Tuesday, January 31, 2006
UPDATE: Mother Wants Her Son Back
She now seeks custody of 2-month-old son
BY SHARON COOLIDGE | ENQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Sharicka Watson changed her mind.
Instead of putting her son up for adoption as she had planned, the 22-year-old mother wants to keep 2-month-old Thomas Spraggs.
The infant is at the center of a custody battle between Watson, who gave him up for adoption and Glenn Spraggs, the baby's father, who didn't know about Watson's decision in December until Thomas had given him away.
The adoption agency took Thomas away from the Dayton, Ohio, family Watson had chosen and returned the infant to his mother last Wednesday after learning Spraggs was fighting for custody. That same day, a Greene County judge voided all adoption proceedings.
After Spraggs asked for custody, Hamilton County Juvenile Court Judge Thomas Lipps determined Thursday that Watson was the boy's legal custodian, but ordered the Hamilton County Department of Jobs and Family Services to look out for Thomas' safety.
In response, the agency placed Thomas with his maternal grandfather.
"She wants to keep her baby," said Watson's lawyer, John Banner. "Adoption is off the list of possibilities."
Marriage is an option for the couple, who also have an 18-month-old daughter together, he said.
Watson did not return a phone call for comment.
Spraggs' court battle for his son continues.
The case dates to Dec. 15, when Spraggs learned Watson had given Thomas to an adoption agency.
With help from attorney Ken Lawson, Spraggs fought to get his son back.
Lipps advised Spraggs to seek an order through the Child Support Enforcement Agency declaring him the father, which would enable him to seek custody.
That involves DNA testing and can take up to three months.
Spraggs said he's working to do that.
MOTHER is a verb!
Some of these women wish to take back sole claim to the term “mother” with no prefix. They want their children to think of them, and call them Mother, denying the existence of the mother who…well, “mothered” them.
OK, the first dictionary definition of “mother” does contain the word “or” as in: A woman who conceives, gives birth to, or raises and nurtures a child.
But, I contend that if we look at the word as a verb, we need to ask what is it “TO mother” someone? Is it not to nurture, care for, be there for?
No matter how much you hate the fact – when you surrender a child for adoption (“voluntarily” or involuntarily) you abdicated all responsibility of mothering to others. That is a fact. It is reality. It is the only reality your child knows.
To expect your child to negate his/her reality and think of you – popping back into his/he life some 10 or 20 or more years later - is preposterous! To ask of your child to suddenly stop thinking of the “only parents he/she has ever known” all of his/her life as his/her parents is a strange and usual request and puts your child in a loyalty bind that no person should be placed in.
Children who, through their parents re-marriage, suddenly acquire a step parent, will think of and address that person appropriately according the age they are at the time of this addition to their immediate family. Young children will quite naturally think of that person as mother or father, even Mom or Dad. But if their parent remarried when they are an adult, that person will simply be, Jane or Joe, their parent’s spouse.
Our surrendered sons and daughters are our sons and daughters, but we are NOT their mothers, and never will be. That is reality. It is sad, but it is reality. I mourn the loss of not being able to have been my daughter's mother, but I cannot change it by re-naming it, or myself!
Another verb is MUTHA! Find out what ACTIONS you can take to make your mothering an ACTIVE VERB!
If you are already are doing something - share it here! Add a comment - become a member blogger here and post full posts.
Monday, January 30, 2006
Babies for Sale
By DAVID RYAN, Register Staff Writer
[ED: Don't miss the last sentence.]
Napa-based adoption firm Yunona USA is closed now. Its leader was reportedly arrested in Russia last week, and the accusations that Yunona scammed more than a dozen U.S. couples is now under investigation by Napa law enforcement agencies.
But apparently little stands in the way of other adoption facilitators setting up tomorrow and operating the same way Yunona did before its recent collapse.
Experts say loopholes in state, federal and international law make it difficult to stop operations like Yunona, accused of having lured couples into spending thousands of dollars to adopt foreign children who were never truly available for adoption.
Yunona is considered an adoption facilitator, a largely unregulated type of business that can charge would-be adoptive parents large sums of money to match them with an available child. Unlike adoption agencies, which must be licensed by the state and can take legal custody of children to make an adoptive placement, facilitators need only post a $10,000 bond and have a business license to set up shop.
"Anyone can call themselves a facilitator," said Susan Romer, a San Francisco adoption attorney. "Many of them work out of their homes with an 800 number."
Even some adoption facilitators are skeptical of the industry.
'Willing to pay the cost'
One is Ellen Roseman, the adoption chairwoman for the infertility support group Resolve and a member of the Academy of California Adoption Lawyers, a group of attorneys that has tried to regulate adoption facilitators in California over the years.
In 1996 the organization convinced former state Sen. Lucy Killea, D-San Diego, to champion a law that imposed restrictions on adoption advertising practices and established the rule requiring adoption firms to post bonds in order to make refunds.
Romer said other factors have kept the academy from coming back to the Legislature to seek tougher restrictions.
"We have not been able to because people who are looking to adopt are willing to pay the cost and take the chances," she said. "Nationally, people are very critical of us because there are so many facilitators here" in California.
Costs to work with a facilitator can be steep. Some Yunona clients paid as much as $30,000 -- not including travel costs to countries such as Kazakhstan or Ukraine -- to try and adopt foreign children.
No help in D.C.
The federal government is likely to be no aid, either.
Martin Bauer, president of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys, said Congress has refused to take up the issue because it views licensing facilitators as a state prerogative.
What exists is a patchwork of state laws. While Virginia has banned facilitators and New York regulates them, facilitators can set up in California -- as Yunona did -- or elsewhere and reach clients around the country via the Internet.
"We consulted with our political advisors in D.C. and it was not something we would get much attention on," Bauer said, adding his group might launch an educational television campaign instead. "The best defense is that, generally, the public is not as well educated as they need to be on asking the right questions to detect whether or not the person they are dealing with is legitimate. Adoption parents sometimes look at things with rose-colored glasses."
Slow reform effort
Efforts are being made for international oversight of facilitators, but the process is frustratingly slow, advocates say.
In 1994 the United States signed The Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption. The international treaty provides for the passage of adoption Standards, including the accreditation of adoption agencies, between the United States and more than two dozen other countries.
Yet the government has moved at glacial speed to fulfill the requirements of the treaty. For example, it was six years before President Bill Clinton signed a law starting a years-long process to designate an arm of the government to accredit adoption agencies.
Irene Steffis, an international adoption attorney based in Marietta, Ga., said although the bill was passed in 2000, the series of bureaucratic steps required to enact the restrictions haven't been completed.
Steffis said it could be '8 months before the rules are ironed out and published in the Federal Register, and several months more before a U.S. delegation travels to The Hague in the Netherlands to deposit its regulations -- the last requirement.
"Only after they're deposited do they become active," she said.
Then comes still another a catch: An adoption facilitator could avoid international rules by matching American couples with children from countries who either haven't signed the treaty or haven't completed all of its requirements.
Yunona's three main sources for orphans -- Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan -- fall in that category.
In the meantime, Roseman said the adoption world is likely to be a place where the buyer must beware.
"When you have a commodity that is so valuable like a baby, I think unfortunately it invites practices that are not above board," she said.
Sunday, January 29, 2006
Race and Adoption
More matches possible if we stop talking about race
By HOWARD ALTSTEIN
In 2002, the last year for which there are national statistics, 300,000 women aged 18 to 44 were seeking to adopt a child and had taken specific measures to do so.
It's not surprising that about half of the women preferred a single nondisabled child under the age of two. What is significant are the racial preferences of these black and white women toward the race of any future adopted child.
Eighty-four percent of white women seeking to adopt would "prefer or accept" an African-American child as compared with 75 percent of African-American women who would "prefer or accept" a white child, a difference of only 9 percentage points.
Supporting these changing racial preferences, 93 percent of black women seeking to adopt would "prefer or accept" an adoptee other than black or white as compared to 95 percent of white women seeking to adopt who would "prefer or accept" an adoptee other than black or white.
These strikingly similar figures, a difference of only two percentage points, speaks to a fundamental shift in family creation and, indeed, reflects a shift in defining what it means to be a family member.
I am not at all surprised by the overwhelming willingness of white and black women to adopt across racial lines.
Their attitudes attest to the rejection of politically and culturally based arguments that cross-race adoption is:
•Imperialistic, on the part of white adopters.
•Racist, based on arguments that white social workers, with the compliance of their agencies, do not look hard enough for nonwhite adopters.
•Detrimental to the adopted children, based on arguments that growing up in a multiracial family will somehow rob them of their cultural heritage.
For 30 years, scientific data has rejected the idea that children raised in cross-race adoptive families are any less African-American, Asian, etc., than their counterparts raised in racially similar environments. Sure, in a perfect world there would be no need for trans-racial adoption or adoption in general. But the world is very far from perfect and children need families, and families want children.
Morgan Freeman was castigated by some for saying in a 60 Minutes interview that one way to eliminate racism was to not talk about it. Why not try that when it comes to adoption? There is little to no risk.
What is the alternative for thousands of children available for adoption — to remain in foster care when we know the long-term detrimental effects of such long-term placement? How about not talking about race in relation to adoption?
If there's a goodness of fit between an available child in foster care of a race different from an eligible adoptive family, don't talk about race, as Freeman suggests. Just place the child.
Why reject what we know: Children of one race raised in families of another race develop into productive, emotionally healthy, assured, racially comfortable adults.
Altstein is a professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. This article originally appeared in the Baltimore Sun.
ED: Interesting statistics, but seemingly self-reproted and therefore one need to question how, what people SAY they WOULD do, relates to what they actually do. There is alos a difference between inter-racial and international adoptions and one cannot extrapoltae form on to the other. International adoptions are, for the most part, imperialistic and classist - done more because of DEMAND for babies (with "no strings" [i.e. birthmothers] attached.)
Saturday, January 28, 2006
More on Fathers' Rights: OR LACK THEREOF!
RALEIGH, N.C. -- An unmarried father can't prevent his child's mother from putting their daughter up for adoption, the Supreme Court ruled Friday in reversing a lower court opinion.
Kristine Anderson gave birth to the girl on Jan. 6, 2003. She and the baby's father, Michael Avery, who had attended high school in Onslow County with Anderson, agreed about six months earlier to put the baby up for adoption. Avery withdrew his consent before the birth.
Days after their daughter was born, Avery was notified of Anderson's plan to allow the girl to be adopted. He challenged the pending adoption in court and lost.
The state Court of Appeals in 2004 reversed a trial court ruling requiring Avery's consent since he and his family had provided financial support for Anderson during the pregnancy.
The Supreme Court reversal stated that Avery "merely offered support but did not provide the actual financial support mandated."
"The consent of an unwed putative father ... is not obligatory unless he has assumed some of the burdens of parenthood," the Supreme Court ruled, ordering the trial court decision reinstated.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Friday, January 27, 2006
Bizzare UPDATE On Father's Battle
Two judges, half-dozen lawyers sort through issues
BY SHARON COOLIDGE | ENQUIRER STAFF WRITER
A Hamilton County Juvenile Court judge Thursday ordered the mother of a 7-week-old baby boy to assume custody of him, even though she gave the child up for adoption last month and told officials that she does not want the infant.
The order is the latest legal step in a battle between the father, who wants custody, and the unwilling mother.
The father, Glenn Spraggs, was caring for his son Thursday while the Department of Jobs and Family Services evaluates the mother, Sharicka Watson.
Judge Thomas Lipps denied Spraggs custody, saying he must prove paternity because the couple never married. That must be done through the Department of Jobs and Family Services and could take up to three months.
"Three months is a long time," Spraggs, 22, of Northside, said. "I don't know what can happen in that time."
Watson has said twice that she does not want the child.
First, she gave baby Thomas up for adoption without telling Spraggs.
Then, Adoption Link Inc. of Yellow Springs, Ohio, gave the baby back to her Wednesday, and she called Spraggs to come and get their son. When he didn't get there fast enough, she called child protective services, according to statements made in court Thursday.
Effectively Channeling Anger: Be a MUTHA!
So, what are YOU doing about it? Crying in your beer? Moaning, pissing and wailing? Blogging? Commiserating with one another?
Don’t get me wrong – there is a time and place to grieve and mourn and wail and scream, and cry a thousand tears. And these times will come back again and again.
But, anger come after the sadness and anger can be a very motivating fore when channeled.
Do you want to make sure than one else needlessly suffers the horrendous, painful loss that you did?!?
Well then think of other mothers who have channeled their anger into action:
MADD: Mothers Against Drunk Drivers is a perfect example. Did they sit around ring their hands cause they lost their kids in horrific senseless accidents? NO! They used that energy that anger creates to work tirelessly to change laws and prevent as many future deaths as possible, and make their child loss be less in vain.
They learned how the legal worked. The lobbied. And in our case, we do not need to recreate the wheel. There are already groups doing this who need fresh blood. Join CUB (Concerned United Birthparents). Join BN (Bastard Nation). Join the AAC, American Adoption Congress. Help them to become stronger and more effective. Add your voice; make it count. Learn what’s been done already – what worked and what didn’t work. Make suggestions. Become a part of an organization because there is strength in numbers! Because each of our voices crying, screaming and wailing alone to the moon make a howl that only we hear and can only alleviate us individually and temporarily…but together…there’s no limit to what we can accomplish…. a shriek so loud the world can no longer ignore us!
There is nothing odd or new about a mother – or mothers – fighting for issues that effect their children. It is perhaps the most basic and natural instinct in the world. The Vietnam “occupation” produced the slogan "War is Not Healthy For Children and Other Living Things." And mothers are united and standing up against war and for peace in nearly every country. In Argentina, the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo (also known as Grandmothers of the Plaza, and the Mothers of the Disappeared, and commemorated in song by U2 in 1987) have been activists for human rights for more than twenty years, based on two interwoven beliefs: that they were born again of their children, and that they have become mothers to all victims of repression in contemporary Argentina.
The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo embraced these beliefs as a result of the horrific political kidnappings and deaths their children met during Aregentina’s “dirty war” against the Left from 1976 to 1983. The current Argentine government acknowledges some 9,000 deaths at the hands of the military. The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo and other human rights activists believe the number of dead who remain unaccounted for is more like 30,000, an integral part of a U.S.-backed effort to crush the Argentine Left and facilitate neo-liberal policies that were imposed in Chile by the Pinochet regime and numerous other repressive, U.S.-backed regimes across Latin America.
In Israel, the organization Four Mothers (named for the four biblical matriarchs) was very effective in spearheading the movement to withdraw from Lebanon. Bedem Ljubavi - Mothers For Peace, is a women's non governmental organization to prevent war and the spread of violence, was formed in 1991 when the first signs of aggression against Republic of Croatia appeared. They continue to advocate for the rights of war victims. Mothers for Peace was established in the 1970’s in response to the Vietnam War. Today, Mothers for Peace-International, dedicated on Mothers’ Day 2002, is a non-profit organization working to help the innocent victims of armed conflict and currently focusing on the Middle East.
Mother's Day in May 2000 was the kick-off march on Washington of the Million Mom March. They are today the nation's largest grassroots, non-partisan, chapter-based organization leading the fight to prevent gun violence, and dedicated to creating an America free from gun violence. Mothers voicing their pain and their concern is universal and includes such organizations as Madre, San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace, Peaceful Tomorrows, The Jerusalem Center for Women, Parents Circle, Women in Black, Code Pink, New Profile, Global Mothers for Peace, Coalition of Women for Peace, and Women Against Violence.
BIRTHMOTHERS – stand up and be counted! Join the move to restore our children’s right to the medical and birth records. We did not give them up to be treated as second class citizens! Help prevent unnecessary adoptions and assure that all necessary ones are open and honest.
Mothers United To Humanize Adoption!
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE ALL READ 1/22/o6 POST here: Adoption DotCom
Here are some blogs:
Excellent writing and discussion on adoption, adoption loss, and adoption reform. Intelligent and insightful - I can't say enough good things about this blog. So I'll just say - check it out!
FauxClaud is a birthmom with a talent for writing and a passion for adoption reform. Blogging about personal life and her experience with adoption, "Musings of the Lame" is a wonderful adoption blog to add to your daily must read list.
"Dot" is an expectant young woman with a huge decision before her. She is currently making an adoption plan for her unborn child. She shares her journey through her blog.
4) kim.kim http://haggardoldpsycho.blogspot.com/
"An adoption reunion blog. Closed adoption and reunion is an experience only those who go through can truly understand. I am hoping that this will be of service to other mothers who may be embarking upon reunion or still be searching for their adult child." Sums it up beautifully.
From Jen: "This blog was born out of my PAIN. A cathartic dumping ground of sorts. Maybe life is sad for everyone. It's a lot sadder when you lose your kid. Especially when you start thinking and you realize you could have done it. You could have kept. Too late, too bad, so sad. So here I am, saving the world from unnecessary infant adoption and the like..." Adoption, resources for parenting, and thoughts on life -
6) This Sucks http://realtransparency.blogspot.com/
From the Blogger: "A new mother realizing all she has lost when she became a birthmother almost 10 years ago." Heather continues to work out her grief, loss, and anger through her blog.
7) Maxine Lives Here http://ihavetwokids.blogspot.com/
A blog about placement and life after, "Maxine Lives Here" is another excellent adoption blog.
8) Birthmother; Reprise http://feracious.blogspot.com/
"In 2001, I had a baby boy and gave him up for adoption. It is an open adoption, I have become good friends with the adoptive parents, and Samuel couldn't be happier. So being on birth control, I wasn't expecting to get pregnant again..."
"Wet Feet" shares the grief and loss of a birth mother in a very expressive and clear way - honest and bold.
10) Speaking For Myself http://speakingformyself.blogspot.com/
From "Speaking for Myself": "On being mother from afar to one and mother, up-close- and-personal, to another ... and on the process of writing about both kinds of motherhood." A new blog about an open adoption shut down by the adoptive parents and the pain it has caused.
Musings of a birthmother.
12) Dance with Magicpointeshoes http://magicpointeshoe.livejournal.com/
This is the blog of a birthmother who then married the birthfather of the boy they placed into a semi-open adoption. Adoption, marraige, parenting, college, family life, and random thoughts are discussed.
13) Making a Choice For Life http://whatshallwedo.blogspot.com/
Just found out I am pregnant *again*. Working on an adoption plan. ARGH!
Thursday, January 26, 2006
Another Baby Selling Ring Busted
FOCUS News Agency
Iraklion. Two Bulgarian women, a mother and her daughter, were charged yesterday by a prosecutor in Crete of being involved in an illegal child adoption ring, court sources said, cited by the Greek Kathimerini.
The women, aged 48 and 25, were arrested in Iraklion on Tuesday on suspicion of being linked to a ring that brings pregnant young Bulgarian women to Greece a few weeks before their due dates. Police said the women are taken to a state hospital to deliver and the ringmasters then put the baby up for adoption. The children are illegally sold to childless couples, officers said.
The edition adds that the 25-year-old woman had recently given birth and was charged with attempting to illegally give up the child for adoption, which is a criminal offense. Her mother was charged with the same crime but was also accused of attempting to profit from the offense.
No adoption for earthquake victim kids
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz has said the government would not allow the adoption of earthquake affected children as they are in a trust with the nation which should be honored at all costs.
He was talking to a delegation of Save the Children UK ld by CEO Ms Jasmine Whitbread who called on him at PM house on Thursday.
The prime minister appreciated the work done by Save the Children UK and told the delegates about the relief, reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts being undertaken by the government.
The efforts all the government and civil society organisations involved in the relief efforts was commendable, he said. He said the support given by the volunteers, NGOs, international organisations, foreign countries and the sizeable amount raised by the Pakistanis from all parts of the country.
Prime minister Shaukat Aziz told the delegates that immediately after the earthquake the government had set up the Earthquake Relief and Reconstruction Authority, Federal Relief Commission and National Volunteers Movement to deal with the damage caused by the earthquake. He said the government is also going top set up a proper disaster management relief agency to deal with such crisis situations in future.
He said the government was focusing on providing shelter, food and clothing to the homeless people in the harsh weather conditions, in addition to reopening schools in the area. He also told them about the Aashiyana set up by the Ministry of Social Welfare and Special Education at Hattian (Attock), where more than 500 orphans, children and women are provided shelter.
Mr jasmine Whitebread appreciated the support of the government and said her organisation was keen top play a role in the long term in Pakistan.
Catholics seek to ban gay adoptions
Catholic groups in Scotland are lobbying the government for an exemption clause in the new adoption laws, allowing them to reject lesbian and gay potential parents.
The Church is apparently holding talks with the Scottish Executive so that there is a “conscience clause” protecting them, The Sunday Times reported.
They want the right to reject adoptive parents because of their sexuality, echoing criticism of new adoption laws already made by Catholic leaders north of the border.
The new laws allow same-sex couples to adopt children together.
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
ASTANA. January 20, 2006. KAZINFORM /Dulat Moldabayev/ - There are no negative examples of home and foreign adoption in Kazakhstan, Bolat Baikadamov, Human Rights Commissioner of Kazakhstan, has said at today’s press-conference,devoted to release of report of the ombudsman “On observance of children’s rights in the Republic of Kazakhstan”.
Due to adoption a child finds new family, which is the most essential for him or her, the ombudsman noted.
According to the report’s data the number of adopted children from Kazakhstan by July 1, 2005 made 4 574. 4 184 children found their new families in the US, 104 – in Great Britain, 53 – in Canada, 102 – in Belgium. 21, 25, 45, 21 and 12 children were adopted in Israel, Egypt, Spain, France and Germany accordingly.
B. Baikadamov also added it was necessary to establish specialized legal relationships in respect of children in our country.
The system of juvenile justice is still at the experimental level in Kazakhstan, the Human Rights Commissioner stated. At present Supreme Court, Ministry of Justice and a number of law-enforcement agencies in association with our organization work over the system of juvenile courts and justice.
According to the report, juveniles committed 4 389 crimes for the six months of 2005. Almost a half of them put on trial.
What a Shame!
News Report, Aruna Lee,
Seeking better opportunities and the prestige of an American education for their children, South Korean parents are handing over their kids to retired American couples -- and facing some repercussions, according to Korean media.
SAN FRANCISCO--A growing number of South Korean parents are paying retired couples in the United States to adopt their children. These Korean parents say teaching their children English is a priority, as well as other factors including avoiding compulsory military service for young men and gaining the prestige of an American education.
One out of three Korean parents are willing to send their children abroad for the sake of a better education, according to a study by the Center for Korean Education Development in Seoul in the Korea Times. In the past, parents would ask relatives living in the United States to adopt their children, but more parents are now seeking out Caucasian families.
The Korea Times in Los Angeles reported the story of a Korean woman in Los Angeles on a work visa and employed as a nurse. She wished to bring her two teenage children to the United States from Korea and paid a retired American couple to adopt them.
In a report in the Chosun Daily in Seoul, Mrs. Chung, a cosmetic surgeon wished to send her second grade daughter to America because she says the U.S. school system is better than the one in Korea. She says her daughter often comes home late after studying extra hours at a hakwon, or private school in Seoul. Korean children typically begin preparation for strict college entrance exams as early as grammar school. "When I see my daughter who is always tired from school, I really want her to get an American education," Chung said. "The only thing that works for the situation is to find someone who can adopt my daughter, and I'll pay all expenses for her for the future."
Putting a child up for adoption in the United States allows Korean parents to skirt around normal immigration procedures, a drawn-out process with no guarantee of approval. Parents generally seek retired American couples, whose own children often have left and have room to spare. The American couples receive an agreed-upon sum of money in exchange for adopting the child and providing food and housing. Couples receive upwards of $30,000, with additional payments as necessary to cover room and board for each child they adopt. In return, the child gains legal status in the United States, as well as the privilege of attending American schools.
The Korean birth parents relinquish all legal claims to their children, sending them instead to grow up in a house with people they have never met.
"My neighbors, both of whom are retired, have already adopted three young South Korean kids," says a resident in Los Angeles in the Los Angeles Korea Times. "The kids all come from different families, but are now living as brothers and sisters."
Despite the benefits, some young Koreans adopted in this manner have shown signs of emotional distress, reflected in their schoolwork and behavior at home. Before being adopted, kids meet with social workers in the United States where they must clearly state their preference to live with their newly adopted parents.
Peter Chang, who heads the Korean Family Center in Los Angeles, says kids like this "often grow up feeling betrayed by their parents." Chang says he is becoming increasingly concerned over the negative psychological and emotional effects on young Koreans adopted this way.
"A parent who is putting a child up for adoption has to realize that the school system in America not only looks at education but also the emotional well being of the kids," says Kyung Sook Lee, a reporter from the Korea Daily in San Francisco.
Jeanie, adopted by American parents, wanted to return to her family in South Korea, according to Jung Sik Shin, a Korean lawyer in a report on the Korean-language version of MSN.com. Jeanie was told, however, that she could not leave the country because she had not yet received her U.S. citizenship. According to U.S. immigration laws, a child must remain with his or her adopted parents for two years before he or she is eligible for legal status in the country.
Korean parents must also be prepared for rampant adoption fraud, says Kristi Kim, an immigration lawyer in an interview in the Korea Times in Los Angeles. She points out that brokers, or those responsible for introducing Korean parents to prospective American adopters, have been guilty of unscrupulous practices.
For example, two years ago, Mr. Park, a factory owner in Korea, gave $40,000 to a Korean pastor in the United States to help find adoptive parents for his son already living in Florida. Park had hoped to help his son gain citizenship in the United States and continue his education there. Yet, after paying the agreed amount, the pastor quickly disappeared without providing any assistance to Park or his son. Six months later, Park learned his son was already ineligible for U.S. citizenship through adoption, as he had passed the age of 16. His son remains in the United States illegally, unable to return home to visit his parents.
In a similar case, a 14-year-old girl flew from South Korea to the United States, where she was to meet a broker hired by her parents to bring her to her adopted home. Upon her arrival, however, the broker failed to appear after having received a significant payment.
These are the risks, however, that many Korean parents are willing to take to have their children living in the United States.
Aruna Lee monitors Korean media for New America Media.
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
From Russia, WithOUT Love
Russia’s Prosecutor General’s office together with the U.S. law enforcement bodies have stopped the activities of an international firm suspected of trading in children.
The firm Yunona was established in Napa County, California, by Russian and U.S. citizens. Russia’s deputy prosecutor general, Sergei Fridinsky, quoted by Interfax news agency, said the organization formally rendered legal services but was actually “engaged in a real children trade”.
According to the information, provided by the Russian prosecutors, Yunona gathered confidential information on children in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Guatemala and Vietnam and then sold the information to adoption agencies, due to a loophole in the law. The firm received $10,000 to $20,000 for obtaining confidential information for each child.
However, several U.S. citizens who had paid money to Yunona were unable to adopt children because they could not find them in the country where the organization said.
In December, a U.S. citizen, Nicole Peragine, who was promised a child from Guatemala by Yunona but had never seen the child, was found to have been defrauded of $13,500, First Coast News reported. On Jan. 7, the list of those who say they were bilked by Yunona USA turned out to be “long and diverse, with several families claiming they were never able to adopt a child and lost more than $10,000 in the effort,” Napa Valley Register reported.
Records have shown local authorities first received serious allegations against the company as early as April 2003, but no formal investigation had been launched until November 2005.
Yunona used a loophole in California law that allows it to connect foreign orphans with would-be adoptive parents without obtaining a license as an adoption agency. Other states have more restrictive laws. Jerdev said in an October interview with American Radioworks and quoted by Napa Valley Register that some of the money the company received from the childless families was used to bribe foreign judges and officials explaining it was part of doing business in the international adoption world.
Jerdev also said he wasn’t breaking American law, which forbids bribing foreign officials, because it was Yunona’s foreign coordinators who do the bribing. “We don’t pay,” he said. “The coordinators must do this. And they pay. They have to pay a lot of people. Bribes. The money always finds a way to go around.”
Yunona USA operates under many different names and Web sites, including Yunona Orphan Relief Fund, Adorable Adoption, Yunona.org, adoptwithlove.com and yunonaadoptiongroup.com. At least 18 adoption Web sites have Internet links with Yunona or are Yunona sites, so the company is hard to miss for would-be adoptive parents searching online for a way to adopt a child.
In particular, Yunona sold information on several dozen Russian children, the Russian Prosecutor General’s office reported. For instance, Yunona was related to the adoption of Alexei Geiko who was later killed in the United States.
Geiko was adopted at the end of 2003 by Dino and Irma Pavlis living near Chicago. On Dec. 18, 2003, the boy was taken to hospital unconscious and died a day later. Irma Pavlis admitted that she had beaten the child. She was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
Yunona’s office in California was closed, criminal proceedings have been instigated and information on the firm’s operation for several years have been seized. The firm’s office in Krasnodar territory, Russia, have been searched too. Russian prosecutors have instigated proceedings.
Yunona USA obtained a business license in 2000. According to information found by MosNews, Yunona was founded in 1994 as a charity foundation aimed at helping orphan and handicapped children, indigent families, families of killed or handicapped Russian soldiers. Yunona’s president, Ivan Jerdev, is a Russian citizen living in the United States. Jerdev, former vice president Nick Sims and former officer Alex Nikolenko have been charged with knowingly misleading clients and drawing up faulty contracts. Prosecutors suspect Jerdev fled the country to his native Russia, AP reported. Sims says he resigned in November and was not involved in fraud.
Yunona named charity donations as one of its main sources of income. Those means were directed to urgent operations and rehabilitation programs, improvement of living and education conditions in children’s homes, supplies of provisions, school books and medication to boarding schools. The organization also worked on programs to establish a network of small enterprises in Russia to provide graduates of boarding schools with homes and work. Yunona planned to create military schools for orphans in Russia and the United States, organize a football championship among children’s homes alumni in Krasnodar territory, and to create the first Russian orphan child theater to stage performances in English.
Leader of Napa adoption agency may be under arrest
By DAVID RYAN, Register Staff Writer
UPDATE: Thursday, January 26, 2006 1:11 AM PST
Russian authorities have apparently detained Ivan Jerdev, the owner of Napa-based adoption firm Yunona USA, and will likely charge him with fraud and illegal disclosure of confidential information, Russian
news agencies reported Wednesday.
Langauage Effects Policy
The $900,000 grant to support embryo “adoption” public awareness campaigns: Historically this has typically been referred to as embryo “donation.” The use of the word “adoption” comes from the adoption agency Nightline Christian Adoptions, an anti-choice organization that implies that an embryo is equal to a child. This is consistent with the administration’s efforts to elevate the legal status of the fetus or embryo at every opportunity.
Language Politics Promote Anti-Choice Agenda
A fertility procedure that has gained attention recently involves fertility patients giving their extra embryos, produced as a result of in vitro fertilization, to single women or couples who seek pregnancy. The procedure carries high costs and relatively low effectiveness, only half of the embryos survive the thawing process, and of those, only about 35 percent result in a live birth.1 Yet, in Fiscal Year 2005, $950,000 in federal money was allocated through the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to raise awareness about this procedure.2 This promotional campaign, which has been federally funded since 2002, has led to a heated debate over something that is seemingly straightforward-what to call the procedure. This debate over language reflects the larger debate around a woman's right to choose.
The fertility industry, pro-choice advocates, and supporters of embryonic stem cell research suggest that this procedure should be referred to as embryo donation because it is the "donation of medical tissue, like sperm or an egg."3 Anti-choice advocates and other proponents of "fetal rights" refer to the procedure as embryo adoption. Many organizations representing this point of view receive grants from this federal funding stream and are expected to be funded in 2005.
President Bush himself referred to this procedure as "adoption" at a Capitol Hill press conference on May 24th, where he stressed that "every embryo is unique and genetically complete, like every other human being."4 The press conference was seen by many as a final effort to dissuade the House of Representatives from approving the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act (H.R. 810) which the President claims supports spending federal funds on "the destruction of living human embryos."5 The Act, which passed later that evening, reversed President Bush's 2001 decision to severely limit embryonic stem cell research.6
Nightline Christian Adoptions Agency, an organization that runs an "embryo adoption" program, was an influential presence at the conference. In 1997, Nightlight established "snowflakes embryo adoption," named to reference "the uniqueness of each individual embryo." The program serves as a liaison between embryo donors and recipients, helping donors pick the family of their choice for their extra embryos and negotiating the terms and conditions of the exchange.78
In his opening address, Ron Stoddart, director of Nightlight, referenced both "embryo adoption" and "embryo orphanages." The press conference then featured testimony from parents who were able to use donated embryos to give birth as well as their children, wearing tee-shirts that read, "former embryo" and "this embryo was not discarded."8 Among many goals, Nightlight seeks to "recognize and advocate for the personhood of pre-born children."9 The organization received more than half of the HHS grant funds to promote embryo donation/adoption in 2002.10
Stoddart argues that the use of the term adoption is benign, while other pro-life advocates such as Bill Saunders, director of the Family Research Council's Center for Human Life and Bioethics, herald the term and the snowflake children as a political opportunity to "illustrate the truth, which is that the embryo is just a child at an earlier stage."11
This anti-choice discourse of "adoption," "human," and "living embryo," puts pro-choice advocates in the difficult position of questioning the agenda of embryo adoption promoters while at the same time supporting the procedure as another reproductive choice for women and their partners. Sean Tipton, spokesperson for the American Society for Reproductive Medicine says, "we're concerned that the people promoting the Snowflakes program have an explicit political agenda to actually take away choices from infertility patients." "There's no such thing as embryo adoption," he continued, "you adopt a child."12
Pro-choice advocates point out that many of the same arguments over language were seen in 2004 during the debate over the Unborn Victims of Violence Act (H.R. 1997). Kate Michelman, former president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, explains that these arguments are about much more than semantics, "this is one of their strategies-to ascribe legal rights to the fetus separate from the woman."13 The Unborn Victims of Violence Act created new and separate offenses for anyone who intentionally or unknowingly harms or causes the death of a fetus during the commission of a federal crime and spawned a wave of similar state laws.
In the context of this and similar legislation, pro-choice advocates feel that it is necessary to continue vigilant monitoring of attempts to establish the fetus or embryo as a human being with legal and moral standing.
1. Pam Belluck, "From Stem Cell Opponents, an Embryo Crusade," New York Times, 2 June 2005, accessed 5 June 2005.
2. "Department of Health and Human Services; Notice of Funding Opportunity," Federal Register, Vol. 70, No. 88, 9 May 2005, 24418.
3. Lynn Harris, "Clump of cells or 'microscopic American," Salon, 5 February 2005.
4. The White House, "President Discusses Embryo Adoption and Ethical Stem Cell Research," Press Release published on 24 May 2005.
5. Statement of Administration Policy H.R. 810-Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005, Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget, 24 May 2005.
6. Edward Epstein and Carl Hall, "House OKs bill to ease stem cell limitations," Rome- News Tribune, 25 May 2005, accessed 5 June 2005.
7. Snowflake Parents Speak on Capitol Hill, Concerned Women for America (1 June 2005), accessed 5 June 2005.
9. About Us/Contact Us, Nightlight Christian Adoptions, accessed 7 June 2005.
11. Pam Belluck.
13. Protecting Pregnant Women and Roe, (New York: SIECUS, June 2003), accessed 7 June 2005.
Monday, January 23, 2006
Another Tiny Victim
'Worst case of child abuse in SA'
Johannesburg police are investigating the death of a baby who died on Friday in the Garden City Clinic after being severely assaulted.
The 21-month-old Tammy Herman was brought to the hospital by her adoptive parents on Wednesday night after vomiting continuously.
Doctors discovered she had sustained several broken ribs, brain and liver damage and had bruises all over her body. She later died in hospital.
The Johannesburg Child Welfare Society, which handled the baby's adoption, said it was devastated and called it one of the worst cases of child abuse in the country.
It said it never noticed anything suspicious during the screening process for the adoption and its now working closely with police.
Eyewitness News 1/23/06 http://iafrica.com/news/sa/841184.htm
I have some very concrete suggestions.
I. EXPOSURE. The way to use the Internet is to establish exposure. You want anyone who logs on and enters the words "adoption" or "birthparent" or "birthmother" or "adoptee" etc. to find you.
This is currently NOT the case. Neither the AAC, nor BN, nor CUB come up anywhere the top of any adoption search. In fact, unless one knows the exact name or URL for these sites, you might as well forget about it. The Internet is not going to increase your membership - or help anyone - if you aren’t being found. There are zillions of websites and you just a needle in a HUGE haystack.
To make your presence known on the Internet, costs some bucks. Not just in creating and maintaining a website. We need to PAY search engines like Google to get our website to come up when anyone types in our key words. We need to put our money where our mouth and heart is. We need to dig into our pockets and get this ball rolling until we develop membership bases that will hopefully keep it rolling.
To some extent, we have already blown it. Adoption.com beat us to the punch in a very major way. All roads currently lead to them. They have lots of sponsorship. THEY are our new nemesis, not the NCFA! And, as I said, it will take money to fight back. When I say all roads lead to them, I mean that quite literally. You cannot do a search for anything with the word “adoption” in it that does not lead to you to a page of their site. You can get there by typing in adoption.com; .org. or .net; or by using any of the keywords mentioned. They have cornered the market on adoption on the web. We COULD join them (yuck!).…We could lie down and die and just give up.….or, we could rally the troops and make our UNIQUE presence known. I suggest we do the later and here's how.
II. A UNIQUE NICHE. We need to establish ourselves in a big way by spending dollars to have our site appear at the top of search lists, but we need to first cerate a CLEAR and UNIQUE approach. We are NOT adoption.com. We do NOT help match couples and expectant moms. So what are we? What do we call ourselves?
I suggest: ADOPTION KINSHIP NETWORK. Other suggestions welcomed. I envision a website that links all adoption reform and search sites, orgs, etc. Our common goals are those stated at the top of this page. Simple ones that all of us agree upon - despite the differences of a "pure" bill vs. accepting a veto; birthmothers vs. adoptee, etc. Each group maintains its own integrity. But all support one central place to draw traffic to our individual web sites. We are either going to all succeed or all go down together, as we have been doing.
We need to ACT and not get bogged down in the in-fighting that has kept the AAC from ever being the umbrella organization Kate Burke envisioned it decades ago when I was on the board.
All grassroots movements have their schisms and factions: Civil Rights had the black panthers and the Martin Luther King followers – extremely different in their style sand methodology. Yet they were somehow all part of working toward the same goal – civil rights.
Feminists too have more factions that one can count. But they have a central focus that you can find very easily when doing an internet search: NOW!
By pooling some financial resources together we can get the exposure we need without bankrupting each individual small group.
Sunday, January 22, 2006
Adoption DOT COM?
"More support, pre- and post-adoption. Adoptive parents can join local and national online groups by children's age or down to specific orphanages. Snoqualmie mom Toddie Downs, who adopted her daughter last summer, joined a Yahoo newsgroup specifically for her agency travel mates, as well as a "dossier to China" group with other parents whose documents were sent that month.
“Support remains important even for longtime adoptive families. "When children become teenagers, new issues come up," said Bill Mudd, a SeaTac dad of five adopted daughters. "To be able to confer with other people about how they handle it gives you a lot more tools."
“Better-informed parents. Parents can research agencies, the type of adoption, costs, country requirements, health conditions and cultural resources.”
This article, from the Seattle Times http://makeashorterlink.com/?F6BE2628C goes on and on about how wonderful the Internet has been for adoptive parents/families.
It brings ups a subject I have written about elsewhere.... that sadly the reverse seems to be true for adoption reformists.
I began working toward opening and humanizing adoption in the early 70's, long before the World Wide Web. I co-founded a local search and support group, which met monthly in members’ homes.
There were many such adoption search and support groups in every city and state. We were a powerful network, considering all we had to connect us were telephone wires (literally, because there were no cell phone or wireless). We all "knew" one another even if we never met - or occasionally met at a national conference, but we referred adoptees and birthparents (and an occassional adoptive parent) for the help they needed in the state the birth took place if they long since moved away. We knew who had what search connections where. And, as soon as we learned of an unscrupulous searcher we were able to warn people to avoid that person.
But more than this, we were able to offer the magical camaraderie of face-to-face contact. We eye-witnessed the amazement, the tears of joy, on the face of each new mother, year after year, decade after decade, as she walked into one of those rooms and said: "I always thought I was the only one!" We held the trembling hands of women who had never told another living soul that they had had a child and placed it for adoption - not even the men they were married to for decades.
Having the full value of all the aspects of communication (75-90% of which is bodily and missed via email/internet "connections") we were able to help mothers decide how and when to make contact with the children each of us eventually found, many of whom were still minors. Some women who came to us were visibly unstable, either as a result of the surrender, the years of secret-keeping, the damage that does to one's psyche and self-esteem...or that in addition to other mental health issues. We were more able to assess a woman's need to take the time to work through her issues and needs, perhaps referring her to counseling, before entering into a relationship.
Of course, there were always some who came/searched/left and we never, or rarely, heard from them again. But, they were the exception, rather than the rule. For the most part, it was a warm, caring community of women helping women. We felt a very real sisterhood. Those of us who stayed with it did so to help others not feel alone. To help provide search referrals, and - perhaps most importantly - to work legislatively to open the sealed records. The more we did, the more we healed.
When the Internet arrived on the scene, I was at that time taking a hiatus from adoption work, and so for many years - out of touch with what was going on, no longer holding meetings or attending conference - I imagined that the world of adoption reform was now all electronically hooked up and connected and that this would expedite our work and connect more and people! It would be the boon to our movement that the article above describes. How wonderful, I thought, that now so many people would join our fight to open the sealed records!
I returned only to be stunned by the apathy and lack of growth that had ensued from 90's to the present. What the Internet had provided the world of adoption was faster and easier ways to buy and sell babies. Our movement seemed t have not benefited from this wonderous tool at all. Clearly membership in the national organizations (CUB, AAC, etc.) had dropped, or at best remaied stagnant, NOT increased as a result of world wide Internet exposure, as one would expect it to. Either they weren’t taking full advantage of this resource properly, or something else was wrong, or both.
The Internet, it seems allowed only for more of the find/search/leavers. Anyone, anywhere could sit at home and log on and be connected to someone who could - and would, for a price, of course - do their search. No counseling to see if the person was "ready" find and make contact with the other. No contact with others who had walked before her in her path to offer suggestions and help avoid pitfalls...just find 'em, and go to it!
Some searching birthparents and adoptees find one another on the Internet in chat rooms, boards, discussion groups and list serves. But I have found these to be more destructive and devisive than helpful, for the following reasons.
First, most of these online “support groups” or lists or whatever are “owned” and operated by self-appointed individuals. They have vague, at best, missions. Many of the list owners have just themselves come out of the closet and discovered that there is a way to search (though they are the same age as those of us who have been involved with all of this for decades). It’s the blind helping the blind with no hindsight to offer one another, and no effort made to refer people to long-standing groups and organizations.
Instead of learning the history of the movement – what worked and what didn’t – they seem intent on recreating the wheel and cutting themselves off from all existing adoption reform groups of the past.
Adding to this is the fact that many online lists seem to pigeonhole people into separate lists for those who have been reunited, those in good post-reunion relationships, those who have been rejected…and so on. By splintering off into these minute sub-groups, those they cut themselves off from seeing what can happen to any of them. Any reunion that is bad can turn and become "good” and vice versa. And, as we all know, anyone can die at any time.
But most importantly, from what I have observed and heard about many of the online “support groups” is that they are more of a cry-in-your-beer, woe-is-me fest. The only efforts for change I have seen come out of any of these groups formed over the past decade are:
- a strong resistance to being called birthmothers
- a resistance to calling adoptive parents, adoptive parents
- radical anti-adoptionism
Add to this FOURTEEN 9as of last count per http://www.ringsurf.com/netring?ring=birthmothers;action=list individual blogging birthmothers!
All of which appears to me to be an extension of the above stated encouragement of continued victimization rather than encouraging the empowerment.
First wave “old-time” birthmothers kept one another’s focus NOT on merely seeing the search for, or being found by, our children in terms of how it effected, or “healed” US. We saw it as an opportunity – a second chance – to give our children what we were unable to give them at the time of their birth. The search was about giving to them, at least as much as for what we got out of it. We recognized that there is, and always will be, a time and aplce to lick one'sd woulds and heal...but there are also meaningful ways to chanel one's anger and righteous indignation, our feelings of injustices done to us and our children, and adoptive parenst as well. As we helped nourish one another's personal growth, we also discovered the strength there was in our numbers. We allowed things to flow full circle: the personal becoming again political, as the politcal had impacted each uf personally.
As such, many of us were – and still are - far less interested in what we are called and more interested in helping our children as they grow into adults reestablish their rights. Putting aside our own egos, we are able to recognize and allow our children the freedom and right to establish a healthy bond with their psychological parents, rather than have them feel they are in the middle of a childish loyalty battle as to who to call what – like kids in the midst of a bad divorce!
We also see ourselves as part of a larger picture of adoption abuses that occur worldwide and has become a business, “surviving on the backs of resourceless women” as Ricki Solinger so eloquently put it recently. We feel empowered by helping to educate the public and to work to change the wrongs of an adoption industry that comodifies children rather than putting their needs first and protecting them as children – and their rights as they grow into adults.
I would like to begin here and now to reverse these negative trends. We do have the Internet and it is a very powerful tool. We need to grow up and concentrate on learning how to use it effectively to conenct people desiring to make legislative change. We need to follow the examples of other online libbying efforts, of which there are many examples.
Let us being to use the power of the Internet to open and humanize adoption. Please join me.
Saturday, January 21, 2006
The United Nations Conevention on the Rights of the Child
The Convention acknowledges that every child has certain basic rights, including the right to life, his or her own name and identity, to be raised by his or her parents within a family or cultural grouping and have a relationship with both parents, even if they are separated.
The Convention obliges states to allow parents to exercise their parental responsibilities. The Convention also acknowledges that children have the right to express their opinions and to have those opinions heard and acted upon when appropriate, to be protected from abuse or exploitation, to have their privacy protected and requires that their lives not be subject to excessive interference.
The Convention also obliges signatory states to provide separate legal representation for a child in any judicial dispute concerning their care and asks that the child's viewpoint be heard in such cases. The Convention forbids capital punishment for children.
THE CONVENTION HAS BEEN RATIFIED BY 192 COUNTRIES. ONLY SOMALIA AND THE UNITED STATES HAVE STILL NOT RATIFIED THE CRC. SOMALIA IS CURRENTLY UNABLE TO PROCEED TO RATIFICATION AS IT HAS NO RECOGNIZED GOVERNMENT.
For those of us in the adoption community, I call your attention specifically to Artlies 7, 8 and 9...the very articles thta keep the US from ratifying!
1. The child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and. as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents.
2. States Parties shall ensure the implementation of these rights in accordance with their national law and their obligations under the relevant international instruments in this field, in particular where the child would otherwise be stateless.
1. States Parties undertake to respect the right of the child to preserve his or her identity, including nationality, name and family relations as recognized by law without unlawful interference.
2. Where a child is illegally deprived of some or all of the elements of his or her identity, States Parties shall provide appropriate assistance and protection, with a view to re-establishing speedily his or her identity.
1. States Parties shall ensure that a child shall not be separated from his or her parents against their will, except when competent authorities subject to judicial review determine, in accordance with applicable law and procedures, that such separation is necessary for the best interests of the child. Such determination may be necessary in a particular case such as one involving abuse or neglect of the child by the parents, or one where the parents are living separately and a decision must be made as to the child's place of residence.
2. In any proceedings pursuant to paragraph 1 of the present article, all interested parties shall be given an opportunity to participate in the proceedings and make their views known.
3. States Parties shall respect the right of the child who is separated from one or both parents to maintain personal relations and direct contact with both parents on a regular basis, except if it is contrary to the child's best interests. 4. Where such separation results from any action initiated by a State Party, such as the detention, imprisonment, exile, deportation or death (including death arising from any cause while the person is in the custody of the State) of one or both parents or of the child, that State Party shall, upon request, provide the parents, the child or, if appropriate, another member of the family with the essential information concerning the whereabouts of the absent member(s) of the family unless the provision of the information would be detrimental to the well-being of the child. States Parties shall further ensure that the submission of such a request shall of itself entail no adverse consequences for the person(s) concerned.
After ratifying, Canada was pressuref to open its sealed reocrds.
Write letter to your locla papers...call your represenatives in congress...Expose this shame and hopefully right this terrible wrong.
Friday, January 20, 2006
Two-Time Looser "Dad"
Friday, January 20, 2006
The Grand Rapids Press
CORBIN, KY. --
A 22-year Kentucky man was convicted Thursday in a scheme to sell a baby to a Michigan woman for $5,000. Kenneth Couch is expected to face a two-year prison sentence after a one-day trial that ended with a jury finding him guilty, said Whitley County Commonwealth Attorney Allen Trimble. He and his girlfriend, Jessica Cornett, 18, were arrested last year after selling her 10-month-old daughter to Kimberly Brick, 30, of Chase in Lake County. Brick was sentenced to probation. Cornett, who was sentenced to two years in prison, testified Thursday that Couch came up with the idea, Trimble said.
ED: He got probabtion and she got two years - ? And now they're at it again!
AND...what about the people who BUY the babies? Are they not comitting a crime as well? Or are we supposed to just feel sorry that they didn't get what they bargained for - they got jipped...
Father Hopefully Intervened in Time, This Time
CINCINNATI, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- A judge in Ohio has ordered a baby's adoption stopped after hearing testimony from the boy's father that the mother surrendered him without his knowledge.
Hamilton County Juvenile Court Judge Thomas Lipps also ordered Cincinnati police to investigate whether the baby was sold, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.
The father, Glenn Spraggs, testified that he was saving money so that he could marry the baby's mother, Sharicka Watson, and provide for their two children, including a 2-year-old daughter. He said that Watson left with the baby, Thomas, while he was visiting, but he did not realize she had arranged to meet an adoption agency representative to turn over the boy.
A judge in Greene County signed an order that Watson had surrendered the baby, the first step in adoption.
Another hearing was scheduled next week.
Good news...if you're not adopted, that is.
"In the future," suggests ROBERT KLITZMAN, M.D., co-director of the Columbia University Center for Bioethics, writing for the NY Times (Genetic Testing Creates New Versions of Ancient Dilemmas) the courts might rule that doctors should break patient confidentiality to warn family members of genetic risks."
I wonder if they willalso break the seal that prevents anyone adopted from having an equal oportubitu to make health decsions.
Thursday, January 19, 2006
The U.S. ambassador reminded the Bucharest officials the country needs to keep its promise as far as adoptions are concerned. He also tackled the Transylvania highway matter.
Romania must respect its pledge to resolve inter-country adoption cases, in spite of the virtual ban of all inter-country adoptions after new laws came in effect last year, said the U.S. ambassador.
"The American government believes the Romanian government has made several promises regarding the adoption of children by American families and this promise (...) must be respected," said U.S. Ambassador Nicholas F. Taubman during a press conference yesterday.
After new adoption laws came in effect at the beginning of last year, Romania banned international adoptions except in cases when the adopting couple and the child are closely blood related.
The move, which came following EU criticism of previous, "too permissive" laws, angered several countries whose residents had begun adoption procedures of Romanian orphans. The U.S. has repeatedly criticized the new legislation and asked authorities to review it in order to allow a favorable solution at least to the requests filed by U.S. couples before the ban came in effect.
According to Taubman, the Washington administration does not agree to the adoption law, but it respects it because it is promoted by the Romanian government.
Furthermore, even the European Parliament passed a resolution last month asking that adoption requests that remained unsolved be addressed, underlined Taubman.
The issue was also discussed by the ambassador with Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu on Monday. Tariceanu explained to the ambassador that any request for inter-country adoption filed by U.S. couples is being analyzed by authorities and the results of the analysis will be transmitted to American officials.
When the new laws came in effect, a legal framework for the resuming of inter-country adoptions was set. However, the new provisions only allow international adoptions if the adopting couple is related to the child they want to adopt.
The laws also include restrictions referring to the child's age and other factors that may be of relevance in the adoption process.
During the ban, authorities received almost 1,400 requests for inter-country adoptions. After analyzing the requests, the Romanian Office for Adoptions (ORA) established that there were requests for the adoption of 1,100 children.
The requests are currently being evaluated, but there is little hope about a positive outcome of the cases. ORA head Theodora Bertzi recently said none of the 1,100 children would be adopted abroad and that the couples that filed adoption requests would be informed about the decision.
[ED: Why can't we resoect the laws of ther nations and take care of own kids??]
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
"There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children." Nelson Mandela
By Wendy Koch, USA TODAY
TRENTON, Tenn. — At the end of a long tree-lined driveway, amid 18 acres that include a greenhouse and gazebo, sits a historic plantation home where, a state indictment says, children were beaten and forced to sleep in a totally enclosed baby crib.
Tom and Debra Schmitz, with 16 of their 18 kids, face trial Jan. 30. They deny the child-trafficking charges.
Tennessee is charging the owners, Debra and Tom Schmitz, with abusing some of their 18 children, most of them disabled. The state says Debra Schmitz threw a knife at one child, held two children underwater for punishment and forced five to dig holes in the ground that would be their graves.
The couple, whose trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 30, are also charged with child trafficking for moving a girl to Arizona without permission from state child-welfare officials.
The Schmitzes strongly deny the charges, which stemmed from complaints by the children and nurses who worked in their house. "The children were our entire life. They were our everything," Debra Schmitz says.
What they don't deny, and what the trial may help spotlight, is their role in a largely unknown aspect of the nation's beleaguered child-welfare system: an underground network of families that takes in children others do not want. Some families do so legally, and eventually adopt the children, but others may violate child-welfare laws by failing to notify authorities, according to interviews by USA TODAY with families, officials and child-welfare experts. (Related story: No state fully compliant with welfare)
"There are homes all across the United States that transfer kids from one place to another. No one's keeping tabs on this. ... These kids just come and go," says Sheriff Joe Shepard of Gibson County in rural northwest Tennessee, where the Schmitzes live.
"Dump and run — it happens all the time," says Ronald Federici, a neuropsychologist in Alexandria, Va., and author of Help for the Hopeless Children who has adopted seven children. He says one adoptive family abandoned a child in his office. He says there are hundreds of e-mail chat rooms in which people who adopted children are trying to find new homes for them outside the public system.
"They don't want to sell the kids. They just want to get rid of them," he says, explaining the children may have health problems the adoptive parents never expected. "It's not the merchandise they bought." He says many of these parents are looking for the cheapest and fastest placement.
Yet, many couples who take in large numbers of children "are incredibly well-motivated," says Kent Markus, director of the National Center for Adoption Law & Policy. He says many view caring for special-needs kids as a "calling."
Some of these families know each other because they practice so-called attachment therapy (AT), a controversial regimen of discipline. Adherents such as the Schmitzes say attachment therapy helps kids develop bonds with their new parents, but one critic describes the techniques as "fairly brutal." If one family has trouble with a child, it sends him to another home practicing this therapy.
Debra Schmitz says 80% to 90% of her Internet network revolved around attachment therapy. Other self-described practitioners include Michael and Sharen Gravelle, an Ohio couple who, a judge ruled in a custody hearing last month, had abused their 11 adoptive kids by making some of them sleep in cagelike bunk beds.
The Gravelles face a hearing today that could determine custody of the kids, now in foster care. (Related story: Enclosed beds cause controversy)
"A lot of people do it (take in children) for the money," says Federici, referring to government subsidies that can exceed $1,100 monthly for a child with disabilities. "Others collect kids."
Yet many of the families in this private network say they don't do it for the money but to save the children, especially those with special needs, from bouncing around the public system. "These kids will rot in the foster-care system," says Charlene Stockton, a Tennessee adoptive mom of 17 children, several of whom have Down syndrome, congestive heart failure and dementia. She adopted a girl from Vietnam via "someone who knew someone who knew someone."
The Schmitz network
State officials say the Schmitzes lacked legal custody of at least seven of the 18 kids in their care, who ranged in age from 1 to 17, says Didi Christie, an attorney with the Tennessee Department of Children Services. "They were operating under the radar. No one would know what was happening" to these kids, says Christie, adding that some of them were home-schooled. A Tennessee law requires all parents or guardians to notify authorities if they place children with a non-relative for more than 30 days.
A biological daughter, Melanie Schmitz, recalls the family piling into a motor home to pick up a child at a truck stop in Illinois about five years ago, one year before they moved from Wisconsin to Tennessee. "It was kind of a secretive thing," Melanie, now 21, told The Jackson (Tenn.) Sun, a Gannett paper that has tracked the case.
Debra Schmitz denies she picked up a child at a truck stop. She says Melanie, from whom she's estranged, was an "angry teenager" who wanted to run away from home. Her attorney, Barney Witherington, says the Schmitzes notified state authorities when they took each child and retained an attorney to adopt each one.
The children, removed from the Schmitzes' home in June 2004, are now in foster care. District Attorney Garry Brown says some may testify against the Schmitzes, who were accused of child abuse in 2000 when they lived in Wisconsin. An extensive investigation followed, but no charges were filed then.
Also testifying will be Brenda Filkel and Sherry Dvorak, licensed practical nurses who worked at the Schmitz home, Dvorak says. In an affidavit attached to a search warrant, they say Debra Schmitz was often drunk "by suppertime." They also say they saw six children — ranging in age from 8 to 14 — being thrown into "the cage" by older kids at the Schmitzes' instructions and that, as punishment, kids were deprived of leg braces, eyeglasses and a walker.
Filkel says she saw "records of swapped, traded and interchanged children" in the Schmitz home and that Debra Schmitz told her she could get a child through a website within three weeks without having to go through the Department of Children Services. Filkel and Dvorak took in some of the children after they were removed from the Schmitzes' home.
Children may testify
Five of the children will be subpoenaed to testify for the defense, says Tom Schmitz's attorney, Frank Deslauriers. He says he'll also seek testimony from the two nurses and neuropsychologist Federici, who says he was initially hired by the prosecution to examine the kids.
Federici says seven kids say nothing bad happened at the Schmitzes' and they want to return. He says the others talked about being spanked and about Debra Schmitz's drinking.
Federici, who has reviewed the Schmitzes' financial records, says the couple eventually received subsidies for each child, taking in $8,000 to $9,000 monthly. The monthly subsidies ranged from $364 to $817 for nine of the children, Christie says. She says one adoptive family helped pay for an addition to the Schmitzes' home after they took in a child and another paid child support.
Karen Sue Tolin, an adoptive mom in Michigan, says she didn't pay the Schmitzes for taking her daughter Erin but only provided supplies for incontinence as well as other materials. "This is not a money thing," Tolin says. "They had resources we didn't," she says, including mental health care that Erin, who has fetal alcohol syndrome, needed.
Debra Schmitz, a stay-at-home mom, says she didn't receive a penny for the last seven kids she took and spent everything on the children. "I wore rags, but my kids always looked wonderful," she says. Tom Schmitz works for a firm that rents and sells portable bathrooms.
No data exist on how many children are moved from family to family outside the public child-welfare system. Yet the Schmitzes, who took in children from at least seven states, are not the only people in this private network:
• In 2000, Denise Thomas of Littleton, Colo., was put on probation for a year after attempting to sell her daughter, adopted from Russia, on the Internet. She has said she was simply trying to recoup some of her adoption costs.
• In February 2004, Diana Groves of Bloomington, Ind., a single woman who had taken in 13 children, was charged with child abuse, in part for duct-taping some of the kids to a wall and hitting them with a tennis racket. Brad Swain, a detective in the Monroe County Sheriff's department, says Groves acquired the kids by "loose word-of-mouth" and received financial support from private individuals. Groves, who has three separate, unrelated felony convictions, has pleaded innocent and is free on bond while awaiting trial.
• In December 2004, Frances Ellen Matthews of Kenton, Tenn., was found guilty of a child-abuse charge. She says she took in children through private arrangements. She was caring for 16 children, many with severe disabilities, at the time of her arrest. Ten have been returned to her home.
Like many large adoptive families, the Schmitzes took in children adopted abroad by other people. Parents who no longer want an adopted child may seek a word-of-mouth placement because they may not get placement help from adoption agencies or they may want to avoid paying child support, which may be necessary if a child enters the foster-care system.
"Most agencies in the U.S. won't take a child from overseas, so families are stuck on their own," says Susan Meyer, a Florida adoptive mom of 28 children and founder of the Foundation for Large Families. She says states, burdened with U.S.-born children, also don't want to take these children into the public foster-care system.
Meyer adopted an autistic girl from the Ukraine, whom she found "through friends" after the child had moved from family to family following a disrupted adoption.
Similarly, Madeline Lynch, an adoptive mother in Auburn, Mich., has taken in four girls from Russia, the fourth of whom she heard about "through a friend of a friend." She took the girl more than a year ago and plans to adopt her.
Deslauriers, Tom Schmitz's attorney, says his client took in two Chinese children unwanted by the adoptive father — an attorney — who said they were not smart enough. The Schmitzes had four other foreign-born children — two from Russia, one from Vietnam and one from Mexico, state officials say.
Therapy is debated
The Schmitzes also took in kids from families sharing their interest in attachment therapy, which may include extensive chores, strict discipline and holding kids while looking into their eyes and feeding them chocolate and other treats.
The Schmitzes advertised themselves online as AT experts, says Christie, a state attorney.
"There was a support group," Debra Schmitz says. "It was not anything untoward or illegal. We just all talked." She says parents asked: "Can you take my child for a week? Pretty soon, they can't handle them at all, and the kids stay."
Many of the websites she used disappeared after her arrest in June 2004, says Shepard, the sheriff.
Debra Schmitz says many of her kids had reactive attachment disorder, an inability to trust, empathize or bond. Federici says only two or three do. He says most suffer from severe brain damage or psychiatric disorders that make them inappropriate court witnesses.
Federici says Schmitz's "overzealous discipline" was not formal AT, but he argues most of the criminal charges against the couple are false. "It was a zoo there, but the state of Tennessee allowed it," says Federici, citing the numerous home studies state officials had done.
Twice, for short periods, the Schmitzes took in Marianna, an adopted girl from Matthews, who also espoused AT. Matthews also took care of at least one Schmitz child. "We help each other out," Matthews says. "I've had quite a few people say: 'If you don't take this child, I'm going to kill her. You're my last resort.' "
Theresa Showell of Phoenix, who's studying to become an attachment therapist, took in a girl, Bethany, from the Schmitzes because they had trouble dealing with her. She plans to adopt Bethany. She's also taken in four children from Russia and a fifth child who initially came for a two-week stay. She believes AT's cuddling and intensive structure help her children.
Critics say some AT techniques amount to child abuse. "It's fairly brutal. It's like turning a home into a boot camp," says Larry Sarner, legislative director of the non-profit Advocates for Children in Therapy. His group says some families "swap" children in part to keep them "off-balance."
"Attachment therapy is a young and diverse field," says a new report by a task force of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, a non-profit group based in Charleston, S.C. "The benefits and risks of many treatments remain scientifically undetermined."
Markus says children with severe behavior problems may cause some families to cross the line of acceptable parenting. "I've heard lots and lots of cases where parents have to take extraordinary steps just to (physically) protect them selves," Markus says.
ED: This horrific story brings up much of is wrong with adoption pracice in the country today:
First, as mentioned in a previous blog entry (see: Keeping Adoptions Safe, 1/14), we need to re-think subsidizing foster care and adoption because it allows people to get paid to use and abuse kids. or, at the very least payment must come with lots of supervision and checking up on.
Issue number two: "It's not the merchandise they bought." This, is far too dosgunstingly true. Kids are "merchandise" and those who spend money to get them expect ... demand ... to get what they paid for. When they consider the merchandise to be inferior in any way, they want a refund! This is because we have allowed adoption to become big BUSINESS.
AND: "Most agencies in the U.S. won't take [back] a [no longer wanted adopted] child from overseas." This is yet another reason we need to leave kids in their country of origins!
Who will care for these children?
A Tough Road for Siblings Who Survived Abuse
By NINA BERNSTEIN NY Times
In death, they have become indelible symbols of the city's failures to protect the weak from the cruel: Five-year-old Adam Mann, killed by parents for eating a piece of cake in 1990. Six-year-old Elisa Izquierdo, battered and burned by her mother in 1995. And now, 7-year-old Nixzmary Brown, who the authorities say was tortured over time and finally beaten to death by her stepfather for taking a container of yogurt.
In life, the dead children's surviving siblings are often forgotten. Yet in many ways, their hard journey toward adulthood may show more about the day-to-day problems and progress of the city's child welfare system than the fatalities that capture so much public outrage. Will the survivors find safe, permanent homes, or be bounced fro
m one foster care placement to the next? Will they be kept together, or scattered far apart?
Sometimes, children taken from the most notoriously abusive homes have, years later, come full circle: In the Mann case, the oldest surviving sibling returned by choice to live with his mother, who had served prison time in the death of his abused brother.
For Nixzmary's two surviving half sisters and three half brothers, aged 9 months to 9 years, the journey began Wednesday after their sister's battered body was discovered in their mother's apartment in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. For now, said Sharman Stein, a spokeswoman for the Administration for Children's Services, all five of Nixzmary's siblings are in a home in Brooklyn with Spanish-speaking foster parents specially trained to deal with psychologically fragile children.
That they are together reflects an achievement. A decade ago, siblings were as likely as not to be separated. In 2004, sibling groups entering foster care were placed together almost 90 percent of the time.
But the road ahead is long. The plan is to avoid the black holes of the old foster care system, in which damaged children cycled through temporary placements heedlessly - in the case of the surviving Mann siblings, the city eventually paid thousands of dollars in damages in a lawsuit brought on their behalf.
The challenge of healing the shattered lives of Nixzmary's brothers and sisters underscores some of the unmet goals of the new system, which is still struggling to reduce the time that children in foster care wait for permanent homes.
Though details of Nixzmary's ordeal are still emerging, her younger sisters, in kindergarten and first grade, and her older brother, a third grader, have traumas of their own to overcome.
The authorities said the girls had been sexually abused by their stepfather, Cesar Rodriguez, and that he punished them in one of the ways he punished Nixzmary, by plunging their heads under water. The youngest boys, Mr. Rodriguez's sons, apparently escaped abuse - part of a pattern of scapegoating that is familiar to experts on child maltreatment.
"It's likely that these children have been terribly damaged," said Marcia Robinson Lowry, the executive director of Children's Rights, an advocacy group. "They now face a foster care system in which the average length of care is four years. So having faced one terrible situation, they may wind up in another."
Some child welfare experts consider the city's child welfare system - overhauled since Elisa Izquierdo's death more than 10 years ago - close to a national model. And even veteran critics like Ms. Lowry, who called the current commissioner of children's services, John B. Mattingly, "the best ever," acknowledge that the system has vastly improved.
But the average length of time it takes for children either to be safely returned to their parents, or to be successfully adopted, Ms. Lowry said, is much longer in New York than in many cities.
Ms. Stein, the spokeswoman for the children's services agency, said the cases of siblings who survived some of the city's worst child abuse fatalities are among the system's greatest challenges.
"What is the future for kids whose own parents have shown in the worst possible way that they are not viable?" Ms. Stein asked. The system has to go step by step, she said: "First, trying to see if there's a good family member to take them, trying to keep siblings together, trying to get them help, and, once parental rights are terminated, trying to get them in a permanent placement."
The story of the Izquierdo siblings, now 12 to 19 years old, illustrates how the bad old days of a chaotic, overwhelmed system can still haunt the lives of children and parents today.
About a month before Elisa's birth on Feb. 11, 1989, child-protection workers found her half sister and half brother neglected and took them from their mother, who was using crack cocaine.
Elisa was lucky at first. She went from the hospital to the custody of her father, Gustavo Izquierdo. But after his death, she was sent to the home of her mother, Awilda Lopez, joining older siblings who had also been returned after Ms. Lopez had drug treatment and settled into an apparently steady relationship with a new man, Carlos Lopez.
Eventually, five siblings would watch helplessly as their parents targeted Elisa, sexually abusing her, beating her and at one point forcing her to eat her own feces.
Ms. Lopez was sentenced to 15 years to life for her role in Elisa's beating death and is still in prison. Mr. Lopez, who pleaded guilty to attempted assault of his stepdaughter, was sentenced to one and a half to three years.
Fewer than 10 percent of foster care cases involve abuse, not neglect, and child homicides are extremely rare. The instability the Izquierdo siblings experienced in foster care is all too common, however. Three years after Elisa's death, the four youngest had moved through four different homes, as ill-prepared foster parents gave up on them.
But now, said Ms. Stein, the spokeswoman for the agency, two of Elisa's siblings have been adopted and are living with a family on Long Island. A third, who does not want to be adopted, lives with them. A fourth sibling is in a separate foster home.
In late 2002, Ms. Stein said, after seven years in foster care, the oldest boy, now 19, went to live with his biological father, who was not involved in Elisa's life or death. Such an outcome after years in care is far more common than the public imagines, experts say, especially when adolescents leave foster care with no other family to call their own.
In the Mann case, too, the oldest surviving son returned to live with a parent, his mother, Michelle Mann, who served time for assault in Adam's death and was released from prison in 1994, according to Ms. Lowry, of Children's Rights. She and his father, Rufus Chisolm, who pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter, subjected all the siblings to terrible beatings that culminated in Adam's death.
The case was the focus of a celebrated "Frontline" documentary detailing how the city had failed to properly investigate earlier reports of abuse and neglect. But years later, as the parents were nearing the end of their prison terms, all but the youngest, the only girl, were still being shuttled from foster home to foster home. Ms. Lowry filed a wrongful-death suit against the city on behalf of the estate of Adam Mann, and won $183,000 for the survivors.
"These are the cases in which intense public scrutiny is focused on child welfare agencies," said Richard Wexler, the executive director of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform, which supports programs to keep children safe in their own homes whenever possible. "If those agencies can't even do well by these children, imagine what happens to the hundreds of thousands of children, almost all of them anonymous, taken each year and thrown into foster care."
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Masha on Oprah, CNN, ABC Primetime, Oxygen
On Tuesday, January 17, 2006, Masha will tell her story live on Oprah at 4 PM
On Wednesday, January 18, 2006, her attorney, James R. Marsh, Esq., and
advisor, Maureen Flatley, will appear on Nancy Grace on CNN Headline
News at 8 PM EST.
On Thursday, January 19, 2006 ABC Primetime will air an update on Masha's
story at 10 PM EST.
On Friday, January 20, 2006, the Oxygen network will air Oprah After the Show.
Learn more about Masha's story at 7 PM EST.
For further details contact Marsh & Gaughran LLP at (800) 592-2251 or visit
ALSO note that Sens. Kerry(D-MA) and Isakson(R-GA) designed to heighten penalties for child pornography downloaded from the Internet. Current penalities for downloading
songs are three times greater than downloading child porn. The Senators
introduced this bill as a result of their concerns over the ongoing
exploitation of Masha, of whom there are over 400 images that remain on the
Internet despite her abusers multiple prison sentences.
Watch tghese pages for a bill number to support when it is available.
Monday, January 16, 2006
Here's Money Well Spent -- NOT!!!
KNOXVILLE, Tenn., Jan. 16 /Christian Wire Service/ -- The National Embryo Donation Center announced today that it is a partner in a $309,000 embryo adoption awareness grant, funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
The Baptist Health System Foundation in Knoxville, TN, which serves as the primary recipient of the HHS grant, will work with the National Embryo Donation Center and the Christian Medical & Dental Association to educate the public about embryo adoption.
The genetic parents determine their own level of involvement in the adoption process and whether or not to remain anonymous. After completing the embryo adoption agreement and a home study, the embryos are transferred to the adoptive mother, allowing her to experience pregnancy and the birth of their adopted child. However, in the case of embryo adoption, the adoptive parents are recognized as the birth parents of the child. [ED: This means there is not even an original and an amended certificate...meaning no way to ever even know you are not biologically related to the mother who raised you, unless she CHOSES to tell you! And Lord only knows who the father of these fertilzied embryos is, especially in cases of single moms "adopting" them. No way for these kids to obtain medical info, no way to know if they are marrying a sib...]
Jeffrey Keenan, MD, medical director for the National Embryo Donation Center, noted, "This grant will help reach and inform those families who are facing a dilemma regarding their stored embryos. It allows parents to make a life-affirming decision about their unused embryos while offering the miracle of childbirth to a couple who has experienced the anguish of infertility."
To schedule an interview please contact Di Oakley at (865) 405-5354 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or Margie Shealy at (423) 844-1047 or e-mail at Margie.Shealy@cmda.org. Also see www.embryodonation.org
While just a drop in the federal budget, why does our government and these "Christian" organizations see any need to financially support, advocate and spread the word about this bizzare method of becoming parents? Funding this program is in direct opposition to finding homes for children who need them. I think we should all write our representatives in government and oppose this outrageous use of our taxes for the creation of designer babies who will be forced to grow up denied any way of knowing the truth of their genetic origins.
The health of these offspring is being totaly negated so some so-called do-gooder "Christian" can say he saved an EMBRYO...not alife...human TISSUE inseminated in a laboratory that could not survive on its own.
My skin crawls that the nation I call home has even one red cent to spend on this outrage, when children go hungry within its boarders; where children are beaten to death and proterctive services says they lack the man power to protect them...
"Life and death appeared to me ideal bounds, which I should first break through, and pour a torrent of light into our dark world." Doctor Frankenstein
"Man," I cried, "how ignorant art thou in thy pride of wisdom!" Ibid