Friday, March 30, 2007
Adoption and Morality
While some have no problem condemning homosexuality as immoral and catholic adoption agencies ban gays from adopting...and, while many of the same people also have very strong opinions about the use of embryos for stem cell research....
Theologians and ethicists - including the Catholic Church - are reportedly split over the morality of embryo adoptions through which embryos left over from in vitro fertilization are implanted into the uterus of a woman other than the biological mother.
The Catholic Church has yet to issue any authoritative teaching on embryo adoptions, said Peter J. Cataldo, an ethical consultant to the Philadelphia-based National Catholic Bioethics Center.
At issue is what may morally be done to the excess embryos created through in vitro fertilization and frozen for possible later use. Over the years, many have been discarded while some have been adopted [read:SOLD!]. Delaware’s General Assembly has been considering a bill that would allow their use for embryonic stem-cell research. The church opposes any such research since harvesting the stem cells would destroy the embryos.
The church teaches that in vitro fertilization is not morally acceptable because the egg and sperm are joined outside of sexual intercourse between a husband and wife. The 1987 document “On Respect for Human Life” (“Donum Vitae”) from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, noted that through in vitro fertilization, “(T)he generation of the human person is objectively deprived of its proper perfection: namely, that of being the result and fruit of a conjugal act.”
Those who believe embryo adoption to be illicit follow a similar argument.
“Pregnancy is indiscernibly related to marriage” and “must be the fruit of husband and wife,” said Father Tadeusz Pacholczyk, staff ethicist for the National Catholic Bioethics Center. Since an embryo adoption involves implanting a woman with the fruit of another couple, he said, “my own opinion is that it is not moral to do this.”
BUT, if the insist on calling it "adoption" what is the difference between this and raising the child of another?
The issue they are totally missing (avoiding?) is the fact that these frozen embryos are being SOLD! If they are human beings, than that is slavery! if they are not human, than clearly it is NOT adoption. Can't have it both ways, can we???
Thursday, March 29, 2007
MJ's kids NOT Debbie Rowe's?
Michael Jackson in fresh child custody battle
British woman files papers against star for a third time
11 hours ago
A woman claiming to be the biological mother of Michael Jackson's three children has filed legal papers against him for a third time.
Nona Paris Lola Jackson filed papers at Los Angeles Superior Court on March 27 to request visiting rights and child support.
The motion also contained a schedule demonstrating how easily the arrangement could work. She is making further demands to be given the singer's Neverland ranch and another of his properties, though her proposals would mean that he retains full custody over the children.
Lola Jackson is adamant she gave birth to ten-year-old Prince Michael, nine-year-old Paris and five-year-old Prince Michael II, also called 'Blanket', though Jackson's ex-wife Deborah Rowe is named on the birth certificate as the mother of both Prince Michael and Paris, while the identity of Prince Michael II's mother remains unknown.
Nona insists that the singer never consummated his marriage, claiming: "Debbie's hospital records will prove that my kids are not hers because of DNA."
The court has already dismissed two previous custody attempts from the Brit.
Los Angeles Superior Court judge Robert Schnider refused to hear her motion last month on grounds that proper notification of Lola Jackson's proposed action had not been given to the star or Lowe, and that Lola Jackson had additionally failed to submit credible evidence that she gave birth to the children.
Raymone Bain, a representative for the singer, branded her actions as "ludicrous".
Court hearings on the motion have been scheduled for May 2 and May 30, reports E! Online.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Someone Else "Gets" It!
The Stork Market: Book Review
by Kam Williams
America's Multi-Billion Dollar Unregulated Adoption Industry
"Adoption pits woman against woman, rich against poor, making it painfully difficult to look at and admit. Adoption is racist and classist and often exploits women and commodifies their babies.
Mothers who are resourceless and struggling to keep their family together can either be offered the help they need to stay together or be seen as a source of supply to meet a demand. Mothers and other family members in developing countries unable to feed their babies could be sent the funds they need to do so, or have their misfortune exploited for another's advantage."
Excerpted from Chapter II (p.19): Motherhood, Myths and Metaphors
In the rush to anoint icons like Madonna and Angelina Jolie for sainthood following their adoptions of babies from Africa and Asia, no one seems to be stopping to ask how widespread this practice might be or whether it's in the best interest of the children and their birth parents. But common sense ought to tell you that no mother really wants to surrender her offspring to a stranger from another culture or country, especially when the reason really has more to do with money than with maternal instincts.
Sadly, this readily identifiable and burgeoning phenomenon is not at all limited to celebrities, but a big business which is depleting the Third World in much the same way those regions have been drained of their natural resources. Fortunately, one intrepid reporter, Mirah Riben, has had the guts to investigate this shameful trafficking in infants, and she is now blowing the cover off the racist racket in The Stork Market: America's Multi-Billion Dollar Unregulated Adoption Industry.
In fact, Ms. Riben has been speaking out about the need to reform, humanize, and de-commercialize American adoption practices for nearly three decades. She first started to shed some light on this complex issue back in 1988 with the publication of her previous book, The Dark Side of Adoption. With a slightly different focus, The Stork Market is a thoroughly-researched expose' which zeroes-in on every aspect of the black market baby trade.
As a staunch family advocate, the author also takes aim here at the foster parenting system, pointing out that "The same funds used to support foster care could be used to help preserve families and eliminate child removal." However, the bulk of this invaluable book covers the corruption in the adoption industry: the scams, coercion and exploitation rampant in a market based on supply and demand where prices are based such factors as age and skin color, and the cost of the "merchandise" is set as high as the often desperate consumers are willing to pay.
Highly-recommended for anyone touched by adoption in any way, whether considering it, working in the field, or if simply interested in child protection and family preservation.
To order a copy of The Stork Market, visit: www.AdvocatePublications.com
by Mirah Riben
Foreword by Evelyn Robinson
260 pages, illustrated
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Another Star Adoption in Question
Angelina Jolie, who reportedly was critical of Madonna's adoption may have a contested adoption in her future.
Seems the latest addition stripe on her "rainbow" collection Pax Thien of Vietnam was relinquished for adoption by his grandparents - ONLY - apparently without the signature of allegedly drug-addicted mother. The grandparents said they did not know where their daughter was.
Pax's granddad Chien has since told Britain's News of the World newspaper: "Our daughter is a heroin addict and her life has been ruled by drugs. When she finds out a rich movie star has adopted her baby, she will go after her for money and make trouble. She may even try to take the child back."
Chien added: "We never visited Pax because we were scared we would fall in love with him and I knew we couldn't afford to keep him.
The child's aunt believes Pax mother desperate to see Pax again, saying: "My sister thinks about her baby a lot. If she could, she would try to get her son back."
This is not the first time one of her adoptions was questionable. Lauryn Galindo, who helped Jolie adopt her Cambodian son, Maddox, pleaded guilty to visa fraud and money laundering as part of a ring that paid poor Cambodian women as little as $100 or less for their children. The agency which handled hundreds of such adoptions charged fees of $10,000.
Review of "The Stork Market"
This is a useful and important book, well researched and documented, about what is wrong with domestic and international adoption in the USA today. Written in a clear, crisp journalistic style that is easy to read and follow, "Stork Market" quotes from a wide variety of diverse sources and opinions about the many abuses in our adoption system, and the injustices to all triad members these abuses engender. The root of most of these abuses is the ancient "root of all evil", the love of money. Ms.Riben makes a clear case that commercialism and lack of uniform or stringent regulation of adoption providers is the culprit. She also calls into question the belief that because one can pay, one "deserves" a child to adopt, whether that is really the best solution for the child or not.
This book provides a good overview of what is wrong with the adoption industry, from the coercion of naive pregnant women without providing real options counseling or alternatives, the attempts to take birthfathers out of the picture, to scams that promise a baby to prospective adoptive parents but take their money and give them nothing. Seeing the child as a product subject to the laws of supply and demand, and adoption as a businness rather than a sensitive child welfare issue is also exposed as a cause of corruption and suffering. The problems of sealed records, secrets and lies, amended birth certificates which state that the adoptive parents gave birth to their adopted child, and the new Safe Haven legal abandonment laws are also addressed, along with some heart-warming annectdotes of helping unwed mothers to keep their babies.
There is also a harrowing chapter on the most extreme horrors, children adopted by abusers and pedophiles because of the lack of oversight of adoption facilitators.
I was solidly impressed and enjoying this book right up until the final chapter in conclusion, where I feel the author will lose a lot of other readers as well. What troubled me was the solution proposed, to replace adoption with some form of legal guardianship, and the conviction that adoption is too flawed to be fixed, but must be "restructured" or replaced.
My experience has been that when one starts talking about abolishing adoption or changing it to legal guardianship, many people who would otherwise support reforms of the system stop listening and get defensive, because adoption HAS worked for them, or those they know, despite its many flaws and abuses, and they are not interested in getting rid of it.
Like Ms. Riben, I am also a surrendering mother with many years in adoption reform. Unlike her, I still believe in reform and flexibility in adoption; yes, I would like to see all the abuses she has pointed out reformed and changed, by better, more uniform laws, stricter regulation, better mandated ethical practice. I do not see this necessitating replacing adoption with guardianship. I wish she had ended her book after documenting the abuses, and left readers to draw their own conclusions. I feel the end conclusion weakens an otherwise powerful book as a tool to promote change and understanding.
I hope this book will be widely read and discussed by all interested in adoption reform, and serve as a platform to implement needed change.
MaryAnne Cohen, mother, poet, co-founder of Origins: An organization for women who have lost children to adoption
The Stork Market: America's Multi-Billion Dollar Unregulated Adoption Industry
Sunday, March 25, 2007
April 11th - Plans Are Firming Up!
Many people have responded with enthusiasm and are planning to attend the rally on April 11th at 6PM at Avery Fisher Hall, Columbus and 65th Street.
Literature has been prepared to disperse on the dangers of Safe Havens.
We will peacefully disperse this literature to those attending the Pro-Life, Pro-Adoption, Pro-Safe haven benefit concert.
PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD!!! Let's reach anyone and everyone who can get into Manhattan the evening of April 11th!
View the flyer
Saturday, March 24, 2007
A Case With ENORMOUS RAMIFICATIONS
Indiana Newspaper has filed suit to open adoption records TO THE PUBLIC!
The Indiana Department of Child Services is challenging adoptions of twin girls born to a surrogate mother with an anonymous donation and adopted cross state lines by Stephen F. Melinger in New Jersey.
The adoption is being challenged on the grounds that adoptions out of Indiana to another state are reserved only for "hard to place" children. The state contends in their suit that this case violated interstate laws.
The girls' adoptions drew the state's attention after hospital employees raised concerns about Melinger's ability to care for the girls before they were discharged from a neonatal intensive-care unit. He showed up in Methodist's neonatal unit to visit the girls with a live bird in the left sleeve of his suit jacket and, later, bird feces on his clothing.
The Indiana newspaper, The Star, argues that denial of access to records violates the Indiana Constitution and rights of access under the First Amendment.
The Star's petition argues that the benefit of openly debating the Melinger adoptions outweighs any harm from further publicizing the children's names and the circumstances surrounding their births.
The petition also questions the constitutionality of Indiana's adoption secrecy law, arguing the legislature overstepped its bounds by passing a law telling the judiciary that adoption records cannot be disclosed.
"There is a presumption of openness in the operations of our courts, and it's important to preserve that."
Hamilton County attorney Steven M. Kirsh, who helped write the state's adoption laws, said adoption records should remain out of public view, regardless of how high-profile the case is.
NOW, please note who's privacy is of concern and who is neglected and overlooked in the following argument:
Kirsh said adoptive parents' privacy would be invaded if home studies that included personal information were publicly available. In other instances, adopted children might not want birth parents to find them because those parents abused or neglected them, he said.
Courts across the country appear to allow varying degrees of public access to adoption records during appeals. Rulings by appellate courts in Indiana have always been public.
However, The Star's petition notes the state's adoption secrecy law was written so broadly it appears to prohibit the issuance of public court rulings in adoption disputes.
These rulings are published by online services such as Westlaw and Lexis and in hardbound law books so attorneys and judges can refer to them for legal guidance. A review of Indiana adoption opinions shows they sometimes refer to the parties by name, including the children. They also disclose details about what transpired in secret before the trial court and quote from closed adoption records.
Confusing anonymity and confidentiality, Katrina Carlisle, an adoption counselor with St. Elizabeth/Coleman Pregnancy & Adoption Services, said she would prefer that adoption records were public, as long as birth mothers are informed from the outset.
"The stigma of having a baby and not being married is much less today," she said. "We have many women now who are proud of their choice."
In addition, Carlisle and other advocates say, the Melinger records should be opened to shed light on steps taken to ensure the girls' welfare.
"The case has already been opened and been in the paper so much, I don't see how keeping this particular case closed is in the best interests of children," said Cynthia K. Booth, an attorney and executive director of Indianapolis-based Child Advocates.
A member of her staff regularly supervised Melinger's visits with the twins at the request of Marion County's juvenile court while they were in foster care.
Booth said she would like to know how the trial judge was able to reopen the adoption case months after issuing the initial adoption decree. She also has questions about the process used to determine the children would be safe in New Jersey.
"Sometimes the light of day is really good for cases involving children."
Indiana Star link to post comments: http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2007703230405
Here is what I posted:
Regarding the Star's suit to open adoption records to the public in the case of the Menninger adoption.
This adoption never should have taken place. Paid surrogacy should be outlawed.
Having said that, you are treading on a most dangerous precedent with enormous consequences.
Hamilton County attorney Steven M. Kirsh raised concern about adoptive parents' privacy if home studies were made public, and also had concerns for adopted persons. Note that he indicted no concern for the privacy of mothers who relinquish children for adoption.
Katrina Carlisle, an adoption counselor with St. Elizabeth/Coleman Pregnancy & Adoption Services attempts to speak for and about the concerns of mothers.
However, all these parties - and the Star - have totally confused and ignored the difference between CONFIDENTIALITY and ANONYMITY.
Adopees and their mothers are battling state by state to have adoption records opened TO THE PARTIES of the adoption. Only four states allow adopted persons access tot heir own birth certificates. Such legislation is blocked by lobbysists for adoption providers claiming that it would violate the mothers' rights to alleged promised confidentiality.
Now, the Star want to open records to the PUBLIC that even those involved cannot obtain based on the state constitution.
How can the state of Indiana jump from blocking such records to the parties themselves, to allowing public access?
The parties of an adoption deserve the same rights and protections as anyone else. They deserve a right to access to heir own records and some semblance of privacy from the public.
This case, may in fact require an exception to such a law, but it also could set a very dangerous precedent.
Friday, March 23, 2007
Texas Sen. Dan Patrick has proposed legislation to pay pregnant women $500 for choosing adoption over abortion.
Sen. Dan Patrick’s proposal to pay women to choose adoption - while vile - is not original.
If enacted, it would put the state of Texas in the baby brokerage business right alongside the likes of Seymour Kurtz who has been under investigation since the 1960s for baby brokering here and in Mexico. Kurtz has been called “the most controversial” of adoption attorneys because of the many ways he has found to circumvent laws and regulations.
Posing as a charity for any mother (or pregnant woman) who “needs to put her life together,” Kurtz’ Golden Link Foundation www.goldenlinkfoundation.com was offering to pay up to $10,000 to mothers who surrender their babies to one of the agencies owned by Kurtz.
Sleazy, exploitive, coercive practices are just as damaging to people’s lives when cloaked in legitimacy or charity. Families in crisis need support to remain together. Children are not commodities to be bid on or bought with pay-offs.
You can write too:
PASS THE WORD: APRIL 11 - NYC
At 6:30 PM on April 11, 2006 there will be a PRO-LIFE, PRO Adoption, PRO Safe Haven Benefit at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center, Columbus & 65th Street, NYC
A peaceful "protest demonstration" is being planned to distribute literature to educate those entering the event. Maureen Flatley has agreed to come down for this event.
Mark you calendar if NYC is do-able for you, and watch this blog for further details. You can also comment with your email address to be kept updated.
More about the event, including complete invitation, can be found at: http://www.fund-adoption.org/
Directions to the location: http://www.lincolncenter.org/load_screen.asp?screen=visitorinfo_hallinfo_afh
We will be meeting up at 6pm outside Avery Fisher Hall, Columbus and 65th.
** Seeking anyone with access to free or cheap copying!!**
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Stork Market UPdate!
I am pleased to share with you that initial sales and praise of The Stork Market are very positive and promising. Amazon.com will be selling it and has already ordered 10 copies!
I want you to read these two notes I got yesterday and today. The first is from MaryAnne Cohen who has reviewed most every book on adoption:
"I am about half way through your book, and it is outstanding! What a beautiful job of research, editing, writing, and bringing diverse sources together into a coherent whole. Marvelous work, highly
The second is from Roelie Post in Brussels:
"I read your book. Congratulations for the clear stand you take and for the excellent description of what is so totally wrong with adoption - and even more with intercountry adoption. Indeed a failed social experiment.
I would like to order four more copies."
Saturday, March 17, 2007
Q & A
The following are some comments/arguments/questions I have heard. Some I had myself in the past.
Only lunatic, radical nuts are anti-adoption.
No, Annette Baran and many other highly well educated people have favored guardianship for decades.
To be anti-adoption is commit political suicide.
I agree that using that term is. However, while I have always been against the promotion of adoption, and for reforming it, I have come to the unequivocal conclusion that it needs far more than reform. It needs a complete overall. I do not at all support adoption as it practiced in America today. I am therefore against it and pro-family.
If you're anti-adoption and pro-family, does that mean you think every mother should keep her kid, no matter what?
No, it means that every mother deserves the right to be given all the help possible to allow her family remain intact (just as the CRC & UNICEF state). It means that expectant mothers have a right to totally non-objective counseling and dealt with totally separately from anyone seeking to adopt. No adoption decision should be made until well after the birth. And extended family should be given and opportunity to assist in any way they can before a child is sent off to strangers. AND...all children who remain unadopted in foster should have their files reviewed and their mothers and family contacted on an annual or bi-annual basis to see if their situation has changed and made it possible for them to parent. (No, I am NOT suggesting that kids stay in foster care until their parents are ready. I am saying that if they are already in foster care and have not been adopted, their parents should not be FOREVER discarded as an viable option for them instead of a life in foster care.)
No one would accept guardianship – it’s like being a permanent baby-sitter.
There is no problem with weeding out those who want a child as an accessory, the latest fad, or any other selfish reason and leaving just those who truly want to give a home to an orphaned child or a child who had no family able or willing to care for him no matter how much help they are offered to do so.
Regarding stopping falsified bc’s: Adoptees would prefer to have the same name as those who raise them. It’s unfair to stigmatize them by keeping their original name.
Many people are raised by aunts or grandparents and have different surnames names. Many husbands and wives today have different surnames. If they re-marry, some women go back to their maiden name, their children may keep their fathers name and their step father has yet another name. Happens all the time. There are families (right in my own church) that have as many as four surnames in one family. Some of these are adopted families who have chosen to honor their child’s full original name. With a 50% divorce rate and very high re-marriage rate it is more than likely that any kid going to school today will be in a class with LOTS of kids that have different surnames than their one or both parents. If a child decides later, that he’s uncomfortable with it, it can be changed legally. There is no more “stigma” in having a different name as there is in illegitimacy.
Not everyone concerned about open records is concerned about children being currently adopted and thus family preservation.
BUT – the entire purpose of adoption is finding homes for children who need them. Adoption is NOT about the needs of adults. It was never intended to be. It’s not about finding babies to meet a demand. It’s not about solving infertility. It’s about doing what is best for children when they have no family to do so. Yes, children grow up and become adults and there is also a need to restore the rights taken from those already adopted. No debate on that! There is however no way to restore what was taken from their mothers! As a mother, and not an adoptee, and therefore I put my efforts on prevention and family preservation as it will help mothers and children. It is said what’s been done to adoptees in the past, and I fully support their efforts, but it is not my issue as I am not adopted.
Some see a lot wrong but focus on doing what they can and that’s fine. Others see myopically just one thing that needs to be fixed – open records for adults – and everything else about adoption is perfectly fine, or at least that is what some adoptees project.
When you look at the bigger picture - the whole mess that adoption has become with a multitude of problems above and beyond the rights of adult adoptees and their mothers - we can each have our own main focus and yet all be working to reach the same solution: an end to adoption as we know it today in America. Working from both ends of the spectrum – the beginning and the end; mothers still being convinced to relinquish their infants to adoption and the problems they face as adult - strengthens one another’s position.
When experts and those with personal experience speak out against lies and secrets in families and people come to recognize that TRULY open adoption (enforceable relationship between the child and his mother and or father) is far healthier than keeping family secrets, or telling half-truths. When Ann Fessler and Rickie Solinger get the word about the effects of relinquishment on mothers, this is good. When books like Verrier’s Primal Wound and Kirschner’s new book are released, we can discuss the pros and cons in terms of our personal experiences - whether we agree or disagree with their theories - but they too add to the big picture of problems caused by adoption separation and they should be respected and applauded for that. Fessler, Solinger and Kirschner, after all, have no personal stake – or bias - in the cause of shedding light on adoption, as do the works of BJ Lifton and many, many others.
Instead of embracing all of these as part of the whole that helps one another, BN wants to stay as far away from any medical or emotional need to know as possible. Instead of seeing a book like Kirschner’s as being helpful…they see it as “pathologizing adoptees” when in fact Kirschner is pathologizing closed adoption, not those who have lived within the crazy-making of lies or half-truths. And we all know the censorship issue BJ faced because of other hard-liners.
It is all these knee-jerk reactions and hard line attitudes that prevent us from thinking outside the box and seeing what each of has to offer toward the whole and even to one another. Adult adoptees quest to reinstate their rights points to what adoption has taken from them, unjustly. When mother speak out about their losses it speaks to another aspect of injustice caused by the adoption industry. Looking at it from the perspective of the best interest of the child – draws it all together IMO and is far more heart wrenching and difficult to ignore or find objection to. And so they all compliment one another. A win-win!
It ALL because it all points to one thing – the current way adoption is done STINKS! It is harming the very children it is designed to help – and it harms them all of their lives. Not to mention the harm suffered by their mothers.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
A Better Idea!
A tiny step better than just thinking about adults:
Calling all adoptive parents of, and/or adopted individuals who were born in, or adopted in Massachusetts!
Help us research the impact of attempts to access original birth certificates in order to affect change in the law to gain access to birth certificates for all parents of adopted children under 18 years as well as adopted young adults and adults over 18 years of age! A Civil Right!
Please fill out this survey by Sunday, March 18th and feel free to pass it on to any and all who may be interested. Your help is much appreciated.
Also be sure to let us know if you would be interested in joining a cohort of adopted people who would approach the court for access to birth certificates as a civil right"
Here is a link to the survey:
Thanks for your participation,
Center For Family Connections
Please note: If you do not wish to receive further emails from us, please click the link below, and you will be automatically removed from our mailing list.
Monday, March 12, 2007
Adopting a Sense of Humor! :-)
THE RULES: Each one of these links takes you off this page, so bookmark this page now or save it in your favorites, do you can return and see ALL the goodies here! ENJOY!
At the Adoption Agency: VIDEO
I Hate My American Family
Part II: Kim's Birthday Presenthttp://www2.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gif
Be Just Like Angelina and Madonna: Adopt-A-Black-Baby
Sunday, March 11, 2007
Are Dogs Better Protected than Kids?
Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie Adoption Request Denied
Their request to adopt a three-month-old Labrador retriever puppy, that is!
I cannot attest to the truth of the following story, but here it is:
Louisiana SPCA Animal Shelter's refusal was because they don't "just hand them over to every Tom, Dick, and Brad who walks through the door flashing money, a pretty wife, and a megawatt smile."
Guess they were surprised as the agencies who handled foreign adoption sure do!
They did not meet the six month residency requirement. Then under the why-do-you-want-a-pet question, they wrote, 'As a companion for our children.'
"That's not always a red flag, but two of their children are too young to behave responsibly around puppies, and we got the impression the couple wasn't through having and adopting children yet. Frankly, they came uncomfortably close to matching our 'collectors' profile
"We were also concerned about the couple's marital status, as we prefer to place puppies in more traditional intact homes."
One again, more than their kid's previous care-takers cared about.
Their lack of knowledge about the breed didn't help their cause either. She couldn't even point to Labrador on a map, then she tried to excuse her failure by saying it was obviously not a country with pressing humanitarian issues."
The shelter employee was also puzzled by Ms. Jolie's behavior toward the puppy.
"During a supervised interaction period she held the puppy in her arms the entire time. Mr. Pitt kept asking her to put the puppy in the stroller he had brought with them so he could practice taking it for walks, but she ignored him until she finally told him to shut up. I felt sorry for him. He had the look of a man who's used to taking orders."
Neither Mr. Pitt nor Ms. Jolie answered our requests for comments about the shelter worker's statements.
Saturday, March 10, 2007
UNICEF Gets it RIGHT!
Adoption should always be the last resort, says UNICEF rep
UNICEF representative in Nepal, Gillian Mellsop, has called upon the participants of the International Conference on Inter-country Adoption being held in Kathmandu 11-13 March to consider seriously the rights of the child and advocate for child adoption mechanisms that are strictly in line with the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC) and The Hague Convention.
"Adoption should always be the last resort for the child. The CRC which guides UNICEF's work, states very clearly that every child has the right to know and to be cared for by his or her own parents, whenever possible,” a press statement issued by the UNICEF on the eve of the adoption conference quoted Mellsop as saying.
“UNCIEF believes that families needing support to care for their children should receive it, and that alternative means of caring for a child should only be considered when, despite this assistance, a child’s family is unavailable, unable or unwilling to care for her or him,” she said and called upon the participants of the Inter-country Adoption Conference to advocate for mechanisms that are transparent and in line with the CRC and The Hague Convention.
The UNICEF said it was hopeful that the international conference would lead to the ratification of the Hague Convention on Inter-Country Adoption and the adoption of national laws and mechanisms to regulate in-country and inter-country adoption.
“The Hague Convention is designed to put into action the principles regarding inter-country adoption which are contained the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) which Nepal has ratified," Mellsop reminded, adding, “These principles include ensuring that adoption is authorised only by competent authorities, and that inter-country adoption does not result in improper financial gain for those involved in it."
According to the UNICEF, these provisions are meant first and foremost to protect children, and also have the positive effect of providing assurance to prospective adoptive parents that their child has not been the subject of illegal and detrimental practices.
Referring to the increasing trend of families from wealthy countries wanting to adopt children from other countries, Mellsop said, "Lack of education and oversight, particularly in the countries of origin, coupled with the potential for financial gain, has spurred the unfortunate growth of an industry around adoption."
"This means that profit, rather than the best interests of the children, takes centre stage. Abuses include the sale and abduction of children, coercion of parents, and bribery, as well as trafficking to individuals whose intentions are to exploit rather than care for children," she added.
The UNICEF’s concern came amidst media reports that many agencies working for children in Nepal have been involved in illegal activities in the name of facilitating adoption, especially inter-country adoption. Source:nepalnews, peacejournalism.com.Nepal.
These are quotes we should keep and use, folks!!!
A Step Forward?
Proposed bill would increase information for adoptees
As you may have already read, Sen. Mike Jacobs, D-East Moline introduced legislation requiring full disclosure of family medical problems at the time of adoption.
A spokesman the National Council for Adoption, the nation's largest adoption advocacy group, endorsed Jacobs' proposal saying it was for the sharing of information as long as it doesn't identify the birth parents.
NCFA Claims: ""When a woman is going to have a baby, she has different choices - one of them is to have an abortion, another is to place the baby up for adoption. For many young women, if they were not guaranteed confidentiality, they would choose abortion." BOOO!! BS! Spokesperson Allen goes on: "Just as an abortion decision is confidential, so too should be adoption." DUH! Minor difference... in one case there is no one else's life and rights involved!
But a spokeswoman for Bastard Nation, one of the nation's largest adoptee's rights groups, called the measure nearly "worthless." (The group's name is derived from the word once stamped on birth certificates of children placed for adoption.)
"Maybe this bill could do a little bit of good -- but not much. This is just a way for people to feel like they are giving adoptees something when it really doesn't address what we really need - access to all of our adoption records," said Anita Walker Field, executive secretary of the organization.
Some suggest the bill go further and provide continual updates of the biological parent's health.
So "BIOLOGICAL" parents are reduced and discarded once again. We are biological matter like a sperm donor who REQUESTED anonymity. Regardless of the circumstances that might have led a mother to part with her child: poverty, social stigma. lack of familial support, abusive partner....society continues to turn their back on this BIOLOGICAL egg donor and further the myth that nurture trumps nature - except for these small details like breast cancer risk...
This proposed legislation not only ignores the issue of an adoptees right to be treated equal in every way with non-adoptees, but it reduces their progenitors to incubators and this perpetuates the exploitation of indigent women here and abroad for the babies.
This legislation is demeaning and dehumanizing to all of the parties touched by adoption. It treats adoptees like puppies in a pound that just need their pedigree to go along with them...and treats their parents like breeders.
Mothers who sacrifice their children in the hopes of them having a “better life” were never promised, nor did they ask for anonymity from their child – which is very different than an expectation of privacy and confidentiality from public scrutiny into their past.
As a mother who lovingly relinquished a child for adoption I do not want my child learning about me from the cold records of a social worker forty years ago when health issues made it impossible to parent my child. Those health issues are now totally resolved and there are new ones. More importantly, not medical records could relate to my child the love in my heart and my regret for any feelings of rejection my decision may have caused.
Adoption is not a one-time event that remains static. It is an ongoing interpersonal life-changing situation and has a tremendous ripple effect on more than just one mother and one child.
I have a subsequent child who suffers from the same medical issues that took the life of my first child at the tender age of 27. But because as a birthmother my role is negated, my darling child is now left without her siblings medical history which may provide some clues to her treatment.
You are encouraged to go to: http://www.inottawa .com/ottnews/ archives/ ottawa/display. php?id=293139 to add your comments.
Friday, March 09, 2007
The Queen Has (Mis)Spoken!
Queen Latifah, in USA Today 3/9/07 "Latifah: It's the 'right time' to be a mom" By Donna Freydkin, talks about possibly adopting.
Latifa says: "I can understand why people go outside the U.S. You can adopt someone here, and the birth parents have three years and come back and get the child. That's terrifying."
Write and set USA Today and their readers straight: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
If you know the revocation time in your state - or have a personal story of trying to reverse an adoption, by all means share it!
I contacted Elizabeth Samuels and asked her to write. She saisd she's very busy but will try. However, she gave the folllowing suggestions of what you might want to include in a letter:
Consents to adoption quickly become irrevocable in all the states, except in cases of fraud or duress, which usually must be established within a limited period of time and in any event is virtually never established. In a majority of the states, consents to adoption become irrevocable either immediately or within days of being signed and in almost all the states they become irrevocable in less than one month.
(A simple change of mind is not grounds to revoke consent in any state that does not have a revocation period, and in those states that do have brief revocation periods, a simple change of mind is not grounds for revoking consent after the revocation period.)
My letter follows:
Queen Latifah is quoted (It's the 'right time' to be a mom 3/9/07) as saying: "I can understand why people go outside the U.S. You can adopt someone here, and the birth parents have three years and come back and get the child. That's terrifying." Indeed that would be terrifying…if it were true.
Prior to any legal adoption taking place, the original parents’ rights are permanently and irrevocably relinquished either voluntarily or involuntarily. States have varying time periods from hours to days – far less time in most other countries - during which consent to adopt can be attempted to be revoked with good cause, such as fraud. Few birthparents can afford the legal fees involved and fewer still get their cases heard.
In reviewing attempts by mothers to revoke consent to adoption, Elizabeth Samuels notes that most states rule that a “change of mind is not sufficient to invalidate a relinquishment.” The majority of states, even with cause to invalidate the relinquishment, will require the mother to prove fitness, which almost never happens because that “fitness” is a contest between the mother and a married, prosperous couple who have custody and possession of the child. In 2001 a mother’s signed relinquishment was found in Texas to be “sufficient evidence on which the trial court can base a finding that termination is in the best interest of the child.” “In a sense, the social and legal systems have failed [birthparents] in any case in which an infant’s mother asks a court to overturn her consent,” states Samuels.
It is therefore sad and incorrect to disseminate false fears and encourage international adoption as preferential over domestic adoption. Many international adoptions take children that are stolen or kidnapped from corrupt countries. All of these problems can be avoided by adopting a child through a reputable, recognized state agency that places only children who truly orphaned and/or have been legally relinquished for adoption.
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Foreword to The Stork Market
by Eveleyn Robinson
What is wrong with adoption in the United States? According to this new book by Mirah Riben — a great deal. Mirah has exposed the horror story that is adoption policy and practice in the United States in the 21st century. It requires a strong constitution to read this book as its contents are truly shocking. I have been appalled to read about how adoption in the United States at the present time is riddled with exploitation, deceit, and denial. Greed and consumerism masquerade as altruism, as parents and children are drawn into a quicksand of legal and illegal adoption. Mirah is to be congratulated for exposing the tragic outcomes for children, who are being failed by a government which allows this situation to exist and turns a blind eye. The appalling injustices that are taking place in the field of adoption in the United States have finally been exposed.
This book has highlighted for me the ways in which adoption policy and practice in the United States differ from the system which exists in Australia. It will also, I am sure, be an eye-opener not only for many Americans but for other readers around the world. There are many changes which would improve the situation in the United States, but what is needed more than anything is a major shift in attitude. Children should not be treated as a commodity to be exchanged arbitrarily. They have rights which must be protected by law. Because children are vulnerable, the policies which provide care and protection for them must be honest, ethical, and truly child-centred. If adoption exists, it should be about finding homes for children who are unable to live with their families, after all efforts have been made to keep the family together. Adoption is an extreme form of family disruption, as it involves not only physical but also legal separation from one’s family of origin.
In Australia important changes have already taken place. Each state and territory in Australia has its own adoption legislation. However, they have all followed a similar pattern over the years.
In 1982 in Adelaide, South Australia, a conference was organised by the National Council for the Single Mother and Her Child. Many mothers who had lost children through adoption attended this conference and subsequently formed support organisations for themselves. As a result of pressure from adoption support groups, adopted people in Australia first gained access to their original birth certificates in the state of Victoria in 1984.
After this took place, adoption support groups in South Australia worked together to persuade the government to change adoption legislation there. With the passing of the Adoption Act 1988, South Australia became the first state in Australia to grant equal rights to access identifying information to adults who were adopted as children and to their mothers (and, in certain circumstances, other family members). It will be interesting to see which of the American states will be enlightened enough to be the first to introduce similar legislation. All other states and territories in Australia have since followed the example of South Australia, except Victoria, where the Adoption Act 1984 is still in effect. With the passing of the Adoption Act 1988 in South Australia, it was clear that the government acknowledged that mothers and children who had experienced adoption separation could benefit from having access to information about each other.
Steps were then taken to re-examine whether or not adoption was, in fact, an appropriate outcome for families in difficulties. With the passing of the Children’s Protection Act 1993, the South Australian government made it clear that they were willing to put resources into family preservation and into creating alternative options for children at risk, which would be genuinely child-centred. Since that time, much progress has been made in this area and numbers of adoptions in South Australia have reduced steadily.
In 1971 in the whole of Australia (the population at that time was close to twelve million), there were approximately ten thousand adoptions. The bulk of those were adoptions of locally-born children by non-relatives, i.e. people who were previously unknown to the child. Such adoptions are now known as ‘local adoptions.’ In 2005 (by which time the population had increased to almost twenty million) there were only sixty-five local adoptions in Australia.
In the state of South Australia (population approximately 1,500,000), there were almost one thousand local adoptions in 1971. By 1993, when the Children’s Protection Act was passed, this figure had dropped to only twenty-two. In 2005 only two Australian-born children were adopted in South Australia. Those two children were adopted only after all efforts to support their mothers to raise them had failed. It is likely that in the near future there will no longer be any adoptions of Australian-born children in South Australia. This trend is evident throughout the country.
Expectant mothers in Australia, regardless of their circumstances, are generally encouraged and supported to prepare for raising their children. After the birth, a Parenting Payment is available from the Federal Government to any parent who is a permanent resident of Australia and who has custody of their child, regardless of their gender or marital status. This payment, which is means-tested, has been available since 1973 and is a recognition by the Australian government that children are the basis of a country’s future. The government, therefore, makes financial support available to parents to assist them to provide for their children.
In the United States there are two ways in which a child can be transferred from one family to another through the legal process of adoption. Children who are deemed to be unsafe living within their families may be removed under child protection legislation and may then be adopted without the consent of their parents.
Tragically these children, who may have already suffered while living with their families, are being traumatised further by having their identity legally altered through adoption. Such fabrication produces a state of insecurity and confusion in children, as it replaces the reality of who they are with the fiction of who they must pretend to be. After adoption they are no longer legally related to their siblings, grandparents, and other family members with whom they may well have already formed close relationships. Sadly these important relationships are often severed after adoption. Children in Australia who are removed from their families under child protection legislation, on the other hand, are cared for under guardianship or permanent care orders. Unlike adoption, these are not based on deceit and fabrication and do not involve a permanent legal separation of a child from his or her family. The consent of parents (usually the mother and sometimes also the father) to adoption has always been necessary in South Australia.
Readers of this book will also learn that there are an alarming number of adoptions taking place in the United States with the consent of the parents (usually the mother). I am astounded that so many American women are apparently able to be persuaded that it is in the best interests of their children to be separated from their families and raised by strangers. This is in stark contrast to what is happening in other countries, such as Australia, where such adoptions are rare.
As Mirah points out so clearly, current unethical adoption policies and practices in the United States exist to service greedy, needy adults, when what are needed instead are ethical adoption policies and practices, which will serve the needs of vulnerable children.
Mirah has suggested that the United States could learn from adoption policies and practices in Australia, where adoption is well-regulated. There are no commercially-based adoption agencies in Australia, private adoptions are illegal and all domestic adoptions are enacted by State Government departments. Legislation exists in all states and territories of Australia to ensure that vulnerable families are protected from exploitation.
Such legislation is, of course, designed to address the best interests of children. In South Australia, for example, consent to adoption cannot be given until the child is at least fourteen days old, counselling after the birth is compulsory and it must be completed at least three days prior to consent being given. At that time, the mother of the child must also be given information in writing regarding the consequences of the adoption. After the consent has been signed, there is a minimum period of twenty-five days during which the consent may be revoked.
In Australia there is no contact of any kind between expectant mothers and prospective adopters. Such contacts are considered to be intrusive, disempowering to the expectant mother and potentially exploitative. They may also serve to encourage an inappropriate sense of ‘ownership’ in the prospective adopters. Sadly such contact has become common in the United States, in spite of the fact that it is considered by many professionals to be unethical. In South Australia, it is not until the revocation period has expired that the government department involved selects adopters for the child. Prospective adopters, therefore, do not have any contact at all with the child until that time.
In 21st-century Australia, adoption is almost a thing of the past. It is being replaced by truly child-centred alternatives. The Australian community has learned that identity and heritage are important and that we are all, in a sense, 'guardians' of our children until they reach adulthood. For children who are considered to be unsafe in their families of origin, there is the possibility of a court granting permanent guardianship. This provides the security that the children involved will not be removed from the home in which they have been placed and also that their guardians will have the right to make all decisions on behalf of those children - just as they would if the children had been born to them. Because no adoption takes place, there is no new birth certificate and no attempt to destroy the child's original identity and replace it with a false one. This means that permanent guardianship is a more honest way to care for children in need than adoption.
Adoption legislation was enacted in the past in ignorance. At the time that numbers of adoptions were high, there was no reliable evidence available of the long term effects on both parents and their children of adoption separation. The legislation, which allowed these adoptions to take place, therefore, was necessarily experimental. It took many years for the long-term impact of adoption to be felt and even longer for those affected to feel comfortable speaking out. When this did occur in Australia, however, appropriate steps were taken to support family preservation and to create more child-centred outcomes for children who were unable to live safely with their families. Family preservation programmes, which encourage and assist parents to raise their children, are taking the place of adoption programmes, which create family breakdown.
Books such as this one have an important role to play in exposing to the world the horrific realities of current adoption policy and practice in the United States. It is the responsibility of government to protect its vulnerable citizens. It is clear that the United States government is failing to fulfil this responsibility. For the sake of the families who have already suffered as a result of adoption separation and in order to protect other families from enduring that pain, changes must be made. I have no doubt that eventually the final change will come about in the United States and that truly child-centred alternatives will be devised to replace adoption. This will ensure that safe, secure homes can be provided for children in need, without the deceit and pretence inherent in adoption.
This is an honest and well-researched book written with a genuine concern for the well-being of children. It will be welcomed by all who share such a concern and who wish to work towards a better future. As has been shown in Australia, those whose lives have already been affected by adoption separation, if they work together, can be a very powerful force for change.
Sadly much of the current trade in children in the United States is instigated and directed by women. As Joss Shawyer said in 1989: “Women can and must stop putting in orders for other women’s children.”
© Evelyn Robinson, MA, Dip Ed, BSW, 2006
Evelyn Robinson is a social worker, author, and presenter who has lived and worked in Australia since 1982. She is also a mother who was separated from her son by adoption in her homeland of Scotland in 1970. They were reunited in 1991 and continue to enjoy a close relationship. Since 1994 Evelyn has been speaking at conferences and presenting seminars on the topic of the long term outcomes of adoption separation. She has travelled widely since her first book, Adoption and Loss – The Hidden Grief, was published in 2000 and has met with professionals and members of the adoption community in many countries. Her second book, Adoption and Recovery – Solving the mystery of reunion, was published in 2004. Evelyn has been involved with post-adoption services since 1989 and has worked since 1999 in a professional capacity as a post-adoption counsellor with adults who have experienced adoption separation. Her work in the post-adoption field has been acknowledged internationally and earlier this year Evelyn was keynote speaker at a conference in Bucharest on The Rights of the Child, at the invitation of the Romanian government. Evelyn’s experience and expertise have also been recognised locally and she has been invited by the new government-funded Post Adoption Support Service in South Australia to provide training for their counsellors.
More Quick Trigger Adoption
House Panel Endorses Adoption Bill
Wednesday March 07, 2007 6:54pm Reporter: Anne Pressly
Little Rock - At the state capitol Wednesday, a House panel unanimously approved a bill that would streamline the adoptions of victims of child abuse or neglect.
This gives mothers--particularly moms of newborns--the option [THE OPTION? What are the other options?] to allow their child to be adopted by another family, without the child having to go through the state department of Health and Human Services.
Under Garrett's Law, passed in 2005, children born under the influence of illegal drugs are reported to DHHS by medical personnel.
And should House bill 2237--approved Wednesday in committee--be signed into law, the infants that would normally be turned over to the state agency could be adopted through a private agency--if that's the wish of the mother.
(Rep. David Evans, (D) Searcy) "She didn't have a choice before. DHHS would take control of the baby and then it would be adopted through them. Now, under this bill, she's going to have the option to go with a private agency...to where hopefully that child would have a good home."
Hopefully, is right! Ain't it just amazin' that they are only interested in "protecting" the INFANTS!!
Sunday, March 04, 2007
A Book for your Consideration
David Kirschner, psychologist and long time adoption activist, has released a new book, ADOPTION: UNCHARTED WATERS.
I have not yet read it, but cannot wait to! It looks very exciting.
While many object to the term "adopted child syndrome" as pathologizing adoptees, Kirschner seems to very correctly point out the ways in which adoptees are all too often put into a pathological situation because of closed adoptions, secrets, lies and half truths...in other words living a crazy-making life.
"Adoption," says Kirschner, "does not necessarily give rise to psychopathology; however, it must be considered a risk factor-perhaps a precipitating one-in some families who are dysfunctional in terms of key adoption issues and parent-child interactions." Dysfunction caused by lack of proper counseling, lack of having dealt with the loss of fertility, and the amount to which there is a pretense that adoption is 'the same as if" the child were born into the family, ignoring the reality of the child's first family and his loss thereof.
"The atmosphere within an adoptive family often discourages curiosity about adoption, thereby leading the child to conclude that something painful and bad-something pertaining to his or her own character-is being kept secret."
Of course not all adoptive homes fall into this category, but a good many do to one degree or another. And too, all children are born with their own unique capabilities to cope better or worse with their environmental stimuli. We are all of us - adopted or not - products of BOTH nature and nurture; heredity and environment. Clearly living in a family system based on lies and secrets has been documented to cause and/or exacerbate many emotional problems. That is why there is ACOA for children who grow up in alcoholic families, where more often the not the alcoholism - or at least the extent to which it causes familial problems - is understated, ignored or denied totally. This is referred to as living with an elephant in the middle of the room that no one talks about.
In all too many families formed by adoption, this is the case. Either it is talked about inappropriately [chosen child] too little, or not at all. In some homes it is only brought up in anger ["I ought to send you back where you came from" or "you're not my real parents, anyhow"] because it is brewing just beneath the surface.
It is important for the public to understand the dynamics and pitfalls of adoption and this book appears to one that could make great strides in that direction.
My Week in Review - an update on The Stork Market
I am pleased to announce that since the book became available on the first of March, copies have already sold to one library, several copies have been sold in Canada, Australia...one one to Brussels, Belgium!
It is very exciting to see.
As the news comes of yet another U.S. operation stealing foreign babies - this time from Somoa - it fortifies the importance of sounding an alarm and connecting the dots of these seemingly isolated incidents while many continue to praise adoption as one big win-win situation for all. Not all adoptions are bad, but certainly not all of them good either. In fact, like most of life, there are perhaps few that could be categorized as all good...
I wrote in the book about Olympian Toby Dawson's quest to find his Korean roots. It was quite interesting to hear this young man's quotes recently after competing his search and reunion. Here is someone for whom adoption would appear to have been a God-send. He was taken from a Korean orphanage and given the best opportunities a child have - and reached great success. And yet he speaks of feeling "lost" and "confused" because of his mis-match with his parents. he speaks of not knowing in what world he belongs.
I think that many internationally and inter-racially adopted people feel this to a greater extent - and/or are more able to vocalize it.
This aspect of adoption, as expressed by Dawson, is the one that needs to be heard, and understood. Adoption is not some magic cure-all for infertility or for a child's feeling lost and alone in an orphanage. And no matter how good, caring and loving adoptive parents are they cannot erase the facts, the truth and the past of a child that is filled with pain and loss.
Dawson understand this and want to start a foundation to help Koreans keep their children in Korea.
This week I also had the opportunity to see a documentary about Oprah Winfrey's Leadership Academy in South Africa...and then read that Angelina Jolie is planning yet another adoption. One wonders why someone with so much wealth to give would choose to help individual children rather than build a school or send medical supplies to help a whole village? How do you walk into a impoverished two and choose just ONE child to save and leave the others behind?
And what will her children say years from now...will they and Madonna's son ans so many others not feel the same as Toby Dawson...still lost and confused and wanting to prevent others from being "saved" as he was?
Saturday, March 03, 2007
A Poignantly Happy Ending...and New beginning!
US Olympic medalist Dawson reunites with biological father
By BURT HERMAN, Associated Press Writer
February 28, 2007
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- Far from the mountain where he skied to Olympic
fame, Toby Dawson found his family.
More than two decades after he was lost in a South Korean market and
eventually adopted in the United States, Dawson was reunited with his father
They embraced, and Dawson said a Korean phrase he had learned for the
meeting -- "I've been waiting a long time, father."
Hugging his son at a hotel, Kim Jae-su teared up.
"I am glad to meet my son and see that he has grown up so wonderfully," Kim
said. "I am thankful that he has come to look for me even after such a long
The reunion, which included a brother, was made possible by the bronze
freestyle skiing medal Dawson won at the Turin Olympics last year. The
victory earned him wide attention in the country of his birth.
Following the Olympics, dozens of would-be parents came forward to claim
Dawson was their child, including Kim. But after years of dashed hopes, the
28-year-old Dawson put off an earlier planned trip to Korea and waited for
confirmation from genetic tests before traveling here this week.
Dawson was 3 when he was lost in a market by his mother in the southern port
city of Busan, Kim said. A truck driver at the time, Kim said it was too
late when he got home to start searching for his missing child, whose
original Korean name was Bong-seok. Over the next few days, he said he
scoured local orphanages but was unable to find his son.
"I went to many orphanage houses only to hear that they didn't have anyone
like him. They wouldn't let me come inside and look for him," the
53-year-old Kim said, adding he would search orphanages whenever he had time
but eventually gave up.
"I'm not here to beat him up for what happened," Dawson said, adding that he
had a fortunate life growing up with his adoptive parents, who were ski
instructors in Vail, Colo.
At the start of a news conference, Dawson gave his biological father a
Norwegian skiing sweater that he said signified his upbringing in the sport,
which Kim immediately put on.
Dawson said he plans to use a new foundation he is starting in his name to
help work to avoid cases like his in the future.
"Being caught in limbo between two different countries and not looking like
your family is going to be tough," he said. "We need to try to keep our
children and work a little bit harder to keep these circumstances from
Dawson noted how he shared his healthy sideburns with his father, who during
the news conference reached over several times to touch Dawson's face while
they also held hands.
"My life until now has been confused," Dawson said. "I looked at my parents
and I didn't look like them. Then I also felt if I went to Korea I didn't
"I felt like I was still lost, stuck between two different worlds," he said.
Dawson said he hoped to eventually stage a reunion with all his parents. He
also mentioned again his desire to become a professional golfer within five
years, after retiring in September from professional skiing.
Kim declined to talk publicly about Dawson's biological mother.
Also at the reunion was Dawson's younger brother, 24-year-old Kim
Hyun-cheol, who was wearing an earring in his left ear similar to those
Dawson has in both ears. All three men wrapped their arms around each other
before heading to a family lunch.
Friday, March 02, 2007
Stolen Somian Babies
Utah adoption agency hit by fraud allegations
Agency is suspected of swindling Samoans out of their children
By Pamela Manson
The Salt Lake Tribune
Article Last Updated: 03/02/2007 01:04:16 AM MST
Operators of a private adoption agency in Utah are accused of duping parents in Samoa into giving them their children and then falsely describing the youngsters as orphans to prospective adoptive parents in the United States.
More than 80 children were illegally taken from their families by conspirators working through the Wellsville office of Focus on Children (FOC), according to a federal indictment unsealed Thursday. The agency allegedly charged the adoptive parents a fee of $13,000 to facilitate the adoption and immigration of a Samoan child.
Both sides of the adoption process had acted in good faith, authorities said. The alleged fraud leaves the status of the children and their placement in U.S. homes, including some in Utah and Wyoming, uncertain.
"For the birth parents in Samoa, who believed they were only temporarily releasing their children, the pain in palpable," Thomas Depenbrock, of the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security, said at a Thursday news conference in Salt Lake City. "For the adoptive parents accepting children they were told were uncared for and in need of good homes, the deceit is shocking."
The indictment alleges the conspiracy began no later than March 2002 and continued through June 2005. The children ranged from infants to 12-year-olds.
U.S. Attorney for Utah Brett Tolman said authorities are working to put the birth parents and adoptive parents in touch to discuss a resolution. If no agreement is reached, courts in either or both countries might become involved in determining on a case-by-case basis who gets legal custody of the adoptees.
"It is impossible to articulate how deep the pain is," Tolman said.
The indictment charges FOC and seven individuals with a total of 135 counts: Two of conspiracy, 37 of bringing in illegal aliens to the United States; 37 of encouraging or inducing illegal aliens to come to, enter or reside in the United States; 34 of fraud and misuse of visas; 19 of laundering of monetary instruments; and six of monetary transactions in property derived from unlawful activity.
Defense attorney Rebecca Hyde, who represents FOC and Karen Banks, told The Associated Press that "Focus on Children and Karen Banks have been cooperating with the federal government for many, many months. They have always endeavored to maintain the highest ethical standards they could.''
[Con artists and baby brokers always know the safest breeding grounds for their corrupt schemes:]
The United States does not have an extradition treaty with Samoa. It will petition the Samoan government to deliver the other three defendants to the U.S. jurisdiction.
Adoption in Samoa does not involve any legal proceeding or a formal severance of parental rights. Samoan citizens routinely consent to the "adoption" of their children for a variety of reasons to relatives living in other parts of the country or abroad.
After the placement, the birth parents typically communicate and visit with the child, with the expectation that he or she will return to them as an adult to care for them as they age.
The indictment alleges that FOC employed recruiters in Samoa to persuade birth parents to place their children in an international adoption. It says these recruiters targeted Samoan children for adoption by surveilling marketplaces for mothers, approaching pregnant women and even conducting presentations to groups of parents about the FOC "program."
These parents allegedly were persuaded to participate in the program through lies that included:
* The adoption program was created by the U.S. government or by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to assist families in Samoa that were struggling financially or desired that their children be educated abroad. Neither the government nor the church were involved with FOC.
* The children would be "adopted" by a family in the United States and remain there until age 18, then return to Samoa. [That is what Madonna's baby's father believed as well]
* The birth family would receive letters and photos from the adoptive family. [Sound familiar?]
* The birth family might receive money either from FOC or the adoptive family until the children returned and could help take care of them.
* The adoptive family would occasionally bring the children back for visits.
* Siblings placed in the program would be adopted by the same family in the United States.
Some birth families considering placing their child in the program were given what conspirators called "humanitarian assistance," such as nominal amounts of money or bags of rice, the indictment alleges. The assistance allegedly stopped when the child was delivered to the adoptive parents.
After taking custody of the children, the recruiters would place them in a "nanny home" - the Samoan equivalent of a foster home - until the "adoption" proceedings were completed, according to the indictment.
Conditions at the nanny home operated by FOC allegedly were so poor that many children were malnourished and dehydrated. Older children reported being beaten with a broomstick when they asked for more food.
The birth parents of one little girl were so concerned about how her health had deteriorated since moving to the nanny house that they took her to a hospital, where she died two days later, the indictment says.
The defendants allegedly discouraged the adoptive parents from traveling to Samoa to pick up their newly adopted children and the ones who did go overseas were forbidden from seeing the nanny home.
FOC also employed people in Utah and Wyoming to refer children to a new family, even when the youngsters still were living with their parents in Samoa, the indictment claims. It says the defendants frequently fabricated statements about the birth family to convince prospective adoptive parents that the children were living in dire circumstances.
The case is being investigated by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Diplomatic Security, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Not a Word About The Real Cause: Secret Adoptions
Wednesday February 28, 2007
In public, at least, they seem remarkably unfazed by what they have done. And in some senses, of course, they needn't be. They are a loving couple, who have been together for seven years and want to be with no one else. They have had four children. Beyond these details, however, the story gets more troubling. Patrick and Susan Stübing, who live in Zwenkau, near Leipzig, are brother and sister. Two of their four children have developmental problems, and all four have been taken into care. Patrick, 30, has served more than two years of a prison sentence for incest. Asked if she felt guilty about this breach of one of the last taboos, Susan, 22, simply shook her head and said: "No, I just want us to be able to live together."
Their case is raising much prurient speculation in Germany, not least because their reaction to the threat of further imprisonment for him has not been apology and shame, but defiance - an attempt to overturn paragraph 173 of the German legal code, which forbids sex with a close relative.
What has been discussed less, is that the Stübings seem to be a textbook example of a phenomenon called genetic sexual attraction (GSA). It occurs between blood relatives who have been separated for most of their lives, and meet in adulthood; it has been known to happen in all sorts of permutations - father/daughter, birth mother/son, siblings - even, occasionally, same-sex relationships between people who would not otherwise identify themselves as homosexual.
Patrick had already been put in a children's home in East Germany when his sister was born, the third of eight children, five of whom died. (Asked in an interview what the others died of, Susan simply shrugged her shoulders.) After a lifetime spent in and out of care homes and foster families, he finally found his mother in 2000, but she died of a heart attack six months later. Brother and sister - neither of whom had known of the other's existence before this - had only each other for comfort.
But it would probably be fair to say that there would have been more to it than grief. Those who experience GSA speak of what they feel in terms we all recognise as romantic ideals of perfect love.
"As we looked at each other over lunch it was as if a light was turned on. Something had happened which was difficult to control," Tony Smedley told the Daily Mail in 2003, a week after he was found guilty at York Crown Court of having an incestuous relationship with his half sister, Janet Paveling. "It was terrifying," Paveling said. They spoke of feeling like mirror-images of each other: "Watching her was like watching myself," said Smedley. "We have the same colouring, the same skin and even the same distinctive triangle of dark-coloured freckles near the thumb on our right hands. Whatever was happening seemed awesomely powerful. When we made love it was very moving. Very intimate. Nothing could stop us. I know it's disturbing but it felt right." Janet added: "Each day we fight the impulse to be together. It has been like an obsession. We feel complete only when we are together."
"They are strangers, they can very easily be attracted to one another," says Gwen Richardson, who runs Searchline, a company dedicated to helping people to find lost relatives. She knows that sexual relationships have sometimes then developed. "You get a worrying phone call' - about a mother and a son, for example - "the mother, obviously, was married, and the marriage broke up." Or a half-brother and sister. "They were living together and one of the neighbours found out, and they had to split up because they would have been prosecuted. It's a subject that comes up as a by-product of what we do. We don't set out to get a mother and a son together, other than, you know, as mother and son."
There is more going on than simple attraction between strangers. "It was something to do with recognition. It was like kinship, the proof you're finding each other. It was just mutual, unspoken," said a respondent in one of the only scientific studies conducted of the phenomenon, by Dr Maurice Greenberg and Professor Roland Littlewood of University College London, in The British Journal of Medical Psychology in 1995. They were surprised to find that more than 50% of people who sought post-adoption counselling "experienced strong sexual feelings in reunions".
These days people are often warned this might be a possible reaction before they meet blood relatives - yet, except for the occasional memoir - such as Kathryn Harrison's The Kiss which is an account of the author's incestuous relationship with her own father - it is rarely talked about in public.
Harrison wrote in spare present tense, of the sexual affair she had with her father when she was 20 and he had just come back into her life. "My father looks at me, then, as no one has ever looked at me before." And elsewhere: "In years to come, I'll think of the [first] kiss as a kind of transforming sting, like that of a scorpion: a narcotic that spreads from my mouth to my brain. The kiss is the point at which I begin, slowly, inexorably, to fall asleep, to surrender volition, to become paralysed. It's the drug my father administers in order that he might consume me. That I might desire to be consumed."
The term "genetical sexual attraction" seems to have been coined by a woman called Barbara Gonyo, who was taken aback by the lust she felt when she was reunited with a 26-year-old son she had given up as a baby. The relationship was never consummated, because he did not reciprocate, and the feelings faded when he married. But she wrote a book about it in which she suggests, wrote Alix Kirsta in this paper three years ago, "that romantic love and erotic arousal may be the delayed by-product of 'missed bonding' that would have normally taken place between a mother and her newborn infant, or between siblings had they not been separated by adoption. Many such people, as adults, need to go through that early missed closeness. It may become sexual, or it may not."
There is certainly something childlike in the way the Stübings relate to each other. A reporter who recently organised a clandestine meeting with the couple found them sitting side by side on a bed in a motorway hotel. Much of the meeting was characterised by the couple's shoulder-shrugging, Susan Stübing's obsessive nail biting and anxious glances towards their media adviser. When questions were not directed at her, Susan, who dropped out of school at 15 with no qualifications, turned her pink pumps in circles like a child. At one point, the adviser told her: "Take that chewing gum out of your mouth." It is clear, say those who have met them, that the couple need looking after, which is one reason why, according to youth workers, their children have been taken away.
They are also far from being media-savvy. Their lawyer, Endrik Wilhelm, says they have been "overwhelmed" by the interest in their story. Many of their statements, such as "we just want to get rid of paragraph 173" sound rehearsed, and it is unclear just how much they understand about the situation in which they find themselves. When Susan became bored with the newspaper interview, she poked her brother on the back of his feet with her toes. He took her hand tenderly, as if comforting a child, and the interview was brought to a swift close.
When relationships such as this do become sexual, they tend greatly to complicate knee-jerk assumptions about abuse and incest: "There is no force, coercion, usually no betrayal of trust," Greenberg told Kirsta. "And no victim. If sex occurs, it involves consenting adults." So far as we know, this seems to have been the case with the Stübings, though Susan was very young - 16 - when they met, one reason why she has not yet been prosecuted. (Described as "slow" by her carers, she became pregnant for a fifth time when Patrick was imprisoned, by a 49-year-old man who described himself as her boyfriend. Their child, Safira, born in 2006, now lives with her father.) Many sufferers - if that is the right word - of GSA do not see it as incest at all, while at the same time they might be horrified by any suggestion of a sexual relationship with a member of their adopted family.
The Stübings' lawyer insists that the main scientific arguments behind Germany's existing law banning incest no longer hold. "Sociologically speaking, incest is not the cause of difficult problems in families, rather the consequence of them," he says.
"The risks of inheriting defects are as high as the chance of inheriting positive things," he claims, pointing out that people with inheritable conditions are not forbidden sexual intercourse. He believes that, in a modern society, laws should be used only to punish "socially damaging behaviour".
What is unusual about the Stübings is the number of children involved. They may argue, through their lawyer, that they aren't hurting anyone - "everyone should be able to do what he wants as long as it doesn't harm others" - but it could be said that they have already harmed their children. Quite apart from two of them having developmental difficulties (it is not certain whether this is because they were premature, or because they share so much genetic material), the fact that they have been taken into care, as Patrick was, means that it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that the whole cycle could begin again.
In the meantime, Patrick has been voluntarily sterilised, in the hope of avoiding further prosecution. "It wouldn't be easy," says their lawyer, "but it would only have to be proved that they had slept together." All the Stübings want, he says, is to be left alone. "They want to be a family - to have that which was impossible to have in their own childhoods".
Thursday, March 01, 2007
The Future is Here
India is fast cornering what is forecast as a £3 billion-a-year market in “reproductive tourism”. It has highly trained, English-speaking doctors and medical procedures that cost a third of the price charged in Europe for 'embryo adoption".
The report says couples are lining up because it is cheaper than through infertility in Europe and highlights one couple's joy in having the embryos transplanted saying: "It is a lot like adoption but you have the feeling of a natural pregnancy.”
While social workers in India fear that poor women are being exploited for “rent-a-womb” services such as surrogacy, banned for commercial gain in countries such as Australia and China...there is one major thing missing in all of these reports...
Not one word of thought or concern for the "embryo" as it grows into a human being! There is no mention who fathers these children or if one or both of the original parents remain totally anonymous "donors."
Ladies - this is how much we as birthmothers are though of in the adoption equation! We are geese that lay golden eggs - PERIOD! At best we are pitied.
Infant adoption is in no way any more altruistic than any other way of obtaining what is sought - a baby! It is simply just one of many options to "cure" infertility.
We are but handmaids.