China To Change Adoption Policies After Tenn. Case

Date: 2010-08-03
Source: WSMV

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.



Needs to recognize that these children are plagued with problems before selling them to PAPs. Seriously, what was done to this child is beyond horrific. While China does ahve some of the strictest rules when it comes to PAPs adopting their children, they fail gravely in admitting that these kids have problems from being institutionalzed.

Between that and disillusioned PAPs that think they can "love these problems away" is a true recipe for disaster. Agencies are to fault as well for not properly preparing APs and minimizing the degree of  what is considered special need.  ANY child that has been institutionalzed is bound to be considered special needs..

Not. Good. Enough.

I agree with many of the things you post. 

Agencies are to fault as well for not properly preparing APs and minimizing the degree of  what is considered special need.

Many adoption agencies either fail to provide PAPs pertinent FACTS, (like a child was sexually abused or has serious extensive expensive medical issues), or they minimize those larger disturbing facts to smaller less serious concerns, before an adoption agreement is made.   Interestingly enough, many of these same adoption agencies will play a Do-Not-Tell-The-Whole-Truth game with First-Parents, too.  Simply put, the adoption agency will fail to provide first-parent simple necessary facts that relate to the legal nature of adoption.  Therefore, a first-parent may agree to send his/her child far far away, so he/she may receive a good education and live in an American (adoptive) home, but that does not mean that same parent would agree to give-up all rights to see or hear from that child again, if he/she truly understood the legal framework that surrounds and defines Adoption, as it exists.  To give perspective, and show just how unethical this very common practice between agency and consenting adult really is, consider how legally obtained "permission to proceed" agreements are obtained through the US health-care system.  As standard medical practice dictates, before any invasive/surgical (life altering) procedure takes place, a patient/legal guardian must sign a written consent form.  Before this document can be signed, the doctor has a moral and legal obligation to discuss all risks and benefits of the proposed plan to the consenting party.  In addition, all other treatment/payment options must be presented as alternatives, too.  Once all the pertinent facts are presented to the patient/legal guardian, that individual has the right to agree with the doctor-proposed plan OR refuse, opting for a new and different plan.  This agreement is known as Informed Consent.   Imagine if this standard applied to all adoptions and adoption agencies, in and out of America.  [How many paid practitioners/agency executives in Adoptionland could/should be sued for gross negligence?]

Between that and disillusioned PAPs that think they can "love these problems away" is a true recipe for disaster.

Ah, imagine the home-study that reports:  "PAP states, 'love can heal all wounds'.  A bit too ideal and delusional to make it as a solid, stable parent-figure... donchya think?  Let's see where forced love, forced bonding and forced teaching/discipline takes the poor pitiful bastard adoptee who doesn't seem to respond well to "love".  Just for kicks, let's try this new-age 'recipe' found in a variety of different homes...

  • Find needy insecure Aparent who requires a loving child to make all past hurts and serious problems go away.
  • Find hurt, traumatized child who has no one to love, and no responsible adult protection.
  • Pair those two together, and call it Forever Family.
  • Ignore the effects trauma, abuse, and deprivation have on a child trying to recover from said life-events.
  • Focus only on the desires of the insecure (pathological?) parent-figure in desperate need to correct and heal 'others'.
  • Add quack therapist who thinks smothering a child with a blanket (for re-birthing) or pressing full adult body weight to restrain a child (for holding) is a good idea...
  • OR add a religious nut-cake who thinks pain, (like beatings, food deprivation, isolation, or hot pepper sauce), is a necessary tool to help teach and re-train.
  • Mix on a daily/weekly basis, giving great honor and respect (even financial compensation) to the person teaching the already misguided parent-figure a very twisted version of 'No pain, no gain".
  • Do not stop to see if significant long-term damage to the child is being done.
  • Watch the results.  [Hint:  you will find like-results/adoption disasters, here:  Abuse Cases
  • Pretend it's all good.

I consider a delusional, yet grossly determined Aparent one with Special Needs, too.... especially if that "special" individual came from a dysfunctional family.  As a result, I'm thinking basic math ought to be applied when Home Study and A.candidate are being considered:   Special Needs Aparent + Special Needs Achild = not a good mix 


Brilliant post Kerry.

Humble thanks

... putting my thoughts into words isn't always easy. 


Informed consent

I like the informed consent angle you brought into the discussion.

When it comes to adoption, there actually are two consents to be given, one is on behalf of the child, that it is in the child's best interest to be adopted. The other is the consent of the prospective adopters to the adoption. In both cases lots of things go wrong.

Relinquishment papers are usually the only form of consent on behalf of the child, but those papers are signed under unknown conditions. There is no independent third party who verifies that the reliquishing parent(s) actually understand what they are signing. Ideally reliquishment should be a judicial decision, taken before any adoption proceedings start. That way a judge can verify that the relinquishing party understands the consequences of their decision.

In many cases there is no actual relinquisment by the child's biological family, but the child is declared abandoned. There are various administrative tricks to declare a child abandoned even when the biological parents are known to be alive. Once a child is declared abandoned, there really is no longer a party looking after the best interest of the child. Usually placement decisions are made by staff of orphanages with ties to the adoption industry. Where informed consent on behalf of the child is possible when parents activily relinquish, no such consent exists when the child is declared abandoned.

The other form of consent, the acceptance of prospective adopters of the child offered, is also rife with problems. Prospective adopters are often not correctly informed about medical conditions; the child's history is sometimes even entirely made up.

This is really an interesting point of view and one that demonstrates how far removed adoption practices are from something that can be called ethical. As long as there are no proper adoption standards and ways to enforce those standards, the best interest of the child can not be served. Ironically the adoption industry is eating itself in the mean time. The number of inter-country adoptions are now half of what they were six years ago. If the industry were smart it would call for strict adoption standards, it's not only the right thing to do, it's also business clever to do so.

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