The Americans, the Russian boy, and the Russian adoption authorities

Recently, the adoption blogosphere has become abuzz with the case featuring a Christian family wanting to adopt, a Russian boy with Down Syndrome, and the Russian government.

Greg and Tesney Davis, a couple from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, seem to believe their desire to adopt this "special" boy is being blocked by the Russian court, and their story has made small-time news. The news-media version of the story begins with the following three lines:

"This child is better off just staying in an institution than having a forever family."
 
That's basically what a judge had to say after a hopeful and prayerful Alabama family was questioned last week in a European court room. Questioned by judge and prosecutor. Questioned for FIVE HOURS.

Apparently the prosecutor and judge were having a hard time understanding why the couple would want this particular little boy

[From:  Adoption: Family fights to adopt son, despite judge who says no ]

The dramatic and emotionally-charged article ends with a final post script note, written by the author.  As if in "Pst!" formation, she posts, "*** Not only is this devastating new [sic] for Kirill & his family - but also for 2 others families seeking to adopt children with Down Syndrome from the same region (which means the same judge)."

Thankfully, the news article provides a link to the original story, which reveals more details, not covered by those anxious to call the press.

The chain of current events began in 2009, when the adoption application for a child with Down Syndrome was submitted to Reece's Rainbow, an adoption agency directed by Angel of Adoption Award Winner, Andrea Faris Roberts, People's Hero, saving little lives.

Greg and Tesney believed they were following God's lead, as they " prayed over the faces of thousands of orphaned children with Down Syndrome" (found on the Reece's Rainbow website?).  In many cases, PAPs often report they felt "love" (among other longings) when they look at the photo images of faces of poor orphans, in hungry want of something.  This is a very clever sales tactic used by adoption agencies, or adoption facilitators.  Preying upon the weakness of heart-strings often translates into an increase in adoption applications -- applications that require a hefty processing-fee.  This free look at a child's photo and stats is a "service" that has received criticism, sparking only minor controversy.

the ministry says putting the information on the web makes people erroneously believe that anyone can pick any child on the Internet or in the press and apply for the kid to be entrusted to him/her as an adoptive or foster parent.

People's reactions to the information have been often based on their momentous emotional constellation.

"Spreading of information about children who do not grow up in their own families on the web, in the press or other media has an irreversible and negative impact on their privacy and can harm them for the rest of their lives," Miloslav Macela, head of the ministry's department for family and welfare systems, said to explain the position issued by the ministry.

Marie Vodickova, chairwoman of the Fund of Endangered Children, that has come under criticism in this connection, on Wednesday indicated that putting a child's data and photo on the Internet helps increase his/her chance of being placed with a new family.

A child has the right not only to privacy but also to a family. The question is which of the two rights is more important.

[From:  Ministry bans release of info on kids free for adoption ]

Nevertheless, a young married Christian couple prayed, and fell in love with the idea of adopting a sweet Russian boy, born with Down Syndrome, and saving him from the harms that go with long-term institutionalism.  How open minded PAPs on a specific mission can be!  Indeed, international adoption is the only way a child with complex long-term special needs (like autism, Down's Syndrome, or any other condition that renders disability "permanent") can ever be given the hope and help that comes from a good, loving, attentive close-knit family community.

Unbeknown to this couple, their spiritual journey was going to take them through an unexpected lesson in the laws of international adoption when they were given a court date.  In February 2011, they learned their adoption plan would not be approved.

On their blog the Davises offer their own report about their experience in the Russian court room:

But when the ruling was read, the judge said, “Your application to adopt is rejected.” The basis given was that Kirill was “not socially adaptable” due to his “medical condition” and he was better off in an institution than in a home with a family.

In order to understand the moment this confident couple was facing in that court room, readers need to see how a praying couple chose to see and interpret the "blank check" they offered God, through prayer.

Two years ago Greg and I began praying for God to do whatever he wanted with our lives. We handed him a “blank check” so to speak, and told him to cash it. He opened our eyes to children with disabilities wasting away across the ocean in Eastern Europe. We joined God and started our adoption journey.
 
Our family is more than equipped to handle a child with special needs. I have a degree in Early Childhood Education. I am a member of the Board of Directors of Best Buddies of Alabama. I have volunteered for RISE and Eagles’ Wings. All of these organizations serve individuals with special needs. My husband I have close friends and family who have special needs and we are a big part of each other’s lives. Our wedding party included some of these special people. Our involvement with individuals with special needs led us to adopt a child with special needs; specifically, we chose Down Syndrome.
 
[From: Our Eyes Opened, March 24, 2011 ]
The adapting to an adoption journey continues, showing just how limited the eye-opening experience can be for the person trusting God to open eyes, doors, and opportunities to do the right thing for children put in poor care.
Since then so many things have happened. A tragic story of an adoptive mother sending her child back to his country alone on a plane with a note pinned to his shirt rocked our world…he was from Russia. Adoptions in Russia came to a screeching halt. Kirill’s region stopped processing adoptions for eight long months. The judge refused to accept any Amercian adoption cases until an official treaty was signed between the United States and Russia.
Even though we wouldn’t be able to finalize the adoption in court until the treaty was signed, we were allowed to go visit Kirill and sign our official petition to adopt him in August 2010. We fell more deeply in love with him. This was our son.
During that time, we found out that Kirill is the first child from his region EVER to be adopted with Down Syndrome. A birth mother keeping her child with Down Syndrome is unheard of in this area of the world. Adoptions of children with Down Syndrome just don’t happen there, these children are literally hidden away from society in orphanages and mental institutions. As our process continued, it became apparent that Kirill would be a pioneer. If our adoption was approved, it would pave the way for other children with special needs to be adopted from this region.
Then, a miracle happened around Christmas and the judge in this region suddenly changed her mind and began processing American adoptions again. We were elated.  Could this be the light at the end of a very long tunnel? I was somewhat nervous about Kirill being the first child adopted with Down Syndrome from his region, but our agency was very confident that if we got a court date, our adoption would be approved. In seventeen years, they had never had a case rejected IF the family was issued a court date. We were told not to worry, so I didn’t. After meeting the judge’s requests for several supporting court documents, we were finally granted a court date-March 17, 2011. St. Patrick’s Day…I was thrilled. This would be our new favorite holiday! Our son was coming home!

We may never know what exactly inspired the judge's decision, but those who follow the signing of treaties know, this decision was no small move.

Those familiar with abused adoptee cases will notice the "Our Eyes Opened" blog did not mention an important adoption case, that has striking similarities that cannot be disputed.

In February 2008, Fyodor and Kimberly Emelyantsev, a couple from Tooele, Utah, adopted a 13-month-old boy with Down Syndrome, Nicolai. Less than 4 weeks later, the child was dead from blunt-force trauma to the head. Nicolai also had a bruised face, head, knee and anus.

Just like Greg and Tesney Davis, the Emelyansevs were "called by God" to adopt a child with Down Syndrome and also used Reece's Rainbow to facilitate the adoption.

Nicolai's adoption and abuse case was prominently featured in the Russian press back in 2008, and It is more than likely the Judge in the case of Kirill was familiar with it. 

Whether this precedent had an impact on the judge's decision is unknown, but it does place the case in a different context, and in new light.

Instead of seeing a cold-hearted judge condemning a child to an institutionalized life, it now becomes possible to perceive this decision as one where the judge was unwilling to take a chance that yet another vulnerable Russian child might end-up in the home of an American who, on paper, looks really good.

One can easily see how adoption mimics a messy divorce, when the adults on both sides are going to court and fight for permanent child custody. The outcome is supposed to be in the child's best interest. Sometimes judges err on the side of over-protection, and sometimes they err on the side that supports adoption advocates.

When judges err on the side of the adoption advocates, and not child advocates, things can become strangely surreal, as was seen in the recent Doctor v. Florida Department of Children and Families case. In that all-American case, we can watch a young life develop and end, right before our eyes, as we read a small portion of a major recent news event:

The judge on the case sided with the experts who found no problem with the children living with the Barahonas. Ferrer recently spoke to that guardian ad litem, who she says is devastated over what happened to the children.

He is not the only one.

The twins' biological aunt and her husband wanted to adopt them, according to their attorney Steven Grossbard.

"Unfortunately, the expert opinion suggested that there was a significant bond, and the courts are inclined to go with experts' opinion," Grossbard said. The bond he referred to was the five years the twins lived with the Barahonas as their foster children before their adoption in 2009.

Over the years, problems in the Barahona home were brought to officials' attention.

"Several times we've been out to the home," Florida Department of Children and Families spokesman Mark Riordan said.

One of those complaints came in June 2010, charging that the children looked "unkept" and unfed, Colyer said. An investigation into those claims was closed without any state action.

That same month, the little girl's endocrinologist, whom she has been seeing since birth, voiced concerns about her weight, according to testimony Wednesday by Dr. Walter Lambert, the state child protection physician who interviewed the girl's doctor. Lambert's testimony came during a placement hearing in Miami for the three surviving adopted children.

Carmen Barahona told the doctor the girl's weight was due to a diet, Lambert testified. He also said that during the appointment, the little girl's mother told the endocrinologist her office was too far away and she was going to change doctors.

The most recent -- and urgent -- cause for concern was a call the child abuse hotline received last Thursday, four days before the twins were found in the truck, according to Colyer.

Lambert testified Wednesday that the information in the hotline call came from the 7-year-old daughter of Carmen Barahona's biological daughter.

"When (the 7-year-old) would go to this home, where these children were being locked in the bathroom -- they were being tied, but they were being untied to eat," Lambert said.

The granddaughter was told by her mother and grandmother that she was to keep "family secrets" quiet, Lambert said.

[From:  Abuse clues in Fla. twins case put spotlight on child services ]

Four days later, the court appointed adoptive father was found, with gasoline on himself and his adopted son, with a plan. The father of four children adopted from the state's foster care system, told police he was distraught over the death of his daughter and had intended to commit suicide by dousing himself with gasoline and setting himself afire -- but didn't go through with it. Police found the dead body of Nubia, ("his daughter"), wrapped in plastic in the bed of the pickup.

This case certainly shows how a judges decision can be devastatingly tragic when parents who have bonded to a child, appeal for mercy, and win, thanks to home study reports and court testimony. 

Let's now go back to the American mother and father, who wanted to adopted a little Russian boy, with Down's Syndrome.

Imagine the confusion and bewilderment, the adoptive parent felt, standing in front of a judge and realizing the spiritual journey they thought they were going to get through an adoption plan, turned out to be their own private hell.

Last week, as we sat in the courtroom and suffered through five agonizing hours of difficult questioning, we were not prepared for anything but an approval of our case. Two doctors, two social workers, and the Minister of Children’s Services all made very strong statements on our behalf. They fought for us. Hard.
But when the ruling was read, the judge said, “Your application to adopt is rejected.” The basis given was that Kirill was “not socially adaptable” due to his “medical condition” and he was better off in an institution than in a home with a family. As the judge read her ruling, she stated several times that we were a good family, that we met all the criteria to adopt a child, but that she would not approve our adoption because Kirill has Down Syndrome. She told us that we could adopt another child, because legally our application had no problems according to Russian adoption law. She said she would approve our adoption for a “typical” child, but not this child. Why? The only reason? Because he has Down Syndrome. Even though we were approved by our home study and by the USCIS to adopt a child with special needs. It makes no sense whatsoever. Denying a child a family because he has Down Syndrome is a violation of human rights at its most basic level!

Below is an excerpt from a published news article regarding another adoptive parent's final moments, before a judge and a final decision.  The confession must have been liberating, but brutal. One can only imagine how long it takes for the concept of "future consequence" to hit, when a seemingly uncaring judge is behind the final verdict.

Defense attorney Jon Williams noted that one of the couple's three biological children, and the two children they adopted from Russia, were born with Down syndrome.

Williams said Emelyantsev blamed the death of the boy on a stressful home environment and the "pressures of a husband [32-year-old Fyodor Emelyantsev] who would not participate in an extraordinary familial situation."

Williams added that Kimberly Emelyantsev never wanted to adopt this child from Russia, but was afraid to say no to her husband and afraid of how it would look to others if she did not go through with the adoption.

Noting that his client suffered from a depressive disorder at the time of the homicide, Williams asked the judge to impose jail and probation, rather than prison.

Attorney Doug Hogan said the violence involved in the baby's death warranted a prison sentence.

Emelyantsev initially claimed that out of frustration she deliberately dropped the baby twice to the floor on March 6.

But during a recent diagnostic evaluation at the Utah State Prison, Emelyantsev admitted grabbing the child by an arm and a leg, slamming him to the floor, and then repeating the action.

The baby died the following day from a skull fracture, according to charging documents.

The judge told Emelyantsev that although she deserved prison time, "I understand that you aren't a mean person."

"As terrible as this is, there is going to be life on the other side of this," the judge added.

[From:  Mother must serve up to 15 years for death of adopted son ]

Perhaps, prayerful people can take the time to contemplate the meaning behind these seemingly unrelated events. Events that have taken place within the last few years in Adoptionland.  Many believe God is the ultimate judge. With faith, it's not impossible to believe this story was meant to do the unthinkable:  gather more witnesses, so more can see the message God is trying to send through very unlikely, unexpected people.

But even the godless can read cryptic writing on a virtual wall: If we do not learn from the many details seen in past-mistakes made with "orphans", we will repeat history in ways that will dishonor and transgress decent society.

What's most striking about this small-town news is how quickly the Christian community responds to a flash-point that features Christian adoption supporters, a prayer request, and the plight of "orphans", left to rot in an overcrowded understaffed asylum/institution.

A quick look at the PAP's blog proves the prayer-chain has been activated. The save-the-orphan from Russia's Institutions crusade has been launched, and people are ready to fight and respond.

The power of prayer is going to work, as misguided "know-it-alls" will use God's name to oppose a Russian judge.

When will prayer-offering people start seeing the straw man is not the enemy?

We at PPL will continue to keep watch (and score) on the legal battles that take place in Adoptionland, as two governments, (Russia and America), debate adoption issues and decide the fate of a fragile ICA agreement.

We at PPL know the treatment and care given to foreign and domestic "orphans" "adoptable" children has been poor throughout recorded history.  Oversight and denial have put innocent lives in grave danger, and many of "the most vulnerable" have suffered the harsh consequences that go with negligence and abuse inflicted upon the innocent.  

We at PPL understand, talk and tear-filled pleas from the real victims of corrupt child-trade go unheard and ignored.  How can anyone hear the screams if the din of great deceivers keeps repeating in well-rehearsed script and verse, "The vast majority..."

The vast majority of those supporting the pro-adoption lobby have yet to prove they are serious about protecting the rights of the child

Let those focused on "Christian family-values" focus on that.

0

Rinse...repeat...

Thank you both for your insight on this. It is greatly appreciated. Sadly, it is a story of a rinse repeat cycle that is so evident in so many ICA cases.
The prayer chain activation and the call for "prayer warriors" is evident in so many ICA blogs and forums, I do hope that one day those asking for prayers really realize what they are requesting. It never made sense to call on a "Higher Power" who was on their side (PAPs side) to favor them over...a BIRTHMOTHER who was coersed or frightened or whose child was kidnapped or...a Judge or a supervisor to be made blind apparently and not recognize bogus documents.

Sadly the push for a quick process over a transparent process is what is desired, and sadly... thus kidnapped ICA children reside currently in the US.
This atrocity also accompanies the atrocity of ICA children who are murdered.

AMEN!

I TRULY believe in prayer... but MORE than that, I believe in a SOVEREIGN God Who is in control.   HOW DARE we say that we are trusting God, and then try to tell HIM what to do?  Did these people ever stop to think that God can say NO???  I see them saying one thing while they are setting about to PICK the child they want...
I admire Kerry and Niels for what they are doing here at PPL.  I see and feel how they have spent many hours getting the truth out:  children are being abused and neglected; and adoption as it is known NOW (IMO), must be stopped, so that children can be protected.
It's a MAD HOUSE we've created, out of a seemingly ?good idea?  If we Christians want to pray and see God's power, let us first pray for the right things.  STOP whining around about what WE want, and focus on what God wants for us... IMHO I see satan having a hey-day with people's emotions, causing people to put God's stamp of approval on their emotional decisions to RIGHT THE WORLD by adopting a child.
"Seek first the Kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you."  Where are they seeking God's will first, when they demand what they want by riling up the Christian community to MAKE something happen?  We can make a whole lot of things happen; but does that mean it's right?  "Everything is doable, but not everything doable is right!"  I'm talking straight from the Bible here folks, and I don't see these people standing back and letting God be God... seems to me like they want to be God. 
Teddy

"New-life, after baptism"

I remember reading about baptism in the bible, and how "new-life" was possible, after our sins got washed away.  Of course my interpretation has been, one had to confess the sin... the original sin ("I don't believe the truth"), and ask for forgiveness, first, before a new re-do could begin.   The washing away of sin - like old residue from a bad defunct science project - is a huge theme seen throughout the bible.

Also in the bible, is the book of Romans (New Testament).  Fascinating stuff.  That book looks into acts, false prophets who know how to speak really well, justification and stuff like that.  I'm not into chapter verse and memorized script, because I think people tend to get caught-up in semantics, and religious indoctrination, but the message is clear:  good acts alone does not make the person doing those acts, good.

What good is "helping the orphan", if the widow is left behind, with no care given to her present and future, and her needs?

Today's "orphans" are often born to single unwed mothers....

To my knowledge, there is no commandment that dictates, "Thou must be married". 

"rinse...repeat" <...doing as I'm told to do, but singing, "I'm gonna wash that man right out of my hair....">

History is an interesting beast, especially when we add nature, nurture, and adaptation to the mix.

One of my biggest worries and concerns when I became a parent, myself, was this fear:  If I'm given a clean slate (a second chance at family-life), will I end-up repeating the bad patterns I saw, during childhood? My Aparents wanted to be seen as good practicing Catholics.  But what makes a "good practicing Catholic"? Complete a check-list of "must-dos" before you die?   They didn't take in an orphan; they took advantage of a broken family, they agreed to take the child, and they agreed to pay the required fees to make the "legal transfer" possible, and permanent.  When I was child and read the bible, nowhere did I read the part where God wanted Mary to be replaced in the birth of Jesus story, after the legal fees were paid, in-full .  (How exactly would that version of the blessed adoption story go?  Through the Three Wise Men adoption agency?)

<the former good Catholic student can't help but snicker at members of the old church>

I certainly make my share of mistakes, but I know never to abandon ship... not when people are hurting. 

In terms of repeating themes in the parent-child experience, PPL has several fascinating reads, the sort that can be very triggering to some. 

Last but not least, PPL also features a video, Martha Welch's "therapeutic treatment", which shows what a desperate mother (wanting love and respect) will do, just so she could receive love and acceptance from her child.  (Adopted or not, what child would want a mother like that?!?  And why are people so desperate, they are willing to pay money for this type of therapy that's supposed to "heal the broken family"?)

Has the entire world gone insane?  No... just partially deaf and blind.  We have adapted to so much madness, the result is quite sad.  Our evolution as a species is getting scary.  There's pure madness in adoptive homes, and no one seems to care all that much, because big and small adoption advocates sing the same phrase, "The vast majority". 

What's amusing to me, is back in November, 2006, I had the unique opportunity to meet with a published author who saw himself an an "authority on adoption issues".  I wanted to discuss the possibility of the two of us working together, and creating teaching seminars for both the abused adoptees, and parents.  I never got the chance to discuss my plans and intentions because what I said was not well received.  Yep, what I said was offensive.  Funny, and true, but offensive.

I was told to leave the "home-office", and was literally shown the door, (it was even opened for me), and I was told to go out into the dark rainy night, with no umbrella.  If I recall, correctly, there was even a small plane crash in the city, where we were.  [Gee, no sign from above, or anything...  like God, or impending doom.]

 

That odd night I did what I typically do when I get royally pissed and ready to rip some person's head off, so it may be shoved someplace else; I walked away, at a really fast pace.  I was livid.  I couldn't even speak in full sentences.  I was a lunatic in high heels, walking the streets drenched in rain, yelling at the top of my lungs.  Had it not been NYC, I might have been spotted by the police, and taken in for a sobriety test. Thankfully it was NYC, and I had a male escort, to keep me safe. 

I got over my bruised ego and pride, eventually.  PPL was born a few days after that trip to NY. It didn't take long for people to contact Niels, offering helpful suggestions like, "change the name".  I figured a website, with an odd cryptic name (and long story) with no ads for adoption agencies or health/law services was the best, most effective way to combat arrogant ignorance.  I wanted PPL to be independent, in every way.  I saw it as the ultimate test.  [Yes, odd-ball adopted "orphans" like me like to test people, all the time.]  Our goal has never been about becoming a commercial success. 

People behind the scenes of PPL understand, real change cannot be done without a lot of help, and support.  We all understand it's so very frustrating to see the signs, when so few are willing to look, and even say, "Yup, we got ourselves a nice little problem here."

"What can we do to fix it?", asks the girl known to talk and scream to herself.  How do we open eyes and minds so effective adoption reform can begin?

Well, we, as a community, can begin with small baby steps.  I think maybe it's time members of the adoption industry start looking more closely at adoption stories, without going into scripted speech. I would love for someone like  Adam Pertman, Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, to take a good long hard look at the atrocities PPL alone has collected so child advocates can see what's been happening in Adoptionland.  Maybe, one or two  adoption industry heavy-weights will recognize many of the problems seen in today's adoption stories are not related to the kids, per se, but the attitude owned by the misled APs who think they are better and smarter than most, forgetting evil can be cloaked as good

(Haughty, holier-than-thou judgmental APs really get under my skin like a bad case of scabies...simply because they insist 'their own kind' would never stoop to the same depraved level of animalistic/barbaric uncivilized acts and behaviors the so-called uneducated "birth parents" do or will do.)

I am never shocked to learn what seemingly "very nice respectable people" do behind closed-doors,in private.  I am a RN.  I've seen some very strange stuff.

What worries me, is the idea that most people won't do anything to change the wrong course, until a wall is hit, and significant costly damage is done. 

If we have not hit rock-bottom yet, what else will we have to witness others endure before people begin to open their eyes and smell the stench that has developed in the modern-day adoption industry?

Rock bottom....

Let's see....

-adopted children have been abused and murdered by their APs,
-Bioparents and biofamilies coersed and deceived,
-APs also have been deceived and lied to by corrupt agencies and attorneys, who then morph into other agencies
-Children stolen from hospitals
-Children stolen during civil wars for ICA, though their families were alive and searching for them
-kidnapped ICA children CURRENTLY residing in the US while their biofamilies petition the US DOS (Department of State) to return their children, all falling on deaf ears!

Sounds like rock bottom to me.

This post saddens me

This post saddens me greatly. Greg and Tesney are my friends, and as a friend of theirs, I have watched them go through this process from start to finish. I have read and listened to the ups and downs emotionally and physically that adopting precious Kirill has taken on them. And at the end of it all, I have had the pleasure to meet their precious son. I have held him in my arms, and he has given me the sweetest hug I have ever had in my life. He is tender and gentle and happy and funny. He smiles ALL THE TIME. In short, he exemplifies the characteristics of a child that is loved. I know without a shadow of a doubt that Kirill could not be more loved or be in any better place than where he is right now. The idea of Greg and Tesney being anything but loving parents is abhorrent to me especially from a group of people who have never met them nor have bothered to contact them for information about their experience.

Producing examples of how adopted children with special needs have been abused and even killed by their adoptive parents and then even suggesting that Greg and Tesney would do such a thing to their adopted child is asinine. Not every child who is adopted is going to be abused or killed, and to only offer that side of the situation is closed minded and ignorant. Parents abuse and kill their biological children, too, so perhaps we should lump all parents into that group of abusive individuals. Perhaps we should just stop procreating and stop adopting because a child MIGHT be abused or killed. Doesn't make sense does it? Neither does the correlation in this post.

Yes, Greg and Tesney's adoption journey was based in their faith...a faith that is afforded to them not only by their Heavenly Father, but by the country in which they live. They believe, as do I, that God spoke to their hearts and led them to adopt a child with Down Syndrome from Russia. They never wavered in that belief and continued to pray that God would show them what His plan for them was. As Christians we are called to petition God for help, for love, for forgiveness, and for wisdom. Telling Him our desires and feelings is NOT telling Him what to do. It is being committed to the prayer life the Bible teaches us to have. Never once did Greg and Tesney negatively criticize the judge who denied the adoption petition. In fact, they were quick to remind all of us friends of theirs that that was not the path God set for us. That while we disagreed with her ruling, we still needed to pray for the adoption process, the country of Russia, and the judge. Tesney wrote entire blog posts about how God has only promised us eternal life with Him in Heaven and nothing else and that we all needed to be ok with that if the appeal process turned out differently than it did. In all of this, Greg and Tesney first...always first...asked God to do as He saw fit and not necessarily as they desired.

I understand that there are different opinions on just about every subject in this world, and this site has every right to present its side of this situation. I, too, am disgusted with what those other parents have done to their children, but before attributing that same behavior to people you don't even know, perhaps you should do a little more research and not saddle two of the most loving and faithful people I've ever met with the moniker of possible child abusers. Kirill Davis deserves better than that from the citizens of his new country.

Your post saddens me, too

Producing examples of how adopted children with special needs have been abused and even killed by their adoptive parents and then even suggesting that Greg and Tesney would do such a thing to their adopted child is asinine. Not every child who is adopted is going to be abused or killed, and to only offer that side of the situation is closed minded and ignorant. Parents abuse and kill their biological children, too, so perhaps we should lump all parents into that group of abusive individuals. Perhaps we should just stop procreating and stop adopting because a child MIGHT be abused or killed. Doesn't make sense does it? Neither does the correlation in this post.

The following is a brief takeapart of the same straw man canards repeated at PPL:

1: Keeping track of the hundreds of news stories of abused and murdered adopted children is not asinine. It is necessary, because despite these stories making the news almost daily, people would prefer to try and ignore them. PPL merely puts them all in one place.

2. No one at PPL has ever claimed every child who is adopted is going to be abused or killed. Never once. The cases in the archives are solely of children who have been abused or killed.

3a: Yes, parents abuse and kill their biological children, too. But parents who do so are not subject to pre-qualifying screening by multiple actors including state agencies, governments of other countries, their internal agencies, and foster/adoption solution providers, for sufficient parenthood traits. That's one of the many things that differentiates the responsibilities of adoptive and foster parents from natural parents. And yet, there is a huge archive here of many dozens of cases where the qualifications obviously weren't true.

3b: No parent should be killing anyone. But you should not try to silence people talking about when it does happen.

4: The loving, faith-based adoptive family, where nothing ever goes wrong is a crude stereotype of complex people (adoptive parents), and it's not to be believed. Not all families are like that. Some of us here are products of such families, so abusive adoptive families are not just an abstract idea for us.

5: You will not find any materials here to suggest anyone stop procreating or stop adopting because a child might be abused or killed.

6: There are no such correlations in the post.

Thank you -

This is very well said. And a good summary of what people need to be reminded of once in a while, before they get lost in premature judgments.

Jared

By the way

This is another report of another extremely sad story.
One too many, like all of the others

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2015794890_dshs02m.html

Jared

thanks

Thanks Jared, we added the case. See: Hana Grace-Rose Williams.

Interesting

Because my intention with my post was to keep people from prematurely judging Greg and Tesney just because they've chosen a faith-based life.

If Leann is still lurking,

Because my intention with my post was to keep people from prematurely judging Greg and Tesney just because they've chosen a faith-based life.

Their faith-based lifestyle choice is secondary and the mention of it doesn't warrant any "poor us" martyr cards or overdefensiveness on your part.

After all, many who choose to live according to certain professed beliefs have NO hesitation in prematurely judging those who don't conform to their way of life. And even condemning nonconformists to their fantasy world of eternal physical torture and spiritual annihilation.

Hopefully, you're not one.

Conservative, God-consulting, Bible-believing Christians are flawed people just like everybody else. They don't deserve special parental rights just for choosing a certain lifestyle. They are no one's superiors and contrary to what their supremacy issues or surrounding communities may tell them, they don't make better parents than anyone else.

"They don't deserve special

"They don't deserve special parental rights just for choosing a certain lifestyle."  And yet, so often it happens in many religious circles, "special parental rights" are given to preferred members of the congregation because it is believed those individuals can be trusted to enforce specific teachings, like not sparing the rod on a child. In the eyes of church elders, those who are willing to be more firm with their children are seen as better parents.

Supremacist mentality

"They don't deserve special parental rights just for choosing a certain lifestyle."  And yet, so often it happens in many religious circles, "special parental rights" are given to preferred members of the congregation because it is believed those individuals can be trusted to enforce specific teachings, like not sparing the rod on a child. In the eyes of church elders, those who are willing to be more firm with their children are seen as better parents.

Yeah, they are cast as better parents, yet their ranks are overrepresented in the case archives of PPL. For people like Leann, the very existence of PPL, where all cases are discussed regardless of the parents' religion, perhaps maybe possibly could theoretically oppress them some day. So, they act out.

These are people who already know their lifestyle choice goes against nature, and that their preferred, repressive, top-down, anti-liberty lifestyle can only win out by violent threats backed up with force and the power of state actors.

Special rights for conservative Christian-supremacist bigots. Special rights for those with the ability to wave around money to get their way. Special privileges for couples of certain sexualities...no rights for anyone who doesn't match up or conform, no rights for anyone outside the conservative Christians-must-rule-uber-alles fold, no rights for the children who are the targets for indoctrination/exploitation/sale by these people.

Oh and anyone who disagrees with them gets met with "what about the chillllldrennnnnn" mentality. Lol they are so full of it.

I agree that not all

I agree that not all adoptive parents are good people, but the original post placed premature judgment on two people that no one at this site even knows or bothered to contact to learn more about them. Greg and Tesney are being used to make people cautious of ALL adoptive parents when there are actually good, positive stories out there. The thing that bothers me the most is just what I said...NO ONE at this site knows them nor tried to contact them about their adoption journey and just wrote a post attacking their story and how they've handled things judging them as being insincere, again, WITHOUT EVEN KNOWING THEM. You can have your database of horrible, cruel people...that's fine, but I'd prefer a place that has a combination of both the good and the bad so that people don't automatically presume that this is what happens once a child is adopted. Gracious, I'd hate to have to go through life thinking that everything is awful and negative.

Focusing on the criminal situations does have a purpose, but the longer you focus JUST on that and not including some of the good stories, the more people will begin to see you as the debbie downer than providing concrete useful information.

Re-read

Actually, the original post focuses more on Reece's Rainbow, the adoption agency responsible for the screening and preparing of adoptive parents, and the judge responsible for deciding a child's fate through an adoption agency.

Here at PPL, we believe it's important to show how the good can easily be mixed and confused with the bad, and vice-versa.  To date, there is no real way of telling which "faith-based" home situation is going to be loving and nurturing, or dangerous and abusive.  All we have is information about an adoption agency's record, as it relates to post-adoption services and cases that involve child abuse.  To date, there is no mandatory post-adoption monitoring enforced by state or federal authorities, so whatever information we can obtain comes through investigative reporters who show a real interest in the facts behind a story.   With that, rather than assume we at PPL are out to crucify all AP's, I ask you re-read the following with the understanding that with each adoption, there is an adoption agency and  a social worker working (in theory) on behalf of a child's best interest. :

In February 2008, Fyodor and Kimberly Emelyantsev, a couple from Tooele, Utah, adopted a 13-month-old boy with Down Syndrome, Nicolai. Less than 4 weeks later, the child was dead from blunt-force trauma to the head. Nicolai also had a bruised face, head, knee and anus.

Just like Greg and Tesney Davis, the Emelyansevs were "called by God" to adopt a child with Down Syndrome and also used Reece's Rainbow to facilitate the adoption.

Nicolai's adoption and abuse case was prominently featured in the Russian press back in 2008, and it is more than likely the Judge in the case of Kirill was familiar with it. 

Whether this precedent had an impact on the judge's decision is unknown, but it does place the case in a different context, and in new light.

Instead of seeing a cold-hearted judge condemning a child to an institutionalized life, it now becomes possible to perceive this decision as one where the judge was unwilling to take a chance that yet another vulnerable Russian child might end-up in the home of an American who, on paper, looks really good.

When anxious to adopt individuals wonder why an adoption program is suddenly closing or a petition to adopt has been unexpectantly denied, these PAPs need to see WHY these things are happening; they need to educate themselves about events in Adoptionland  and in turn, they need to spend a little time in Debbie Downville.  PAPs truly concerned about the future well-being of adoptable children need to see not all is as good in Adoptionland as the industry and pro-adoption supports would like others to believe.  In addition, self-educating PAPs need to understand the whys and the hows... the comparisons and contrasts to certain events... so they too can recognize similarities and differences, and of course, the path of natural consequence. 

Oh, and let me be clear, this "not good in Adoptionland" applies to adopters and adoption agencies, as well as post-adoption services, like therapy.  Quite frankly, I find it quite sad more want to read  and defend the positive only so they can criticize those who wish to put a strong focus on the bad and dangerous that does exist, as well. 

Still, we are all entitled to our own personal opinions, and I strongly believe no one person can be forced to learn or keep an open mind, no matter how much information is made available.  Some people require a lot of sugar-coating... it simply makes life easier and more pleasant... or in some cases, more tolerable.

As far as my own personal wish, I hope more and more who visit the PPL pages will recognize the many complex issues each adoption presents and how every judge needs to very careful when considering what is in a child's best future interest when it comes to deciding things like guardianship, custody, and child placement.  In terms of an adoption,  one must not forget judges are depending on the workers at an adoption agency to thoroughly investigate adoption candidates.  Just for fun, let's pretend the adopters in the cases mentioned in the original post were devout Muslims.... good wonderful people, with friends who have no doubt the parents are more than qualified to care for a child and raise that child according to their beliefs.  If you were a judge in another country, and saw just how common severe abuse in faith-based/home-schooling was, would you have had reservations granting yet another foreign adoption?   Would you worry about the agency that can't differentiate between good faith-based and bad faith-based?  Often times things are not so black and white or absolute when asked to re-read a given situation found within an adoption story.

Personally

I would take issue with any judge who decided whether an adoption should be approved based solely on someone's choice of faith. If the Muslim (or any religion or lack thereof) family is qualified to provide a stable and loving home to the child and there are no criminal issues in their background, etc., then they should be allowed to adopt the child and not be personally judged for something their faith is negatively known for. If I were the judge, I wouldn't lay that kind of judgement on a couple and punish just them for something they don't take part in.

Also, I stated before that I have no problem with highlighting the negative situations, but you mention comparing and contrasting the positive and the negative outcomes to adoption. However, I see no evidence of the positive outcomes on this site...only caution that a positive outcome could turn into one of these negative outcomes.

As for the original post being about Reece's Rainbow, something tells me you didn't bother to try contacting Reece's Rainbow about the post, either, because you'd rather just provide what your judgement of the situation is rather than providing the entire situation from all view points. You'd rather moan and complain about how life cannot possibly be good.

ugly assumptions

Wow... what ugly assumptions you make about us.

When we originally wrote that comment, we were very careful to put the judge's decision in a different light than that of a cold hearted bureaucrat condemning a child to an institutionalized life. We presented a context in which such a decision can be understood from a much more humane perspective.

For several comments now, you are assuming we compare the Davis families to child abusers, which we don't and never did. Your belief that we do so is purely a figment of your own imagination and has wasted more valuable time and space than it actually deserves.

In your latest comment you really cross the line and start judging our characters. I don't think I need to slap you with Mathew 7:1 to make it clear that such is a very unchristian thing to do.

This is not a site I

This is not a site I frequent. In fact, I only read it because it spoke about my friends, and if you believe that someone could happen upon that entry and not at least a little question the motives of Greg and Tesney, then you are sorely mistaken. It may be understood what your intentions are for the readers who subscribe to your website, but for someone who just runs across it through a Google search or what have you, that isn't likely to automatically come across. For those people and for Greg and Tesney, I comment.

But have no fear, you've done everything you needed to do to make me never comeback to read the negativity, again. Incidentally, you monitor comments. You didn't have to approve mine. Also...it helps if you're throwing Biblical references at someone to actually spell the name of the book correctly. Matthew has two T's in it. But if we're talking about judging, you might want to take a look in the mirror regarding the way you're trying to portray Reece's Rainbow as a breeding ground for child abusers.

goodbye

You don't have to tell me that you don't frequent our site. Instead, you barge in, start making all sorts of baseless accusations because you somehow find that the post we wrote put the Davis family in a negative light.

This is all the result of your inability to properly read, so pointing out my spelling mistake is like noting a speck in my eye, while failing to see the plank in your own eye.

This website exists to shed a light on the dark side of adoption, we are not a support group for people with dysfunctional reading comprehension. Though we would welcome people with such disabilities if they approached us in good faith.

Barging in and subsequently making a scene is not approaching others in good faith, so I am glad you will never come back. Don't let the door hit you on your way out.

And Finally

Incidentally, as a condition of the adoption, there are at least 4 post-adoption evaluations/visits mandated by the country of Russia that must be done, so while our country doesn't mandate them, the country so concerned about Kirill's well being does. That number may increase based on the new adoption treaty between the US and Russia.

paper mandates or real mandates?

This actually raises an interesting issue, so now that the author of the above comment has promised  not to return, we can finally have a civilized and substantial discussion.

It is true that the Russian Federation requires 4 post-placement reports, however there is very little the Russian authorities can do to enforce their requirement. After all, the adoption has already been finalized, and they (the Russian Federation) have no jurisdiction in the states the children are being placed. Even the Federal Government has no jurisdiction when it comes to parental rights, since this is a state issue.

As a result, post-placement reports are largely neglected. This is reflected in the list of agencies with missing post placement reports. That list (dated January 25, 2009) contains the following agencies:

Source: adopt-minedlist.pdf

My question is, what difference does it make whether the State Department and Russian Authorities make agreements about the number of post-placement visits when neither party has any standing enforcing such an agreement? Isn't this just a case of window dressing?

snark taken, but you've missed something

My acquaintance with your site is just beginning, so let me first express my great admiration for what you are doing.

But second, as someone who lives in Russia and is familiar with the orphanage system through charity work, I'd like to point out that there's a fundamental disconnect between the way Russian officialdom sees these issues and what you rightfully call into question as the "orthodoxy" of "family is always better": many or most Russian officials see their country's institutions as not bad places. And in truth, they are pumping a lot of money into them now. But some more progressive officials, and a large and growing cadre of psychologists, NGos, socialworkers, etc. are aware of the damage that they wreak. Disabled people are truly warehoused here, and their ability to self-actualize in any way is taken to be 0%. It's extremely sad.

So though I really understand your effort to puncture the cant associated with the "save the poor orphans" narrative, especially the Babbitrous religious versions, and especially one that serves to undermine laws that are put in place to protect children, the assumptions on the other side of this story should also be questioned.

post-placement, p.s.

On the issue of post-placement reports, what the Russian government smartly does is to suspend the operating permits of those homestudy agencies whose clients are delinquent in filing reports, hitting them in the pocketbook.

But the more important point is that the social-workers who perform the homestudies to begin with often don't spot problems, submitting laudatory reports when families are really troubled and children are still at risk.

Primary links

Pound Pup Legacy