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.Rachel says the agency representatives were also at the hospital, but were told she did not want to see them that night.
"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."
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'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!"
"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."
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