|Nicole Eason "Big Momma"|
Five children went to live with Eason and her husband Calvin, a sixth with Eason and her live-in companion Randy Winslow during a time when she was separated from Calvin. Winslow, who went by the name "lovethemcute," was subsequently convicted of possessing child pornography.
If the frantic adoptive parents had investigated Eason, they would have learned that child welfare authorities had taken away both of the Nicole and Calvin's biological children because of abuse. Children by babysat accused Eason and Calvin of sexual abuse. Furthermore, a child drowned while in Nicole Eason's care.
Children placed with Eason lived in squalor and were forced to sleep in the same bed with her. Fortunately, the children didn't stay long at Eason's home. When the adoptive parents and others learned of the the abuse, the children were removed; most went to foster care. As soon as a child left, Eason went back on the Internet and obtained another.
'I WOULD HAVE GIVEN MY CHILD AWAY TO A SERIAL KILLER'
According to a series of well-documented articles by Megan Twohey of Reuters, the Easons are part of a
"The practice is called 'private re-homing,' a term typically used by owners seeking new homes for pets." Part of the allure of re-homing [for the receiving family] is that "the process is far cheaper than formal adoptions" which can cost tens of thousands of dollars. "Taking custody through re-homing often costs nothing. In fact, taking a child may enable the new family to claim a tax deduction and draw government benefits. The Easons view re-homing as a way around a prying government, and a way to take a child inexpensively."
No governmental agency has direct responsibility for scrutinizing these placements, although the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) requires parents to notify child welfare authorities if a child is to be transferred outside of the family to a new home in a different state. This allows child welfare authorities to investigate the new home. However, failure to notify authorities rarely results in any penalty.
BETWEEN 10-25 PERCENT OF DOMESTIC ADOPTIONS 'FAIL'
In analyzing 5,029 posts over a five-year period from a Yahoo group, Adopting-from-Disruption, Twohey found on average one child per week was advertised for re-homing. "Most of the children ranged in age from 6 to 14...the youngest was 10 months old." At least 70 percent had been adopted from abroad, mostly from Ethiopia, Russia, Ukraine, and China. After learning what was happening on its site, Yahoo shut it down. A similar forum on Facebook, Way Stations of Love, remains active, but viewing it is unavailable to non-members.
Many of the re-homed children have experienced severe abuse; often they are sent to multiple homes, passed along as one family after another finds they are too difficult to handle. The U.S. Government estimates that between 10 and 25 percent of domestic adoptions fail. No authority tracks what happens after a child is brought to America but experts say the percentage of failure could be higher for foreign adoptees which means that at least 24,000 of the 243,000 foreign adoptees in the U. S. are no longer living with the parents who brought them here.
The Whatcott's turned to the "underground network" and sent Inga to three different families. Inga says she was sexually molested in two of the homes. Nightlife Christian suggested the Whatcotts enlist the help of a therapist who had also adopted a Russian girls. The therapist took Inga into his home but the arrangement was temporary. The Whatcotts say the agency wouldn't provide any additional help. Inga was placed in a psychiatric hospital where she claimed she was molested by her therapist. Eventually Inga went to government-sanctioned foster homes. "Priscilla Whatcott spoke out about her experiences with her damaged Russian daughter and the perils faced by Americans who adopt from overseas. In Congressional testimony and media accounts, she couched the case as a consumer-rights issue: "Today, 16 years on, Whatcott still compares adopting Inga to buying 'a pig in a poke' or being sold a bill of goods.'"
Not all adoption disruption is underground. Author Joyce Maynard disrupted the adoption of two sisters she took from Ethiopia within a year after she adopted them, finding them a new home elsewhere. Blogger Anita Tedaldi terminated the adoption of her young son adopted from South America. Linda Carroll, the natural daughter of first mother and poet Paula Fox, and mother of singer Courtney Love, adopted a three year old African-American boy. They moved to New Zealand and rhree years later she placed the boy with a family in New Zealand. Carroll returned to the U.S. without the boy but he reunited with the Carroll family after he graduated from high school.
MORE REGULATION MAY HELP BUT IT'S NOT THE ANSWER
Oregon-based Holt International Children's Services, one of the oldest and largest foreign adoption agencies, responded quickly to the Reuters articles. "It is sickening and disheartening because abuses by a few can prevent many children from finding a place in the world with parents and siblings who love them" wrote Susan Soonkeum Cox, Holt's vice president for policy and external affairs in the Portland Oregonian.
Cox argues that increased regulation under the Intercountry Adoption Universal Accreditation Act of 2012 which will go into effect July 14, 2014 will "narrow the gap between unethical practitioners and competent professional service providers." We hope this is true but the fact remains that as long as there's money to be made corruption will continue.
As the supply of infants dries up in response to clamping down on trafficking, changing mores, and greater help to families, adoption agencies including Holt and New York-based Spence-Chapin are turning to older and disabled children. Couples enchanted by angelic pictures of children on adoption agencies websites may be quick to ignore warning about behavior problems. The Hague Convention which sets standards in countries which have agreed to its terms, require prospective adoptive parents to have only ten hours of training compared to state requirements of 30 hours for those who adopt out of foster care. And regardless of what the standards are, children ripped from everything familiar are likely to have trouble adjusting, and frustrated adoptive parents may continue to resort to re-homing, or worse, abuse the children.
Meanwhile, the 100,000 American children in foster care available for adoption continue to be overlooked by those seeking to adopt. These children are more likely to adjust to their adoptive families because they know English and American culture. Families who adopt from the American foster care system receive support from child welfare agencies including counseling, cash grants, medical care, training, and the like.-- jane
Americans use the Internet to abandon children adopted from overseas
Joyce Maynard announces failure of her adoptive family
Terminating an Adoption
Tough standards are essential to protect children
Holt International Adoption
Joyce Maynard's adoption "disruption"
Returning a Child: It happens More than You Think
Spence-Chapin out of the infant adoption business
The Child Catchers exposes the stench of international adoption--and domestic adoption too
Her Mother's Daughter: A Memoir of the Mother I Never Knew and of My Daughter, Courtney Love
"Carroll's memoir is far less tell-all than it is her personal recollections of growing up feeling alienated from her adoptive family, her peers, and her religion. Born with an inquisitive mind, Linda has trouble relating to her tightly wound adoptive mother, Louella, and her sexually abusive adoptive father, Jack. While her friendships with other girls are deep and stable, her relationships with men prove to be much more complicated. Carroll finds herself pregnant at 18 by a man she does not love, but she marries him and gives birth to a girl, Courtney. The marriage does not last, and Carroll spends the next decade in search of happiness, marrying twice again and going as far as New Zealand as her relationship with Courtney deteriorates. Years later, when Courtney is pregnant with her own child, Carroll finally seeks her own birth mother and is surprised to discover she is renowned writer Paula Fox. A thoughtful memoir of one woman's coming-of-age in the turbulent 1960s and 1970s."-- Kristine Huntley Copyright © American Library Association.
The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption
An important voice for adoption reform and should be read by those who shape adoption policy and those considering adopting from abroad or donating to an international adoption agency or foreign orphanage. It's laden with facts and figures, but is never dull. FMF highly recommends The Child Catchers.--jane
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