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.
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)
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.
In a sobering acknowledgment, the USPSTF believes that there is not much that can be done to detect cases of child maltreatment that aren’t glaringly obvious. There’s simply not enough research to make a case for advising physicians to take specific actions during well-child visits, for example, to help determine which children are at risk. In 2010, nearly 700,000 children were victims of abuse and neglect; 1,537 of them died.
Over the last couple of weeks, Adoptionland has been up in arms regarding the Russian decision to ban inter-country adoptions of Russian children by American adopters. Yesterday, January 2, the Washington Post added the umpteenth article on the topic, focusing on the group hardest hit by the ban: evangelical Christian adopters.
Over the years, we have paid much attention to the so-called orphan crusade, a mission that is immensely popular among evangelical Christians. The adoption zeal of evangelical Christians is problematic because it arises from faith not from facts and evidence. This is all the more an issue since rational debate is not welcomed when zeal meets revved-up emotions.
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.
Stuck is produced by Both Ends Burning, an organization whose goal is to expand inter-county adoption by a factor of five. Both Ends Burning is the brain child of former football player Craig Juntunen, after being ticked off by the level of red tape he met when trying to adopt himself.
It is a curious little piece, claiming to give an answer to the question why the number of inter-country adoptions over the last 8 years have dropped significantly. Unfortunately the article doesn't investigate the matter, but tries to prove a preconceived idea, that the Hague Convention, UNICEF and the policies of the Department of State are to be blamed for this decline.
The bias of the article is overwhelming, so we'd like to dissect it for our readers and put this piece into perspective. The author starts with the following:
Just when you thought the entitled AP, Jessica O'Dwyer, who wrote a book about her ICA experience in Guatemala was enough (http://poundpuplegacy.org/node/48717), there is yet ANOTHER AP, this one with his own website that caters to APs in process from Guatemala, known as Guatadopt's Kevin Kruetner. The heydays of adopting from Guatemala are long gone, but nevertheless he just wrote a review or what he refers to as "a personal reflection" on the book "Finding Fernanda".
This is the rhetorical question I read on page 26 of Erin Siegal's book, Finding Fernanda. This question was asked by a real (non-fictional) mother. I found myself unable to read much further, as the answer to this question made me wonder how many times religion was used to excuse corrupt behavior.