Tuesday, October 23, 2012

How birth mothers are intimidated by unscrupulous adoption agencies

Lorraine
To find examples of today's we-need-babies-for-adoption culture one not need go to poor countries such as Ethiopia where so called Christian agencies--such as Christian World Adoption--find ways to get parents to offer up their children to be adopted. It's happening right here at home.

Rachel Sousa, 32 of Inverness, Florida, says she was bullied into relinquishing her three-day old newborn in September after she was threatened with jail for expenses incurred while she was in talks with representatives of an agency in nearby Brooksville, "Angels of Love." In order to avoid jail, she signed away her parental rights in a hospital parking lot around midnight, three days after giving birth via C-Section.
The agency owner, and another agency worker, left with the boy that night from the parking lot. I'm telling the story below largely in Rachel's own words because the details are so damn sickening.They should be hard to believe but unfortunately, they are not.


BABIES FOR PROFIT
Rachel is now trying to get her son back, saying she did not understand the finality of the papers she signed, still under the influence of recent surgery and strong pain killers--and with constant pressure of jail for expenses incurred, even though she told them she would pay whatever she owed. Yesterday she appeared at a hearing to begin the process of getting her son back, as well as to obtain an injunction to prevent the the people who have her son from leaving the country with him. It is our understanding that Florida's adoption laws are very much tilted in favor of those adopting.

This is really not a pretty story, but is a scary and telling example of how a mother can be intimidated into giving up--and losing her child. It is a story of greed and fear. Greed on the part of the representative of Angels of Love, and fear on the part of a woman soon after birth by surgery.

Rachel is not a wealthy woman, has five other children aged 13 to 1, and is a single mother at this point. She is divorced from the father of the eldest four. Grayson's father is also the father of the one-year-old, but that relationship has ended. In somewhat desperate straits, she called Angels of Love. They stepped in and steamrolled her: the agency owner and another worker urged her to see a doctor they suggested, saying they didn't like her doctor; they made appointments, picked her up and took her to the appointments, and followed her into the examination room without asking her consent, were present at two untrasounds without asking, and besieged her with calls, texts, and finally, prospective parents. Rachel says that all along she says she was undecided, and told the agency owner and worker this.

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2012
The boy, whom she has named Grayson, was born by emergency C-section shortly before ten p.m. on Friday, September 7. Yet as she is being prepped for her C-section, the agency owner and employee kept "hammering me with questions about if I would like to contact the couple that wanted to adopt Grayson, and other questions about a birthing plan," she claims in her statement of fact that was prepared for the police report on her case. Rachel says the agency workers asked:
"Questions like, could the woman who wanted to adopt Grayson have an [ID] bracelet, did I want the couple at the hospital, was it okay if the couple held Grayson.  I was not focused on these things and was worried about my son as the doctor was just telling me that his lungs were not developed in order to be born.  I was very overwhelmed by their questions and everything was happening so fast.  Agency owner and Agency employee continued to question me regarding the couple and the adoption.

"While I was in surgery, agency employee and agency owner called the couple that wanted to adopt Grayson and had them come to the hospital."
Rachel says the agency representatives were also at the hospital, but were told she did not want to see them that night.  

SATURDAY  
The next day, Saturday, around noon, the agency owner showed up and asked again when the couple who wanted to adopt the boy could come see Grayson. Rachel asked her to "hold off" on that and "would let her know at a later time." Around six, the agency owner called and asked if she could stop by her room with another agency employee. Rachel agreed, and they both showed up a half hour later. "They looked at Grayson and complimented me on him as he looked so good for being born so early."

As Rachel continues in her statement of fact: "While agency owner and agency employee were there the woman who wanted to adopt Grayson texted agency owner and agency owner then read the text out loud to me.  It said, ‘How is Rachel doing and when can we come by to see her and the baby?’"

Rachel said she still didn't want to see them; the women left but returned again that night--just checking in and they said they would be back again the next day. And here is what happened on Sunday, according to Rachel's statement:
"I took a shower around 8 a.m. and Grayson and I were spending time together in my room. Around 10 a.m. agency employee texted me to ask if the woman who wanted to adopt Grayson could come by and bring me lunch. I told her I didn’t want anything as I didn’t feel well, and that it was okay for her to come by and visit. Agency employee relayed the message to the woman. The woman then texted me around 12 p.m. and said that her and her husband were a few minutes away and I responded ‘OK.’ The couple shows up in my room and Grayson had just been taken from the room for a routine checkup as they arrived. He was brought back to my room about 20 minutes after they had arrived. They stayed for another hour and then left. The woman said she wanted to come back later and that she would text me when she was back in the area and they left.

"The woman texted me saying she was dropping her husband off at home and if it was okay for her to come back to visit. I replied ‘OK’. She arrived 5 – 10 minutes later. While she was there she said Agency owner had texted her asking how I was doing and she informed agency owner she was visiting with me.
"Agency owner and agency employee then arrived unexpectedly and unannounced about 8 p.m. in my room. They were interested in knowing if I had made a decision and asked if I was still considering placing Grayson for adoption. They told me I had all night and that they knew it was a difficult decision and to think about what I had planned for my future and how I would be spreading myself thin with all my children. Then agency owner went to look for the paperwork in her briefcase to leave with me that I would be signing. Just as she found it the announcement that visiting hours were over came over the loud speaker and agency owner said, we will go over this tomorrow and they both left shortly after 10 p.m.
"I spent what I didn’t know would be my last night with Grayson."
SUNDAY
The next day, Sunday, the agency owner and her worker, and an outside counselor they called in to visit Rachel in the hospital, kept up the same badgering, reminding her that she could not give the baby the good life that the other people could and that she had met them and they were "good people." Rachel's statement continues:
"Agency employee asked me if I had made a decision because the prospective adoptive parents were coming to the hospital to pay for his circumcision. I told them that I had decided Grayson was coming home to stay with me. Agency employee appeared very angry that I had made this decision. Her lips were pursed, she kept looking at her phone, she was avoiding eye contact and she appeared agitated. Her eyes would dart back and forth between the phone and Grayson, she did not look at me. Agency employee’s tone of voice towards me totally changed.

"Agency employee said that if I wasn’t sure, that there was a foster home Grayson could be placed in. I then said 'No I want him to come home with me.' and then agency employee said in a snappy tone, 'That’s fine that is was your decision, and we will need to start the paperwork to get the expenses back.' I told them to let me know what the full amount was so I can make sure it got to them.

"She said she would have to do up the paperwork to calculate out the expenses. Agency employee gave me a card to send the payment to and would give me an invoice for their expenses. I did sign a document to pay back the expenses they paid to me. The document stated that if I decided to parent my baby that I would have to pay back the expenses. They never did provide me with a copy of this document after I signed it. Then she appeared angry and said that she would have to let the couple know and I said I was sorry. Agency employee appeared angry. They got up, wished me luck and walked out of my room around 4:30 pm.

"I then called my sister-in-law to come get Grayson and I that we were ready to come home. Her husband also came along and so did my ex-husband (the legal father). They arrived at my room at approximately 5:20 p.m. Dr. A [who delivered the baby] came into my room just after they had arrived. He asked me if everyone was going home and I replied ‘Yes.’ He told me to make an appointment in two weeks for myself with him and to make an appointment for Grayson in two days with a pediatrician as he had a little bit of jaundice that they wanted to check out.  He said Grayson was a tough little guy and wished us well.  He also said a nurse would be bringing in my prescription and discharge papers and he left the room.
"We then waited for the nurses to come and start the discharge process. We waited an hour and no one showed up....The woman who wanted to adopt Grayson shows up in my room unannounced and uninvited. She said that she brought some clothes that she bought for the baby and put the bag down and started towards the door. I got out of bed and followed her out into the hallway.
"Her husband was out there waiting. I told her I had chosen to parent Grayson and I’m sure agency owner will contact her to let her know. She started crying and I told them it wasn’t anything that they did and I did say if I were to place him that I would have felt comfortable with them but that I was not going to place him. She hugged me, and they left.
"I went back into the room and 10 minutes later agency owner opened my room door, uninvited and unannounced and said, ‘Oops, I didn’t realize you had company,’ and asked me to come out in the hallway with her.... She told me that she needed the phone back that they had given me because the lawyer said that anything that was purchased needed to be returned. I said that’s fine and told her I wanted to remove my personal information and she said she couldn’t wait because she had to go return the phone before Wal-Mart closes. I handed her the phone and she left at about 6:45 p.m."
Around 9:30 p.m., the group finally starts leaving the hospital, with her sister-in-law carrying Grayson. Rachel has her pain meds (Percoset), and due is walking slowly in the parking lot when:
"I hear agency owner yell my name across the parking lot, she was near her vehicle. She approached me and told me she needed to talk to me because I was going to go to jail. I asked her why. She had the phone she took from me up to her ear and was talking to someone and she said to the person, ‘She’s right here I’ll give you the phone and you can talk to her.’ I said ‘Hello’ and it was Bio-dad. He asked me why I was trying to run out of the hospital. I said, I wasn’t running as I just had surgery. I told him my sister-in-law had Grayson in the car to go home. He said I needed to think about what I was doing because I was going to go to jail that I couldn’t take ‘that baby home.'

"I said I didn’t understand what he was talking about and asked why he thought I was going to jail?  He said that agency owner told him that I had lied to them about him and gave them wrong information.  I told him that wasn’t true and that I needed to pay back the expenses and he said Agency owner told him that I was given $5,000 and if I don’t sign over the baby that I would go to jail for ‘a felony.' I told him it wasn’t true. He started arguing and we hung up.

"Agency owner then asked me to come over to her vehicle and my family followed in the car. They were overhearing the conversation, and I asked if I could talk to an attorney tomorrow and she said, ‘No, you have to sign or you go to jail.’

"Then she flagged down a couple leaving the hospital going to their vehicle and asked them to witness me signing TPR.  They declined and stated that they were not comfortable signing anything and then they left. Agency owner kept saying it had to be done tonight and to think of the kids at home, they needed their mom and that their mom doesn’t need to be in jail.

"My family then got out of the car and my ex-husband was asking what had to happen for Grayson to come home. and asked if he could take custody of Grayson and agency owner said ‘No, either she signs the paper or goes to jail tonight.’

"Then my brother-in-law and sister-in-law finally agreed to witness the paper to keep me from going to jail. But before signing, they asked to take Grayson home and agency owner said no Grayson needed to be taken to the couple who were adopting Grayson tonight.

"Then agency owner gave ex-hubby (the legal father, as child was conceived while still legally married) his one document, and again stated if he didn’t sign it they would come after him for child support. He then signed the document. My sister-in-law and her husbIsabelle and Rick signed the document as witnesses. She then told me I could have a felony if I didn’t give Grayson to her.

"While I was talking to her and told her again I wanted to keep my son with me, she turned to ex-hubby and said, ‘Could you guys please see if you can get the baby in the car?’ They did. She got in her car and I said goodbye to Grayson and we got in our car and drove away. It was 12:15 a.m."
I've kept much of the document here because the world needs to know how babies are moved around for profit, and there are so many events that occurred rewriting wasn't doing this justice. Rachel's story is so sordid, so much a story of the whole lopsided culture that raises adoption to some kind of holy act, with the women like Rachel the handmaids who provide the babies. Elsewhere today I see that a gay couple who where on The Jeff Probst Show earlier this month ran with this promo: "They detail their difficulties to Jeff, including the excruciating month when they didn't know if the birthmother of one of their babies was going to take the baby back. Were they able to keep their baby? You'll have to tune in to see!"

Certainly not all adoption agencies are like this one, started in 2008, but this indicates that some are. Unscrupulous people will take advantage of others. People who covet other people's children because they can't have their own are cosseted and encouraged by greedy agencies, who make a profit off of rearranging babies and families. It is a sickening commentary on life today.

And this is from the Angels in Adoption website on the "birthmother" page.

  • "We are an adoptee and an adoptive mother who have personally experienced the wonderful blessings of adoption. Because we each have benefitted from the loving and unselfish act of a birth mother, we have a very deep and personal understanding of how important and special a birth mother is. Needless to say, we are forever grateful to our birth mothers, and our love and respect for them is tremendous. Because of this, we always treat our birth mothers with the greatest level of care, compassion, and respect they deserve."

    Birth mothers, first mothers, beware. If Rachel's treatment is an example of "care, compassion and respect," we as a society are in trouble.
______________________________
You can read more about this case at the Facebook page: Justice for Grayson. Yes, the child has the same name as another case we wrote about previously, in which a father wanted to raise his son, and finally was awarded custody.

Christian World Adoption

21 comments :

  1. I can't believe we are seeing ANOTHER adoption nightmare with a child named "Grayson" - I swear this name is cursed. (Sorry to anyone named Grayson!)
    My heart is breaking... this mother still has not been able to find a lawyer who will represent her. She desperately needs help.
    They are trying the old "stall stall stall" technique... I don't understand how the lawyers, the agency, and the PAPs can put a mother through all of this! I wonder if the PAPs even know what a horror they've walked into... I pray they don't know.
    I also pray that once they do know, they'll do the right thing - but I somehow feel the agency and attorney are "working" them, too...
    Adoption as it stands in this country has got to stop.

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  2. When I first had contact with Rachel, I prepared myself to tell her the worst - that once you sign in FL - you're done. But then, she told me about the drugs, the way the agency sent the couple to the hospital to pressure her and force her to tell them she was parenting, the delay in discharging both her and Grayson from the hospital, and how she walked out of the hospital - not in a wheelchair and no hospital staff in sight, I just couldn't believe my ears.....and we got straight to work. She had no clue what had to be done, but she was desperate, and listened to her heart. She wants her son back. She has done a lot of work to get the proof of everything gathered, she is staying focused.

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  3. Threatening to have a mother "thrown in jail" is a new low and ploy that I have never heard. The one's who belong in jail are the people who kidnapped this child, the baby brokers.

    Let this be a warning to any and all vulnerable young women faced with an unplanned pregnancy. What ever you do, DO NOT get involved with an adoption agency. Don't even call them. You are putty in their hands once they weasel their way into your life and start dictating what is "best" for a woman whom they have not one ounce of compassion or empathy for. It is all about the bottom line, the profit they will procure from their paying customers.

    As a mother of adoption loss AND open adoption fraud, this makes my blood boil. These people cannot get away with this...

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  4. I posted some of the details I got on this case on my own blog, but from what I understand is that her attorney even stopped by Rachel's house and there was nothing done on the case. I'm NOT saying that the agency is good. I think they are HORRID. But if Rachel's not doing the fighting that she needs to do to get Grayson back, then no one can help her.

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  5. I can assure you, Monika, that Rachel is doing EVERYTHING she can to get her son back. She doesn't have an attorney because no one is willing to take her case. I can show you a pile of "rejection letters" from attorneys not wanting to help her. She is operating pro se - a difficult struggle, and she is persevering despite all the obstacles.
    How do you think it feels to sit across from the table ALONE with a group of unscrupulous people who have ILLEGALLY stolen your baby and who are using legalized lies to keep him away? I'm crumble under that stress. But she is moving forward.. and yes she needs help!
    Thanks for the "support."

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  6. Her story has so many elements in common with my own circumstances when I lost my newborn over 22 years ago, including being threatened by police. Legal assistance was nonexistent, and the police would not help at all. I did not go to an agency and was adamant that adoption wasn't an option, so when I hear that an agency is pulling the same crap that an unlicensed, illegal facilitator did with me it's disgusting and triggering at the same time. I'm stupefied, dumbstruck, *flabbergasted* that this is legal!

    And how much more do you want her to fight? The whole fiasco is predicated on lack of support. If she loses him permanently it's through lack of support. *smh* No (wo)man is an island, entire of itself.

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  7. And another really sad part about this situation is that some day Grayson may be reunited with his firstmother (if she doesn't get him back) and he may mistakenly believe that she didn't want him. As a firstmother myself, one of the reasons my reunion relationship with my child failed miserably was due to the fact that my child, despite being highly educated, continues to believe that he was basically thrown out like a piece of trash and refused to believe that coercion was a factor. This belief, of course, created anger, bitterness, resentment etc. and a healthy relationship became impossible. If it's difficult for some to believe the coercion factors from the 60's era, i suspect that today's young mothers who give up their babies will have an even tougher time convincing their found children that they felt as though they had no choice.

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  8. What an awful agency!! This is so hard to read about. I "liked" her facebook page about this. Glad to see it's getting attention & support. This agency is making me sick. I'm just imagining them bringing Grayson to his adoptive parents and saying "she changed her mind!". Disgusting. I don't often sympathize with aparents but in this case they're victims too of this awful agency. Lying to them for their money. Not as bad as lying to someone for their child... but it's just terrible all around.

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  9. Horrible, tragic, nightmare only begins to describe what happened! Hoping and praying she finds a way to get her precious baby back and soon!

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  10. It should not be allowed for an adoption agency or prospective adoptive parents to pay hospital fees or to pay any exepenses to an expectant mother. This sets up a situation of obligation and expectation. You only see this in U.S.A.

    In other countries this is seen as unethical.

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  11. I'm so disgusted by this story. Can't she get the DA involved to press charges against the agency? It's completely wrong that no attorney will take the case. FL law really does benefit ap's and that's why so many people go there to adopt.

    We talked to our birthmom for hours before and since, if there had been any indication from here that she was changing her mind, we would have backed out and supported her decision. We only came to the hospital when she called us and asked us too. I didn't take anything to the hospital for the baby to wear because I didn't want there to be any additional pressure.

    But what galls me the most is the threat of jail time. That is FRAUD on the part of the agency. And that is illegal. As ap's we know that those expenses we've paid are at risk, that if she decides to keep the child that we just lose that money. It's wrong that expectant moms don't know this up front. Before the TPR was signed in our case, our birthmom told us about someone who changed their mind and she was surprised they didn't have to pay back the money. I made sure she understood that it's illegal for anyone to ask for that money back if she changes her mind.

    This whole story makes me angry. These types of situations hurt everyone involved. And this type of behavior shouldn't be allowed.

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  12. My stomach hurts from reading this story I remember so well, the social worker waving to me and carrying a baby blanket as my parents took me home from the hospital They had told me that my baby couldn't leave that day because he had slight jaundice and had to go "under the lights" It turned out he did leave that day and they took him to a foster home

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  13. The social worker and hospital people are the ones who told me my baby had to stay in the hospital My parents had said he could come home Just to clarify When I repeatedly tried to get him back, over a period of months, I couldn't and since I had gotten into an extremely difficult situation with my son's father and he was threatening me- I didn't seeWell, this all happened many years ago and I wish I could stop thinking about it-what I really wish is that all mothers and children could stay together because the psycological consequences on the rest of my life is so awful,even though they tell you "you'll forget and have other children"What I did learn was how irreplaceable each person is HaHa-what a way to learn-the joke's on me.

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  14. Has anyone filed a complaint with the office of licensing in FL? If this horrible agency has enough complaints against them, they could have their licenses revoked, and then thy would cease operation.

    I hope Rachel finds a lawyer soon.

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  15. As far as I understand, Rachel still has not found an attorney willing to take the case pro bono. I will let you know as soon as I hear anything.

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  16. Where is the outrage?!

    So many people seem to just not care when a mother is raped of her child, and that seriously scares me. Where do I live, the Middle East or the United States?

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  17. I agree, Anon, where is the outrage???

    I think it just shows how our society in general is quick to think the mothers in these scenarios are addicts/whores/welfare mommas and the AP's are saints/blessed/worthy above all else.

    People are quick to think of the "poor adoptive parents" and how the baby will "lose the only home they have ever known" if they are rightfully returned to the parents. Even though the baby has only been with the AP's for days and has been with the mother for 9 months. It makes my blood boil!

    This country needs to seriously look at itself and its preconceived notions about who places their babies for adoption. We are not BAD and not all AP's are GOOD.

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  18. These coercive tactics make me sick. I just want to let you know, I'm in touch with Rachel, hopefully we can help her somehow.

    For others who have been promised an open adoption, and had it restricted or closed, we are currently doing an open adoption legal project to hold these lawyers and agencies accountable. Please feel free to contact me to get involved. Feel free to contact me for more information.

    Thankx!

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  19. We've Googled Rachel and checked her website and Facebook page but haven't found any more information on her case. We'll pass on updates as we learn them.

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  20. There is a support page for Rachel and her son here:

    https://www.facebook.com/JusticeForGrayson?fref=ts

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