Demons of Adoption Awards blog entries



Adoption by Gentle Care recipient of Demons of Adoption Award

For eighth year in a rows, Pound Pup Legacy has asked its readers to choose the worst person or organization in Adoptionland as the
recipient of the Demons of Adoption Award. Today we announce this year's recipient.

We started the Demons of Adoption Awards, back in 2007, as a parody of the Congressional Angel in Adoption Award , annually awarded by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI). Although humorous in form, it was serious in intent.

At the time, little attention was given to serious issues like abuse in adoptive families, child trafficking, coerced relinquishment and re-homing., while at the same time, Members of Congress were busy praising adoption attorney's and executive directors of adoption agencies, by honoring them a Congressional award.

Something was very wrong with this picture. Abuse in adoptive families and re-homing often are the result of bad screening practices and insufficient preparation of prospective adopters, if not the result of withholding information about the conditions of the child, important to make a proper decision whether to go forward with an adoption. Coerced relinquishment often is the result of having no well-defined protocols to guide the adoption process. Child trafficking is often the result of working with unreliable partners in sending countries and the profit motif that can easily become the driving factor behind the adoption process.

Members of Congress should worry about these issues and provide regulation that curtail what is wrong in Adoptionland. Unfortunately they much rather look the other way and sail on the feel-good sentiments that surround adoption.

The Angels in Adoption Award gala is mostly an adoption agency's love fest, organized with congressional allure It openly shows the intimate embrace of special interest groups and federal government, more so than in any other field of business.

Congress is often said to be ruled by special interests, but nowhere is the intimate embrace of politics and business so blatant as in the field of adoption.

There are no congressional awards for members of the petrochemical or financial industry, nor is there a defense contractor of the year award. When it comes to these branches of business, members of congress at least presume to maintain a certain distance.

Adoption is an entirely different matter. Members of Congress don't view it as a business, after all, as defined by law, no children are being sold. And even if viewed as a business, it dwarfs in comparison to Wall Street, the oil industry, insurance, and the pharmaceutical industry.

For members of congress the political value of adoption is not economical, but sentimental. Members of congress like to present themselves in favor of adoption, because it superficially shows a virtuous side, something as much needed to get elected as having well filled campaign coffers.

For members of the adoption industry, adoption certainly has economic value. Their livelihood depends on it. Of course the industry likes to present itself as virtuous and charitable, but at the end of the day salaries need to be paid and the cost of doing business needs to be recouped.

The Angels of Adoption Awards shamelessly shows the exchange of sentimental political capital for the economic and religious interests of the adoption industry. Members of Congress get the opportunity to demonstrate their virtuous side, and the industry gets Congress's seal of approval,and  minimal federal oversight.

This cynical trade of feel good sentiments for economic and religious interests made us start the Demons of Adoption Awards, seven years ago.

As a parody of the Angels of Adoption Awards it only highlights the worst. Just like no agency or attorney is as angelical as Members of Congress want us to believe, neither are the demons of adoption exceptionally evil. For every nominee there are several others equally guilty of unethical practices.

The Demons of Adoption Awards shine a light on the darkest corners of Adoptionland, but they don't tell us much about the overall darkness of the adoption industry.

Business methods, used by the worst agencies of our time, are the same as those used by "demons of adoption" a century ago. Coerced relinquishment, fraudulent paperwork, the use of jurisdictional mazes, illegal payments, all of that is not a recent invention; it has been part and parcel of the adoption business since its inception.

This year's recipient of the Demons of Adoption Award is a good example of being among the worst in an industry that thrives on bad practices.

Founded, in 1978 by attorney James S. Albers, Adoption by Gentle Care has been in the spotlight before. Already in 2011, the agency was nominated for a Demons of Adoption Award for their handling of the case of Benjamin Wyrembek.

In that case Adoption by Gentle Care placed a boy with an Indiana couple, in November 2007, knowing that the paternity of the child was not established. Benjamin Wyrembek, the father of the child contested the adoption and after a long court battle, the adoption was dismissed.

As a result, the child was officially in custody of Adoption by Gentle Care, which was ordered to show the child to his father on February 8, 2010. The agency failed to comply with the court order and through it's executive director John Cameron was held in contempt on July 2, 2010.

The Indiana couple appealed all the way up to the US Supreme Court, but eventually October 30, 2010, the boy was handed over to his father.

Adoption by Gentle Care quickly dismissed executive director John Cameron, who was replaced by Trina Saunders. This change of leadership however didn't change the way Adoption by Gentle Care operated.

In March 2014, Adoption by Gentle Care was involved in the placement of Camden, the son of Carri Stearns. Carri Stearns found herself in a crisis situation after getting pregnant as the result of a one-night-stand. Her partner wasn't exactly pleased and told her to choose between the baby and their life together.

Carri Stearns contacted Adoption by Gentle Care days before she was due, to discuss the placement of the child. Adoption by Gentle Care was very eager to assist in the placement and their counseling was geared to only one option, to make sure the child was being placed for adoption.

In the process Adoption by Gentle Care ignored all red flags. The mother was financially capable of raising the child, she herself wanted the child, and she had proven to be a good mother for her other children.

When the issue of paternity came up, the agency coached Carri Stearns to list the father as "unknown" on the birth certificate, even though the father was known.

The case worker, having learned her lesson from the case of Dusten Brown (baby Veronica) asked if Carri had any Native American blood. When she answered truthfully that she did, the case worker responds: “Carri, you can’t say that. If we name Native American blood, then this adoption won’t happen. He’ll go to foster care.”

Apparently the fear of the child going into foster care was enough for Carri Stearns to lie, something Adoption by Gentle Care apparently found entirely acceptable.

Three days after the initial intake and only counseling session, Carri gave birth to her son Camden by means of a c-section. Four days later, she signed off on the adoption.

During the relinquishment she had to testify that she was of "sound mind and body". In such testimony one must state that they are not under any mind altering substances and are making this decision of their own free will, independently of any coercion of duress. At the time Carri was still under doctor’s prescription for Vicodin and Dilaudid, but was advised by Adoption by Gentle care worker to say "no" to the question whether she was using any medication.

Three days after the relinquishment, reality what has transpired set in and Carri came to the conclusion she had made a terrible mistake.

Adoption by Gentle Care refused to revoke the consent and pushed through with the placement of Camden. However, the family chosen to adopt the boy, returned him to the agency and he has been in foster care ever since.

Adoption by Gentle Care, with this case proved to be anything but gentle, and it seems all they cared about is the quick placement of children. They didn't seem to care about proper procedures, proper counseling and it wasn't even beyond them to instruct someone to lie.

We believe our readers made an excellent choice by declaring Adoption by Gentle Care this year's Demon of Adoption, and with sadness realize next year we will most likely have another recipient just as deserving.

Eighth Annual Demons of Adoption Award Nominations

Now that autumn has started, the Congressional Angels in  Adoption have been awarded and National Adoption Awareness months is not far from the horizon, it is time for us to start the nominations for Pound Pup Legacy's Annual Demons of Adoption Awards.

Over the years, our readers have rightfully pointed out the wrongdoings and condemned the practices of such agencies like: Bethany Christian Services, LDS Family Services, adoption attorneys like Raymond W Godwin, such trade associations of adoption service providers like the National Council for Adoption and the Joint Council on International Children's Services, and even showed our utmost contempt for the United States Congress. All worthy recipients of the Demons of Adoption Awards.

With such an impressive line-up of villains, comes a daunting task to come up with an equally deserving candidate for 2014.

We invite our readers to nominate and decide who eventually has the dubious honor of actually receiving PPL's 2014 Demons of Adoption Award.


You, our reader, can make your voice heard. Who should receive the most critical recognition in Adoptionland? Until  October 10 the nomination process will be open. After that date PPL will post a poll where readers may vote for the nominees.

The link for nominations may be found at: http://poundpuplegacy.org/eighth_demons_of_adoption_nominations. Please make your nomination by adding a comment.

When posting, please state your nominee and a short explanation as to why this candidate is so deserving of this award.

Raymond Godwin and Nightlight Christian Adoption recipient of Demons of Adoption Award

Since 1995, the month of November has been designated as Adoption Awareness Month. We at Pound Pup Legacy try to contribute to this commemoration, by raising awareness for abuse in adoptive homes, disrupted adoptions, violated parental rights, child trafficking for adoption, and other horrors in adoption.

The start of Adoption Awareness Month also means the announcement of the recipient of the Demons of Adoption Award. Started in 2007, as a critique on the Congressional Angels in Adoption AwardsTM, the Demons of Adoption Awards have become an annual tradition, continued now for seven years in a row.

In September we asked our readers to nominate candidates, and many worthy contenders were added. In October we launched a ballot to collect the votes for each nominee. From the start, it was a very close race between two nominees: Raymond Godwin et al., and Children in Families First (CHIFF) - with the remaining entries trailing far behind.

There is great irony to the candidacy of adoption attorney Raymond W Godwin and his wife, director of Nightlight Christian Adoption in South Carolina, Laura Beauvais-Godwin. In 2010, the current President of The Heritage Foundation and at the time Senator of South Carolina, Jim DeMint, awarded the Godwins for a Congressional Angel in AdoptionTM.

The Angels in Adoption have never been awarded with much scrutiny into candidates. Silly, but otherwise benign, was the award by then Senator of Kansas Sam Brownback for his "precious wife" Mary Brownback, with whom he had adopted a child from Guatemala and one from China.

Much more seriously, Jerry Sandusky received an award out of the hands of Rick Santorum, a decision that needed to be reverted back in 2011, when it became clear Sandusky had molested several boys, including his own adopted son.

Senator Chuck Grassley, awarded Damien and Allonna Stovall with an Angel in AdoptionTM, in 2012. Six months later, the couple was charged with beating their adopted children with belts and wooden spoons, although those charges were later dropped.

In 2007, Representative Patrick Murphy determined an award should be given to Steven G. Dubin, whom at the time was under investigation for fraudulent adoption practices, and whose membership of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys was suspended, only three months after being lauded as an Angel in Adoption. Dubin was eventually disbarred in the State of Pennsylvania, October 31, 2012.

In 2005, convicted criminal, Representative William Jefferson, nominated one of his cronies Renee Gill Pratt, and a year later, Senator Johnny Isakson awarded Faith Allen, the former "savior" of Masha Allen, who abandoned her adopted daughter in Washington DC, the day after the Angel in Adoption gala.

That same year, Senator Orrin Hatch nominated Larry S Jenkins, a Utah attorney, who is involved in nearly every father's rights violation case over the last 10 years.

When it comes to using laws to lure women into relinquishing children out of state, without notifying fathers, Larry S. Jenkins has found his match. Raymond Godwin has figured out that the adoption statutes of South Carolina make such unsavory inter-state adoptions about as easy as they are in Utah.

Raymond Godwin and his wife Laura have been involved in two of the most contentious adoptions of 2013, known as the baby Veronica case and the baby Deseray case. Both cases revolve around interstate adoptions of Native American children from Oklahoma to South Carolina.

The baby Veronica case has been all over the news, especially since the case went all the way up to the Supreme Court of the United States, where a verdict was rendered in favor of the adoptive couple Matt and Melanie Capobianco.

Late September, the Capobiacos, at the time assisted by another of Jim DeMint's Angels in Adoption, attorney James Fletcher Thompson, were able to remove Veronica from the home of her father Dusten Brown, with whom she had lived the last two years.

The case of baby Deseray is just as interesting, although it lacks the sensationalism of going all the way up to the Supreme Court. In this case, Godwin originally cooperated with Angel in Adoption Mike Yeksavich, an attorney from Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Bado & Bado - a couple of adoption attorneys from Edmond, Oklahoma, who were publicly reprimanded for unethical practices by the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys - to place the child with Bobby and Diane Bixler, a couple in their 60s, of Irmo, South Carolina.

Baby Deseray was removed from Oklahoma without properly filing the Interstate Custody for the Placement of Children (ICPC) paperwork. As a result, Mike Yeksavich removed himself from the case, and subsequently attempted to halt the adoption of the baby to the Bixlers and demanded her return.

Four months after the removal of Baby Deseray, the Oklahoma administrator for the Interstate Custody for the Placement of Children (ICPC) applications, and Angel in Adoption, Michael A. Nomura, approved the paperwork for the child's adoptive parents, after the Bixlers had retained attorney Paul E. Swain, who sits on the board of Nomura's agency Heritage Family Services, Inc.

The Baby Deseray case is still in motion. At this time of writing, the girl is in temporary foster care, pending emergency litigation.

No matter how we look at these cases, what we see are multiple placements of the same children, all because an adoption attorney endeavors in, to put it mildly, legally adventurous practices.

Raymond Godwin, may have stayed strictly within the law, with the Baby Veronica case. While there may be difference of opinion on that particular issue, it is indisputable that the trajectory he chose for these two adoptions was legally complex, making it very possible that the adoptions would be contested.

Knowingly starting an adoption procedure that can reasonably be expected to be contested, is immoral. Adoption, when practiced, should increase a child's stability in life, not lower it. Raymond Godwin and his wife Laura knowingly created a situation that was potentially disruptive, and ended up actually being disruptive for two children. For that, they deserve to be recognized as Demons of Adoption.

We would like to thank all our readers for their nominations and for their votes, and it is our hope that the Demons of Adoption Award brings to light the more serious adoption issues that still need to be addressed throughout the year, not just during November, America's National Adoption Month.

Seventh Annual Demons of Adoption Award Nominations

It's that time of year again., Labor Day behind us, kids back to school, the sun no longer at its apex, time for the nominations of the Demons of Adoption Awards.

We are all too aware, our regular readers, like us, have nail-bitingly anticipated this moment all summer long. For us hard-core adoption critics, this is the highlight of the year, the defining moment of the annum.

It will be tough this time around. Over the last years we have dredged the cesspool named Adoptionland and condemned the practices of such agencies like: Bethany Christian Services and LDS Family Services, such trade associations of adoption service providers like the National Council for Adoption and the Joint Council on International Children's Services, and even showed our utmost contempt for the United States Congress. No feather weights by any means.

An important decision needs to be reached, dear Pound Pup Legacy readers. Who is the most deserving villain in Adoptionland, for 2013?  While we can think of some really deserving candidates, we want our readers to nominate and decide who eventually has the dubious honor of actually receiving PPL's 2013 Demons of Adoption Award.


You, our reader, can make your voice heard. It's in your hands now who receives the worst of all honors in Adoptionland. Until  September 30 the nomination process will be open. After that date PPL will post a poll where readers may vote for the nominees.

The link for nominations may be found at: http://poundpuplegacy.org/seventh_demons_of_adoption_nominations

When posting, please state your nominee and a short explanation as to why this candidate is so deserving of this award.

The United States House of Representatives recipient of Demons of Adoption Awards

For seventeen years, in America, November has been earmarked as National Adoption Awareness Month. Its origins can be found in an initiative by Gov. Dukakis of Massachusetts in 1976. His adoption awareness week was promoted to the national level by President Reagan, and with President Clinton's approval, the entire month of November became the official month to honor and promote the merits of adoption, and bring more public awareness to otherwise little known facts and figures related to adoption laws, practices, and adopted people.

Sixth Annual Demons of Adoption Award Nominations

Every year the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute(CCAI) organizes a gala where Members of Congress can give an Angel in Adoption Award TM to constituents of their state or district who have been advocates for adoption.

Originally intended to champion the adoption of children from foster care, the Angels in Adoption Awards have grown into an adoption industry love-fest, awarding adoption attorney's, directors of adoption agencies and other representatives of the adoption industry.

Many of the recipients of the Angels in Adoption Awards have nothing to do with adoption from foster care, and their main achievement is making a sound business out of the commerce in children.

In 2007 Pound Pup Legacy instituted the annual Demons of Adoption Awards to raise a voice against adoption propaganda and the self congratulatory practices of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute's annual Angels in Adoption Awards.

Until September 30 you, the reader, can nominate candidates for the sixth annual Demons of Adoption Award. After that date, PPL will post a poll where readers may vote for the nominees.

The link for nominations may be found at: http://poundpuplegacy.org/sixth_demons_of_adoption_nominations

When posting, please state your nominee and a short explanation as to why this candidate has the dubious honor of winning the award.

Previous editions:

First Annual Demons of Adoption Awards (award went to the National Council for Adoption)
Second Annual Demons of Adoption Awards (award went to the makers of Juno)
Third Annual Demons of Adoption Awards (award went to Bethany Christian Services)
Fourth Annual Demons of Adoption Awards (award went to Joint Council on International Children's Services)
Fifth Annual Demons of Adoption Awards (award went to Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints)

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints recipient of Demons of Adoption Awards

Today is November 1, marking the start  of Adoption Awareness Month. For Pound Pup Legacy this marks the day to announce the “winner” of the Demons of Adoption Awards.

The Demons of Adoption Awards have grown into an anticipated annual event, followed by many in the adoption community, and is a critical voice kicking off Adoption Awareness Month.

Fifth Annual Demons of Adoption Award Nominations

Every year the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute(CCAI) organizes a gala where Members of Congress can give an Angel in Adoption Award TM to constituents of their state or district who have been advocates for adoption.

Originally intended to champion the adoption of children from foster care, the Angels in Adoption Awards have grown into an adoption industry love-fest, awarding adoption attorney's, directors of adoption agencies and other representatives of the adoption industry.

Many of the recipients of the Angels in Adoption Awards have nothing to do with adoption from foster care, and their main achievement is making a sound business out of the commerce in children.

In 2007 Pound Pup Legacy instituted the annual Demons of Adoption Awards to raise a voice against adoption propaganda and the self congratulatory practices of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute's annual Angels in Adoption Awards.

Until September 30 you, the reader, can nominate candidates for the fifth annual Demons of Adoption Award. After that date, PPL will post a poll where readers may vote for the nominees.

The link for nominations may be found at: http://poundpuplegacy.org/fifth_demons_of_adoption_nominations

When posting, please state your nominee and a short explanation as to why this candidate has the dubious honor of winning the award.

Previous editions:

First Annual Demons of Adoption Awards (award went to the National Council for Adoption)
Second Annual Demons of Adoption Awards (award went to the makers of Juno)
Third Annual Demons of Adoption Awards (award went to Bethany Christian Services)
Fourth Annual Demons of Adoption Awards (award went to Joint Council on International Children's Services)

Joint Council on International Children's Services recipient of Demons of Adoption Awards 2010

When Pound Pup Legacy started the Demons of Adoption Awards in 2007, it was very much a spur-of-the-moment action, triggered by the sugar coated news surrounding the Congressional Angels of Adoption AwardsTM. Over the last couple of years the Demons of Adoption Awards have grown into an anticipated annual event, followed by many in the adoption community, and a critical voice kicking off Adoption Awareness Month.

This year we want to add an even more sobering element to the start of the adoption love-fest, introducing Rohnor's Angels, honoring those children who died this year due to abuse in their forever family.

Looking beyond the demons of adoption

Two days ago we started the nominations for the Annual Demons of Adoption Awards for the fourth time in succession. As much as we like that we do this every year, and how much we love to point out the "bad guys" in adoption, it's also important to realize that the adoption system itself is most evil of all and that pointing out a few "bad guys" is not going to solve the ethical problems related to adoption.

The Demons of Adoption awards started four years ago in response to the congressional Angels in Adoption, annually awarded by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI). What is presented as a means to promote the adoption of children, in fact is an adoption industry love fest. Among the recipients of the award, we do not just find families that opened their doors for children from foster care, but also couples whose only "merit" is that they adopted through Bethany Christian Services of Virginia. Many of the other recipients are insiders in the adoption industry. Among the recipients are many adoption lawyers, whose "merit" only exist in the fact that they make a living preparing the paperwork for an adoption.

Fourth Annual Demons of Adoption Award Nominations

In 2007 Pound Pup Legacy instituted the annual Demons of Adoption Award to raise a voice against adoption propaganda and the self congratulatory practices of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute's annual Angels in Adoption Awards TM.

Until September 30 you can nominate candidates for the fourth annual Demons of Adoption Award, after which we will put up a poll to vote for the nominees. Please add a comment to this post with your nominee and a short explanation why this candidate has the dubious honor of winning the award. You can also email your nomination to this address.

Previous editions:

First Annual Demons of Adoption Awards (award went to the National Council for Adoption)
Second Annual Demons of Adoption Awards (award went to the makers of Juno)
Third Annual Demons of Adoption Awards (award went to Bethany Christian Services)

Bethany Christian Services recipient of the Demons of Adoption Awards 2009

Every year the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) presents the annual Angels in Adoption AwardsTM, an award for those, who according to CCAI, made a contribution to the promotion of adoption of children from the American foster care system and other "orphans" world wide.

While presenting adoption as nothing but a good cause, CCAI is in effect one of the few industry lobbying groups in Washington that actually consists of active members of congress. It is a well known practice that politicians, after leaving office, join lobbying firms to further the interests of particular industries. CCAI is exceptional in that it looks out for the interests of an industry, while its members are still being in office.

Third Annual Demons of Adoption Award Nominations

In 2007 we instituted the annual Demons of Adoption Award to raise a voice against adoption propaganda and the self congratulatory practices of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute's annual Angels in Adoption Awards TM.

Until September 15 you can nominate candidates for the third annual Demons of Adoption Award, after which we will put up a poll to vote for the nominees. Please add a comment to this post with your nominee and a short explanation why this candidate has the dubious honor of winning the award. You can also email your nomination to this address.

Previous editions:

First Annual Demons of Adoption Awards (award went to the National Council for Adoption)
Second Annual Demons of Adoption Awards (award went to the makers of Juno)

Juno, winner of the second Annual Demons of Adoption Awards

Sunday, November 9, the winner of the second Annual Demons of Adoption Awards was announced. Out of a list of 10 nominees the members and visitors of Pound Pup Legacy have chosen the makers of Juno to be the winner.

The annual Demons of Adoptions was created to to raise a voice against adoption propaganda and the self congratulatory practices of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute's annual Angels in Adoption AwardsTM. Last year the National Council for Adoption had the "honor" of winning that awards for "pushing the adoption agenda in pregnancy consultation". This year Juno joined the illustrious ranks for "helping to groom and brainwash a whole new generation of girls and young women to be walking incubators for the the adoption industry".

Winning the award, the makers of Juno will have the unique right to show the Demons of Adoption 2008 banner on their website.

We would like to thank all our members and visitors for voting. The results of the poll can be found here.

Second Annual Demons of Adoption Award Nominations

Last October we instituted our annual Demons of Adoption Award to raise a voice against adoption propaganda and the self congratulatory practices of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute's annual Angels in Adoption AwardsTM.

Even though last year's edition was very much a spur of the moment action, it was a success and many people visited to vote.

For our second annual Demons of Adoption Award, we'd like to have much more input about the nominations than we had last year. At the time we only had three weeks before the Congressional Coalition's gala, so we improvised a list of nominees ourselves. In retrospect I'm still quite pleased with the candidates we came up with, but with the input of the many people that have a deep knowledge of the adoption system, I know we can do better.

Pound Pup Legacy