Inspired by stories shared by birth parents, adoptive parents, and adult adoptees, PPL explores the dark side of adoption, and the consequences illegal and unethical actions have on future family-life and the well-being of those affected by adoption.
Too many children are placed for the benefit of agencies and based on the demands of prospective adoptive parents.
Too many children are placed in inappropriate homes because the business interests of adoption agencies have higher priority than the safety of children.
PPL documents and archives cases where the child placement system did not work in the best interest of the child and we offer a platform for those who want to express their thoughts and feelings about the dark side of child adoption.
Korean-born Adam Crapser spent Thursday morning, his 40th birthday, in a U.S. immigration courtroom in Portland, where the government began what is expected to be a long and complicated fight to deport him from the only country he knows.
Crapser, a Vancouver resident, told reporters after a brief court appearance that he remembers the eruption of Mount St. Helens but not the orphanage from where he was adopted.
"I'm not garbage," he told reporters outside the Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt Federal Building. "I don't think human beings are disposable."
Immigration Judge Michael H. Bennett, a balding man with a beatific smile, heard a series of routine cases Thursday - foreign-born residents facing deportation - but there is almost nothing routine about Crapser's story.
He was three years old when he and his sister were adopted from South Korea then split up. Crapser's adoptive parents were abusive and never filed papers that would make him a U.S. citizen.
This past February, U.S. officers knocked on an apartment door in Vancouver, Wash., looking for a man named Adam Crapser. A 39-year-old former barbershop owner and auto-insurance claims estimator, Crapser was now the married stay-at-home father of three children, with another baby on the way. He lived a mostly quiet life, playing the guitar and ukulele, looking after a rescue dog and taking his children to the park and the science museum. But the ICE agents at the door were there to inform him that the agency was opening deportation proceedings that could send him to South Korea.
Crapser was born Shin Song Hyuk, to a mother described in his adoption papers as “Amerasian.” When Crapser was 3, he and his older sister were abandoned and ended up at an orphanage three hours outside of Seoul. A worker there noted that Crapser cried often, played alone and wanted his sister in his sight at all times. After five months, he was on his way to a new home in the United States, along with his sister and a handful of possessions: a pair of green rubber shoes, a Korean-language Bible and a worn stuffed dog.
According to five former workers at Growing God's Kingdom, the West Fork preschool operated by Rep. Justin Harris and his wife, Marsha Harris, the couple's two young adopted daughters were often signed in at the school on days when they were not actually in attendance.
The workers contacted the Times independently of one another after reading our initial March 5 story that revealed the two girls — we've started identifying them by the pseudonyms "Mary" and "Annie" — were sent by the Harrises to live with another family only about seven months after their adoption was finalized. They were ages 5 and 3 at the time they were "rehomed" in late 2013. Mary, the 5-year-old, was then sexually abused by the father at the new home, Eric C. Francis, before the sisters were moved to a third family in early 2014.
Casey and Sandy Parsons were sentenced to federal prison Friday for financial schemes that included cashing monthly assistance checks of $634 for Erica Parsons more than a year after the girl disappeared.
Erica’s adoptive father, Sandy Parsons, was sentenced to 8 years. Her adoptive mother, Casey Parsons, was sentenced to 10 years.
They were sentenced in Winston-Salem by U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder, who said he gave the couple stiffer sentences after testimony last month described the couple’s cruel treatment of Erica, who was an infant when she came to the Parsons household in Rowan County and 13 years old when she vanished in 2011.
“I have sentenced close to 1,000 people,” Schroeder said during the 2 ½ -hour hearing. “I can’t think of a case that has troubled me more.”
The couple did not speak in court. They were ordered into custody immediately, even though their attorneys had asked that they be allowed to report to prison on their own. The judge said he could not be sure they wouldn’t pose a threat to other people, based on what they did to Erica.
A former Casper High School librarian and her husband are both accused of mistreating one of their adopted children.
Roberta Shane has been charged with one count of child abuse by mental injury, while Joseph Shane has been charged with one count of aiding or abetting child abuse.
On Tuesday March 24th, a Circuit Court Judge ruled that prosecutors had met their probable cause burden and bound them over to district court.
Through interviews with a school social worker, investigators with the Casper Police Department say from May 2012 through April 2014, the now 11-year old victim had been punished in inappropriate ways.
They included sleeping on a cot smaller than her in a laundry room, only being allowed to wear certain types of clothes when in trouble, and being locked in the garage when the rest of the family leaves the house.
The victim added that when in the garage, she would given a roll of toilet paper and if she needed to use the bathroom, she would have to go use a tree in the backyard, since the door from the garage to the house was locked.
LONOKE COUNTY, AR -- A Lonoke County foster parent, who adopted three children with her husband, is serving prison time for beating one of the kids with a vacuum cleaner attachment.
The children's biological aunt, Amber Butera, said, "I cannot bear falling to sleep because I know those kids could be...that they could be hurting."
Last month, a judge sentenced Jacqueline Ferguson to six years in prison for domestic battery in the second degree. Another foster child -- in the home at the time -- brought the abuse to the attention of the Arkansas Department of Human Services.
Kayla McPherson, the children's biological mother, said, "It hurts really bad to know I wasn't able to save them from that."
The state terminated her parental rights a couple years ago.
McPherson said, "We want them to know we love them very much and we are fighting for them."
While the kids were in foster care, McPherson says she told her caseworker about bumps and bruises found on her children. She says there were even photos taken months before the adoption went through...but she says nothing was done.
LANCASTER, Ohio — A Fairfield County couple accused of child abuse last year for locking their 15-year-old adopted daughter out of the house and making her sleep in a backyard shed have been sentenced to probation.
Fairfield County Municipal Court acting Judge James Fais sentenced Douglas and Kim Sherman to 180 days in jail each, which was suspended for two years on probation.
They also agreed to give up their parental rights and permanently release the girl to the custody of Child Protective Services, and not to have any contact with her.
They were sentenced on Friday after they took a negotiated plea agreement and pleaded no contest to endangering children, a first-degree misdemeanor, court records show.
Mr. Sherman, 64, and Mrs. Sherman, 61, of 10200 Lithopolis Rd. in Bloom Township, initially were charged with child endangering as a felony, but prosecutors said there was no evidence that the girl had been seriously physically harmed.
BAD AXE – A couple accused of keeping their 19-year-old adopted son in a cage at their home in rural Michigan have been sentenced to 11 months behind bars.
WNEM-TV reports Karen and Timothy Tolin also were ordered Tuesday to serve two years of probation.
They earlier pleaded no contest to unlawful imprisonment in a Huron County court. In exchange, prosecutors dropped a charge of vulnerable adult abuse against each of them. A no contest plea isn’t an admission of guilt but is treated as such for sentencing.
A deputy answering an Oct. 20 civil dispute call found the 19-year-old in a bedroom at the home in Paris Township, about 90 miles north of Detroit. Authorities also removed three adults and two children from the home, which wasn’t a licensed care facility.
2 p.m. UPDATE – Eric Douglas Corcoran and his wife, Angela Ann Corcoran, were arraigned this morning and are being held in the Livingston County Jail on a $500,000 bond.
The couple return to District Court on March 24 for an exam conference and March 31 for a probable cause hearing to determine if the cases head to Circuit Court for trial.
It was not immediately known if the couple has attorneys.
The Livingston County prosecutor's office filed a felony complaint against a Deerfield Township couple accused of mentally and emotionally abusing their 16-year-old adopted son who created a family for himself using stuffed animals.
Livingston County District Court records show that a warrant has been authorized for Eric Corcoran and Angela "Angie" Corcoran for second-degree child abuse for alleged emotional and mental abuse against their former adopted son.
Messages to the couple were not immediately returned today. It is unknown if they have an attorney.
Prosecutor William Vailliencourt declined today to comment, citing the ongoing criminal case.
LITTLE ROCK, AR - A state representative under fire for rehoming his adopted daughters with another family has blamed lack of support from the Arkansas Department of Human Services as the reason the children were rehomed. According to DHS records, Harris has received more than $4 million in public funds from DHS programs through his preschool since 2010.
State Representative Justin Harris, R-West Fork, rehomed his children with another NWA family after claiming behavior issues made it unsafe for his other children to live with the girls. One of the girls was later molested by Eric Cameron Francis, the man Harris sent the girls to live with. Francis was convicted in late 2014. Harris claimed that DHS had threatened him with child abandonment charges and was not supportive in his efforts to deal with the girls' behavior issues.
Citing the privacy of the children involved, DHS has said it cannot comment on the adoption or the claims Harris has made. Other individuals who know the girls and had served as foster parents for them contest Harris's descriptions and say Harris thwarted their offers for help.
State Rep. Justin Harris (R-West Fork) used photos of a foster child his family was planning to adopt during his 2012 re-election campaign. The state Department of Human Services expressly prohibits the public use of photos or any other media that would compromise a foster child's anonymity.
Asked whether the Department of Human Services was aware Harris was using a foster child in campaign materials, DHS spokesperson Amy Webb said she couldn't comment specifically on Harris, but speaking generally, she said the agency would not allow such use.
"If we were made aware of a situation like you described, we would immediately call the foster or pre-adoptive parent and tell him to discontinue using the picture on any campaign material. We would not be comfortable with a foster child’s picture being used during a campaign. [DHS's Office of Policy and Legal Services, which according to department rules, has to approve public use of any media featuring a foster child] would not agree to that either."
A reader from Northwest Arkansas passes along this series of screenshots from a Facebook exchange with Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin about the adoption and "rehoming" of two young girls adopted by Rep. Justin Harris (R-West Fork), which was the subject of our cover story this week.
The reader, who asked to remain anonymous, told me she does not know Martin and has never personally interacted with him in the past, but when a mutual Facebook friend posted the Arkansas Times story, she (the reader) became drawn into a back-and-forth with the Secretary of State.
She said she thinks Harris should resign and criticized him for his "self-pity" and refusal to accept blame. But, she also said (like many others who have responded to this story) that she has little faith in DHS and can believe their account may not be the whole truth.
Enter Martin. He replied to the reader's comment, saying she was "making a judgement based upon misinformation by a vile socialist anti-Christian propaganda blog about one of the most righteous seeming, humble, and gentle men I have ever met in my life."
Rep. Justin Harris blames DHS for the fallout related to his adoption of three young girls, but sources familiar with the situation contradict his story and paint a troubling picture of the adoption process and the girls' time in the Harris household.
By Benjamin Hardy
An emotional Rep. Justin Harris (R-West Fork), his wife at his side, told reporters at a press conference last week that he sent his two adopted daughters to live with another family, where one of them was later sexually abused, because he would have faced abandonment charges by the state.