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
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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.
There was never a time I did not know I was adopted. In fact, there was never a time I did not feel different, not-quite-right, and not altogether like those around me. I have always felt like I was the outcast, the mixed mutt..the runt... the one who got chosen to live among strangers not because I was wanted, but because someone had to choose me, otherwise I'd be put down or left to die, whichever created less stir for the public.
I was born in 1968 in Newfoundland, Canada, a hot-spot for infertile Americans in want of a healthy white newborn who was "orphaned" by its unmarried and "unfit" mother. I was not born an American; I was manufactured to become one.
As an adult, I learned the facts surrounding my adoption story were nowhere near the "facts" my adoptive mother told me about my adoption history.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.