Thursday, December 6, 2012

Utah: Sewer Pit of the Adoption Industry

Jane
Kristi and Jared Frei have made good on their promise to fight the return of Terry Achane's nearly two-year-old to him. The girl was illegally handed over to the Utah couple early last year without the permission of her father, who was married to her mother, Teri Bland, at the time. As the legal husband of the mother, Achane can block any proposed adoption in any state.

The Freis' attorney, Larry Jenkins, also represents the unscrupulous adoption agency at the center of this case, Adoption Center of Choice, in American Fork. Jenkins has asked asked 4th District Judge Darold J. McDade to stay his order dismissing their adoption petition. He also asked that the couple be allowed to disregard the judge's order to prepare the little girl, now 21-months old, to be returned to her father by mid-January. That is the usual order of
business in cases like this--delay, delay, delay, and then claim the "best interests of the child" is to remain with the very people who have caused the delay. The sleazy way this "adoption" was handled reminded me of what I, as an attorney, encountered when I managed a State of Oregon agency which regulated the sale of securities.

BLINDERS WHEN IT COMES TO REGULATION IN UTAH
It was axiomatic that Utah was the sewer pit of the business, allowing slimy dealers to sell worthless stock to naive investors all over the country. Like its adoption laws, Utah securities laws were tilted in favor of con-artists. Regulators hemmed and hawed about why they didn't go after crooks. "Utah folks," they explained were faithful Mormons for the most part "so they just trusted people when they shouldn't have."

Those responsible for licensing adoption agencies in Utah seem to have the same blinders, letting the industry they're supposed to regulate run go amok, ignoring the real human suffering that results.

Otherwise why would the Adoption Center of Choice (Adoption Center) place a newborn infant for adoption--in spite of the fact that her father was married to her mother, had not given his consent, and in fact did not know about the adoption until three months after it occurred. Why should a shady operation like this still be in business? And why is A (sic) Act of Love the agency which screwed John Wyatt and other fathers out of their children still around? A (sic) Act of Love was well on its way to keeping Ramsay Shaud from his daughter, except for a brave decision by the Utah Supreme Court last week.

Thanks to Brooke Adams of The Salt Lake Tribune*, we have a close up look at the Adoption Center, and it ain't pretty.

ADOPTION CENTER HAS MANY PROBLEMS
The Utah Department of Health and Human Services did not renew the Adoption Center's license in September "because of documented deficiencies in some cases." However, it allowed the Adoption Center to operate under a "corrective action plan" since. The allowance expires at the end of December, the deadline for the agency to come into compliance. We hope the agency in fact, is shut down for their shoddy practices. Other little known facts about Adoption Center:
  • Since the Adoption Center was founded  in 1994, at least five other fathers have sued to get their children back. They lost because of Utah's strict time limits for unmarried fathers to assert their rights, the small window of opportunity the state allows, as well as the difficulty in registering as a father-to-be.
  • The Center refused to return Achane's child when it learned that he had not given his consent, forcing him to take legal action and leaving the child in limbo (and with the prospective adopters who knew he wanted his child) for a year and a half.
  •  In 2005, it incorporated as a "non-profit" corporation. James C. Webb is the only director and officer. (Non-profit means it has no shareholders.)
  • The Adoption Center appears to be plenty profitable. It charges between $22,000 and $30,000 for each of the 100 adoptions it completes each year bringing in between $2,200,000 and $3,000,000.  It likely also rakes in money for application fees and home studies. According to our sources, it charges more for white infants than mixed race or African-American babies.
  • It required the adoptive parents in this case, Jared and Kristi Frei, to pay a $9,800 marketing fee to Blue Sky Choice Marketing which James Webb founded and operates. (The name Blue Sky is ironic. State laws regulating the sale of securities were dubbed "Blue Sky" laws because purchasers often received only a piece of the "blue sky.")
  •  The Adoption Center has done business under eight other names, just as securities con-artists often use multiple names.
  •  The Adoption Center was featured on an hour-long special on TLC called "Birth Moms" that chronicled three unwed pregnant women who were living in homes provided by the center and struggling with their decision to pursue adoption.
  • The Adoption Center's attorney is Larry Jenkins who also represents A [sic] Act of Love in its "screw the father" cases.
______________________________________
Unwed Utah 'Birth Moms" star on TLC

And for a timeline of fathers contesting adoptions in Utah, here is a timeline from the Tribune (it is amazing reading):

http://local.sltrib.com/timeline/display.php?id=6

From FMF:
Utah court voids adoption, orders girl returned to her father
Adoption in Utah: No place for birth fathers
Utah to Birth Fathers: Go Back to the Grave!

Out of the Shadows: Birthfathers' Stories by Mason, Mary Martin 
"As a birthfather who lost his children in a closed adoption 25 years ago I found Mason's book to be a breath of fresh air. Birthfathers are the invisible and often unwelcome members in the triad world and this book shows that we are parents who can love and care deeply for the children we have lost. I have become active in triad issues since my reunion with my son and daughter a year ago and this book has helped me keep going when faced with the sometimes daunting birthmother-centered focus in our corner of the triad." --Amazon (Order at the title link)

The Dark Side of Adoption "...challenges the commonly held idea that adoption is a winning solution for everyone...this book is to be recommended as one of the few available which balances the more usual happy-ending adoption stories with a birthparent's reality...it is recommended for those who prefer the truth, even if unpleasant, to unquestioned adoption mythology." -- RESOLVE newsletter

14 comments :

  1. These people sound far too much like Seymour Kurtz, Easter House and their network of agencies. For shame on them all.

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  2. Larry Jenkins needs to be disbarred and the "Adoption Center of Choice" needs to be shut down and the operators prosecuted for child trafficking and kidnapping.

    -Mara

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  3. Adoption Center of Choice charges around $16,500 in fees for a full African American child (I believe the Fries said they paid 25K) and a child is only "mixed race" if half of the race is African America. If not, the child is going to cost as much as a full Caucasian child. Not only is this agency immoral and law breaking, they're incredibly racist. And those fees listed are nothing. I've seen fees for a full Caucasian child start at 45K. Anyone can file a complaint against their license by contact the Department of Licensing in Utah.

    This case was discussed on The View yesterday and I hope it gets further national attention. Maybe some good old fashioned public shaming will get the Freis to do the right thing.

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  4. Lisa: And anyone can watch yesterday's View at http://abc.go.com/watch/the-view/167365

    I'm saving it for later. Thanks for you comments.

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  5. Don't forget that James Webb is reportedly a former or current?) business partner of the notorious Jennalee Ryan aka Jennifer Potter, of the now-defunct Abraham's Center of Life made-to-order, mail-order embryo factory (shut down by the Feds) and the equally-troubling A Aabagail's Silver Spoon Adoptions entity, which likewise should be shut down by authorities!?! Her daughter Lisa works for her also, and was apparently living in Texas at the time that Teleah and her mom were whisked out-of-state by ACoC, so one can only wonder if Jennalee played some part in this horrific debacle?

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  6. The details of this case are beyond belief. The father never relinquished or surrendered any of his parental rights at any time. The Freis knew this all along, and obviously feel that they will prevail in a court regardless.

    The father says he married to have a family and always wanted to parent Taleah. He has been trying to spend time with his daughter since he found the family when Taleah was a few months old and these attempts have been consistently thwarted by the Freis.

    The Freis continue to lie about this and defame the father, while Utah law apparently looks the other way. It is like a twilight zone. I had no idea things were so lawless out there.

    What people would be so nasty? The Freis are immoral people in a lawless state. Did Utah secede and we not know about it?

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  7. Utah is the new Tennessee.

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  8. The Freis have already lost, and if they were not delusional they would know that. They are only hurting Taleah and her father more by dragging this thing out. But what's new? It has happened before.

    Tira Bland says she found An Adoption Center of Choice by watching a MTV (though it was probably "BIrth Moms" which was on TLC) reality show:
    "She had heard of the Adoption Center of Choice, then based in Orem, from a television program on MTV about pregnant teenagers."

    http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/55422492-78/bland-achane-adoption-child.html.csp

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  9. The best part of the policy typical of far too many agencies in Utah:

    Bland found a telephone number for the agency online and contacted them on Feb. 9, 2011. The agency arranged for Bland to travel to Utah to give birth.

    This is supposedly a non-profit by the regulations of Utah, though not the federal government. You think there was no agency in or around, Fort Hood, Texas that might have handled the adoption? You think? Or was it a agency in Utah that knew there was money to be made if they could get their hands on product, that is, a newborn?

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  10. If you don't know - Anderson Cooper 360 picked up this story!!!

    It is getting national attention now!!

    Saw it on my Facebook.

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  11. While Utah's policies and the adoptive parents who take advantage of them have been justly criticized on this blog, I don't think enough attention has been paid to the bio mothers. It appears that in many cases (and certainly this case) the bio mothers are using the Utah adoption laws to deprive the bio fathers (and in this case legal father) of their right to parent. Presumably out of spite.

    There are many nasty people in this case but the nastiest of all is Bland.

    Similarly, behind every unscrupulous lawyer is an equally or more unscrupulous client.

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  12. While Utah's policies and the adoptive parents who take advantage of them have been justly criticized on this blog, I don't think enough attention has been paid to the bio mothers. It appears that in many cases (and certainly this case) the bio mothers are using the Utah adoption laws to deprive the bio fathers (and in this case legal father) of their right to parent. Presumably out of spite.

    There are many nasty people in this case but the nastiest of all is Bland.

    Similarly, behind every unscrupulous lawyer is an equally or more unscrupulous client.

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  13. fyi,
    It just came to my attention that Jared Frei is an attorney! (Robin pointed that out on my blog) I did some research. He works for Xango, a 9-level multi-level marketing company that sells wellness products. Company has been issued a warning by the FDA for making false health claims. American Cancer Society condemned its claims that it could treat cancer!!!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XanGo
    http://www.xango.com/

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  14. Thanks Megan, that is most interesting and adds to the story.

    ReplyDelete

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