Thursday, April 23, 2009

After Losing Freedom, Immigrants Lose Their Children

"My parents were poor, and they never gave me to anyone," Mrs. Bail recalled. "I was not going to give my son to anyone either."--the New York Times, April 23, 2009.
But the courts did take away her son and let him be adopted by a couple in Missouri while the Guatemalan woman, Encarnacion Bail Romero, sits in jail, according to Times reporter Ginger Thompson. Aong with many others, Mrs. Bail was arrested during a raid on a poultry plant near Carthage, Mo. two years ago. While many workers who had small children were quickly released, Mrs. Bail got caught up in the government's crackdown during the Bush administration on illegals. Because she was using fake identity papers, she would have to serve out a jail term before being deported. Her son, Carlos, was six months old at the time.

Two aunts, each with three children, also living here with no legal status, were unable to keep Carlos in their already crowded living situations. When local teacher's aide offered to find someone to take the boy, the women agreed.

The teacher's aide finally visited Mrs. Bail in jail and told her that a couple with land and a beautiful house wanted to adopt her son. They had become very fond of Carlos, she was told.

A few weeks later, adoption papers arrived at the jail, and with the help of a cellmate from Mexico, a guard and an English-speaking Guatemalan visitor, Mrs. Bail wrote a response to the court, according to the Times:
"I do not want my son to be adopted by anyone," she scrawled on a sheet of notebook paper on Oct. 28, 2007. "I would prefer that he be placed in foster care until I am not in jail any longer. I would like to have visitation with my son."
She was appointed a lawyer but he was removed from the case after he pleaded guilty to domestic violence. Ten months passed. During that time, letters sent to Mrs. Bail by the prospective adoptive parents were returned unopened. Mrs. Bail cannot read Spanish, much less English. When she asked a new lawyer to find Carlos's whereabouts, he told her that he only handled criminal matters. "I went to court six times, and six times I asked for help to find my son," she said. "But no one helped me."

Last June she got a Spanish-speaking lawyer to represent her in the custody case, but by the time he reached her--she had been transferred to a prison in West Virginia--it was to late. The couple privately petitioned the court and last year Judge David D. Dally of Circuit Court in Jasper, Mo., terminated Mrs. Bail's rights and charges of abandonment and for making no effort to contact the baby or send financial support while she was incarcerated.

The situation varies from state to state, court to court, the story adds. An advisor to the Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Dora Schriro, said that the agency was looking for ways to deal with family separations. Some effort, in some states, is being made to send the children like Carlos back to relatives in their home country.

In his decision granting the adoption he noted that the adopting parents couple made a comfortable living, had rearranged their work schedules and had support from their extended family. By contrast, he wrote, Mrs. Bail had little to offer:
"The only certainties in the biological mothers future is that she will remain incarcerated until next year, and that she will be deported thereafter....Her lifestyle, that of smuggling herself into the country illegally and committing crimes in this country, is not a lifestyle that can provide stability for a child."
Yes, it is true that Carlos will grow up in a wealthier, more stable situation than if he waits for his mother to get out of jail, and they return to Guatemala. But she is his mother.

Reading this over coffee this morning, I could not help but think that we have not come really so far from the time when we women lost our children in the Sixties and Seventies, when there was so much pressure from the world to relinquish so the child would "have a better life." The culture may have switched who offers up the babies from white girls to poor women, but the concept is the same: Someone will provide babies for prospective adoptive parents.

I could not help but think that Mrs. Bail had become another handmaid for the wealthy who wish to adopt. I know nothing of the adoptive parents, but that they were inured to a mother's desperate plea from a jailhouse cell to keep her son. They would have their Carlos, despite the pleas of his real mother.

Will he, I wondered, ever know that his mother loved him and wanted to keep him?
"My parents were poor, and they never gave me to anyone," Mrs. Bail recalled. "I was not going to give my son to anyone either."

But he was taken away because she was poor. --lorraine
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The photograph of the mother, Mrs. Bail, at the Times site is beautiful.

13 comments :

  1. I read this and was appalled.

    And no, we haven't come very far in all of these years. Poverty and a lack of support are still valid reasons to take a child away from his mother. Besides in this woman's case she is a criminal.

    Sad to say but I truly believe that most people feel this way. Adoption is a happy story, right? That's what I hear all of the time. Makes me cringe.

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  2. This is where the PAPS have to ask the tough questions and LOOK and SEE, not just see what they want to see. Why wouldn't you ask the questions? I guess if you're all foaming at the mouth about illegal aliens every day like Lou Dobbs you might think of Mrs. Bail and her ilk as just plain bad. . .and that her son would be better off without her. Ironically, this problem stems from people just trying to make a better life for themselves. Preposterous. Outright child theft. What are they going to tell him about his mother?

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  3. "What are they ging to tell him about his mother?"

    Well likely they are going to tell him he is an orphan and how lucky he is that they saved him or they will tell him "his mother loved him so much she gave him away to have a better life" and they will hope and pray they got a 'grateful adoptee" who will ask no more questions.
    Basically the same damn story every adoptee gets from their abductors.

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  4. And by that you mean in every unethical adoption, not every adoption, right?

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  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  6. Improper Adoptee, welcome back! We had wondered what was going on with you!

    And it works both ways--we've learned a great deal from our readers, and appreciate everyone's spreading the word about our blog.

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  7. Actually, I partially blamed the do-gooder teacher aide here playing social engineer. On what basis was Carlos offered for adoption? By her? The mother stated specifically that she wished him to remain in foster care until she was released. You can't get more clear than "I don't want my son to be adopted by anyone." Then letters arrive for Mrs. Bail but she can't answer them because she doesn't speak English. This is referred to as "due process" by the a-parents' laywer. What a crock. Obviously, I'm not the type to automatically bray for children to be returned to their natural mothers. But in this case, he should be.

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  8. I personally know about this case. I am not the one who adopted him but I took care of this child for about 6 months. The aunts did not take care of him at all. But a few things that the New York Times don't say or this article, is the condition of Carlos when his mother was arrested. At six months old they had already taken him off of formula, he was drinking 1% milk. He had no vaccinations, he also had eczema which just bleed and bleed because it wasn't being taken care of. And he hadn't seen a doctor since he was born. And the saddest part the mother was receiving WIC and medicaid. But the aunt said, "To my sister working over time was more important than taking care of her son."

    And what I don't understand is how immigration let this lady out when the adoption was already finalized. And the last date is put in an appeal was at the beginning of April and there was no appeal entered in the courts of Jasper County. And the mother of this child has already been deported, that is why she was in jail for about two years. There were punishing her for reentering the USA illegally again. And the saddest part she has two other children in Guatemala. My only question to her is why are you not returning to Guatemala to take care of the other children that you have? Would it be because the other children or her would have the chance to become legal someday through Carlos?

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  9. Our country invited immigrants here
    to work for less money and as George Bush put it, "do the jobs Americans won't do" and sadly enough some Americans are too lazy to work from the pot they are smoking and whatever else they are addicted from that was imported from countries these immigrants came from. So we invite them here to work for peanuts,
    convict them and steal their children for adoption.Will the ACLU step in to help this immigrant get her baby back? Highly unlikely because the ACLU
    is not for the rights of mothers forced to surrender.--this is disgusting and our country should be ashamed!

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  10. Email send to May 1st Immigration March organizers nationwide;

    United in the struggle to reunite son with birth mother

    Here’s a particular case that needs remedy and a united effort to bring justice. While thousands of immigrants and supporters prepare to march for immigration reform throughout the nation keep in mind this case, that was reported by the New York Times on April 22, 2009. It was just brought to my attention a few days ago by a long time friend from Guatemala, who asked me if I could help in the effort to reunite Carlos with his birth mother.
    The New York Times article about Encarnación Bail Romero, a Guatemalan who was arrested by USICE near Carthage, Mo. when they raided a poultry processing plant two years ago calls for justice. Her son Carlos was taken and adopted by a couple while Encarnación an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala awaits deportation.
    When adoption papers arrived where Encarnación was kept by USICE. She managed to write a letter with the help of a detained Mexican immigrant, a guard and an English-speaking Guatemalan visitor where she was detained, "I do not want my son to be adopted by anyone," she scrawled on a sheet of notebook paper on Oct. 28, 2007. "I would prefer that he be placed in foster care until I am not in jail any longer. I would like to have visitation with my son." (Birth Mother, First Mother Forum)
    What kind of judges decide to allow adoption of a child when the mother is awaiting deportation? Well Judge David C. Dally of Circuit Court in Jasper County who said in a decree, the couple made a comfortable living, had rearranged their lives and work schedules to provide Carlos a stable home, and had support from their extended family. By contrast, Judge Dally said, Ms. Bail had little to offer. “The only certainties in the biological mother’s future,” he wrote, “is that she will remain incarcerated until next year, and that she will be deported thereafter.”
    The worst part, Judge David C. Dally failed to order USICE to bring
    Encarnación to his court during the adoption proceedings. Judge Dally made Carlos seemed like he was on the auction block.
    It appears that Judge Dally took it upon himself to terminate Encarnación’s parental rights with out due process. Encarnación has not been convicted of child abuse, child neglect, or any type of dangerous criminal activity. No other decision from any court terminated her parental rights. How did Judge Dally come to his decision? A miscarriage of justice?
    I’m providing the links of the New York Times and Birth Mother, First Mother Forum where articles are published and appeared.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/23/us/23children.html

    http://www.firstmotherforum.com/

    http://la.indymedia.org/news/2009/04/226563.php

    Don’t hesitate to circulate.
    Respectfully,

    H. Nelson Goodson
    Milwaukee, Wisconsin USA

    April 30, 2009

    "Words conveyed by wisdom and truth influence inevitable change" H. Nelson Goodson

    Check out H. Nelson Goodson's profile and blog:

    http://www.google.com/s2/profiles/100261205343039196975

    http://hispanicnewsnetwork.blogspot.com/

    Twitter: http://twitter.com/hng2wiusa

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  11. I hope Encarnacion is successful in the courts to regain custody of her son and that the usual short adoption revocation periods applied in the U.S.can be set aside. Some U.S. states allow no time to revoke a consent and others 15 to 45 days.
    How much knowledge of the adoption
    process do immigrants have? I wonder at what point Encarnacion learned her son's birth certificate would be sealed and because Missouri is a closed record state her son's birth certificate will be sealed forever. Now is a good time if possible to bring attention not only to the exploitation of immigrants for their children but also to the harsh reality that not even when her son turns 18 will he have the right to a copy of his own birth certificate. For those of us in the reform movement we
    recognize the discrimination and unfairness of sealed record laws but, some are just naive and don't
    grasp the meaning of what this denial of rights is like for adoptees. In my opinion sealing birth certificates should be a categorized as a violation of human rights. This is a great loss
    for this young mother with a life long sentence of grief, sorrow and pain.
    Joyce Bahr, a mother who lost her son to adoption in 1986 and was reunited in 1986.

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  12. Oy, Joyce, I believe you mean you lost your son in 1966...one of the many of us who are very out of the closet!

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  13. ooops! yes Lorraine I lost my son in 1966 and have more on my mind about exploitation of immigrants for children by adoption. It's hard for me to understand why it isn't the business owners who hire the undocumented workers who go to jail, and not the immigrants. If this were the case the New York Jails would be filled up with business owners and landlords. In fact New York city could open a new jail and fill it up in less than a New York minute. The undocumented workers who work in the laundromat around the corner from me live in their car and the owner of the laundromat would never go to jail if there were a raid.
    I grew up in South St. Louis county, was pregnant out of wedlock there, and was escorted out of town in silence to Chicago to live with my Aunt and have the nasty adoption experience. The only good part is the agency reunited me with my son in 1986.
    So I will be sending a letter to the Missouri Governor, Attorney General and President Obama as this makes me cringe also!

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