Preview: The Lost Children

from: CBS news

"48 Hours" Investigation: Families are Torn Apart in One of the Largest Foreign Adoption Scams in U.S. History

(CBS) CBS News will present, "The Lost Children," a "48 Hours" special, on Saturday, Dec. 12 at 10 p.m. ET/PT - the clmination of a two-year investigation by "48 Hours" into one of the largest foreign adoption scams in U.S. history.

Anchored by "48 Hours" correspondent Maureen Maher, who herself was adopted, "The Lost Children" profiles three families - Patti Sawyer, Mike and Kari Nyberg, and Elizabeth and Gary Muenzler - who adopted children from the South Pacific island of Samoa through the Utah-based Focus On Children adoption agency, only to face a heartbreaking decision years later.

"There exists a common goal for me as an adoptee and as a journalist, which is to find the truth,? says Maher. "I know from my own personal experience the challenge adopted children face in learning where they came from and determining their own identity."

"For the last two years, it has been a privilege, personally and professionally, to be a part of these emotional journeys. There is little room for speculation about the immense difficulties these children and their families face as they try to determine who they are and where they belong."

Since it was started in 1994 by Scott and Karen Banks, Focus on Children had placed children from nine different countries in American homes, so when Sawyer, the Nybergs and the Muenzlers were each looking to adopt a child, they turned to the agency, which had recently set up a program in Samoa. Told that the kids were orphans who had been living in the agency?s orphanage in Samoa, after being abandoned by their biological parents, the three American families fully embraced their adopted girls as their own, unaware of a promise made half a world away.

The Samoan parents, all of whom were poor and uneducated, believed they had signed their children up for an international foster program, in which they would be able to stay in close touch with their children, who would then be returned at the age of 18.

"They were basically kidnapped," says U.S. State Department Special Agent Pat Durkin about the children. "This couple exploited these families?They were in it for the money."

For the first time, Dan Wakefield, Focus on Children?s key man on the ground in Samoa, speaks about his role in a 48 Hours exclusive, claiming he handed over 100 children to American parents. Thirty-seven of these adoptions would become the focus of a State Department investigation that would bring down the agency.

"I was following orders. I was basically a cowboy rounding up cattle," says Wakefield. "[The Samoan families] knew what the deal was."

With the three children each torn between two cultures, "The Lost Children" documents the difficult choices their adoptive families face. Do they return their child to her family in Samoa or do they keep the child, knowing that her family never really gave her up?

Watch a preview of the broadcast


A Samoan Cattle Drive of "non-orphans" Focus on Children adopti

Well, wasn't it a interesting quote from Mr. Dan Wakefiled.

Did I read it right? Did he say it was a "cattle drive?

Yes he did.

What is wrong with people who liken children or infants, to cattle. Is it because they were "fake orphans" and thus you can call and treat them like cattle. Or was it because these children were a mere business venture and cattle. was the "cash cow"
To read that statement was shocking.

But then again these are the same people who lied to birth mothers and AP's telling them big whoopers lies from where the kids came from to lying about their paper work. Oh, yes, and these same adoption agency owners, while running a shanty adoption business in Western Samoa, found a spot to leave forever two of their own adopted chidren, in Samoa.

So they were smuggling kids/cattle out and bringing in their own adopted kids to be left behind, without paperwork to ever get off the island. Why am I not surprised.

I recently heard that there were actually real live "pigs" in the nanny house bath tub" right along with the "orphan cattle children"
Wonder why, they didn't call it a "sow" or "pig" or "swine" round-up.

Bet you do not see the smug faces of the Bank's on 48 Hours. They are too busy blaming Wakefield for their dirty work.

the entire thing fucked up shit

lets steal 100 children from NYC and sell them to rich ass holes in California and see what happens....

this whole case is a load of shit;

Samoan "fishing pond" that the Banks duo raped

Dan Wakefield said that the Banks called Western Samoa their "fishing pond".

A "fishing pond" of innocent people who as shown on 48 Hours, did not speak English, as their was always an interpreter, asking and answering the questions for them. So Wakefield was a mormon missionary on the island in his late teens. He knew the people and the customs.

The Banks who wanted to expand their adoption agency revenue used Wakefield to "bait the fishing lines" with children.

48 Hours forgot to tell the viewers that the Focus on Children adoption agency owners are members of the mormon church, so is Wakefield and so are many of their Samoa recipients of the "guppies" that were pulled from the lucrative "fishing pond".

So many of the comments on 48 Hours last night expressed that the children need to be returned to their "fishing hole". Yet, only one had the balls to do what was the decent thing to do. The lame excuses that the others said about the "Samoan child" was at home in the States was a bunch of mormon muck muck.

So now we go to "rounding up cattle" to pulling "guppies out of the Samoan fishing pond".

Is there such a thing as a good picture of the Banks?

Read the comments on 48 hours website

If you want a real eye opener read the comments on their site for the show

Click on "The Lost Children" interesting comments from Elizabeth Muensler's friends.

Around 80 more families

And this show only highlighted three families. In total there are around 80 stories that haven't been told.


For those keeping count or interest, think about the religious interest behind adoption.

Numbers "saved" count.

Scary, isn't it?

The entire thing fucked up shit

You are pissed and so am I.
But the sad part is, so many Canadians and citizens of other countries like the Netherlands adopt the US children....meanwhile naive Americans conned into an elaborate Adoption Agency marketing scheme travel 4,000 miles away to adopt.
Sad but very true, I have posted this link to the US health and human services, there is even some photo listings available of American children.

Pound Pup Legacy