Earlier this month, the US Department of State, published its annual report on inter-country adoption, and for the 10th year in succession, the number of children adopted from abroad dropped.
Much has been written in the last decade, about this decrease in inter-country adoption, and while it is a real phenomenon that can be observed in all receiving countries, there is more to the story than just a decline within the last decade.
When American mainstream media reports news about the decline in inter-country adoption, they usually use 2004 as a starting point, when the US alone received 22,972 children from abroad.
Any recent figure will pale in comparison to this figure. For instance, the 6,441 children adopted from abroad in 2014 is less than one third of the number reached in 2004.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Usually things get easier to write about over time. Not this time. It's getting harder.
My First Cousin (technically he's not, but he'll always be my Very First Cousin) was eager to help me. He's an elderly man in poor health, who needed the mental stimulation such a puzzle provided. He's been very encouraging, even as my moods have swung like a weather-vane in storm.
I'm one of the least emotional people you'll ever meet, although I'm self-aware enough to realize that for me this symptom is a sign of an underlying problem. But here I was obsessively combing through genealogies and bursting into tears at every photograph. I desperately wanted to know who these people were, what their stories told about them, and how their stories related to my stories. I craved the stories grownups swapped while visiting and told to the kids on the porch during long afternoons.
I cried the first time I spoke to First Cousin on the phone. It was the first time I'd heard the voice of a blood relation I hadn't given birth to.
Earlier this year, the US Department of State published its annual statistics on inter-country adoption. Again a significant decline in the number of children adopted from abroad could be noted. The year 2012 had already been a low-water mark with 8668 inter-country adoptions. In 2013, the number went down even further, to 7094.
Over the years the church and its daughter organization LDS Family Services had been involved in various dubious adoptions, showing a lack of respect for the rights or unmarried parents. On top of that, LDS Family Services has been the least transparent adoption agency in the world. Unlike other adoption agencies, it is registered as a church and therefore it is not required to submit any financial information to the Internal Revenue Service.
LDS Family Services resembled the type of hush-hush operation one would have expected during the 1950s and 1960s, an anachronistic organization out of touch with the societal make-up of the 21 century.
Two men working in an orphanage in Kathmandu have been arrested and are facing trial next week accused of sexually abusing children in their charge.
Rabin Shrestha, former head of the adoptions at Bal Mandir, and Rabin Chalise, an ex-student who ran a Youth Club at the shelter, were arrested by the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) last week after child rights activists presented evidence of repeated rape and abuse of girls and boys at the orphanage.
Shrestha had been arrested before in 2012 after a British woman lodged a complaint against him for allegedly raping a five-year-old blind girl that she was going to adopt.
“I tried to adopt her, but Shrestha told me I couldn’t do that. He wanted me to sponsor her instead and told me I would get a decision after she turned 16,” the mother told Nepali Times this week.
Nepal -- Rabin Shrestha (alleged child rapist) & Action for Child Rights International
Thanks for taking the time to visit my JustGiving page.
Rabin Shrestha, the former Head of Adoptions at Nepal’s largest children’s home, “Bal Mandir” (pictured), operated by the Nepal Children’s Organisation (NCO), was arrested this past week by the Nepal police for alleged sexual assault on three minors.
Nepal adoptions chief raped and groomed orphans for prostitution, claims British teacher
The Daily Telegraph
A British woman who adopted a five year old blind girl from a Nepalese orphanage believes she uncovered an abuse and vice ring after her new daughter said she’d been raped every Saturday
By Dean Nelson, New Delhi and Anil Giri in Kathmandu
27 Jun 2014
The former head of international adoptions at Nepal’s largest orphanage is in custody over allegations that he raped young girls and groomed them as prostitutes in Kathmandu dance bars.
One of the alleged victims was a five-year-old blind girl who who was later adopted by a British teacher. Three others suffer from autism and severe learning difficulties.
According to the girls, they and two young boys at the orphanage were sexually abused and raped every Saturday when the adoptions chief, Rabin Shrestha and his friend throw ‘birthday’ and ‘wedding’ parties at Kathmandu's Bal Mandir children’s home.
Nepal Children's Organization -- former head of NCO/Bal Mandir adoptions arrested for child rape (reprinted from PEAR Nepal)
Two held on rape charge
KATHMANDU: Two suspects have been arrested behind alleged rape of three young girls living in a public orphanage, Nepal Children’s Organisation, popularly known as Balmandir. Police arrested Rabin Shrestha, a former employee of Balmandir, and Rabin Chalise, the current president of Balmandir Club, following the complaints of rape and sexual abuse at the orphanage lodged by Action for Child Rights International-Nepal. (PR)
PTSD blankets my emotions with numbness. It's hard to feel any emotion, I think them more than I sense them. Unexpected strong emotions tend to cause an automatic whole-body shutdown response. But this was so unexpected it blew through my automatic defenses like they weren't even there.
It had been a few weeks since I was told that my results would be ready in a month and a half. I checked the site everyday, but the expectation of seeing anything had long since slumbered. I almost forgot to check that Saturday when I remembered it before running off to do some outdoor work.
I logged on to Ancestry.com, expecting to see the now-familiar white page with a tiny "come back later" notice. Instead I saw colors. There were greens, beige, browns, oranges, blues, pinks, blacks, and even a few tiny full color photographs. Some of the colors formed words, but I couldn't read them, too shocked to see that there was something -- quite a lot of something -- there at all.
Been reading a bit more on your site and I thought I would share some more with you. Although I don't think I was necessarily abused by my Aparents it certainly never stopped me from realizing that the whole chosen/ grew in her heart not in her womb thing was bullshit created by a pro adoption agenda. Kinda like an engagement ring made out of a cubic zerconia. Beautiful and yet still fake. You may want and wish it was real but it's not.Also it is the pain of being separated from our mothers that is our true and ultimate abuse.
Adversely an abused adoptee at least is spared the lies and false hopes that a true family bond has formed when I find that to be a childish and wishful notion altogether. I found myself thinking of apes today and what happens when the babies are removed from their mothers. In watching such footage it nearly brought me to tears in empathy and yet it wasn't till today that I actually realized that we generally treat apes and kittens better than humans because that's just animal abuse to do such things lol.
I took a DNA test to learn about my biological relatives and found out some things.
Let's start with the basics, shall we? I found out I was a human being, homo sapiens sapiens (at least mostly, I haven't compared it with the non-human samples yet.) This actually was a concern for my younger self. There were no people around who looked or acted like me in my adopted family or in the society around us, and everyone was quick to point out how weird and alien I was. So what's a kid supposed to think? Where was the evidence I hadn't fallen off a UFO? I became sensitive to attempts to "other" me or anyone else.