Posts Tagged ‘disrupted adoption’


Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Today I’m going to post links to several articles about adoption you may have missed–or not, depending on your level of engagement with the subject. First, from Good Housekeeping about a disrupted adoption. Here’s how I introduced the article when I posted the link on Facebook:

An article at Good Housekeeping about a former attorney, Stacey Conner, and her husband, who adopted a 5-year-old boy, J, from Haiti in 2006 and disrupted the adoption 8 months later. As expected, the story is complicated, and elicited more than 6,000 comments on the GH site. As I read the piece, I remember the words of the adoptive dad in the PBS documentary, “Girl, Adopted,” who said, “I used to think love was enough. Now I know better. Adoption is not for everyone.” Or words to that effect. No judgment from me on Stacey Conner and her situation, just hope and prayers that seven years later, the little boy J and his families, permanent and temporary, have found peace.

Also, the Joplin (Missouri) Globe reports that Encarnacion Bail Romero will appeal her adoption case to the Supreme Court:

The U.S. Supreme Court is being asked to hear an appeal on behalf of a Guatemalan woman seeking to overturn the adoption of her biological child by a Carthage couple.

Attorneys for Encarnacion Romero filed the request on Monday. The action represents the court of last resort, after the Missouri Supreme Court late last year refused to hear the woman’s appeal. That action unsuccessfully challenged a Missouri Court of Appeals ruling that terminated her parental rights.

“We’ve asked, but that doesn’t mean that they’ll take it,” said Joplin lawyer Bill Fleischaker, one of several volunteer attorneys representing the biological mother. “They hear very few of the cases filed,” he said.

According to information on the Supreme Court’s website, about 10,000 cases are filed annually, and fewer than 80 — less than 1 percent — are accepted for hearings by the court.

Joe Hensley, attorney for adoptive parents Seth and Melinda Moser, said he was notified Monday of the filing. The Mosers have been caring for the child — now 7 — since he was about a year old. Hensley said he has not yet met with the Mosers to discuss a response, noting that he, until Monday, was uncertain if an appeal would be filed. “But nothing surprises me about this case anymore,” he said.


Romero was arrested in May 2007 in an immigration raid while she was working at a Barry County poultry processing plant. She left the child with her brother, who turned him over to a sister. She then left the baby with a Carthage couple who agreed to the adoption by the Mosers.

The mother’s parental rights were terminated based on arguments that the child had been abandoned because the mother made no attempt to provide for the boy during the two years when she was in jail, even though she had the means to do so. The court also found that the mother left the child in the hospital after giving birth, that she failed to keep doctor appointments or obtain baby formula or other help available for the child, and that she made no arrangements to ensure that the infant would be cared for in case she was arrested.

IMMIGRANTS WHO ARE IN THE U.S. without proper documentation and are jailed in violation of immigration law normally are deported, but Encarnacion Romero has been allowed to stay in the country while her case is being appealed.

In Foreign Adoptions by Americans Decline Sharply, David Crary of the Associated Press reports that calendar year 2013 reported the lowest number of international adoptions to the US since 1992, for a total of 7,074. Everyone agrees that reform was needed, no question. But instead of repairing systems, the implementation of the Hague seems simply to have shut them down.

Finally, a program at UCLA to help families with children adopted internationally, called the International Adoption and Travel Clinic. With adoptions sharply declining, I wonder about the clinic’s timing, but better late than never, I suppose. Friends report other clinics in Philadelphia, the Children’s Hospital International Adoption Clinic in Oakland, California (Dr. Nancy Curtis), and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital (Dr. Mary Staat).

That’s it for now.


The tragedy of Hana Williams and failed adoptions

Monday, October 7th, 2013

David Crary’s AP article, Failed adoptions stir outrage; reforms are elusive tells the story of the tragic death of a girl adopted from Ethiopia, and the measures that must be put into place to prevent such tragedies from happening again. Eleven years into being an adoptive parent myself, I suggest my number one rule: “Not everyone should adopt children. Not everyone is capable of managing the complexity and challenges of adoption, and it’s naïve to believe everyone is.” The PBS film, “Girl, Adopted” addresses this issue brilliantly, and if you haven’t yet seen it (link below on the previous entry), please take the time to watch. The family involved is an inspiration, but they struggle.

Perhaps no one ever can be adequately prepared for the rigors of parenthood; moreover, perhaps no one truly focused on that goal ever can be effectively dissuaded from achieving it. Nevertheless, prospective adoptive parents, particularly those adopting older children who have endured institutional or foster care, must be informed of the challenges they will face, guaranteed.

Articles such as this one by David Crary are a step in the right direction.


Joyce Maynard writes about adoption

Friday, April 6th, 2012

This week, writer Joyce Maynard publicly announced the disruption of her adoption of two girls from Ethiopia in a letter posted on her website. No doubt many people have an opinion on disrupted adoption in general, and this one in particular. As a person who knows Joyce as a teacher, mentor, and friend, I urge you to read her letter.

I also urge you to read KJ Dell’Antonia’s thoughtful analysis of Joyce’s announcement in the New York Times Motherlode essay, Joyce Maynard Announces Failure of Her Adoptive Family. Here’s an excerpt:

Adopting a child — a small, confused person with an identity and a sense of herself as a part of a family or a community that isn’t yours — isn’t simple. No matter how good the intentions are on all sides to become a family, it doesn’t always work — and “doesn’t always” is more often than you think.

Some experts estimate that as many as one in five adoptions of children over the age of 6 end in disruption, for complex reasons. A newly adopted child is apart from everything she’s ever known. She’s without any firm touchstone from her past, and her future is nothing but a promise — a promise of “forever” and “family” from someone who’s taken her from a life she never truly realized was anything but forever itself.

This is a truly difficult dynamic to surf… I know that I couldn’t really apprehend what had been taken from our daughter until she became our daughter. As convinced as I was that I understood what we were both getting into, I really had no understanding of how hard it would be for us to come from our different places and fall in love. There were moments when I thought it would never happen.


[Joyce] is sure to be the subject of … criticism… But I suspect very little of it will come from those who have a bone-deep understanding of the complexities of adoption, or how difficult it can be to blend a family from the mixture of emotions and motivations and intentions and actions that we all bring to our little tables. When adoption is successful, it is at best a phoenix: it rises from the ashes of a tragedy. It is never the life we hope for when a baby is born. When it works, it’s wonderful.


In February 2011, after the highly publicized case involving adoptive mother Torrey Hansen and the 7-year-old boy she sent home to Russia, I posted about the difficulties faced by some adoptive families, stressing the importance of finding a community and asking for help. I reiterate that here. As an adoptive parent, I have faced, and continue to face, challenges I never imagined, never could have imagined. From my conversations with other adoptive parents, I know I’m not alone.

I’ll end here with a line from Joyce’s letter: “Until I walk in someone else’s shoes, I try not to suppose I know her story.”

Wishing peace to all. ~


Friday before Spring Break

Friday, April 8th, 2011

Today’s the Friday before Spring Break begins, which means this morning the kids got out of bed a little more enthusiastically than usual. There’s nothing like the prospect of no school to make an early wake-up call more bearable.

For the next few days, I hope to sleep in late, too, although for me “late” means 7 a.m. That’s probably a function of age, or perhaps it’s just a sign that, yes, I am indeed turning into my mother. And Mom, if you’re reading this, there’s no one else I would rather turn into. Really~ xoxoxo

But before I pick up Mateo from kindergarten and vacation officially begins, I’m posting links to a few interesting articles. This story from NPR’s All Things Considered, Fewer Russian Adoptions Since Mom Sent Son Back, follows up last year’s story of Torry Hansen, the nurse from Tennessee who

 ”put the international adoption world into an uproar when she sent her newly adopted 7-year-old back to Moscow on a one-way trip. Fearful of her son, Torry Hansen said she put him on a plane because he threatened to burn down the house and had psychological issues.”

I think the international adoption world’s reaction to the article indicates how atypical Hansen’s behavior was. Clearly she had reached a point where she could no longer cope. My hope is that Hansen’s action may lead to increased counseling and assistance for adoptive parents– before, during, and especially after the adoption process. The February 2011 Good Housekeeping article by Melissa Fay Greene on the effects of long-term foster or institutional care on relinquished or abandoned children is a step in the right direction. For anyone specifically interested in adoption from Russia, the NPR article includes links to past NPR coverage of the subject.

Also interesting is this article by Kara Andrade in the spring/summer edition of ReVista: Harvard Review of Latin America, Citizen Media: Mobile Democracy, about the ways cell phone use is transforming Guatemala. Cell phone use has allowed us to maintain contact with our daughter’s birth family in a remote area of the country, one small example of the way access to a “larger world” –a nearby village, the capital city, or the United States–is expanding the experiences of many Guatemalans.

Finally, People magazine reports that Mariska Hargitay and her husband have adopted a baby girl, Amaya Josephine, born in the United States. Wonderful news!

Spring Break is off to a great start.