China To Change Adoption Policies After Tenn. Case
More Regular, Lengthy Reports Likely For Future Adoptions
Reported by Caroline Moses
The case of a Mount Juliet couple accused of abusing and killing their adopted child is now sparking an international response.
China, the country where Deborah and Steven Mark adopted their child from, may now change the way children can come to this country. It's the second time in a matter of months that a Tennessee family's behavior prompts international adoption sanctions.
Inside a Mount Juliet home, law enforcement say 4-year-old Kairissa Mark was severely beaten and abused from head to toe by her adoptive mother, Lebanon pediatrician Deborah Mark.
Deborah Mark and her husband, Steven Mark, had adopted Kairissa from China in April, less than four months before police found their new daughter dead.
Deborah and Steven Mark now faces charges in the child's death.
“It should be a reaction to what has occurred because we want to make sure we are doing our best practice, and doing home studies, and preparing families for an adoption,” said Julie Bolles with Catholic Charities.
No one will say who performed the Marks' home study, which decides if they would be fit parents. But whichever agency it was may now be "black listed" from future adoptions with China.
In response to this latest incident, the China Center of Adoptive Affairs now plans to change their policies with American families, first by possibly stopping work with problematic agencies, then by increasing the number of post adoption supervisory visits.
Right now, China's policy requires a family visit after six months of adoption. The Mount Juliet tragedy happened after less than four months.
“Naturally a situation that occurs like this makes them question their current practice,” said Bolles.
International adoption expert Julie Bolles recommends all countries require supervisory visits within the first month of adoption.
“I do think it puts us in the limelight, and I think as an adoption practitioner in the state it just makes me more aware and more diligent,” Bolles.
This latest adoption shake-up comes after an earlier incident in Shelbyville, Tenn., where nurse Torry Hansen sent her adopted son back to Russia alone. That prompted Russia to temporarily ban all U.S. adoptions.
“For two incidents to happen in the state on Tennessee this close together, that’s just been really unfortunate,” said Bolles.
China has not yet officially determined what the new adoption regulations will be. But adoption officials do now confirm there will be more regular and complete reporting, along with serious penalties for failure to follow their guidelines.