Orphaned in Russia, brought to America, and then abandoned time and again

Date: 2013-09-11
Source: Reuters

Orphaned in Russia, brought to America, and then abandoned time and again
By Megan Twohey

Filed September 11, 2013
[part 5 of a 5 article series here The Child Exchange: Inside America's Underground Market for Adopted Children ]

PROMISED LAND: Inga Whatcott was 12 when she came to the United States. About a quarter-million foreign children have been adopted by Americans. No one tracks what becomes of them. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

Part 5: A mother decides she adopted ‘a pig in a poke’ and sends her daughter away. Inga: ‘My parents didn’t want me. Russia didn’t want me. I didn’t want to live.’

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story contains language that some readers may find offensive.

BATTLE CREEK, Michigan – Inga spent most of her childhood in a Russian orphanage, longing for parents who would protect her.

Her biological mother, a prostitute, had abandoned her when she was a baby. She never knew her father.

At the age of 12, her life was about to change. It was 1997, and an American couple was adopting her.

"My picture was, I'm gonna have family, I'm gonna go to school, I'm gonna have friends," Inga says today.

Less than a year after bringing Inga home, her new parents, Priscilla and Neal Whatcott, gave up trying to raise her. They say the adoption agency never told them that Inga struggled to read or write, that she suffered from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, that she smoked.

The Whatcotts say they tried therapy and support groups. They even reached out to a Russian judge to undo the adoption.

When nothing worked, they turned to what Priscilla now calls "the underground network." In an early example of adoptive parents using the Internet to seek a new home for an unwanted child, Inga was orphaned repeatedly.

In the next six months, the Whatcotts sent her to three different families. None wanted to keep her. In one home, Inga says she had sex with a sibling who then urinated on her. In another, she says the father molested her.

Sent to a Michigan psychiatric facility at the age of 13, Inga says she had sex again – this time with her therapist. Michael Patterson, the therapist, was acquitted of first degree criminal sexual conduct and remains a licensed social worker in Michigan. He says he "did not cross the line" physically with Inga and remembers her as "a very troubled child."

On Patterson's last point, no one disagrees. When Michigan institutionalized her, officials characterized Inga's troubles this way: "substance abuse, domestic violence, separation from parents, sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, verbal abuse, attachment issue and mental health issues."

To Inga, the situation seemed bleak: "My parents didn't want me. Russia didn't want me. I didn't want to live."

More than a decade ago, when foreign adoptions were booming, Priscilla Whatcott spoke out about her experience with her damaged Russian daughter and the perils faced by Americans who adopt from overseas. In Congressional testimony and media accounts, she couched the case as a consumer-rights issue: Adoption agencies, she warned, face no repercussions for failing to disclose pre-existing problems of children they place. Today, 16 years on, Whatcott still compares adopting Inga to buying "a pig in a poke" or being "sold a bill of goods."

The story of Inga herself has never been publicly told. Now 27, she is one of the roughly quarter-million foreign children brought to this country through adoption since the late 1990s. Their fate in America has never been systematically examined.

A Reuters investigation has revealed how Americans who adopt from overseas can easily offload troubled children to virtual strangers they meet on the Internet. Through a practice called "private re-homing," parents market their unwanted kids online and pass them along to others – quickly, often illegally, and almost always without consequence for the adults.

In a single Internet bulletin board examined for this series, a child was offered to strangers once a week, on average. Most of the children – 70 percent – were listed as foreign-born. They came from at least 23 foreign countries, including Russia, Ethiopia, China and Ukraine. (Yahoo took down the bulletin board in response to what Reuters found.)

Adoptive parents say they turn to Internet groups because they have no alternative. In an interview with the Associated Press in 2001, Priscilla Whatcott said life was so bad that she wondered whether Inga would simply be better off dead. "Some days I think that the very best answer is for God to take her," she told the AP. "Release her and be done with it. There is no happy ending here."

Whatcott's solution was tougher liability laws. "Clearly, we would have avoided much of this heartache and tragedy if consumer protection laws pertaining to international adoption had been in place," she wrote in testimony submitted to Congress in 1999.

Stephen Pennypacker, a child welfare official in Florida, says adoptive parents aren't consumers and their troubled children can't be treated like faulty products.

"Children don't come with a warranty," says Pennypacker, who wrote a 2011 memo warning state authorities to be on the lookout for Internet child swaps. "When you adopt a child, that's your child. You have the same responsibility to raise that child as I had to raise my biological children, regardless of what their problems are."


In October 1997, when the Whatcotts arrived in Russia to adopt her, Inga says she didn't know how to be a daughter. After the Whatcotts took her, she remembers hiding beneath a blanket on the train ride from the orphanage in St. Petersburg to Moscow.

The Whatcotts and their three younger children, two of them adopted from China, were living on the Marshall Islands at the time. Neal Whatcott, an engineer, worked as a government contractor there. Priscilla was a stay-at-home mother.

Only after meeting Inga did they learn that she was four years older than they had been told. She displayed emotional and behavioral problems that they say had not been disclosed by the adoption agency. The Whatcotts had no training to deal with the challenges Inga presented. Even so, they went ahead.

"When we got her home, it was a disaster," Priscilla says.

Inga sometimes tried to sneak out a window. She would crouch in the back of her closet, refusing to come out. "I was hurting," Inga says.

Once, Priscilla recalls, Inga set a fire in her bedroom. (Inga denies that).

Within a year, the Whatcotts reached their breaking point. A fight between Priscilla and Inga turned physical during a vacation in Hawaii. "She's got to get out of this family," Priscilla told her husband.

The California adoption agency that led them to Inga, Nightlight Christian Adoptions, suggested the Whatcotts enlist the help of a therapist who also had adopted a Russian girl.

The therapist took Inga into his California home. The two Russian girls grew close. Inga says she was grateful for the new friend who spoke her native language.

The arrangement was temporary, and the Whatcotts say the adoption agency wouldn't provide additional help. Today, Nightlight says it "cannot discuss the specifics of any case." In the years since the Whatcotts used the agency, it says, everyone involved in international adoptions has come to recognize "the need for post-adoption support."

At the time, the Whatcotts turned to the Internet for that help, and Priscilla became active in a Yahoo group for families who had adopted children from Russia.

"There are a lot of these Yahoo groups," Priscilla says. "Everyone is chatting about various challenges with their children. I expressed what was going on. People started saying talk to so-and-so."


Soon Priscilla was on the phone with Mary Gayle Adams, an adoptive mother who sometimes offered to help parents find new homes for children. Reuters found numerous cases of freelance middlemen like Adams who assist parents with re-homing. Many are adoptive parents themselves. Some perform services, such as posting ads of available children, that under the laws of some states can only be handled by licensed professionals.

Pennsylvania, where Adams lived then and now, requires no such license to handle re-homings. Adams, 68, isn't a licensed social worker. She's a former elementary school teacher. Today, she says, she lives in a former school with 25 children she adopted, some who came through re-homing. She says she still finds time to volunteer as a go-between in re-homing cases, and sometimes reaches out to families through the online bulletin boards.

Adams says she doesn't recall Inga, the Whatcotts or the families she recommended for them. But Priscilla Whatcott says the homes Adams identified were "in no way" approved by government authorities. When the government places children in foster homes, prospective families are vetted and a social worker examines their suitability as parents.

The first replacement family the Whatcotts found for Inga lived in Maryland. Inga remembers little about her stay, except that it lasted less than two months. The parents decided she was too difficult to handle.

As with the first family, the Whatcotts say they located the next two through Adams, the volunteer. "I kept calling her back," Priscilla says of Adams. "She'd say: 'I have another one.'"

The second family lived in Michigan. The parents routinely took in children and had adopted almost a dozen. The Whatcotts never met the family before sending Inga there. She wouldn't stay long.

She stole liquor from the family and ran away from home, Inga says. She and the mother exchanged slaps across the face, and Inga says she was beaten up by some of the other children living there. She had sex with one of the boys, she says, and he urinated on her afterward. She had just turned 13; she doesn't recall the boy's age.

The mother says she never slapped Inga. She says she doesn't believe Inga was beaten or had sex with the boy.

Months after Inga had left the house, court records show, the mother was found to be "neglectful" of one of the children there. Authorities also told the mother about "allegations of sexual abuse between the siblings," court records show. Inga's accusations weren't mentioned.

When the Whatcotts refused to take Inga back, Adams helped locate a new family, also in Michigan. In her third re-homing since arriving in America, Inga joined a family of at least eight biological or adopted children.

The Whatcotts never met the parents before sending Inga to them, but Priscilla says the couple seemed nice over the phone.

Inga says the father was violent. He and his wife later divorced, and the estranged wife described his alleged behavior in a sheriff's report filed after Inga had left the house.

"It was nothing for him to get angry at one of the older, adopted children, and grab them by their throats and press them up against the wall, and there were incidents where he actually left bruises on the necks of the children," the ex-wife told authorities. The assaults continued, the ex-wife told police, even after she reported her husband to child protective services. The man and woman couldn't be reached for comment.

ALLEGATIONS OF ABUSE: Inga accused one of her guardians of sexually abusing her. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

The woman also told police that her former husband "had a problem" with pornography.

Inga says it went further. The man fondled her on several occasions and sexually assaulted her, she alleged in a subsequent police report. "He'd kick out the other children, watch porn with me and say, 'I bet you can't do that,'" she says today.

Inga told authorities about the alleged encounters, but says she feared the man and didn't want the case pursued. Because she wouldn't testify, the prosecutor dropped a criminal sexual conduct charge against him.


In March 1999, when no family would take her, Inga was taken into state custody. She was admitted to Fieldstone Center, a psychiatric hospital in Battle Creek, Michigan. There she met Patterson, the social worker who helped treat her. Patterson, 41 at the time, had recently joined the center as a therapist in its adolescent residential unit.

"I was really hurt inside," Inga says. "Every night I'd cry hysterically."

In June 2000, Fieldstone fired Patterson, and the state of Michigan's Board of Social Work filed a complaint. It alleged that he had shown negligence in his dealings with two patients at Fieldstone. One of the patients was Inga.

The complaint alleged that Patterson had talked with a caseworker, Inga's court-appointed attorney and Inga herself about a "possible plan for him to become her foster parent."

The complaint says nothing about what Inga would allege to Fieldstone staff the next year, in August 2001: that she and Patterson had been having sex at the facility.

Patterson had sex with her more than a dozen times in 1999 and 2000, Inga told police. "She said that he promised that if she would have sex with him that he would adopt her and that he told her if she told anybody about their sexual relationship that he would not adopt her," according to a report by the Battle Creek police.

Police also interviewed a patient who lived across the hall from Inga's room. Inga's door was partially open one day in April 2000, the patient said. That's when the patient said she "saw Patterson kissing" Inga, the report says.

The police report states that Patterson had been fired by Fieldstone for "inappropriate conduct with patients." Today, Inga says she told staff the details about her interactions with Patterson because she suspected he may have had sexual relationships with other patients. Citing patient privacy guidelines, a Fieldstone spokesman declined to comment.

In 2002, Patterson was charged by authorities in Calhoun County, Michigan, with criminal sexual conduct in connection with Inga. In testimony at preliminary hearings, Inga often seemed confused – about when and where the sex allegedly occurred, and by the English language, which she spoke poorly.

No translator was present in court. She testified that she was born in 1995, not 1985 – a misstatement that would have made the 17-year-old girl 7 at the time she was testifying. She also said she didn't understand what "recollection" or "accurate" meant.

Patterson was acquitted. In his verdict, Judge Allen L. Garbrecht said Patterson showed "extremely poor judgment" by telling Inga he might seek custody of her. But as to the sex charges, Garbrecht said he was "not convinced that the prosecution has proven that element beyond a reasonable doubt." The case, the judge noted, was essentially Inga's word against Patterson's.

State regulators in Michigan put Patterson on professional probation. He was required to complete 16 hours of "continuing education courses in ethics and boundary issues."

Patterson says he never had any sexual contact with Inga. His acquittal vindicated him, he says, as did the actions by Michigan regulators.

"If the state thought I was a horrendous person, they wouldn't have just given me probation," Patterson says.


When Inga was taken into state custody by Michigan in 1999, Calhoun County authorities accused the Whatcotts of neglect.

Now living in Washington state, the Whatcotts were refusing to pay the full cost of Inga's care. They travelled to Michigan for one hearing in the case. Inga recalls that they took her to a restaurant where they told her she would not be coming home with them.

Priscilla says they withdrew money from their bank account and hid the cash under their bed so Michigan officials wouldn't know they had it. Though they lived halfway across the country, they instructed their other children not to answer the door in case child welfare workers visited.

"The judge had a chip on his shoulder … and threw the book at us," Priscilla says. "He said, 'I'm not going to let people like you take kids into this country and then dump them into the system.' … We lived with fear."

In 2003, about four years after Inga was admitted to Fieldstone, the judge granted the Whatcotts' request to essentially nullify their responsibility for Inga. They were ordered to pay $5,000 to the state and to help Inga become a naturalized U.S. citizen.

Shortly after, a judge appointed Inga a legal guardian, Jodi Farleigh.

Farleigh took legal responsibility for Inga as the girl transitioned out of Fieldstone and government-sanctioned foster homes.

"She took a place like my mom," Inga says. "No matter how I behaved or stressed out, whatever, I had problems in my life, she'd always be at my side."


Because Inga had never attended school regularly, she didn't know how to read or write in English. She struggled with violent outbursts, sexual promiscuity, substance abuse and suicidal thoughts.

"I get afraid of freedom," Inga says. "I wasn't ready for that."

Farleigh pushed to get Inga more schooling and therapy. With the first consistent parent figure in her life, Inga says she started to improve.

"She has a heart of gold," Farleigh says. "She had to learn how to love and trust."

Sitting in a restaurant in Battle Creek recently, Inga said she often thinks it's her fault that the Whatcotts sent her away.

"I let my parents down," she said, tears slipping down her cheeks.

Farleigh grabbed Inga's hand.

"You can't look at it like that," Farleigh told her. "You've got to look at it a different way, that you have a new family now."

Inga has friends and sometimes goes on dates. An elderly couple at her church – she calls them grandma and grandpa – welcomes her for holidays.

She studies writing and math at the YMCA. She works part-time at a Burger King. She takes cooking classes and goes on camping trips. At a recent kickball game, she sent a ball flying into left field and darted for first base. "Go Inga!" her teammates screamed.

Although she hasn't seen the Whatcotts in years, Inga still reaches out to Priscilla.

"She says, 'Tell dad I love him. When are you going to come visit?'" Priscilla says. "I say, 'That's not possible right now.' She has a fantasy about our family."

Inga lives today with a roommate in government-assisted housing, where staff help with maintenance, medication and scheduling.

On a recent day at her apartment, posters of fairies adorned the bedroom walls. Her cat, Shian, a swirl of brown and gray fur, lounged on a chair. On her bed lay two ragged stuffed animals – a rabbit and a bear, the only items Inga kept from her childhood in Russia.

Atop her dresser stood a photo, framed. It was a picture of the Whatcotts.

(Additional reporting by Ryan McNeill, Robin Respaut and Zachary Goelman in New York)

Leave a comment on our Facebook page or tweet us @SpecialReports and use the hashtag #ChildExchange. You can also send us an email at childexchange@reuters.com.


Russian Adoptions

This is a good article, but it does not really address the horrors that some families go through after adopting Russian or other Eastern European orphans. It makes it seem as if the parents just could not deal with normal childhood antics. My son and daughter-in-law adopted an 8-year old boy several years ago and are at the end of their rope. I have had "difficult" children in my life, but never, ever, imagined the types of behaviors that some of these adopted orphans bring to the family.

This child has literally destroyed everything in the house, urinates all over the furniture and carpets, smears feces on clothing, in drawers, on food in refrigerator (!), steals anything that isn't tied down, lies constantly, sets fires, kills small animals and sexually assaults other children. His parents have gone broke, even emptying their retirement accounts, trying to get this kid help. There is no help available from any governmental programs as he is an international adoptee. And to be honest, most therapists have absolutely no idea what to do.

Oh, and his doctors and dentists say that all involved in the adoption lied about his age - all indicators are that he is 13 or so, just short for his age. We also found out after the fact that several families in his country of origin tried adopting him and returned him to the orphanage as they couldn't handle the behaviors. Also, of course, none of those behaviors were disclosed prior to the adoption.

My kids are living an isolated existence - with the exception of myself, no other family members or friends can be around the child any longer. It is just too dangerous and disgusting.

I do not know what the outcome will be. But I can certainly understand how some families grow so frustrated and frightened that they take the step of "re-homing" to strangers. No one should have to live day and and day out with the fears of being murdered in the night, being burnt alive while sleeping, having your other children raped and otherwise abused, being sued by neighbors for damages done by the child, etc. People cannot go for months, not to mention years, under that type of stress without something breaking down.

Addressing the horrors of non-commitment

I agree, some children have been so damaged, they ARE a danger to others, and they should NOT be in a traditional home where small pets and small children live.  I believe such children are NOT adoptable by those who want "a traditional family", and yet over and over again we see adoption facilitators not only encouraging such adoptions, but they will go as far as ask the parents to take in MORE children, knowing quite well one very troubled child would be more than enough to handle.  [I know one Amother who wanted to adopt one child from a very popular major adoption agency that rhymes with Bolt.  Before she knew it, she found herself convinced guilted into adopting 6 more - all special needs children, including one as described above.  WHO.... what adoption agency working on behalf of the needs of children does this to a PAP?!)

It's an outrage how some adoption agencies operate.

However, the problem I have with re-homing (with no family-visits) stems from a much greater systemic problem I see, especially in American society. 

All too often, when things in a relationship get tough, and demands get too high, adults are encouraged to change their fate; change their future.  If an adult is unhappy in a marriage or job, that adult is encouraged to quit the marriage.  Quit the job.  If the adult is unhappy with a pregnancy, the adult quits the pregnancy, (or completes the pregnancy, but simply quits the parenting.)

What is this "solution" teaching our children?  What good is the word "permanence" in family adoption if the family can be broken and split the moment the relationships within get "too tough"?

When it comes to the mystery of life, NO PARENT knows what the child they will receive will be like.  Some are lucky, and when the child is born/delivered, the child is healthy, and remains healthy.  Others are not so lucky; the child is born with life-long disabilities or a fatal disease.  Are we to quit all difficult damaged children because it's too much work and not enough fun?  Should "family permanency" really be based on a child's behavior?

Just like responsible bio-parents, responsible PAPs need to educate themselves about the many wrongs that can happen during pregnancy, childbirth, and after periods of trauma, neglect, and abuse.  With all that is written about FAS, PTSD, the effects of trauma, and "attachment disorders" these days, no PAPs is excused from "not knowing" what may be ahead in an older-child adoption.  It is the PAPs responsibility to ask questions, and it's the PAPs option to say "No" to the option of a difficult adoption, BEFORE the adoption takes place. Saying "no" after the adoption has been finalized, and then dumping the child on someone else, and walking away is not an acceptable solution to a very difficult problem in Adoptionland. Ditching a child and parental responsibility was already done by the first-parents; repeating that inability to commit to a child, AGAIN, will only make matters worse for the child, not better. 

I have to insert here, unlike those who never saw the type of child you describe, I myself have friends with so-called RAD children and children with severe forms of autism.  I work in an extended-care facility for adults.  I have seen and experienced what happens when the child or adult resident loses his/her mind... over something very innocent like the "wrong" placement of a magazine. This spontaneous combustion is scary as hell.  I can understand why some family member place their difficult child/adult family member in a RTC.  But placing that family member some place else does not mean the parents ought to stay away.  These residents KNOW who come to visit, because they are "family" and they know who stay away, and why.

One can send their child to a specialized hospital for extended care, but that doesn't mean the child should be dumped, and never seen again by the "forever family" chosen through adoption.  As a nurse, I would never tell the parent to a child with cancer or autism, "stay away; don't visit" .  So why should adoptive parents of children who are equally difficult to watch and care-for should be given a different set of rules?

I truly empathize with your family situation. Back when I didn't know better, I would have suggested you write a long letter to Adam Pertman/The Adoption Institute, but since I've been on PPL I have learned addressing the real problematic issues in Adoptionland is not their top priority. Sadly, without radical adoption reform, many APs will remain alone, much like the parents of severe autistic children have been, for many years in the USA.


Thank you so much for your response. I do agree - "re-homing" or otherwise dumping your adopted child should not be the answer. The answer should be more post-adoption aid, especially for families with difficult children.

Granted, in my case, I honestly believe the child is just too damaged to live in a typical family situation. He really needs to live in some sort of residential treatment center where he can get the structure, supervision and help that he needs. And by doing so, his family would be freed up from the stress and terror of direct supervision to have a true family relationship with him - at least to the extent that he wants any relationship. He would still be their son, my grandson.

I think that option would be the best solution for everybody. But....that option does not exist, at least not in real life. I have already checked into it, and with no insurance available and no government aid available, the costs run up to $50K a month, and more. My kids have already emptied out their retirement accounts to get help. And I have emptied mine for the most part...meaning I only have Social Security income to live on when it comes time to retire in the next several years. So the destruction a child like this does to the family is not just emotional, it is financial destruction as well.

Again, I wish the journalist would have at least given a nod to the difficulties some of the adoptive families face. The way she presents the cases to the reader look as if the parents just could not deal with normal teenage rebellion, with normal childhood behaviors. With the exception of that disgusting family that wanted to get rid of their Chinese adoptee in 5 days, I really believe there was more going on that was deliberately kept from the reader. The true stories would only have diluted the indigation she hoped to generate from her readers.

It is the hardest thing for a parent, or grandparent in my case, to maintain love for a child under these circumstances. It is not like a medical special needs, where your know the child needs help simply to survive and those kids tend to give an incredible amout of love back. We are sacrificing everything in our lives for a child who HATES us. It takes everything we have not to hate back.

Final Outcomes

Just as bad as a journalist's unwillingness to go into the REAL depths adoptive families face, I find the blogs/articles written by adoptive PARENTS, with VERY limited experience, very offensive because all they are doing is promoting themselves as parenting God-Sends to APs like your children.   Rather than sharing what they experienced themselves, they promote this idea that they were able to achieve a major breakthrough --  they themselves were able to "reach" an adopted child from Romania or Russia, (at the age of 12...) and as such, they want to be seen as the go-to-parenting-guru for adoption children.  Can you hear the Cha-CHING?

When it comes to teaching/supporting APs with very difficult adoptees, I am very weary of those who insist they are able to change the lives of adopted children, through the use of their parenting techniques.  [In many of these situations, I truly question the use of Reactive Attachment Disorder, Institutional Autism, or any other generic label of the day, created for the adoptee, and I also question the use of discipline and punishment many APs are using on their "difficult" /defiant adopted children.]  Not once do we hear from the "saved adoptee", instead, all we get are the words and opinions from the AP who found a way to make money through a much-needed adoption service.  [That service is, btw, Parenting Classes (for the traumatized child); this service is SUPPOSED to be provided by the chosen adoption agency.  But in many cases, such classes are replaced with "scrapbooking", or "learning how to swaddle" and other more normal parenting lessons for the parent of a normal child. ]

So in essence, adoptive parents who find themselves in the situation you describe, they not only have useless money-taking waste-making adoption agencies, they have zero state-assistance, and they have misleading non-professional "parent educators" who charge outrageous fees for lessons in adoptive parenting.  Keep in mind, many of these highly regarded resources for desperate APs are known to be associated with questionable (aka horrific ) practices that can quickly and easily get WAY out of control, ( like family bedding, licking, and Holding Therapy.)

The way I see it, for many ICA families, (where orphan-care is negligent and abysmal), both the APs and the adopted children are screwed, especially if the final outcome for the child "saved" from institutional living ends-up in a state-prison, or a RTC (which is basically an orphanage for adults.]

With all of this out in the open, one has to wonder:  How is the adoption-option benefitting children like these?  Is ANYONE benefitting from these adoptions?  The answer is yes.  While the parents and the children will lose the most, it is the adoption "service provider" who will be making a financial killing from horrific adoptions.  These individuals are free to charge thousands of dollars for each child/service, they are free from state-mandated monitoring, and they are free from personal responsibility/liability, especially when a case gets out of control, the adoptee ends-up dead, and the family's next step is decided in court.

America's adoption system is just so fantastic, isn't it?

And just think, as we discuss this very dark-side of an adoption-plan, there are those politicians who want to add to the mess by EXPANDING ICA for the USA!

Hey here's a suggestion:  Before more American's try to save the world's orphans, by putting them in American Homes....errr... I mean "home-like"? Institutions, how about fixing and reforming the mess America's Adoption Industry has built and created for itself, first? 

Samoan "adopted child dumping" grounds

The general problem you have with adoption is that uneducated people adopt children for all the wrong reasons. Expanding your family, being led by God, giving a poor village child a "wonderful" new life among them.

When you take a child from an environment that they have been living in, and place them in an "adoptive home" the child, who has no choice in the matter will be unsettled living in a new environment clear across the world.

People who think that they themselves are "healers" and better providers than the real parents will find themselves in trouble.

News flash,, children are real, they have feelings, they are capable of expressing emotion. No adoptive parent can do damage control as it is way too deep for them to ever ever comprehend.

Yet, adoption goes on, disruptions happen, deaths happen, abuse is rampant, a sick vicious cycle, that travels the globe, by "do gooders".

Adoptive parents justify it by claiming the "child" was in living in the streets, was in an orphanage, sharing a bed, was pale, thin and I am giving them a real life, home and LOVE.

There needs to be a collective effort by those that genuinely care for children in each country to care for children that parents are forced to give up because of a psycho limit, or sex band, or poverty. Gathering up children and putting them in a "storage" or "nanny facility for future distribution is ludicrous.

All children grow up, and search for their roots. When the roots have been severed, growth stops, physically and emotionally. There is not enough "LOVE", toys, or new clothes that can cure it.

The adoptive child that is dumped like a piece of baggage because of their behavior does not conform to the norm of the adoptive parent's ideal truly suffers. Just imagine going from your "new wonderful home in Suburbia" to a remote island because the Jones were not educated enough to handle you and were no longer wanted and now labeled "troubled".
They are now worse off then when you picked them up with your good intentions out of their natural environment.

Cross Cultural Mess

Where does it make sense to dump a child adopted from Russia or Romania and raised in suburbia USA....and "rehoming" the child in ...>Samoa!!!
With NO follow-ups?
With NO therapy?
HOW is that in the best interest of the child???

Cross Cultural Mess/Samoa, yes, but not this one

This case (Inga Whatcott) has nothing to do with Samoa to my knowledge. (Am I missing something?)
Her family was living in the Marshall Islands when they adopted her, she eventually was disrupted to US families in Michigan/suburbia.

Maybe you are thinking of this case Children adopted by Scott and Karen Banks
The Banks disrupted 2 Romanian children  and sent them from Utah to Samoa.

Russian Adoptions continued

Religion was exactly the reason my son and daughter-in-law made this adoption. They were told and somehow or another convinced themselves that God had a special mission for them, and that mission was to "rescue" a child from an evil godless country and raise him here to be a child of Christ. (Background - my son became a Christian when he met his wife. I am not Christian and have no desire to become one.)

I was against this adoption in the first place, as I thought their motivations were all wrong. I even told them in advance that they should foster or adopt a US kid, should they have that calling. But their church groups "adopt" whole orphanages - well, at least they did in Russia but they also presently do in the other Eastern European countries.

I probably should have just walked away and let them deal with their adopted son on their own. Funny, how the church is so heavy on praying for them, but not so much with any tangible help. But when you have a child who is so distrubed, you can't just ignore them.....if for no other reason than this very child's existence is now putting other innocent people at risk and a child this disturbed must be suffering greatly.

Personally, I think the money spent on International Adoptions would be better spent strengthening the social supports in those countries so that poor families can raise their children themselves.

Money, better spent

Personally, I think the money spent on International Adoptions would be better spent strengthening the social supports in those countries so that poor families can raise their children themselves.


Try telling that to the movers-and-shakers found within the US Adoption Industry, and all the US-based "service providers" who benefit from an adoption plan (good or bad).  These people make a killing from ICA... but <shhhhhh>, no "good Christian" is supposed to know this detail, especially when he/she is supposed to be blindly praying for messages and calls from God.


Grandma Catrunning

I hope you reach out to find other families as support for your children... there are some out there. There are resources to help, though I agree most therapists are not familiar with these issues.

Samoa dumping grounds and the power of adults, AP's to be exact.

No one should EVER minimize what Scott and Karen Banks did with the two adopted Eastern European youths. We all know about it because it was in a trial, and exposed and then a person in Utah found the girl in Samoa The girl who was stuck in Samoa because the Banks just left her there with her adopted Brother. This poor young lady who was taken from her home country to be saved by the Banks, who were probably led by a super natural power from above to take her from an orphanage and bring her to their home in Utah, where she became a thorn in their sides, along with her adopted brother. Bye Bye forever home.

If it were not for the exposure of this girl and her brother the public would never know that these two adopted children ever existed in the Scott and Karen Banks home and were ruthlessly abandoned in Samoa, by the same people who "rescued them". Oximoron, if I ever heard of one.
Opeing up an adoption agency just seemed to make sense to the Banks. Focus on Children, an exciting business venture for them was born. Whippeeee! Now they can really rescue children from their plight of misforturen and make money doing it.

This was a "private underground" trafficing of children. The Banks sought a solution to a domestic problem in their home. Put them, the adopted children on a airplane and they VANISHED. No contact, no money no documents. Wisked away. Making room for new adoptees. Child traffiking takes on many forms and is done very private manner.

It has been documented many times that wild animals take in their kind and raise them like their own. But again, those are wild animals, we are humans.

Let us not forget justice in Adoptionland

I think one of the most significant outrageous outcomes from the Banks case is the final judgment given to a couple known to abandon/"re-home" two adoptees, (without giving them their birth certificates), and known to fight to adopt a third foreign child:

The judge did express concern that the Bankses had adopted two Romanian babies but then sent them about 10 years later to live with a family in American Samoa. The couple alleged the children had developed severe attachment disorders. The judge said the pair should have explored other options.

"The court merely cautions that should any problems arise with Amanda that the Banks parents must treat her as their own child, not give up on her and give her what she needs to succeed," Willmore wrote in his Feb. 11 order.

[From:   Couple on probation in Samoan adoption case adopt child ]

One has to wonder how the state is monitoring this particular high-risk case, with high-risk APs known to literally take-flight..

And so, once again, I say it is hard to have faith in the US judicial system AND the US adoption system, when judges like this are making decisions on a behalf of an adopted child.  If birth parents did this, more than likely they would be charged with criminal abandonment, and face punishments that may include fines, termination of parental rights, supervised access to the child, and jail time.  But in the case of the Banks, they were rewarded with the custody of another adopted child.  Go figure how justice works for untrustworthy dumping APs!

Not Minimizing

Hoping it  did not sound like I was minimizing...

No one should EVER minimize what Scott and Karen Banks did with the two adopted Eastern European youths.

I was just confused why we are discussing the Children adopted by Scott and Karen Banks disruption in a story about an unrelated disruption.

Scott and Karen Banks disruption of two adopted children

Disruption, any related stories of disruption can find their way into any thread on disruption.
Especially when it is related to corruption.
I think what is so alarming is how the Banks were able to pull it off. And given their reasons to abandon these adopted children that Karen Banks posted on a Focus on Children Website as to how Scott and her older bio-sons were so excited to have become a part of their family. What happens when that excitement turns into, never wanting them in their family. When they ponder a "opps" we made a mistake while in Romania. These two children are not quite such a good fit anymore. Who knows what was going on the heads of those two. The point is the creative way that AP's can use children and then toss them away. This story makes me sick.

And, yes to Kerry, tell me how in the heck besides the fact that the custody battle for someone else's adopted child is in Utah. The most corrupt judicial system in the U.S.

Theocracy, Mormon rule.

Over and over again, look at the court rulings in that State. Over the rights of biological fathers, unwed mothers, and the average Joe. Unless you have a "card to the church" you will not win.

It is sick.


For those who want to read more about the stories anonymous is posting about, I suggest clicking these cases and reading the related articles:

Disruption of 2 children born in Romania ** Children adopted by Scott and Karen Banks

One of those articles include this webpage copy mentioned by anon: History of FOC from their website

Karen knew she had to go to Romania. While there, amongst the rubble left by a shattered country, she found and adopted 3 children who were in need of a family and home. Fortunately, an understanding husband and 2 young sons awaited at home, and welcomed these new additions to their family. A purpose was born!

Utah judges and their rubber stamp adoptions, ** Karen Banks  Read most recent 10 articles which deal with their adoption of Amelya Francis Kirkpatrick

couldn't agree more

It is sick and alarming.

That is why we set up a specific page about the disruption of Ethan and Auriel Banks.

For Silent1...

I'm curious.... are you able to name some of these more trust-worthy resources?

I find many times, what an AP may see as "effective" is in-fact more harmful for the adoptee, so I'd like to know your take on what qualifies as a "helpful resource".


Not sure if Grandma Catrunning is still reading, but some ideas
Many intercountry adopted children have experienced trauma, neglect, and/or abuse prior to adoption
Many children adopted from Eastern European countries may suffer from fetal alcohol effects.

I'd advise investigating the Fetal Alcohol diagnosis, as many parents have reported getting more services after obtaining the diagnosis. I think NoFAS has resources by state http://www.nofas.org/
I'd look into CAPD, which is an auditory processing disorder.... a child may appear to hear and understand, but may not really understand. An SLP or an Audiologist can probably help with this.
Look into a diagnosis of PTSD
Has the child had a complete workup at an IA Medical Clinic?
Has the child been tested for H Pylori?

Consider reading and or watching some to the materials offered by Karyn Purvis (Connected Child, Empowered to Connect). Someone said you can read Chapter 4 on-line. Her book is about building safety and trust for your child... that unpleasant behavior is often fear-based... and helping your child learn your home is safe is the key. (her info seems to mention Christianity.. but I don't think the methods require christianity.. so take what you want from it).

Bruce Perry also has some good information about trauma.

Psychology Today has a searchable database of therapists that you can sort by age of children treated and types of therapy. you may find someone right around the corner who does know about adoption issues. (of course use common sense, and research before hiring anyone).

Knowing what are some of the reasons behind the behaviors (fear, PTSD, fetal alcohol, prior abuse, etc) can help a parent more effectively help a child. It can mean schools and the state provide more resources.

Also, I'd suggest connecting with other APs ... not just one or two who could be clueless, but connecting with large groups through local/state support groups, foster care groups, adoption groups, groups for the child's country of origin. Also connect online through facebook or all the other bulletin boards and email lists.
Ask questions, challenge assumptions, think 'does this make sense?' before embarking on any therapy.

Great response!

I myself will look into the suggestions you made.... I'm always hungry to learn more about the treatment of "difficult" adoptees.  [Yes, for me, all of this talk about "treatment" still remains very personal.... and I sure wouldn't want what happened to me to happen to someone else!]

May I also suggest to Grandma, (or the parents of the child that was mentioned):  join PPL (membership is free) and ask to join our private Adult Aftermath support group. 

Although this private-group was first set-up for adult adoptees, only, I have found many Amoms, in particular, want to join because they want to learn more about other adoptees -- "what are they thinking/doing, in-private?.... what do they think about ______?" --" as well.  I have found the feed-back and suggestions offered from concerned adoptees who've lived the mess have become a great resource for those who desperately want to understand why a child is behaving in such disturbing ways.  While it's true, no two children and families are exactly the same, (and issues like FAS and other genetic issues greatly affect a child's abilities and limits, and outcome),  you'd be surprised to learn just how similar some actions and behaviors are for the adoptee, at various stages of schooling and development.

Diagnosing RAD

Honestly, from my experience over the years, too many "specialists" are too eager to make a diagnosis really fast.
Remember, it is the APs that are given the check list and the Dr. reads it, thus...the diagnosis.

I have to stress, better preparation for PAPs is needed but truly, many of these children should have never been put in the situation against their knowledge (will) of being adopted ICA.

Over the past decades I have come to believe in stronger and better orphanage care because in so many cases, it is temporary anyways, thus allowing the child to go back with their families.

How many of these kids would even have RAD or -xyz diagnosis if they were not adopted in the first place.

for Grandma Catrunning

In addition to what was listed above, we pulled together some hotline numbers 9 months ago


Some are national, some are state specific. Maybe something will be helpful there.

Pound Pup Legacy