With U.S. Couples Eager to Adopt, Some Infants Are Abducted and Sold in China
By Peter S. Goodman
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, March 12, 2006; A01
DONGGUAN, China On a muggy evening in July 2004, on a concrete lane reeking of raw sewage and chemicals from surrounding factories, a stranger leapt from a white van. He yanked 16-month-old Fei Mei from the arms of her 8-year-old cousin and sped away.
All night, her parents searched this industrial city in southern China for their round-faced baby girl.
"We looked everywhere, on every street corner," said her father, Xu Mohu. "We thought maybe the guy wouldn't like a girl and he would abandon her."
That was once a reasonable assumption. For generations, girls in rural China have been left to die in the cold or abandoned on doorsteps while families devote their scant resources to nourishing boys. But over the past decade, a wave of foreigners, mostly Americans, has poured into China with dollars in hand to adopt Chinese babies, 95 percent of them girls.
Last year, the United States issued nearly 8,000 visas to Chinese-born children adopted by American parents. More than 50,000 children have left China for the United States since 1992. And more than 10,000 children have landed in other countries, according to Chinese reports.
The foreign adoption program has matched Chinese babies with foreign families eager for them, while delivering crucial funding to orphanages in this country. But it has also spawned a tragic irony, transforming once-unwanted Chinese girls into valuable commodities worth stealing.
It's estimated that at least 40,000 children are adopted internationally every year. The aim of the system is to give abandoned children in developing countries a home, and childless couples in the West a family. It would seem an ideal solution.
(CBS) Colby Holcomb's mom concedes that the 8-year-old, who's been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, can be a handful at home. But does such behavior merit the treatment Colby received in foster care?
Andrea Holcomb lost custody of her son when he was 7, after her ex-husband made allegations of sexual abuse, CBS News national correspondent Byron Pitts reports. These allegations later proved false — but in the meantime, Colby was placed in the Texas foster care system. For 18 months, he was in at least five foster homes. It's a time that still haunts Colby and his family.
Andrea says Colby was on at least 20 different drugs when he was in foster care. Yet, she says she has "no idea" why and says it was never explained to her.
Earlier I asked a question about amnesty and adoption. I did some research. Given the nature of abuse in so many adoption stories -- before and after a child is adopted by pre-approved adults -- I thought the following article should be read in the Abuse Forum:
It is child abuse, slavery, and rape all rolled into one pretty package, marketed to wealthy infertile couples as the answer to all their prayers and forced upon unsuspecting members of the lower classes. It is an industry that earns $1.4 billion each year shamelessly promoting its product with no regard for the damage it is doing to children and their parents. Surprise! It is not the tobacco industry, nor is it a chemical company polluting our air and water. It is adoption, and it is toxic to America's families.
Deemed a "loving option" by social workers, agencies, and anti-abortion crusaders, adoption puts children at risk for a myriad of psychological problems that range in severity. That may sound like love to the people who receive a portion of the $1.4 billion, but it should scream child abuse to anyone else. After all, parents can be prosecuted for child neglect over something as simple as a messy house. And in reality, adoption workers are guilty of more than neglect. Since the 1940s, professionals have known about the damaging effects of adoption on mothers and children. In fact, the Florence Crittenton Home brochure from 1942-1956 responded to suggestions of adoption with the statement, "Motherhood, and the love and care of a baby, strengthens the character of every girl who has the mentality to grasp it. As to the child: psychologists and social workers have learned that no material advantage can make up for the loss of its own mother." In spite of their knowledge, the Florence Crittenton homes went on to become some of America's biggest adoption proponents, once supply and demand made it more profitable to sever a mother's rights and sell her infant to a wealthy but sterile couple.
When news outlets around the country recently reported that a man had been killed by an angry mob in Austin, Texas, the story triggered some pretty scary mental images. Even after many errors in the original report were corrected and the estimated cast of thousands was revised down to a group of less than 20 people, the emotions conjured by the initial reports remained. Clearly, mob violence is something we fear. But how much of what we’re fearing is fact?
All children have parents; some have abusive ones, others have loving ones, and all adoptees have at least one missing parent set aside to haunt in unremembered memory. If a child is told he's adopted, he will wonder what brought him to a new set of parents. If a child is not told he is adopted, I'm sure the child will have ways of knowing a lie is being told and a secret is being kept. Children watch their parents very carefully; we have to... that's how we learn. Nothing can be done to change who our parents are; adoption just adds more confusion to that absolute fact.
Search and Reunion is a huge business that gets tied to a major milestone in the life of the curious and brave lost family-member. Reunion in my mind implies a sense of closure and completion, yet how can it be so when it comes to Original Family Members?
Having a child is not like having a pet, or a project that can be repaired by strangers.
Children are born to be loved and protected by their very own mothers and fathers.
Otherwise, look at the options that are out there, ready, willing and wanting to adopt!
The importation of 25 to 30 babies from Miami - described by a prosecutor as "a mecca for unwed mothers from all parts of the country" - was disclosed here yesterday in creminal proceedings against an asserted baby-peddling ring which charged as much as $2,000 per child. Named in the six-count grand jury information were two lawyers and a 44-year-old housewife.
Since I can remember, I always wrote letters to myself. Not diary entries or journal updates....those required a committment I wasn't willing to maintain. Nope, I wrote letters. I would write letters to myself, my future children, and my natural mom. I never went as far as putting them in envelopes; I simply folded them and put them in my "junk drawer" in my bedroom.
I loved that dresser drawer... it had everything I needed to get through the day. Inside I kept crayons, pencils, coloring books, stationery, old candy, play-jewelery, fake press-on nails, and whatever else I found, kept and saved from my odd list of collectibles. The drawer was a mess. Way too many papers got crammed in a space far too small for more paper; my crayons and pencils were broken fragments of what once was a usable writing & coloring tool, and the candy was always stale and nasty. But the drawer with this sloppy contents was my Treasure Box. I loved my drawer. It's where I kept all my secret thoughts and messages to myself. It was my safe zone in an empty home filled with strangeness.
After having monitored, for the European Commission, child protection in Romania, Roelie Post has written a book in which important aspects on intercountry adoptions from Romania are revealed.
Roelie Post considers that the ferocious lobby to re-open intercountry adoption is about the most wanted sort of the market: white eastern European children.
Which are, in your opinion, the most important aspects that are revealed in your book “Romania For Export Only – The untold story of the Romanian orphans”, which you recently published in your country the Netherlands?
I think that this book shows, clearly, which is the “ferocious” lobby that Romania underwent, internationally, so that it would lighten the new legislation on intercountry adoptions. At the same time, by relating concrete events that I witnessed the eight years I was occupied in monitoring “the Romanian children dossier”, I think that this book shows the mechanisms of corruption in intercountry adoptions, as well as giving the names of many personalities, internal and international who were implied in this complex combination.
"You just need to be a flea against injustice. Enough committed fleas biting strategically can make even the biggest dog uncomfortable and transform even the biggest nation.” -Marian Wright Edelman
In 1998 we adopted a sibling group of two older girls from India.
Within six weeks of their arrival, our new daughters, who were emotionally traumatized almost beyond belief, told us they had been stolen from their birthfamily.
For six long and difficult years, our agency refused to investigate our daughters allegations.
Finally, with the help of an Indian activist for the poor and without any help from the agency, we found our daughters' birthfamily and confirmed their awful story.
Despite all this there has yet to be SO MUCH AS AN APOLOGY and certainly NO JUSTICE in this case. Not for our daughters. Not for our daughters' first parents. Not for ourselves.
It seems that NO ONE CARES about this crime.
Our US agency--which has not disputed the facts of the case--says that it bears no legal responsibility even if, like we say, they helped place stolen children in our home.
Our pleas to both the Indian and US governments have fallen on deaf ears, and therefore, we assume, uncaring ears. The state office which licenses our agency has a phone machine for complaints, and apparently they do not return phone calls--at least ours was never returned.
Meanwhile, the Indian orphanage director has been jailed three times on child trafficking related charges. He is currently trying to be relicensed yet again.
We have been left to ask the questions:
1) How could this have happened? Are there systemic reasons why it happened?
2) Why is it that no one cares about this kind of crime?
This blog represents some of the answers that we have found to these questions. It also is shares the ongoing answers as we continue to learn.
Flea bites are simply individual incidents of exposing the reality of international adoption practices--one example, one practice, one analysis, one real-life experience, one proposed remedy, and one "big picture" at a time.
If our insignificant flea bites can save other families the extreme pain that our daughters, our daughters' first family, and our own family have endured, these flea bites will not be in vain.
What Really Happened in Cambodia by Richard Cross, Federal Senior Special Agent, US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Human Trafficking Unit, case agent in "Operation Broken Hearts," the Cambodian Adoption Investigation. This educational presentation was given at Cumberland School of Law, Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama on April 15, 2005, as a part of the educational Rushton Distinquished Lecture Series: Reforming Intercountry Adoption: Present Realities and Future Prospects. Mr. Cross discusses the Operation Broken Hearts investigation which led to the successful international adoption-related felony conviction of two Americans, involved in facilitating more than 700 adoptions from Cambodia. To download the video follow this link http://www.samford.edu/schools/law/media/2005/rushton/richard_cross_323.wmv.
Micky Duxbury is the author of the recently released book entitled: MAKING ROOM IN OUR HEARTS: Keeping Family Ties Through Open Adoption.
The book presents the stories of families throughout the United States who share the joys and challenges of maintaining relationships between birth and adoptive parents. Duxbury interviewed over one hundred and fifty birth and adoptive parents, extended family members, adopted children, and national experts. Listening to the families and their children does what no other book has done: describes how important open adoption is from the child’s perspective. As one 19 year old put it: "I have known my birth mother as long as I can remember and I can't imagine it any other way. I would be a completely different person if I had grown up without knowing who I was and where I came from. Open adoption has allowed me to be the person I was intended to be - with a connection to the people who made me what I am.”
A life filled with family turmoil ends as he feels everything closing in on him.
SHANNON COLAVECCHIO-VAN SICKLER
Published August 18, 2004
TAMPA - Robert G. Able started his crime odyssey Monday morning by shooting his ailing girlfriend, once in the head and once in her heart.
Then he lured a 12-year-old neighborhood girl into his home and raped her.
Less than 24 hours later, as police searched the city for him, Able shot himself in the head with the same gun. He died inside a pickup truck at the Bill Currie Ford body shop where he has worked for the past 16 years.
In between, police say, the 40-year-old former neighborhood crime watch leader visited the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing south of Ocala and found time to write a suicide note with detailed instructions on how to care for the Rottweiler and three mixed-breed dogs he left behind.
Police say Able apparently caved in to the pressures of mounting debt and his girlfriend's health troubles.
Veronica J. Maddox, 40, had diabetes and arterial-venous malformation in her brain, a condition that meant an oversized vein could burst at any time, killing her.
A Coral Springs man who state officials say has been illegally arranging adoptions failed Friday to convince a Broward judge to let him reopen his business.
Circuit Judge Larry Korda refused to lift the temporary injunction he had placed April 25 against Richard Gitelman, president of the National Adoption Counseling Service. That order bars him from conducting any adoption-related business in Florida.
I found this outstanding website that focuses on the failures of Child Protective Services. For those who think adoption is all about saving orphaned babies, please read between the lies Adoption Web-sites are selling people. Read what's really happening:
Adoption, a respected institution that has brought millions of people joy, has a secret history. Its architect was a criminal named Georgia Tann, who from 1924 to 1950 operated out of Memphis, Tennessee, terrorizing poor, often single parents by stealing their children and placing them with wealthy adoptive parents, including Joan Crawford and Dick Powell.
Mother kept toddlers indoors, and the mother superior of a local orphanage hid children in attics, but, protected by political boss Edward Hull Crump, Georgia Tann arranged more than 5,000 illegal adoptions. She also killed so many children through neglect that the Memphis infant mortality rate soared to the highest in the nation. She sexually abused some of her female charges and placed some children with pedophiles.
While building her black market business, she also invented modern American adoption. It’s hard to underestimate her influence. When she began working in Tennessee in the 1920s, adoption as we know it didn’t exist. Eugenicists had made Americans afraid to adopt, and thousands of children were languishing in orphanages.
A former state social worker has filed a whistle blower lawsuit against two of her former supervisors with the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, alleging they pressured her to overlook allegations of abuse in foster homes that were trying to adopt special-needs children.
The pressure was applied because the cabinet was under the gun to approve more adoptions so it wouldn't lose federal subsidies, the suit says.
The suit was filed Jan. 14 in U.S. District Court in Covington by Pat Moore of Elsmere, who, the suit said, was forced to resign as Northern Kentucky Health and Family Services Office Permanency Team supervisor when she refused to comply with her superiors' orders to keep quiet about abuse claims and allow the adoptions of special-needs children to proceed.