Adoption system blog entries



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.

Adoption: When God Comes Knocking and Calling

As a believer in God, and follower of Jesus, I have always found the rationale for adoption given by practicing Christians both amusing and hypocritical. I could never understand how God would "want" man to separate mother and child, simply because a society ruled by misogynists say an unwed pregnancy is unlawful. After all, when Mary found herself pregnant without a husband, at no point was she "counseled" by adoption facilitators and told it was in the best interest for the unborn child to be relinquished, and given to council-approved strangers, while she was to act as if the pregnancy never took place. Instead, Mary, the only mother of Jesus, was told to have faith; she was told support would be provided, through the assistance of a benefactor. That benefactor would be a man named Joseph, a man who would provide for Mary and her child, for 13 years. It should be noted, at no point during Jesus's time on earth did he ever claim Joseph was his father. Instead, Jesus (and Mary) recognized God as his only father.

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.

The origins of inter-country adoption

A comprehensive history of inter-country adoption has thus far not been written. Some adoption websites give a brief summary of the history of inter-country adoption, and there are several books trying to do the same, but a thorough study into the origins of inter-country adoption is still awaiting scholarly initiative.

In the book Intercountry Adoption: A Multinational Perspective, by Howard Alfstein and Rita James, the following is said about the history of inter-country adoption:

The political influence of adoptive parents

Earlier this year a study was published, analyzing the European Union's reversal in approach towards inter-country adoption from Romania since 2007.

The study sheds some interesting light on the motivations behind this radical shift and serves as a warning when it comes to the politicization of child protection.

Initially we wanted to write a review about this fascinating, albeit very dense study.

However, while researching the topic of the Romanian adoptions early 1990s, we felt compelled to write about a subject only touched upon in this study: the political influence of adoptive parents.

We will use the Romanian adoption crisis as a backdrop for this article, although it should be noted that similar patterns emerged around adoptions from Vietnam, Guatemala, and Ethiopia in more recent times.

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.

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