Adoptive parents decry DHS' long, intrusive process

Last April, a month away from finalizing the adoption of four foster children, Amy Wilson was making Easter dinner when a knock came at the door.

By Michael Overall

March 13, 2011 / tulsaworld.com

After nearly two years of foster parenting. After months of home visits, court hearings, paperwork glitches and rescheduled appointments. After borrowing money to hire an attorney and asking a state senator to intervene.

After all that, Wilson had to drop everything to let a court-appointed volunteer make yet another surprise inspection.

She wanted to scream. Or cry.

"It's not any one thing they do to you," she explains. "It's a hundred little things that add up to making you feel intimidated and harassed, like you've done something wrong by asking to adopt these precious little children who need a home."

Off the record, a lot of families complain that state officials make the process too long, too tiresome and too intrusive - in effect, discouraging people from going through with adoptions.

The Wilsons are going public with their experience because "we don't want other families to have to go through what we did," she says.

Officials allegedly skipped meetings and then blamed the family for canceling.

Officials investigated the Wilsons for leaving the children in "cold bedrooms," even though the family's west Tulsa home is only 7 years old and in good condition.

One official - a court-appointed volunteer - warned the family that she often drove by the home without stopping.

Taken individually, the complaints might seem minor. But one after the other, they added up to a tremendous burden on her family, Wilson says.

"We basically felt stalked, like every little thing we did was under scrutiny," Wilson says. "I couldn't sleep."

Lives turned upside-down

Midway through summer 2008, Amy and Terry Wilson had no children.

By the end of September, a mere three months later, they had four children, all still in diapers, with a fifth baby on the way.

The couple had signed up to adopt a newborn through a Tulsa nonprofit called Crisis Pregnancy Outreach.

In the meantime, however, the Oklahoma Department of Human Services took custody of three young children of Amy Wilson's cousin in Oklahoma County. The Wilsons offered to serve as foster parents, assuming their own adoption process would drag out for months or even years.

But they whizzed through the private adoption after all, giving them a child of their own in addition to three foster children.

And guess what? Her cousin was pregnant again, with a baby boy who would go straight into foster care as soon as he was born - giving the Wilsons child No. 5.

"Our lives turned upside-down," Amy Wilson says. "And we wouldn't have it any other way."

Feeling 'like criminals'

The birth parents relinquished all rights in September 2009, clearing the way for Amy and Terry Wilson to adopt the four foster children, in addition to the unrelated private adoption that was already finalized.

By then, however, they were already clashing with Oklahoma County DHS and the Court Appointed Special Advocate, or CASA.

The four foster children had not received all the vaccinations that most kids have had by their age, so state officials set up an aggressive schedule to get the shots up to date.

A 2-year-old daughter, for example, was set to receive 27 vaccines in 11 months.

"We were never opposed to the vaccinations," Amy Wilson says, "only to the quick timeline."

Officials eventually got their way, and the children got the shots.

"But our relationship with DHS was never the same," Wilson says.

Officials piled on complaints, she says.

"Anything they could come up with - missing a doctor's appointment, even though it was rescheduled and we went. Not taking the kids to therapy, even though the therapist was ill and we were trying to get into another therapist."

By February 2010, the Wilsons believed DHS and CASA wanted to remove the children and scuttle the adoption, so they borrowed money from family members and hired an attorney.

It worked out for them in the end, with the adoptions being finalized last spring.

But that's not the point, Wilson says.

"You enter a system where the only way out is to quit, but to quit means putting the kids back into the system.

"Instead of treating us like volunteers who are trying to help the kids, foster parents are made to feel like criminals under investigation."

'Speak up for the children'

As an adoptive parent herself, Deborah Goodman understands the frustration of working through the process.

As the adoption program administrator for DHS, she also appreciates why the process has to be so difficult.

It involves 27 hours of parenting classes, fingerprinting and background checks, income verification and family histories, home assessments and mental and physical checkups for everyone in the household, adults and children alike.

"We look at everything from A to Z," Goodman says. "The guidebook is more than 30 pages, and we always tell our people to think about what isn't in the book. Always ask the next question."

As thorough as the scrutiny is, fewer than 10 percent of adoptions fall through, with prospective parents starting the process but never finalizing it. Even then, it rarely - if ever - happens because the parents become fed up with the process, Goodman says.

"What we're looking for is a family that can meet the needs of the children. That's what it's all about - the children."

DHS has more than 2,000 children up for adoption.

About 300 children are available for adoption with no identified family to take them, Goodman says. The rest already have an "identified placement" with family members or foster parents.

"But we still have to look at that family and be sure it's the right place for the children," Goodman says.

"I know that can be quite a process to go through, but it's a necessary process."

Appointed by a judge and overseen by a national nonprofit group, CASA volunteers are supposed to look out for the children, even if that occasionally creates friction with the foster parents, officials say.

"They offer an independent, objective viewpoint," says Jennifer Hunter, a spokeswoman for CASA in Oklahoma. "They are the judge's eyes and ears outside the courtroom."

When disagreements emerge, CASA can request a "family team meeting" with the foster parents and DHS caseworkers, where "all sides can be heard," Hunter says.

Such a meeting happened at least once with the Wilson family. And as in that case, if a disagreement continues, a judge will ultimately settle the issue.

"A CASA volunteer is going to speak up for the children," Hunter says. "That is everyone's goal, to reach a conclusion that is best for the children."

Oklahoma DHS adoptions, by the numbers:
1,566
Adoptions finalized in fiscal 2010.

1,200
Foster children currently in "permanent custody."

900
Children with an "identified placement" with family members or foster parents.

300
Children available for adoption with no prospective families.

0

Ah the ignorance of some very special PAP's....

This type of article should illustrate just how little PAP's understand child welfare programs and the adoption industry, as both try to co-exist in the USA.

Sure, the private non-profits can quickly and swifly deliver an infant for adoption.  It's what they DO.  They sell babies to PAP's wanting a child.  There is very little altrusim in this act, given the fact the directors and social workers working on these quick deliveries get paid a decent "competative" salary each year they provide a social service through a licensed organization.  [Shall we review the many crimes done in the name of preventing abortion and infant adoption?  Shall we look into the federal funding given to infant adoption awareness programs?  Shall we review the salaries made by those with key positions in a "non-profit" organization?  Yes, let's be clear, infant adoption serves many before it serves the best interest the child and a parent "touched by adoption".]

So, let's not compare private infant adoption to foster-care adoption because they are two different animals -- two distinct business entities within child welfare services and the adoption industry, (which is global, in practice.)

Instead, let's try to educate Americans, and show them why adoption from foster care is so horrible,  It's not because the wait is too long, or the social workers are too invasive. 

Adoption from foster care and foster care services STINK because state agencies cannot  ensure child safety within the foster-care system.  As a result, these children are far more damaged than any decent person could ever imagine.  American adopters are simply NOT prepared to deal with the consequences of a very bad foster-care system.  In many ways, this type of after-math is far worse than the damage done to a child living in a foreign orphanage.

In the US, state agenices can not only NOT ensure child safety, these state agencies can't even use the funds given by the federal government properly. [See:  Misappropriation of TANF funds, then read proposals made to The President of the United States, back in 2008... and do the math, because this math equation becomes REALLY important later*.]

Each and every time a foster-adoptive parent complains about "invasive visits" like those made from CASA VOLUNTEERS, people need to be reminded of the lives and faces these advocates are trying to assist.  Remember Nubia Doctor?  Where would she be if a CASA volunteer told a judge, "I too have concerns about this home and these parents". 

There are too many cases of post-placement abuse, there are too many fostered/adopted child deaths, that could have been prevented, had an extra "inconvenient" visit or two was made to check on the status of the children put in-care.

Put this in context, when one considers the cost of therapy needed for the sexually abused foster/adopted child, or the damage done by over-medication in a foster home, or the rise in taxes because more Aging Out programs are needed and more prison-services are required to meet the growing demands of those who have been failed by the foster-care system.

Later* is when people pay for the impatience of adopters who simply do not THINK before they complain.

If you ask me, we need more CASA visits, not less.... and if that delays a formal adoption plan, so be it.  Studies prove time and time again, PREVENTION PAYS.

The #1 rule to each and and every adoption-plan should be real simple:  Child safety must come before the adopter's desire, and wish to be free from unwanted calls and visits.

Tulsa "non-profit" Crisis Pregnancy Outreach

Please, I hope you will review their information. http://www.crisispregnancyoutreach.org/about.shtml They are about helping women in crisis - NO ONE IS PAID AT ALL. IN fact, no one has ever received a salary. This is a TRUE non-profit. These volunteers want to help women who are in a crisis pregnancy to either parent OR adopt. This is one of the MOST WONDERFUL organizations I've been involved with. Not all adoption agencies are alike and this is the exception to the rule. None of the women are pushed to give their babies up for adoption and are helped with their needs and support to be able to parent. IF they choose to give their baby up for adoption, it is also THEIR choice how open they want the adoption to be and the adoptive parents are agreeable to that. This is about building families, whether biological or adoptive. I would even recommend that you call the director, Cheryl Bauman. Here's information about her: http://www.crisispregnancyoutreach.org/about_director.shtml

I hope you reconsider your thoughts about private adoption above since our experience was nothing like those you describe. Crisis Pregnancy Outreach should be commended for their work in the community to help women who need it. Praise the Lord for such great people to sacrifice their time & lives for others. CPO is an organization like that.

Personal ideology

Not all adoption agencies are in it for the money, though most have become very dependent on placing as many children as possible to meet pay-roll obligations.

There are however a few adoption agencies entirely run by volunteers, most of them founded by adoptive parents and largely Christian in nature.

While it is obvious that some of the agencies that truly are in it for the money, have serious ethical problems, those agencies that have no financial motivation can be just as bad.

Just look at the posts we made under the heading "orphan crusade". Some of the organizations involved in this misguided ideology to "save" as many orphans as possible, are really money making machines, while others are run with very little overhead. Yet both types of organizations are involved in the same misrepresentation of problems in both foreign countries and in the foster care system.

Money is not necessarily the only motivation to disregard the child's best interest. Personal ideology can be just as damaging.

Wow... "crisis intervention", at it's best

Thank you for the opportunity to discuss the practices done by members of an out-reach program that operates on a volunteer basis.

Crisis Pregnancy Outreach's comprehensive list of services developed as new seeds arose amidst the young women. For example, when a girl needed a place to live during her pregnancy, "host homes" began as the members of Christian Chapel opened their homes to provide a loving, family environment. When a girl needed items for setting up an apartment, the warehouse was formed.

Initially, adoption referrals were made when young women chose to place their children for adoption. It soon became evident that Crisis Pregnancy Outreach should become a Licensed Adoption Agency in order to facilitate open adoptions.

Crisis Pregnancy Outreach accomplishes everything with a team of dedicated volunteers. No one has ever received a salary.

[From:  Crisis Pregnancy Outreach:  About Us ]

As a Christian, myself, I have a difficult time understanding how any fellow-Christian can/will separate the bond between woman and child, created by God, just to make pro-lifers who wish to covet have a child, themselves, happy.  Hell, even Jesus got to live with his mother, Mary, the mother of ALL crisis-pregnancy stories!  The only thing that was missing in that picture was a father-figure, one who would provide for and protect mother and child for X amount of years.  If not for adoptive father, Joseph, who knows what would have happened to both mother and child.

The fact that staff-members are not paid for their "service" at Crisis Pregnancy Outreach, makes the outfit that much more disturbing to me.  [Do adopters have to pay anything?  Or are all their fees put towards pre and post natal care, with the newborn being the ultimate "thank you" for the financial assistance given to the scared mother  during her time of personal crisis?]

Perhaps I could respect such an agency more if there was more information about family preservation efforts, and less focus on the ultimate adoption-plan... but I'm quirky that way, given my own ugly infant adoption story.  (By all means, please ask, I'll be more than happy to share, in detail, and in private.)

In any case, both Crisis Pregnancy and Maternity Homes have a long sordid history, in and out of America.  One would hope in this day and age, in America, "crisis + pregnancy" did not have to equal relinquishment of parental rights.

There ARE church organizations that can get it right... all one has to do is open their eyes, and look beyond the adoption industry.  See:  Teen Mom Support... a program that is worthy of thanks and praise.

Crisis Pregnancy Outreach

I'm not sure I follow your line of thinking. Is it bad when people running non-profits are not paid, yet the above statement by the original poster said it's bad when they are paid. Which is it? And are yous saying adoption is bad?

There is a fee for those who adopt through CPO and the money goes to support their ministry to help young women. The fee is lower then most though, because of the lack of salaries.

Let me quote you "Perhaps I could respect such an agency more if there was more information about family preservation efforts, and less focus on the ultimate adoption-plan". IF you spoke to the director, CPO is about family preservation but there are women in some situations who make their own decision to give up their baby for adoption. I think you (like others) should talk to the director and you will see how much time and energy is spent towards helping the young women FIRST AND FOREMOST. It is not an organization focused primary on adoption and people are told this UP FRONT. It is first about these ladies in need - those interested in adoption are LAST.

It was in our case that we were chosen by a women who can to the hospital to deliver with adoption already in mind. She asked to talk to someone about adoption, CPO came in and spoke with her and let her look at profile books and she chose us from a book. She asked to meet us, we came and she told us right there she wanted us to be the parents. She hadn't even told CPO that was her intention - we thought it was an interview ONLY. It was 100% her choice. And I am EVER greatful for that choice. I could not be closer in life to another human being as I am to my little girl. She is a BIG blessing to me everyday. I cannot imagine my life without her. The circumstances around this young lady's decision I know & understand and I think there was real wisdom in her decision. So, I think we have to appreciate that our experiences don't make other people's choices the wrong ones. Adoption is a loving choice. And we have been more then willing to have our adoption be as open as possible because like I said, I love my little girl and I want the best for her!!

Choices and decisions

Before I begin, I want to express my gratitude for the written comments made so far.  All too often, I feel as though people will read a news article, but not discuss what was presented.  This silence fascinates me, because I for one have a million and one things I'd love to discuss with those who know a lot about a given subject.  I firmly believe, when people engage in friendly discussion, so many new things can be learned. 

<kicking imaginary soap-box aside>

In America, for the most part, each person is allowed to have choices and is free to make his/her own decision, based on personal preference.  Over the years, I have learned people who make foolish decisions do so when they A) don't do their research and B)  deny anything bad can happen because of their actions.

While I can appreciate one AP's unwelcome experience, I think it behooves us to look at the adoption-process, as a whole.

There are many PAP's making the same complaint about the adoption process:  The home-study is too invasive.  This complaint follows the belief that the adoption process takes much too long. [Is this not why so many lose interest in foster-care adoption, and head over-seas for a sweet little "orphan" with no parents?]

It must always be remembered, the home-study process is done for the sake of the foster/adoptable child who may eventually live there.  If the home-study is for adoption purposes, parents must remember, licensed, trained professionals need to assess how "permanent placement" will look, through the eyes of a child.  Some professionals really know what they're doing, and the adoption-story speaks for itself.  Other less than professional people paid to conduct a home-study ought to have their livers fed to them through a straw.  [It is positively shocking to see what gets passed and approved by a social worker and an adoption agency!]  What may seem crazy or ridiculous to some PAP's makes perfect sense to a parent with kids, or to a person who has personal experience with serious injury, neglect, or sexual abuse in a home.  (Negligence and "I forgot" oversight are huge issues, much later in an adoption-story)  A semi-'famous' vlogger was lucky enough to get Johnson & Johnson's Health Channel to sponsor a video series that features steps through the adoption process.  This is J&J's version of what to expect when you're expecting a home-study: 

In terms of foster care in the United States, according to a pdf titled, Foster Parent Training in America, every foster parent must have a license to foster a child.  Mandatory minimums vary by state, and some of these mandatory minimums are just that - bare minimum requirements needed to foster (and still receive subsidy payments), but as of October 1, 1999, federal law requires "before a child in foster care under the responsibility of the State is placed with prospective foster parents, the prospective foster parents will be prepared adequately with the appropriate knowledge and skills to provide for the needs of the child, and that such preparation will be continued, as necessary, after the placement of the child."  Rules for private and international adoption, of course, differ, depending on the agency and the number of services it provides.

Back when I hated all things adoption-related, my therapist at the time said I had to curb my black and white thinking.  Of course back then, I thought the woman was an idiot, (then again, she did look just like my Amother...).  Eventually, I learned the lesson the female therapist was trying to teach me.  There are times it will be very difficult to determine if  X is good or if X is bad.  There are many shades of gray that can make a seemingly really good (or bad) choice less good or less bad.  Therefore, I try very hard to stay away from blanket statements like "adoption is good" or "adoption is bad".  There are many times adoption can be the very best thing that ever happened to an older child.   One has to look at all the circumstances and options surrounding the child, before any decent decision can be made.

Natural consequences have a way of letting each of us know if a final decision was good or not so good.  

On that note, I'd like to address specific questions asked by a reader.

I'm not sure I follow your line of thinking. Is it bad when people running non-profits are not paid, yet the above statement by the original poster said it's bad when they are paid. Which is it? And are yous saying adoption is bad?

No where in my original post did I write it's bad when they (the 'service providers') are paid.  Getting paid a salary for a service simply gives good reason to ask more specific questions.  However, there are other ways a person gets paid/rewarded for doing something.  Thanks and praise are huge motivators for doing something.  (It feels good to be thanked and praised, doesn't it?)  What matters most to me, personally, is child safety and well-being, and what the adoptee thinks and feels about his/her own adoption story.   Therefore, I could recommend some links for the reader/poster to read.  (I noticed the commenter goes by the Amother's name in the original article, but there's no way for me to confirm identity.)  I can show valid reasons for a person to question the level of ethical behavior within the adoption process, but I don't sense that's what the reader/poster wants.  What I read between the lines, (and I could be very wrong), is an unwritten plea and desire:  "please confess and confirm your personal belief, so I can either agree or disagree". (I understand the need for validation, BOY do I understand that basic need!)

I cannot condemn someone else's beliefs, like it was done to me. I can only remind people natural consequences have a way of letting each of us know if a final decision was good or not so good. 

PPL just happens to feature the not-so-good final decisions. 

A suggestion was made, which I'd like to re-quote, because my response may come as a surprise.

Let me quote you "Perhaps I could respect such an agency more if there was more information about family preservation efforts, and less focus on the ultimate adoption-plan". IF you spoke to the director, CPO is about family preservation but there are women in some situations who make their own decision to give up their baby for adoption. I think you (like others) should talk to the director and you will see how much time and energy is spent towards helping the young women FIRST AND FOREMOST. It is not an organization focused primary on adoption and people are told this UP FRONT. It is first about these ladies in need - those interested in adoption are LAST.

I may or may not follow-through with this suggestion to contact the director of an adoption agency.  I do not doubt much time and energy is spent on the care given to an expectant mom.  After all, just as studies prove breast-milk is best, studies also prove stress during pregnancy can alter the structure of her offspring's brain.  How a health-care provider uses this type of scientific study and information is the choice and decision of that health-care provider. When an adoption-plan is chosen, obviously, certain replacements are, and will be, necessary.   I will trust your word that this particular non-profit organization is not  focused primary on adoption, and I'm going to hope the adoption-option is the last alternative a lady in-need is encouraged to consider.  I must confess, knowing what I know about "crisis-pregnancy counseling", I do not think adoption advocates discuss the risks in adoption as much, (or as openly), as they discuss the benefits of an adoption-plan.  (This can cause problems later-on for the first-parents, the child, and the adoptive parents.)  In addition, I do not oppose abortion as adamantly as most pro-lifers do.  The way I see it, when an adoptee is killed or commits suicide, or is abused so badly, that adoptee is permanently brain damaged, or damaged enough to turn to drugs and alcohol and abusive relationships as a means to "cope", I am forced to see abortion differently.  [In my mind, the timing of key life-changing events is critical.]  I'm quirky that way.  With that, I have a suggestion of my own.  Read some adoption-stories found here:  Most Recent Abuse Cases.  You will see, quite quickly, something went wrong in each case presented.  I feel a strong need to ask lots and lots of questions... questions the director of an adoption agency will not be able to answer because to date, post-adoption monitoring is not mandatory.  [This is a big concerning issue for those of us watching international adoptions, which is why post-adoption monitoring gets special mention on PPL.]

the Hague Convention makes the assumption that adoption when done by the book, is in the child's best interest, but it sets no quality standards for the adoptive placement. Home study requirements vary from country to country and from state to state, and the same is true for parent preparation and post adoption monitoring. The lack of quality standards results in disrupted adoptions and placement with unsuitable families.

There are far too many cases where adoptive parents are misinformed/uninformed about the child they receive, there are far too many cases where adoptive parents lack the skills to deal with children they receive, there are far too many cases where adoptive parents should not have been allowed to be near children in the first place.

Adoption service providers need to become more selective. They need to do a better job preparing adopters and a better job at monitoring the placement of children. Standards can be set and should become part of the Hague Convention.

[From:  Why the Hague Convention needs revision ]

I'm a firm believer things happen for a reason.  Because of this "random" turn of events, each one of us is free to pick and choose a social-cause that reflects a strong wish or desire -- a wish for positive change.  I often wonder, did I choose my 'cause', or did it choose me?  Either way, each day I decide to go to my computer, read the news, and review information worthy of a PPL page.  I'm lucky, I have a few friends who do all they can do to help me and my seemingly crazy-ass mission.  I don't get paid for my actions or my efforts; I RARELY get thanks or praise, but in my heart and mind, what I do will eventually bring it's own natural consequence.  I can only hope it's a good one, and I can only hope one day adopted children will be better-off because specific landmark court decisions were somehow connected to questions and information found on PPL.  (It's neat to see who reads and likes our pages... some of the work done by those inspired by our pages is pretty damn impressive.)

While my mission-in-life may not matter or inspire the person who wants to make it clear her decision was a good one, I can at the very least share my own personal experience with an "open adoption" plan, one that started-off good enough.  Please keep in mind, I do wish you, the first-mom, and your adopted daughter well.... to wish harm or tough times is just crazy and stupid.  As it is, adoption after-math is often much more difficult than originally believed.  Each side altered by the actions of an adoption agency needs support and guidance.  I hope all three of you get what each person needs.  Not everyone gets that, post-adoption. 

I had a very close friend who was promised she would have contact with her daughter, even though she was going to be adopted by a couple that did not want in-person visits.  In fact, it was that "open-door policy" that made the real difficult decision (keep, or give away) much easier.  My friend was given written updates, (with one or two photos), for a couple of years.  Then she got cut-off and out because the Aparents decided the relationship would get too confusing.  It's not easy for an abused adoptee with a boat-load of adoption issues to comfort a first-mom who realized for the very first time, she lost her little girl to a family that may or may not be good to the little girl, when she gets older.  (You see, often times, it's not the Aparent who does horrible things to the adopted child.  However, there are many many times an Aparent does not/will not report abusive acts against the adopted child.  Someone like me can get quite cross pissed and angry with that type of AP.)

It seems early-on, even in the ideal adoption situation, (if there can be "an ideal adoption situation"), the good intentions and optimism are almost always there.  However, somewhere down the line, for some reason, something happens, and the happy open adoption story gets ugly and weird.  Maybe God never really wanted a child to have more than one set of parents... I don't know.  All I can do is present my thoughts, ideas, and questions, and see where it all goes.

A lot to think about!

That was a very long response with a lot of information. Yes, I am the Adoptive mother from the article. I googled it and found your post. Again, I have no problem with homestudies and waiting. I think the title of the article doesn't really convey my complaint against the system. I am against corruption within the system which doesn't look out for the child, but targets people unnecessarily because they don't kowtow and lay down when bullied. I documented all the lies I could against us, but everyone within the system either A) covered for the liars or B)were too afraid for their own position to do anything about it. The bullying and retaliation got worse when I asked to write a letter to the judge, when I contacted my senator for help and even after hiring an attorney. So, our problem was NOT about the process of adoption (paperwork, homestudies, visits, etc), it boiled down to a few bad eggs who had an agenda to rip kids from our home after 20 months because we disagreed with them over the vaccine schedule (too many all at once), followed by my attempt to reach out to the judge and our senator.

I want to add about the homestudies that since our 2 adoptions overlapped, we had 4 homestudies and 4 background checks done on us for 2 adoptions. Since both took over a year, they all had to be updated so we did them again. I don't think there is much more anyone could know about us then what was provided in those. We finalized before 2 different judges and the 3rd judge who did the deprived case also reviewed our information and approved us. Plus, we had a weekly therapist in our home and a DHS caseworker there monthly. AND, another person from foster care, then later adoptions approved our home. This put a whole lot of people in position to see whether we were/are able to provide a good home for our kids. Our problems with the system were from people who were not in our home hardly at all. The main bad egg missed seeing the kids 5 months in one year and the other bad egg NEVER came to our home even though I invited her when she was in town. Unfortunately, a couple of bad eggs like this can really hurt people and we were in their crosshairs when I spoke out against the lies and corruption. My attorney even told me that I was 'naive' believing that if I was honest that they would be honest and that 'is not how the system works'. How sad!!!!

Once we got to work with adoptions, everything was smooth sailing (although these bad eggs were still on the scene stirring up trouble where they could). So, I think the point you are making may be valid about adoption, but I'm not sure it really applies to our situation directly. Trust me, I worry all the time for my kids and their relationship with their bio parents. In both cases, I cannot control it because in our private adoption, the bio mom has cut off all contact with us. I wrote her when we finalized telling her once again that we want to have an open adoption and she is welcome anytime. It has been her choice to not pursue that for reasons I can only speculate. I'm very sad about it for my baby girl. In our DHS adoption, we agreed to an open adoption there as well when the parents relinquished and again, the parents left the state right after and we have not heard from them again so far (but since they are family I do get updates from my aunt, the kids' grandmother). It's been painful for me to try to explain my oldest girl why her parents aren't around. She is the only one with memories and misses them. It's very heartbreaking. We just had a talk the other night and I even have to fight back the tears. Like I said, I have my children's needs first and foremost in my mind. I have done what I can to preserve as much information including pictures for them in the future. I have also kept my kids' relationship with their grandmother and their aunt. IN fact, they are visiting them for spring break right now.

I may make mistakes but I try really hard as a mom to do what is right for my kids. I know every experience is different, but for us, we could not have children and after 9 years of marriage, the Lord blessed us with these beautiful little ones. We want to give them a great life. Honestly, I d believe CPO is a great organization and not just because we were able to adopt, but because I saw the work, the hours, the love and the help given to girls who really needed it and ARE going to parent. There aren't many organizations that I would praise, but this one, YES, a wonderful place for women in need to go no matter what choice they are making. And MUCH is made of open adoption there for those interested in adoption. We have a weekend workshop with Jane Waters, a therapist, who had written books on open adoption which are required reading for those adopting. The workshop is for us to learn the need for having these adoptions be open for the children's sake. In our case, 2 young men came and spoke as adoptees about their experience with open adoption. They love both their adoptive parents and bio parents and had no ill will towards either. These 2 young men were in the same family with different bio moms. We also got to hear from other adoptive mothers about their new extended family with the bio families. And even the sadness of those adoptive moms for the closed adoptions - like one who gave her baby up because she got pregnant out of wedlock and is from the middle east visiting her brother in America for a short stay. She gave the baby up to save his life and her own.

I will read the links you provided, and I hope I can learn to be a better parent and know how to meet the needs of adopted children (although, right now, my little ones don't understand it yet). I plan to write a children's book (just for them) and make some copies so that I can read their story to them and allow them to know what really happened and how unselfish & loving their parents were in their decision to allow us to be their parents.

Making examples

I think the title of the article doesn't really convey my complaint against the system. I am against corruption within the system which doesn't look out for the child, but targets people unnecessarily because they don't kowtow and lay down when bullied. I documented all the lies I could against us, but everyone within the system either A) covered for the liars or B)were too afraid for their own position to do anything about it.

Congratulations!  You have been baptised and anointed as only some very special "chosen" people in Adoptionland can be.  The ABC's of your complaint reflect the same thoughts and sentiments that go through the minds of select first-parents, adoptees, and adoptive parents.  [Note how the child is kept in the middle, making the injustice so much more difficult for the child to process.]

Over the years, I have learned there are two types of people.  In terms of APs, the two-types go as follows:

  • The Do-ers.  They do something because they were motivated to do something good.  They may have been misled, lied to, and they may have trusted too many people, but after a few knock-downs, they maintain a course that says, "We will do what we have to do to turn around an overwhelming and unexpected turn of events".  The Do-ers have my respect.  I for one am more than happy to offer suggestions that may bring a more positive ultimate outcome.  [Of course, I know my own limits, so by no means do I  see myself as an "authority" on any specific subject.  I am a survivor, and I see when and where people fail others.  That's my asset... I'm an Insider, with some decent insight.]
  • The Takers.  Takers take and take and take and make no apologies because in their minds, they do nothing wrong.  They take advantage of ignorance, laziness, and greed.  The take advantage of isolation, immaturity, and naivete.  They act as thought they are entitled to things everyone else has to work long and hard for.  Takers often get offended when 'entitled respect' is not given.  Takers make-up crap simply because they want to take credit for saving the day and being the world's most praise-worthy hero. I have words for this type of AP.  I will keep those words to myself right now, because it's the correct thing to do at this time.  (Many AP's who claim to be "experts" at adoption/adoption services are classic examples of Takers.)

When I saw the original article, I wasn't assuming anything about the Aparents featured.  Too much pertinent information was missing, making it too chancy to draw any conclusion.   When I posted my first comment, I had one thing on my mind:  the AP who has no idea what happens in Adoptionland.  I cannot count how many times I myself have witnessed or read about situations where too much focus was put on the wrong people, the wrong issues, and the wrong details, simply because mistakes are easy to make.

Why this "wrong focus" is done by those salaried by or associated with child placement services, I don't know.

It seems to me, easy work is better than real hard work.  People tend to forget, taking the easy-way out benefits no body but the Taker, who takes the easy-way out all the time.

I really hope you  - and others -  do read our abuse pages, so you can see why I wish more focus would go on the situations that at first seemed one way, but took a very different turn, once the investigating stage was over.  Far too often, those who openly admit their flaws and mistakes at the very beginning are the ones deprived the respect and protection that's given to those who keep things secret, and prove they can't be trusted to control their own actions and behaviors when they are feeling alone, stressed, and frustrated, and alone with a vulnerable, trusting/fear-filled child.

CASA

Secondly, CASA is only as good as the people who lead the volunteers. They can become very much like DHS and enjoying their power and position. What we experienced was a CASA out of control abusing their power and having no restraint in their lengths to harass us. We were told by more then one person within the system that the particular CASA we were dealing with had a reputation and not for the right reasons. So, sometimes, more is not better when corruption is involved.

corruption vs oversight

When corruption is involved, everything stops working the way it should be. At the same time, we have so-far documented 486 cases of abuse in adoptive/foster families, almost all of which could have been prevented with better oversight.

Just today, we posted the case of Austin and Edward Bryant, where two children (age 7 and 9) disappeared from their adoptive home, but were never registered as missing. The adoptive parents sent in fake reports and kept receiving adoption subsidies until fairly recently.

Now, 8 years after the boys went missing, police are investigating the case, but the trail is of course very cold.

Situations like these could have been prevented with better monitoring and there is much need of that.

Corruption within the child welfare system is something that should be fought, but reducing oversight because there might be corruption in the system is not doing children any favor.

CASA

Trust me, I'm not against oversight. We had a therapist in our home weekly and monthly visits from DHS and I had no problem with any of that. My problem is when CASA adds a second CASA after we were already chosen as adoptive parents (five months after we were chosen in fact) so that they could do unannounced visits with one CASA while doing monthly visits with the original CASA in ADDITION to what we were already doing with DHS. There was NO lack of oversight. If you read the court order, it doesn't state this is what the intended use of a second CASA. So, it was only after almost 2 yrs that this second CASA was added and ONLY done DAYS after we hired an attorney. This was retaliation because their secret meeting (yes, one scheduled behind our back without our knowledge) was thwarted by us finding out about it and getting an attorney to represent us in the meeting, then in court a few days later. Trust me, there is MUCH more to this story then what was reported and much more grossly corrupt then I ever could have imagined.

Money and Power

Money is a huge issue in adoption, but it absolutely is not the biggest force at play IMO overall. There are many Mom and Pop shop agencies that have sprung up over the years by adoptive parents who decide to start their own agency after adopting. Some of these have done very well financially, others not, but the power and ego tied up in running an agency cannot be understated.

Annoying

I think what gets me on a gut level about this article is the underlying tone of whining about the adoption homestudy/inspection process in general. Basically, that this "intrusion" shouldn't have happened, and that it should be easier for the PAPs. I don't know the APs, so I'm not passing judgment. It could easily be the slant of the writing. But this bugs me.

One gander at the pages and pages of abuse cases, child trafficking cases, and corrupt agency practices here on PPL is enough for any (sane) person to say, "to hell with it! It's an intrusion perhaps, but it's worth it!" Is it a bad idea for me to hope that one day each and every potential AP household would get reviews ("intrusions") of this type? Is it really that much of an intrusion? Really? When you weigh it against the potential damage to a child placed in an improperly screened home?

I'm the last one to say that state child welfare agencies have their acts together in any shape or form, and I am of the firm belief that the vast majority of Social Workers are inept, kooky, and generally unstable for the most part, so I'm certain this PAPs experience was probably right out of an episode of the Andy Griffith Show. However! I always find it annoying when any news outlet takes the time to interview, write, and print a story such as this—always from the PAP/AP point of view—when so many disgusting atrocities are happening in Adoptionland on a daily basis that never see the light of day.

Corruption is corruption no matter who gets caught in the middle

Fractured Fairytale, Have you contacted any newspaper or media wanting to tell another side of the story? Did you read what I said about this being about corruption and not really about the process being intrusive? I told my story and the writer made the decision how he wanted to convey it. I'm not upset with it, but it's a much nicer toned piece then the reality that we lived through. The reality is that the organizations (CASA & DHS) were allowed to do things against their own policies and much, much worse. There is NO ONE overseeing their activities and NO ONE they are accountable to which puts too much power in their hands. I know you know this, but are you saying that trying to destroy the lives of our children is any less an atrocity then other cases out there? The reason they didn't succeed is that we hired an attorney (which never should have been needed). I don't know what would have happened otherwise. But, I guess I feel you are demeaning the lives of my children & their value because we are AP??? Or because you perceive what happened to us wasn't too bad? Either way, I told my story just as I said because I hoped it might help someone else in my position. I never expected people who went through other adoption tragedies would be so negative towards someone calling out the corruption in an agency.

Agree to disagree.

Amy, for the record, I am an adoptive parent. And I very much appreciate anyone who comes forward and exposes themselves in the press to discuss issues and problems in the adoption or "child welfare" industry. I understand it is weird, uncomfortable (and even violating) to have your name in a newspaper, and having strangers spouting their knee jerk reactions to your very personal life experiences. I also understand that this article will follow you and your kids around for the rest of your lives, so I get how important reading feedback is.

I think if you re-read my post, I hope I made it clear that I'm not judging you. I don't know you, and I understand this is like a trailer or sound bite to what transpired in your lives, and the story is much deeper and more complex that what we read here. And I tried to be clear when I said that in no shape or form do I think the state authorities and "child welfare" organizations you had to deal with didn't act recklessly.... I have zero faith in the child welfare industry in general. I don't doubt that they bungled, screwed up, and did everything you claim.

"I know you know this, but are you saying that trying to destroy the lives of our children is any less an atrocity then other cases out there?"

This is where we part ways. Exactly how were your kids damaged? Were they really that bothered by all of the intrusions and hurdles? I suspect that you are a good mother, and protected them from the intrusions? Frankly, I do not think that what you endured is anything remotely close to what has happened to children placed in poorly screened homes. I encourage you to read some of the articles here on PPL, cataloging the horrific abuse (and deaths) of children placed in such homes. I would hope that you can see the other side. From the child's point of view.

I also have a strong distaste for the media constantly presenting the view point of the adoptive parent. So many have been silenced through this narrow lens of the US media. This article (clearly no fault of your own) is again from the adoptive parent's point of view. What about the children? What about the first/original/natural families? What would their perspective be on your experience? The writer doesn't even address that.

As far as your statement that corruption is corruption no matter who is in the middle... I respectfully disagree. I urge you to try listening to the mother in Vietnam (or Cambodia, or Ethiopia, or Guatemala) who has had their baby stolen for adoption, who would never, ever, ever have the opportunity you had to tell their story. The press doesn't care about them. Or the child who was placed in an abusive home. Or children placed in orphanages in developing countries so horrific, they make US prisons look like the Ritz, all so they can be put on the international adoption block. Or the young mother here in the US, coerced to giving up her child for adoption through religious entities she is told to trust. These are the stories of deep and profound loss. Loss that destroys lives. I'm sorry, but I just can't compare your middle class American life (with the end result you sought) being remotely close to these stories of corruption in the adoption trade.

Despite having differing opinions, I really do thank you for helping by telling your experiences dealing with state child welfare, and exposing their ineptitude on this level. I agree that massive overhaul needs to be done. That is definitely one thing we can agree on. I am also happy that you have your family and children around you, you are so very lucky. Hold on to that. :)

Some really do get paid

I don't know about Mrs. Bauman of outreach personally but I will tell you that Catholic Charities does get paid for babies and will lie to the girls telling them that they can keep their babies when they really can't.  If you know a girl who is pregnant and needs help if she wants to keep her baby don't send her to Catholic Charities I have seen the evil that they do up close and personal. I was raised a Catholic and have sinced denounced the Catholic church I wish I had never gone to a Catholic church, been baptized or had my first communion. They told this girl she could keep her baby and then right after her baby was born they helped DHS steal her only child from her I later found out about the money and how they get paid per child just like DHS.

That's terrible!

I'm no fan of the Catholic church, however, I have worked in an addictions ministry (Reformer's Unanimous - http://www.reformu.com/) at my own church and we picked up pregnant girls and single moms who lived in a house run by Catholic charities (Madonna House - http://www.madonnahousetulsa.org/) and I didn't see anything like you describe. I'm not saying it can't happen, I'm just saying it didn't happen where I went. The director/coordinator was a paid employee, but she helped the girls parent (which most in the house did) and the girls lived there while pregnant & even after with their babies. They had expectations for the girls as well to get their lives in order. They have a different coordinator since I was transporting certain ladies, but I don't think all of them are alike - again, I'm not saying it can't happen. We know it does.

Catholic Charities, and adoption services

The Madonna House DOES facilitate INFANT adoptions.

The Catholic Charities Adoption Services is a licensed adoption service for domestic infant adoptions.

In addition, our program offers assistance with domestic and international adoption, crisis pregnancy counseling, social services, and support groups for birth mothers and adoptive families. 

[From:  http://www.catholiccharitiestulsa.org/adoption_services.aspx ]

I know Catholic Charities does adoptions!

I realize that. I never said they didn't do adoptions, I said I didn't see a coordinator forcing women into that choice. In fact, I felt the coordinator wanted the girls to succeed in life and in the cases I know of, MOST parented. I'm finding from visiting this site that there seems to be a 'theme' and there is no room for people/organizations to not fit that 'theme'. Maybe I'm misreading that, but I'm not feeling that people have an positive feelings at all here about adoption. Why? Should people not adopt? Should people not give their babies up for adoption? I guess I'm not following what the line of thinking is here.

Not by force (at least, not anymore...)

Amy, I understand you might feel has though you've been thrown into the dog-pen and you're not sure if it's safe or not.... let me assure you, I don't bite.  I bark, but I don't bite at those who ask questions because they want to learn and they want to understand "what the big deal is."  I appreciate the questions and curisority... it allows me to expand.

PPL was created to show the dark-side of adoption.  Many of the "regulars" here are AP's who have been burned by adoption agencies.  Many of the adoptees, including myself have been abused/neglected and/or abandoned by members of our Afamilies.

And then there are the first-mothers who experienced something like that from The Magdalene Laundries -- a typical depiction of Catholic Charity back-in-the-day. 

Before I continue, I'd like others to consider what it means to have "messed-up parents".  I don't mean Meth-cooking, sex-trading degenerates who aren't even aware they have kids... I mean the truly messed-up, misguided, unprepared parents who act one way in public, and act a whole different (scary) way in private.  I mean the kind of parents who would swear on a stack of bibles they love their kids, and they're "good parents" but they really don't  know how to parent, properly.  They will buy things, and provide things, but they won't do too much to nurture and encourage their children, so those children can grow to be and become the best people they can be, based on their own specific (natural) skills and talents.  (In fact, in these "messed-up homes" when the child "fails" in the slightest way, often times, the "good" parent often feels compelled to do something to "correct" that child.  You know, "discipline" that child.  Give that child a lesson or two, as a reminder, NOT to do something "bad", again.)

Here enters the PPL abuse archives.  Some of these cases are just so... brutal.  And the parents were not dirt-bag birth parents.  They were chosen foster/adoptive parents.

That word, "chosen" changes so many things, especially if you, yourself are the adopted child put in such a "chosen" home.

Me?  My personal opinion on infant adoption?  In a better world, less girls would be raped and more women would be encouraged to keep their babies and raise them with kindness and wisdom.  They would have the local support systems they need to receive education and information on how to become a better more resourceful mom.  [From what I read so far, services like Nurse Partnership Programs do a great job teaching and supporting first-time struggling moms, but there are other services that support family-preservation efforts.]

Too many studies prove stress goes with maternal separation, and long-term stress can be harmful.  It's my strong belief these stress-studies (and the consequences of stress) are not being taken seriously enough by those advocating infant adoption. 

Newborn care provided by skin-to-skin contact on the mother's chest results in better physiological outcomes and stability than the same care provided in closed servo-controlled incubators. The cardio-respiratory instability seen in separated infants in the first 6 h is consistent with mammalian "protest-despair" biology, and with "hyper-arousal and dissociation" response patterns described in human infants: newborns should not be separated from their mothers.

[From:  Mowbray Maternity Hospital, Mowbray, South Africa, ]

Add the study findings reported by Amother Nancy VerrierLamaze International and those who have studied the effects stress and stress hormones have on the developing brain, and soon common threads and issues begin to make better sense, in terms of future behavior seen in the adopted child. 

The counseling (options) given to unwed mothers, as I myself have seen it, is often related to the teaching of poor choices.  It begins with the mistake, ("these are the poor choices you made").  If follows with the consequences that go with poor choices, ("this happens when a person makes a decisions during  a moment of emotional weakness").  Finally, the girl who needs to be taught a valuable life-lesson is told about the benefits that go with a sacrifice, made for a greater good ("through pain and sacrifice, your sins will be forgiven").

Pregnancy has become an in-your-face symptom, which reflects many complex family problems.  In fact, many times teen pregnancy is the first obvious symptom that shows a family, "something (a relationship) broke, and fell apart".  There's fixing that needs to be done.  Is the adoption industry, as a social service, going to fix the problems that come from the broken dysfunctional family?  Will infant adoption cure teen/unwanted/unplanned pregnancies, and eliminate the need for the other A-word (abortion)?  That still remains to be seen, generations later.

Meanwhile, pregnancy (with live-birth) has become a HUGE profit-producing business for some very clever people.  And this profit-potential is what makes infant adoption so shady.  People playing God, correcting God's mistakes (?) -- that's one fine ego.

As one who experienced pregnancy, frist through the eyes of  the best-friend, and years later, as a soon-to-be mom, myself, I don't like the idea of people promoting a pregnancy package program to the scared and pregnant.  I have witnessed the way in which pregnancy and good pre-natal care gets paired as a single selling-point to the high-school/college student considering abortion.  The fear-tactics used are classic:  Let's remind the unmarried pregnant female all that will have to be sacrificed to care for a child, (who will end-up costing around $200,000 by the time the child turns 18).  THEN compare that to the "gift of life" one can provide, if just a small sacrifice (40 weeks of gestation) was made so a good loving couple could have the much prayed for child they always wanted.  Show the instruments used to suck out a fetus and give the list of potential medical and emotional complications that may come with an abortion-plan, and then offer the final sales-pitch that comes with the calling card that says,  don't worry about calling us, we'll be praying and will be calling you.

The catch-phrases that typically win the unborn adoption-plan go a little like, "No cost would be put upon you" (the birth mother) .  "All services will be paid for, even transportation will be provided" (for you, the "chosen" birth mother).  "You will be provided a clothing allowance and housing may be available, if you choose to take the offer" (just for you, the lucky chosen birth mother).  The, "You may even take classes and start a work-study program" often appeals to the parents not too thrilled their little girl got knocked-up before they were ready to be grandparents, or the mother who already has too many mouths to feed.  These are gifts given to the birth-mother, who agrees not to abort.  Great, let's all pray the hormonal birth mother (kept in a fog of temporary care and comfort) doesn't decide she wants to keep the baby, growing inside.... because we all know that would be just the worst of all outcomes, wouldn't it?

Those with no intention of ever letting the grandparents, or partner, know about the unwanted pregnancy already know the path they're going to take, but that's not to say those with a mission (and an ultrasound machine) won't try, one more time, to save the unborn from a terrible painful fate: death (murder, via abortion).

Of course, no warning is given to the adoption candidate about abusive adoptive homes, where the child may be disciplined to death, or loved like only like the victim of a pedophile can be loved and touched, over and over and over again.

I also don't like the idea of females being used as surrogates for the infertile, especially when misguided bible-thumpers promote this type of  trade in parental rights ("adoption") as a God-pleasing thing to do.  Something about that God point-system just doesn't sit right with me, in ways I can't fully explain.  It just feels wrong and dirty, like there is reason to feel an element of shame and guilt.  Maybe I wouldn't feel that way if the mothers themselves, in places like The Marshall Islands, didn't feel so bad... so tricked, so fooled... after the child was taken away.  But so many mothers DO feel bad, after the baby they gave birth to is sent away, to live with a couple that has no intention of ever checking back to see how the first mom (and family) are doing.

From my POV, there's something very tragic about infant adoption, with so little reason to pretend to celebrate like all is great and good.  There's a lot of trickery and deception being played, and adopters seem to not show too much of a strong concern when they learn about adoption scams that involve fake birth/death certificates, especially if the fake-death/fake infant abandonment story takes place in a poor country, like Ethiopia.

the current adoption system actively creates an unwarrantedly high number of children available for adoption. Intercountry adoption is in reality privileged to any other in-country suitable manner of care.

Local child protection policies, while existing, are not implemented, while the intercountry adoption market is more and more taking control of the local child protection, as well as the social and health sector.

The adoption process is riddled by fraud and other criminal activities. Parents are stated dead, whereas they are not, dates of birth are falsified, false information is provided to the Courts.

But most important: The demand-driven intercountry adoption process is breaking up families, who could be helped in building up their lives with a fraction of the money involved in intercountry adoption.

[From:  Fruits of Ethiopia - A study on intercountry adoption in Ethiopia ]

Infant adoption is not great and good from many POV's.  In fact, infant adoption is very sad, to many people, for many many different reasons.

Perhaps one of the most disappointing consequences of the religious (and non-denominational) focus on infant adoption is the residual effect it has left, in the form of the treatment given to older children, forced to accept really bad long-term foster/institutional care.

Because so many hunger and crave "the infant", (or toddler under the age of three), good older adoptable kids are being overlooked and they are NOT given the good second chance they deserve. They're overlooked, because they're not as desirable as untouched infants, fresh from the womb, (never released to a long-term care facility).  How is that "preventative measure" given to the unborn fetus good for the children, already born, and left to suffer in poor care?  Where's the God-logic in that?

Adopting the soon-to-be infant is not preventing abortions, and it's not improving the lives of children languishing in care.  In addition, infant adoption (as a form of birth-control) does not allow the life-lesson that needs to be taught to those who need the lesson most.  By removing future responsibility and accountability, the infant adoption option allows lazy irresponsible people to continue to believe moments of weakness (and ease/convenience) will not bring a life-time of hard consequences.  (I bet more teens (and parents) would be much more careful with the placement of their sex-organs if they knew the pregnancy they produced was going to be the child they had to keep, for at least three years, with a lot of caring adult supervision.)

What is infant adoption doing?

Infant adoption is making many people rich and happy.  Infant adoption benefits the business-minded people who earn an income through the professional service they provide, and infant adoption benefits those who wanted a baby, but couldn't have one, for God knows what list of reasons that may apply.

Infant adoption, in the "new/chosen" home has it's own natural consequence, too.  It's seen in the child, when that child starts asking, "Why did my mommy give me away?"  It's seen when the desire for search and reunion doesn't end as quickly as many AP's (and birth mothers) would like it to end.

In a better world, there would be less adoptable children available because the needs of children were being met.  In a better world, there would be less focus on the race to obtain, and trade the healthy infants not even born yet, so the infertile don't have to pay for (and suffer) the loss another negative pregnancy test brings.  In a better world, there would be higher quality short-term foster/group homes and better quality long-term adoptive homes for children born to parents unable and unwilling to parent.

Accepting status quo and complaining about corruption isn't going to do much.  (Unless, of course, you're an angry American who paid top dollar for a baby, through a private adoption agency.)

After trying unsuccessfully for years to have a child of their own, the New York couple paid $21,500 to adopt a Marshallese baby girl who was to be born in Hawaii this month.

The Frosts already had a name selected: Kaylia Grace.

But the couple never got to welcome Kaylia to their home. Instead of the joy of being new parents, they've felt nothing but frustration, sadness and anger in recent weeks.

The emotional turnabout came because of a botched adoption that is drawing more attention to the controversial practice of adoption agencies bringing pregnant Marshallese women to Hawaii to feed a national demand for babies.

A few weeks before Kaylia was born, the agency the Frosts were using contacted them to report that several birth mothers, including Kaylia's, had been "taken" from its Hawaii housing facility by a Kauai attorney.

The attorney, the agency told them, refused to release the women back to the agency.

When the Frosts contacted the lawyer, they were told they still could adopt Kaylia -- if they paid an estimated $22,500.

Already out $21,500 and with no baby to show for it, the Frosts were stunned. They refused to pay the extra money, which they said they didn't have anyway.

"It's morally wrong," Joyce Frost said. "It's evil. It just seems so unfair. Somebody has to be held responsible."

Just who is responsible is unclear.

Kathy Lahr, chief executive for Southern Adoption, the Mississippi-based agency the Frosts hired, didn't return several phone calls seeking comment.

The Mississippi Attorney General's Office confirmed that it is investigating Southern Adoption based on the Frost case and numerous other complaints lodged against the agency.

One of those cases involved David and Candace Chonka, an Oklahoma couple who said they paid Southern Adoptions $21,500 but, like the Frosts, have no baby to show for it.

The Chonkas also got the notice from Lahr that the Marshallese birth mother with whom they had been matched was kidnapped in Hawaii, he said. Unlike the Frosts, the Chonkas never contacted the Kauai attorney.

"We're out a lot of money," David Chonka said. "I don't expect to see a dime back."

[From:  Babies Betrayed ]

In order to be taken more seriously, the complaints made by all sides hurt by corrupt adoption practices must have an action-plan, and that's what's lacking.  Those who have had enough of poor/corrupt adoptions still lack the army needed to make appropriate adoption reform a reality.

That's very sad to me.... because God knows, for years, I myself have been trying.  I just cant seem to network with the right people yet. Money somehow seems to be the big trigger word, and <sorry> I have no more money to donate to "wanna-be friends" in high places.  I have spirit I have passion, I even have a little education and insight, but I do not have the extra funds needed to get my list of requests noticed by anyone with a modicum of power.

Impotence never felt more frustrating.

response to the article

By far the best argument article regarding foster parents, adoption and DHS/CPS. The red tape, the inconsistency, the politics the stupid stupid rules by DHS/CPS. As a CASA volunteer who believes in her job and organization but disagrees with DHS often and have voiced it load and clear. I am a CASA but a foster parent as well. I have been and I still am angry frustrated and totally ticked off with what DHS/CPS gets away with. Their decisions to take a child from a home (foster home) where she has been her entire life, 2 1/2 years, and place her with strangers, 2nd cousin, that is wrong wrong wrong and no one can honestly say that the move "is in the best interest of the child". Did the agency consider the bonding, the attachment issues that this child will go through being placed with strangers, these relatives visited the child only 2-3 times in the 2 1/2 years, no gifts, no phone calls, no mail was ever send. But the agency needing to follow their rules, on this case, did not consider this child and basically by past the CASA as well as the attorneys. As one attorney said to me the CASA: Dianne you know how I feel, our little client is a victim of DHS “red tape” The dirty little secret is that there is nothing you or I can do to help her. They have their “rules” and no one dares to go against their rules . . . including the juvenile court judge. Most recently I received an email from an attorney in response to our local assistant attorney general, child advocacy section, who was getting ready to file a motion to reset a permanency court hearing, here is his response: ...."both Dianne (CASA) and I want "face time" with the judge to express our EXTREME displeasure with dhs in sending this precious little girl - once again_ to a "relative" when she is so bonded with the foster parents. I'd like that to take place on Friday (understanding that a contested hearing will be reset) Honestly, why appoint a lawyer for a kid and a CASA if DHS is simply going to do what they supposedly "have to" do? If they simply follow the rules and always the rules and can exercise no judgment or compassion for a child why waste the time and money on a lawyer as well as the time and effort by the CASA? Really, why? In closing you can be sure that this CASA is searching for answers on how to be equal, but better than DHS/CPS and have the courts listen to us and seriously consider our recommendations and not just take DHS as the final decision what is best for these children. They are wrong a lot of the time and this needs to change for the lives of these children.

Pound Pup Legacy