Adoption organizations 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.

The story behind the numbers, adoption statistics 1962-2013

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.

The decline in inter-country adoption is not equally distributed, as can be seen in the following table. The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Ghana and Nigeria have seen sharp increases in the number of adoptions, while traditional adoption countries such as South Korea and The Russian Federation have seen adoption drop to unprecedented low levels. The number of adoptions from South Korea haven't been this low since 1955.

Is Adoptionland becoming less demonic?

It has been less than three years ago that Pound Pup Legacy's Demons of Adoption Award was given to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for their dubious adoption practices.

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.

The Bio and Legacy of a Pound Pup

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.

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.

Stop The Children In Families First Act of 2013

Late last week, Senator Mary Landrieu launched the latest initiative of the adoption lobby in congress, with the introduction of The Children In Families First Act of 2013.

The bill is intended to counteract the decline in inter-country since 2004, a trend that has many prospective adopters worried and cuts heavily into the revenues of  adoption service providers.

The inter-country adoption lobby has been in full blown panic over this decline for several years now.

Already in 2009, a legislative attempt was made to curb the downward trend by means of the Families for Orphans Act. This effort failed miserably, but now the adoption lobby has regrouped with new blood and fresh money.

Damage control in Adoptionland

This week, Adoptionland has been in turmoil over the publication of a series of articles by Reuters and NBC-news.

The articles portray the drain of the adoption system, the practice of informal re-homing of adoptees who are no longer wanted by their forever family.

Just like it is with every abuse case and every trafficking case found in Adoptionland, the mouth pieces of the adoption industry are quick and ready to down play the situation. The good name of adoption MUST be preserved, at all cost, even if doing so leads to more abuse, more disruptions, more dissolutions, and more child trafficking for adoption purposes.

Dear Adoption Agency

Letter #1: I read this thread http://poundpuplegacy.org/node/45548#comment-25698 (several times).  I feel that I have to chime in, as I find myself in a position I never thought I would find myself in. I have no help, no one to turn to, only a few close friends to hear me out. It has been a downhill roller coaster ride for awhile now.

Any one else see this, from The Blind Side?

Today I read an article featuring yet another Reality Show that will help promote the adoption agenda.  Yay...because we don't have enough shows that exploit the unfortunate and the ignorant.

Personally, I am against any program that promotes the breaking of families, all so an adoption plan can become a reality.

I do, however, strongly support programs that promote the helping and mentoring of others, all without some sort of trade-agreement.

The role of the US Department of State in the case of Max Shatto

The latest fatality of an adoptee from Russia was all over the news the past few days. The Russian media are heavily focused on this case, while the American press mostly reprinted the same Associated Press article in all major news papers and news sites.

The case of Max Shatto (Maxim Kuzmin) raises many questions, the most prominent of which: why has the US Department of State not reacted to this case before Russian authorities did?

For months Adoptionland has been in a frenzy about Russia's decision to ban adoptions to the United States. Prior to that decision, promises were made by the US Department of State to improve monitoring of Russian adoptions. The case of Max Shatto shows once more, the US Department of State to date is not capable of properly monitoring adoptions from Russia, and any promise to do so can not be kept or guaranteed.

Please read before signing the petion for post-adoptive support for adoptees with RAD

The other day an AP pointed out a comment made on an adoption forum.  The comment written by Kevin Kruetner,  active adoption forum participant and AP, urged other APs to sign a rather sloppy petition to the President asking for post-adoption support for adoptees with Reactive Attachment Disorder.  His rationale to support the proposal revolved around his own experience seeing other APs with adopted children "suffering with this disorder".  As if that limited exposure to troubled ad

What do the State Department Adoption Numbers Really Mean?

Last week the US Department of State released its annual report on inter-country adoption for fiscal year 2012.

For the 8th consecutive year, the number of inter-country adoptions showed a decline, albeit a smaller one than the year before.

The decline of inter-country adoptions in 2012 is all the more remarkable since China, the largest exporter of adoptable children, (which corners almost one third of the market), showed a slight increase of the number of children sent to the United States.

The dangers of the unprepared clueless Amother

Recently,  the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), a government-funded group of independent experts,  addressed a comprehensive review of the available data on ways to detect maltreatment of children.

An adopter's blame-game, and going to war

An AP sent me a link to check-out and read.   She warned me:  "get your barf bucked ready".

The December 10th piece,  An Adoptive Parent Won't Take the Blame, written by Motherlode blogger, (Jessica O'Dwyer ), featured on The New York Times, ends with the following conclusion:

The Travesty Behind Travis

In March, 2011, standing alone in a Galveston court room, a young father received his punishment for performing a sexual act on his 3 month old son before crushing his crying infant's skull.  Travis Mullis, 24 year old adult abused adoptee, was ordered to death.

At the time of court ruling, his still-living "forever" adoptive mom was living in sunny warm Florida.  She wanted nothing to do with him and the case.

Pound Pup Legacy