sharing the child... with their 1st mother... um thats pretty arrogant to say. When you have something that is stolen and does not belong to you... doing the right thing means you return it. I am not saying what you have done is not the right thing.. I am saying you have done everything but return the children as if in some way your making up for having a stolen child. The mother will act as though she is in your corner but the reality is she is not. Put your self in her shoes... Whats done is not done.... as much as we may tell ourselves this. Whats is done can always be fixed. If no attempt is made.. then the reality is your victimizing the child(ren) as much as any one else.

 I lived with an east Indian family for about 6 months as one of my many many stops... their culture is amazing and family means so much to them. And they will not know about their culture living with you.... no matter what you say or do nuthing will change that.
The father sold them, you bought them... and you need to return them. Or you are in possession of a stolen child. Adoption is slavery... foster care is unlawful imprisonment and confinement. Both should be against the law but for some reason they are not. Well not some reason it's a multi-trillion dollar industry world wide... trafficking humans by the rich and stupid has always been.
And sadly no truly benefits but the people making the money of the children. I don't know what to tell you other then to do the right thing... you have something that does not belong to you. and you need to give it back. It sucks... but it's the only right thing to do. Everything else will help yes... but in the end... you are robbing the child(ren) of their history, culture, identities and most importantly their family. That is just as bad as selling them and just as bad as buying them. I am sorry. The grey areas in life are where evil lives and breeds.

So you own them?

"Well, legally they are ours."

When the law makers are corrupt, when justice can be bought, when the law hurts people... what you said is hollow as well. And does not speak to your moral compass pointing in the right direction.

The thing I have found most disturbing talking to adoptees is how even after knowing the child was stolen A-parents find 101 reasons to justify keeping the child....
In the adoption industry they feed off of people who want a child.. so badly they will do just about anything.. and 99% will look the other way... and still take the child. And in 99% of cases liek yours they still will not return the child... and tell themselves all kinds of reason the child is better with them then then real parents.

So far I see no difference. You are part of that 99%. Once these children grow up and become adults and understand fully what happened.. you are gonna have alot to answer for... once the realize they don't have to be grateful to you for "taking them in" and that you could have given them back at any time..

Glad that is not on my head... I can look in the mirror. And know.. I have made no one suffer for the things I wanted. Noone has lost anything in my search for the things I want most. Can you say the same?

Justifying keeping the children is not a response that would properly answer my question. I bet if you asked the mother would she like her stolen children back and offered a little help to her.. we both know what the answer would be.

And not giving that choice makes you worse then the people who profited from this mess. Adoption is a scam that hurts just about everyone it touches minus the few happy stories where people never actually figured out what happened.. But later on you can come to sites like these and read what happens to those happy stories once everyone grows up...

Here's the problem...

Returning a child that was sold through corrupt adoption practices is not as easy as returning a child that was kidnapped or abducted, and abused. 

In many cases, the AP's may not know something highly-suspect or deceptive was done to get the child sold through adoption.  In many cases the child may be too young to remember first-families, (therefore not miss them), and in many cases, the home in which the child is placed is actually nice, loving and very good.  

But there are other factors to consider, too.

I remember when I was much younger, (4th or 5th grade), I tried to become friends with a girl from St. John's Newfoundland.  [In school, our teacher gave us names/regions to choose as scholastic pen-pals, and naturally, I chose the region from which I was born.]  I was hoping she would  a) tell me about life/school in St. Johns and b) help me find my family, so I could find them and move back and be with them, and have 1 friend.

I don't recall getting many letters from her; but I do recall finding one of my written letters stamped, addressed, but unsent.  I had automatically assumed that was my Amother intercepting my mail, keeping me from having any contact with anyone in Newfoundland.  [It may seem crazy and illogical, but in my mind it all made perfect sense... the last thing she wanted was for me to have contact with "them".]

I never forgot wanting to move-back "home", especially since I learned Newfoundland was not nearly as horrible, poor and desolate as my Amother made it seem.  In many ways, I saw myself fitting in with those people far more than the people ("new-found- family") in New Jersey.

Many years later, I learned my first mother/father and entire extended family did NOT live in Newfoundland.  I learned they all lived in Alberta.  What did I do?  I imagined living in Alberta, wondering if that was a place in which I'd like to live.  According to all the maps and photos I saw on the internet, I saw many beautiful things.  According to a few people from those mentioned regions, both areas are good areas to live, with many good locals living good lives.  That's when I began to think.... as much as I wanted to go back when I was a kid, what if my first family was gone or didn't want me?  What if my first family was worse than my adoptive one?  What if I became a ward of the state...what then?

Suddenly going back ain't so easy.

This is where I see the cruel joke in international adoption.  Often times the children sold-out to foreigners come from the sort of regions no one in their right mind wants to go back to.

When I read about older adoptees being taken back to visit their countries of origin, I think many of the locals hope those adult children will return, offering help and assistance because that's the reason they were sent away, in the first place.

Well said. I guess I just

Well said. I guess I just fail to understand why something so perverted with so many perverted consequences is legal. But I guess people just want children that badly.

How sad...

Man I wanna be like this guy....

<laughing>

Me... I wish I could be more like Patrick. [Sponge Bob's side-kick].

He's pink, funny, doesn't have to work, and doesn't have the annoying laugh.

 

 

Returning trafficked children

Sharing the child... with their 1st mother... um thats pretty arrogant to say. When you have something that is stolen and does not belong to you... doing the right thing means you return it. I am not saying what you have done is not the right thing.. I am saying you have done everything but return the children as if in some way your making up for having a stolen child. The mother will act as though she is in your corner but the reality is she is not. Put your self in her shoes... Whats done is not done.... as much as we may tell ourselves this. Whats is done can always be fixed. If no attempt is made.. then the reality is your victimizing the child(ren) as much as any one else.

You are speaking about my children as if they are possessions that can just be handed back to their rightful owners.  The children are teenagers. They have their own minds and it is the expressed wish of both of them that they remain in our family. You are telling me I should take our son and daughter, against their will, and forcibly place them back in their first family. Any suggestions as to how I could force a 16 year old to emigrate?

I bet if you asked the mother would she like her stolen children back and offered a little help to her.. we both know what the answer would be.

Yes, I do know. Sunama has told me she is very happy with the children being in our family. In a recent television interview she told the reporter "They went to Australia, grew big… speak in English…it’s a happy matter, sister. I wouldn’t die a worried woman if I were to die just now. I have no worries for my kids."

And not giving that choice makes you worse then the people who profited from this mess.

I'm worse than the child traffickers... Well, you are entitled to your opinion.

Adoption is a scam that hurts just about everyone it touches minus the few happy stories where people never actually figured out what happened.. But later on you can come to sites like these and read what happens to those happy stories once everyone grows up...

Six of my eight children have already grown up and moved into independent living. One son came to our family as an infant and the others as older children. My oldest son came as a 10 year old, after being abandoned with his brother when he was around 8. He clearly remembers everything to do with his first family, abandonment and subsequent adoption. We discuss their opinions openly, and two have written articles on adoption that have been published in magazines and books. They all have various opinions, though none of them considers themselves anti-adoption.

One thing I have learnt is not to tell anyone how they should feel about adoption. I know adult adoptees who hate all things to do with adoption and others who believe it is the best thing that ever happened to them ... and a load who are somewhere between those positions. Each and every opinion is valid. I believe it is just as unhealthy to pathologise all adoptees as "damaged goods" as it is to expect them all to be grateful.

Personal perspectives

One thing I have learnt is not to tell anyone how they should feel about adoption. I know adult adoptees who hate all things to do with adoption and others who believe it is the best thing that ever happened to them ... and a load who are somewhere between those positions. Each and every opinion is valid. I believe it is just as unhealthy to pathologise all adoptees as "damaged goods" as it is to expect them all to be grateful.

I can only speak for myself, but growing up I was told (by my AP's) how to feel, and if I felt anything different from what I was told to feel, I was a) wrong b) difficult and very disagreeable and c) crazy.  I grew-up hating and resenting my owners as a result.  I learned once my honest feelings were validated as being reasonable (and I got a little sympathy from outsiders), my hardened exterior softened enough to feel like a warm-blooded human.

As I became an adult, and I participated in various adoption forums and helped start the PPL pages, I learned something a wee-bit shocking.  I learned AP's were/are being fed information educated about the adoptee's mental state:  studies prove many are damaged due to poor prenatal-care, maternal neglect, and drug abuse... wound theories dictate many experience profound abandonment issues and harbor ill feelings towards the replacement parents.  Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah.  Even if these facts are true for one but not true for a specific individual, many want to see the adoptee as either an orphan who has no other, OR the sad little victim of profound neglect and/or abuse.  Many see this because there is this absolute adoption advocates want to keep selling to the general public -- ALL children placed for adoption are better-off than not being adopted.  Period. This absolute is absolutely untrue.

There was a time I had it with the lies, profound dysfunction and deception in my a.family.  So at the age of 23, I confronted both parents and told them the truth behind my honest feelings.  [They wanted answers, I GAVE them quite a few... keeping many to myself because I knew how they'd react.]  Their reaction was predictable.  They refused to believe what I had to say... because none of it was true. [They were too "good" to have let so many bad things happen.] I learned later, both supposedly went to church for some "family counseling".  According to the story my Aparents told my spouse, they went to a priest, (not knowing what else to do), and he told them I resented (and wanted to hurt my Amother) because she was not my birth mother.  That was all they needed to hear.  My emotional outburst was excused.

I was the one with the problems, not them.

I was the one who had to come to my good senses and give them my apologies for upsetting them as I did.

They were victims of a bitter adoption.

I had hate issues they could not resolve.

I hated my Amother because she did not take care of me like a good mother should.  She was too busy feeling sorry for herself, her own childhood and she was too knocked-out by prescription pills to be any real mommy to me.  Because of her inability to protect me, I was sexually molested (and beaten) for many years.

The problem I frequently encountered on open adoption forums was this arrogant belief that the adopters are always right and the angry abused adoptee is always wrong.  I recall many times lashing out about topics (like NOT ALL adoptees are children from poor families or have been abused/neglected by first parents or not ALL adoptess get placed into safe loving homes -- many of us got the dysfunctional families most want to flee!), and most of those comments made by me got removed, deleted or returned with an angry response telling me how great adoption is.

I can understand how a person can strongly believe "that (circumstance/situation) does not apply to me or my adoption-story".  However, I can't understand how members of the adoption community want to attack the abused adoptee for letting others know, "What you may believe about adoption/Ap's is not always true."

It's my belief once more people accept the truthful reality that some of the homes approved by adoption agencies can be horribly dysfunctional and unsafe places for a child visit for a long-period, (let alone to live, permanently),  more will learn the extremes in adoption beliefs are both wrong. [For example, I am neither pro nor anti-adoption... I see myself as an advocate for safe child placement, whatever that choice may be.]

As a final added note, the more I learn about the many types of adoption experiences a person can have, the more I learn just how much the middle-man (the adoption agency) is responsible for how good or how bad an adoption experience can be.  The point being, not all adoption agencies are all that good, let alone "great".  Some are really horrifically bad, in spite of their placement record/numbers.

What is right and wrong are

What is right and wrong are not open to negotiation. No I am not talking about them as possessions. I am talking about them as people. Unless you think I am talking about myself in the same shoes as a possession?

You said they were legally yours.. that is a possessional statement. "Legally the car was mine." no difference.

One thing I have learned is not to tell anyone how they should feel about adoption. I know adult adoptees who hate all things to do with adoption and others who believe it is the best thing that ever happened to them ... and a load who are somewhere between those positions.

Many think the same about war some think it's good some think it's bad and lots in the middle, does not mean it's right.

Yes, I do know. Sunama has told me she is very happy with the children being in our family. In a recent television interview she told the reporter "They went to Australia, grew big… speak in English…it’s a happy matter, sister. I wouldn’t die a worried woman if I were to die just now. I have no worries for my kids."

I hope your right.

And not giving someone a choice is a horrible thing to do. It's not my opinion, I speak from personal experience of being adopted 5 times and given back 5 times like I was some kinda broken toaster oven. No one ever gave me the choice. And I was shunned for not being grateful of all the things people "did" for me.

I don't pretend to know what all adoptees think. I wish I could post the thousands of emails I have collected over the years from adoptees. Many of them gave me this info and I am not sure if I have permission to share it..
But I only have 1 adoptee out of thousands of emails that when all was said and done were happy they were adopted and forced to live with strangers.
See in adoption.. you get a choice, the agency had a choice.. but the child... they are not given one.. they go where they go with little to no say.. and that is a form of slavery, like it or not. nuthing you can say will change that.. I know it bothers you.. but if your not uncomfortable then your not learning anything.

You know some people really like to hurt themselves... that does not make it okay. Some people like to smoke crack in ally ways... that does not mean it's a good thing. And some say they are pieces of garbage... But again right and wrong are not open for negotiation.

Perhaps if half the emails I have were that of positive comments about adoption and foster care.. I might be forced to rethink my views...

If you could read these emails.... you would fight the adoption and foster care industry as hard if not harder then my self. people tell me things they won't even tell their adoptive parents about... many of their adoptive parents have no idea how they feel. Perhaps that is why they share it with me. I dunno.

But a few people have a good experience with something with many many many more suffer as a result.. makes it wrong. Again right and wrong are not open to negotiation. Adoption and foster care and child protection operate in the grey area. And the victims are filling up the internet and suing the crap out of their governments in various places. Some countries have shut their doors to it completely.... for a reason.

I know your offended. I am only telling you this because I care. I understand how my grandma felt now trying to explain to me right and wrong now.. Man at least before I had my life stolen by people I got to learn a few things from her.

You have yourself a good day.

"You are telling me I should

"You are telling me I should take our son and daughter, against their will, and forcibly place them back in their first family. Any suggestions as to how I could force a 16 year old to emigrate?"

So the damage is done already.

Your life is the only one they know, of course they don't want to leave. It's works the same way as being institutionalized.  Check the jails.. they are full of Ex-foster kids.. and many juvenile jails as well. I was almost a victim but I over came it.. I was so institutionalized that after I got out of foster care like most my peers I just wanted to go back.. jail anything like it as it was all I knew. Many of my peers I know that I know today (I didn't grow up with but met as an adult) Prefere jail to real life. It's all they knew.
But the truth is if we weren't stolen by people who pretend to know what is best for us.. chances are that would not be an issue. So their is no justifying it no matter how hard you might try.

The end does not justify the means. Your logic is a bit on the flawed side.... I work with logic every day in code. And if my logic is not dead on and my physics are not dead on my games and code seriously malfunction. So because the logic of adoption foster care and child protection is so fucked up... it does the same as it would with bad logic in coding..  (Sorry i am a nerd so I am not sure how to explain such a concept with out using logic and math to someone who is not a freak like myself.)
I can write 10 different computer langs.. I read physics books for fun. I can fix anything, anything technology wise. I can just pick up anything and start using it with out reading a manual or having someone else tell me how.

It's a good thing I never listened to people who thought they knew better then me.. as according to them I had a learning disability and would never be able to bond with another human being again.. and I was chronologically depressed. And I suffered from abandonment issues.. I still have it all in paper... it's pretty disgusting and I hope to see some of these pricks in my lifetime.. I would like to re-educate them with a series of boots in the ass and face.

 I bond very easily, I learn differently, The moment I escaped from foster care (my kidnappers) I have been a happy man. (aside from my anger of being made a slave by peoples who's opinions are about as accurate as a bull in a china shop.). I did not have abandonment issues.. I had issues from being unlawfully confined and a prisoner, brainwashed into hating my parents so I could become adoptable.

If the "professionals" are that stupid and that full of crap and that desperate to cover their crimes.. I could see how the general public would not have the knowledge about the system that you acquire being their prisoner.

Don't think I blame you for the situation. But I do blame the thousands of other ignorant people who are defending it... but never lived a day themselves in it and think of themselves as some kinda heroes.

Foster care and adoption will be made illegal if it's that very last thing I accomplish in my lifetime with my very last breath. Children are being victimized... because 99% of people fail to use their logic and would rather lie to themselvesthen to face the truth,... it's wrong.. and deep down most people know it.

And just for the record dyslexia is not a disability, It's a gift... I can reverse engineer just about any kind of technology out their..
While most people can hardly even figure out how to use it. From what I am told after extensive testing is my IQ is off the chart... but coming from these "professionals"... I have little to no faith do they even know what they are talking about as all men and woman are equal.. and it's the experiences that you have in life that determine you intellect. And parents who drug their children as they lack the intelligence to interact with their children in the manner the child requires. So they drug them up to dummy them down to their level of understanding... I guess that is what they get for letting one class of people pretend they know better then the rest of us.

It's simply disgusting.... be thankful I am not God, Or I'd have pulled the plug on mankind along time ago.

Us versus Them

It's no secret I am not a fan of inter-country adoption and I'd rather see the phenomenon disappear or else change in such a way that as a side effect of it, not many inter-country adoptions will take place. That said, it's not helpful creating an Us versus Them atmosphere. You may find much more understanding for your cause, which I do support, by reaching out to people who may not necessarily agree with you 100%.

When we started this website, I was very reluctant to engage in conversation with adoptive parents and for the first year and a half adoptive parents mostly stayed away. Over time I found out there are quite a few out there who are equally appalled by the system as it operates as I am. So I learned to deal with different perspectives and learned to work together with people, I didn't want to see on this website when we first started.

The result: many of the abuse cases and child trafficking cases we have archived were added by an adoptive parents, who was just as driven to expose the corruption and mal-practices as I am. Had I stayed within my own safe cocoon, thinking in Us versus Them terms, this website would not have the quality it now has.

Things are not always black and white, that creates a false image of the situation. In the case of Julia, the children she adopted were being stolen, that is a situation she had to deal with and her children had to deal with. The fact that they were stolen doesn't mean she has been a bad parent to them. The fact some adoptions work out terribly, doesn't mean all adoptions work out terribly.

People deal with the situation they are confronted with and when I compare Julia's story to that of adoptive parents that go into hiding because they learned their child had been stolen, I think Julia did the right thing. As you say yourself the damage was already done and with that an important lesson about inter-country adoption can be learned, but that doesn't mean there shouldn't be a humane solution to the situation arisen.

Children do bond, they do find a way to make something of their life and you simply can't take that away just to correct the record.

Widening the circle

I have often thought those wanting to push the adoption agenda must love it when two or more sides of the "adoption triad" go-off on and against one another.  What that "debate" does is simple -- it helps create a distraction so more "voices" can become involved and insert their well-versed opinions whilst corrupt agencies and politicians can continue to do their business (as usual).  The irony being, more unethical and dangerous placements will be taking place as members of the foster/adoption community argue over what's best for the child.  That reads like insanity, doesn't it?

If real child placement reform is going to take place, the Us against Them mentality must accept a dramatic shift.  Those touched by foster care and adoption MUST unite and go up against the corrupt systems hurting parents and children.  In my little mind, it is just that simple.

United we stand a real working chance, divided we look like fools.

 

I totally agree. I am sorry

I totally agree. I am sorry I am blunt, I don't know any other way to communicate. I am not trying to attack.. and I agree the damage is done. You can't send them back. And they are doing a hell of a lot more then most a-parents do when they discover the horrors of corruption in "child protective services" and "adoption".

I just want people to fully understand the destructiveness of ignorance. And the seriousness of the situation. Many youth after being in the system kill themselves and people don't understand why. Cause the industry goes to great lengths to hide it as it's bad for business. I understand that adoption could be a wonderful thing... if it was more then just a business and it was constantly monitored. But so many people refuse to see the side of the fence of adoption that gets us killed... If we were all on the same page... that would be a miracle. But as long as the pro-side refuses to listen to the horrors and kick us out of their sites and make fun of us for trying to communicate with them about what they are doing... nuthing will change.

So since people can't agree and it goes on hurting people then it should be shut down completely till the whole system gets a overhaul... Or everyone is putting the lives and futures of innocent children at just as much risk as abusive parents do. Adoption could have been such a wonderful thing if people could have kept their greed, discrimination against the poor and personal needs in check for the sake of the children. But It's human nature we corrupt everything we touch... And to be honest... Humans can't change.. that is why out of all the animals and organisms in our world the only thing we have in common with is viruses and diseases.

I think it makes me sad as we could be so much more... if the upper-class and those who call all the shots remembered what it means to be human instead of being rich and having power over others... As it seems a few generations ago that knowledge was lost to 90% of the population. And I am guilty of discrimination myself, I hate rich people. I would rather starve to death on the streets in the freezing cold then to fix a rich persons computer or lift a finger to help them...

But you have to ask where did I learn it from? Our leaders or so you call them. If I know your poor I will fix your computer for free. I will do anything I can to help you.. as the rich have abandoned the rest of us and left us for dead.. while they make laws that seem to only affect us, while they make fun of us at city hall meetings. ( I have seen it time and time again) Or as kids beg for change on the streets and the rich send the police to beat them and scare them from wanting to be in the city cores.. trying to hide the mess they created with their sheer and utter stupidity. I was rich once... I got so disgusted with myself I gave everything away and slept in a cardboard box for 4 years just so I could remember where I came from and to ensure I never forget again. I am poor now because I choose to be. rich prosper while the poor suffer like animals... And to be honest.. I am more disgusted with the poor for sitting their like a bunch of cry babies takign it up the ass then to stand up and do what needs to be done to make sure we are all treated equal as the laws say we are supposed to be.

Adoption is a business run by the rich.. and protected by the rich. I have had the system try to lock me away permanently for telling my story about what it's like being sold to pedophile by my own government. For trying to show others these are not leaders they are cowards and scum... but in the end it's because that is what they choose to be. but then again the poor for the most part and just as much cowards for not standing up for themselves and fighting to make the government and upper-class respect the same laws the rest of us are forced to.

They use threats of violence isolation, imprisonment.. but if your rich it seem to be proven over and over they are exempt fro the same laws the rest of us have to follow. Child protection foster care and adoption are a prime example... they can victimize people to make a quick buck but we the poor can't? See something about that just don't sit right.. but the rich have goons they call police to enforce their dictatorship. You can think I am nuts for what I say. I could care less.. as this is something millions of us are thinking but are to scared to say.. and after seeing what the government is willing to do to people like me for saying it and standing up to the gestapo shit bags.... I can't honestly blame them. I will never be able to work with the proside.. not after selling me and other children to pedophiles etc.. it be like asking you to work with the guy who raped you to build a woman's rape center with you.. it's simply rediculas..

My heart breaks, yet it is SOOO full!

I am not trying to attack.. and I agree the damage is done. You can't send them back. And they are doing a hell of a lot more then most a-parents do when they discover the horrors of corruption in "child protective services" and "adoption".

I just want people to fully understand the destructiveness of ignorance. And the seriousness of the situation. Many youth after being in the system kill themselves and people don't understand why.

Nothing makes me happier yet sadder when real people realize the real truth.  [I thank and praise you Big B for taking a moment to seek a softer, more diplomatic, side!!!  Well done, my sweet distant friend!]

Those involving themselves in the child placement system MUST recognize just how serious all these choices in (future) placement is.

If they don't, more trouble will soon be seen.

Us vs Them

I appreciate the opportunity to join in the discussions here, Neils.  I've found conversations with people who have been labelled as "angry adoptees" to sometimes be the most enlightening. I appreciate the friendships I've made with fellow adoptive parents but I've learned more through being challenged by those who had a different perspective. Often, they managed to add to my knowledge and shift my views.
I am so glad I didn't follow the majority of aparents on the IChild (Indian Child) adoption mailing list, who refused to engage in discussions with Arun Dohle. Instead, I occasionally made contact with Arun and found him quite willing to discuss issues, even though we didn't always agree.
When we suspected things may be awry in our youngest children's adoption, Arun became our invaluable ally. Not only did he make our search possible through his incredible depth of knowledge of the Indian adoption system, but he also showed more understanding of our emotional turmoil than many adoptive parents - who didn't want to hear anything "negative" about adoption. The most vicious attacks on us came from other adoptive parents. It intrigued me that people who most strongly pushed the positive aspects of adoption, seemed to react as if adoption was actually a fragile concept that couldn't stand up to scrutiny or challenge.

Angry adoptees

Oh the label "angry adoptee" is easily pushed on each adoptee that speaks out about the negative sides of adoption, as if that anger somehow invalidates the issues being forwarded. I see that as part of some sort of kill-the-messenger-syndrome. For some everything is great as long as the gravy train keeps running.

I see those viscious attacks too and they are even more often directed to adoptive parents who speak out against the adoption industry than they are geared towards "angry adoptees". AP's who speak out against adoption practices are seen as traitors, while "angry adoptees" can easily be dismissed. 

I see various underlying reasons for that. First of all there is the age-old gratitude aspect. How dare an adoptee not be grateful being saved? Another aspect I see is the notion of the "angry adoptee" as being a damaged bag of goods, something adoptive parents were not able to mend. Finally "angry adoptees" are not in the same in-group as adopters, creating an Us versus Them mentality.

That latter issue I see among adoptees too. The in-group of adoptees is not always open to discussion with adoptive parents and that's when I urge my fellow adoptees to do so. If, as adoptees, we want to see things change, we need to choose our battles wisely. It's not smart, nor right, to attack each adopter. Surprising to me, I found out there are some very active in getting things changed, some are passively in agreement with the need for change, and then there are those that rather not see things change and keep business as usual.

That last group, unfortunately is big, as your statement about Arun Dohle in relation to IChild demonstrates. I know Arun personally, met him on several occassions, and I know him as a passionate man, but also as a man who wants to engage with everybody willing to work towards real positive change in adoption.

The same is true for Kerry, who introduced me to the issue of abuse in adoptive families. I see her words have often been dismissed as those of an "angry adoptee", while I know Kerry as a woman, very passionate about this issue, who wants the world to know that not all adoptive families are as great as many are lead to believe.

That dismissal comes at a price. Each year, again many home studies are not made the way they should be, and as a result each year several children are adopted by completely unsuitable, dangerous or predatory adopters. That is a very inconvenient truth for many, who don't want to see anything changed, but it is the truth nevertheless.

The truth about child stealing, coercion, abuse in adoptive families, it all needs to be put out and to do so we need the involvement of everyone involved in adoption. It would be stupid to dismiss any possible ally in our struggle to change the adoption system.

Choosing sides

We weren't adopting children who were in high demand. We believed we would be adopting the type of children that an orphanage was struggling to place. What I didn't know then, was that I couldn't put any faith in the Indian government or Indian courts. We believed the long, slow legal process of adopting from India - which took over 20 months from accepting the referral of our children - would protect everyone. We were wrong ... but it wasn't as if we had ignored any warning signs.

In hind-sight, do you think there was anything your own government could have done to prevent this "confusion" from happening?  [I tend to believe in situations like this more than one government official is on the side of increasing adoptions, no matter what the cost is to human life.]

Meanwhile, onto other adoption issues, what are your thoughts/opinion regarding fellow Aussie Deborra-Lee Furness and her campaign to shorten the waiting period for an adopted child?

Deborra-Lee Furness and her

Deborra-Lee Furness and her campaign to shorten the waiting period for an adopted child?

Well of course they want to speed it up.... much of the profit is lost in the waiting game... The "Fee" for adoption as chewed up by the long waits. If it is speed up these child trafficking scum bags get way more of the profit. Really would anyone expect less from these kinds of people?

"No really we want it to be simpler for parents to adopt, screw doing it properly.. this is costing us alot"

That was about all I understood from their ramblings... I tell you the adoption industry has some of the most talented con-artists going. I mean how else could you make child trafficking a "normal" thing. Money does funny things to people... but the need for a child does much more funny things... in comparison.

In hind-sight

In hind-sight, no - I can't see what my government could have done to stop this from happening. Events of the past few years have made it clear that we cannot depend on the Indian central authority, CARA, to do their job of overseeing adoptions. India is a Hague country but it has failed repeatedly to maintain the minimum standard required by the Hague. However, I don't know how my government could have been aware of that situation in the mid 1990s - before the Indian adoption scandals hit the press and before the Hague Convention operated in either country. One of the reasons it is now more obvious is because of the two cases of child trafficking that have been brought to the Australian government's attention (ours and another case) and the apparent failure of the Indian authorities to deal with these cases, even after our government sent repeated "please explain" letters and travelled to Delhi to discuss the cases in person.

Deborra-Lee Furness! Where do I start? I am not in favour of her aims or her methods. She has disregarded the opinions of the adult adoptee community in Australia, and I would distance myself from her campaign on that point alone. I hate the name of her group "Orphan Angels" - which is demeaning and reeks of a saviour mentality. If her aim to "speed up" adoptions means fewer safeguards, the introduction of private adoptions, pre-birth consents, PAPs in the delivery room or any similar changes - then I am dead against her.

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