exposing the dark side of adoption
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Romanian orphans offered help


The Washington Times

January 5, 1990

NEW YORK (AP) - Americans are clamoring to adopt Romanian orphans in the wake of that nation's bloody fighting, but social service agencies and others are telling would-be adoptive parents not to get their hopes up.

News stories and photographs of children in crowded Romanian orphanages have inspired people seeking information to call news organizations, adoption agencies and anyone else who comes to mind.

"I'll take as many as they'll give me - our children are set to inherit a brother or sister, maybe two or more," said Kathy Cook of Pattenburg, N.J., one of several people who called The Associated Press in New York City.

"Our hearts just went out to them because of an article in the paper," said Barbara Roberts of West Carrollton, Ohio, another caller to the AP. "My husband and I have been trying to adopt a child for some time in this country. We thought there was accessibility, maybe speed" in adopting a Romanian child.

A spokeswoman for the State Department's Romania Desk, Bilha Bryant, said, "I've had to leave everything I do to answer these very, very emotional calls." She said her office received at least 150 calls Wednesday and yesterday.

"I called the Romanian Embassy. It's very hard to get in touch with them. Somebody I know there said, `Mrs. Bryant, we have no information on that whatsoever,' " she said.

She said the Romanian Desk hopes to learn something by Monday from the American Embassy in Bucharest.

In the meantime, she said, "I'm trying to deflate their hope. The Romanians, from what I understand, would rather have us help them keep their children there."

A spokesman for the American Red Cross in Washington, Brian Ruberry, said: "Many people have been waiting years to adopt a child and suddenly they hear that by calling an organization, you can. It's never as easy as that."

Mr. Ruberry said there is no organization offering adoption or sponsorship programs in Romania.

World Vision, a Christian relief and development agency in Monrovia, Calif., fielded about 100 adoption calls Tuesday and Wednesday. Callers were told to contact the State Department, said Sandra Galati, a World Vision telecommunications supervisor.

In 1987, Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu ordered a freeze on adoptions by foreign citizens who had been paying thousands of dollars in fees and more under the table to get a child.

1990 Jan 5