exposing the dark side of adoption
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Death of toddler shocks those in adoption circles


Author: Ruby Gonzales Staff Writer

ROWLAND HEIGHTS -- The 22- month-old girl arrived from China as the newest member of a Rowland Heights family. Two months after her adoption, she was dead of a brain hemorrhage and her adoptive mother had been charged with abusing and killing her. Her adoptive father is accused of being an accessory to her death. Dianne Lin remains in county jail in lieu of $1 million bail and faces an arraignment Fri day... at Pomona Superior Court. Her husband, Perry Lin, is out on bail. "There were significant signs of abuse, possibly sexual assault," said Deputy District Attorney Craig Mitchell.... He added that forensic testing is continuing.

The baby died Nov. 2 at St. Jude Medical Center in Fuller ton. Child abuse is suspected. Hospital staff called the police, who turned over the case to Los Angeles County sheriff's homicide detectives. The death was later ruled a homicide. Lin allegedly told deputies she dropped the child or she fell.

The Lins, who came from Tai wan, apparently adopted the girl legally, Mitchell said. "The husband went to China to pick up the little girl because of her (Dianne Lin's) pregnant condition," he said. John Sweeney, who is repre senting Dianne Lin, said he cannot comment on the case yet. "We haven't even had an ar raignment. Our investigators are looking at several sources and trying to uncover all the facts in the case," Sweeney said. Richard Steingard,... Perry Lin's attorney, did not return phone calls. Neither did officials from the Chinese consulate in Los Angeles.

News of the killing shocked those in the adoption community, who said they've never heard of any such case involv ing children adopted from China. "I never have and I'm shocked, horrified and saddened. Any child abused is a tragedy," said Lee Callander of Arcadia, who belongs to the Southern Califor nia chapter of Families with Children from China.... China began allowing interna tional adoptions in 1992. There were 5,053 children adopted last year, up from 4,681 the year be fore. Most of them were girls.

Adoptions in China go through the government. "There's no private adoptions in China. The Chinese govern ment is very on top of it," said Susan Caughman,... editor of Adoptive Families, a national magazine based in New York. She has also adopted a child from China. "All international adoptions are a long and arduous process but (in China) it's very clearly laid out," she said.

Nightlight Christian Adoption, which is not involved in the Lin case, is an agency in Fullerton that handles internation al adoptions. The process for adopting a baby in China would take a year and a half and would include a check of the prospective par ents' criminal backgrounds, fi nances, home and employment, according to Ron Stoddart,... Nightlight's executive director. They must also file with the Bureau of Citizen and Immi grant Services for an advanced approval to bring a child to the country. When the documents are sent to China, he said it takes a year for the China Center for Adoption Affairs to refer a child to the prospective parents. If the parents say yes to the child referred, they go to China and complete the adoption. That is not the end of the pro cess. Stoddart said all countries have a protocol to get post placement reports on the child after the adoption. "It's to see how a child is de veloping or how the family is doing," he said. China requires placement re ports six months after the adop tion, another one after a year, and then annually. Typically, he said a social worker from the adoption agency would do a follow-up visit four months af ter a child arrives. Since the Rowland Heights baby had only been in the country two months, he said no reports would have been generated.

Ruby Gon zales can be reached at (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2718, or by e-mail at ruby.gonzales@sgvn.com.

2003 Nov 30