Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Here is the AP's lastest news on the gay adoption ban out of Florida. Fortunately they will appeal this ruling. This case is based upon an older brother (gay) raising his two younger brothers. He should be allowed to raise those brothers if he is capable. Its sad that in our society that we are judged on stupid myths. Just like adoption as a whole.

Here is the story:

MIAMI (AP) — A Miami judge has struck a blow against a Florida law banning adoptions of children by gay people.

Miami Dade Circuit Judge Cindy Lederman ruled Tuesday there was "no rational basis" for prohibiting gays from adopting children.

The ruling will allow 47-year-old Martin Gill to adopt two young brothers he has cared for as foster children since 2004.

Florida has one of the strictest bans on gay adoptions in the country. A judge in Key West ruled in September that the ban was unconstitutional, but that ruling has had limited legal impact.

Attorneys for the state said they would appeal Lederman's ruling. The appeal will ultimately decide what happens to the state ban in place since 1977.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


This is just another indication of needed reform. We need to think about what we are doing to the children of the world. Will it ever change? I just don't have that hope any longer. It is always the same thing, same story, and same old hurt with no changes.

Here is the link and the story.
To save adopted girl, U.S. couple gives her up
GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — Jennifer and Todd Hemsley had to give up their child to save her.

Like thousands of other would-be parents, the California couple made a $15,500 down payment to a U.S. agency that guaranteed quick, hassle-free adoptions of Guatemalan babies. And like the others, they were caught in a bureaucratic limbo after Guatemala began cracking down on systemic fraud last year.

Many Americans with pending adoptions lobbied hard for quick approval of their cases, trying to bypass a new system designed to prevent identity fraud and the sale or even theft of children to feed Guatemala's $100 million adoption business.

But Jennifer Hemsley did what Guatemala's new National Adoptions Council says no other American has done this year: She refused to look the other way when she suspected her would-be daughter's identity and DNA samples were faked.

She halted the adoption of Maria Eugenia Cua Yax, whom the couple named Hazel. And she stayed in Guatemala for months, spending thousands of dollars, until she could safely deliver the girl into state custody.

Her decision could mean the Hemsleys — Jennifer is a freelance designer and Todd creates visual effects in the film industry — may never be able to adopt the little girl they nicknamed "la boca," or mouth in Spanish, in honor of her outsized spirit.

"It's so crazy. None of this makes any sense," Hemsley told The Associated Press. "I miss her deeply. There are no words."

But she says it was the only thing she could have done, morally.

"It wasn't even a choice. We did what I hope any parent would do: put their child first."

The Hemsleys say they had many reasons for suspicion. But the final straw was a doctor's statement that said DNA samples were taken from the baby and birth mother on a date when Hazel was with Jennifer Hemsley. She said her Guatemalan attorney told her, "Don't worry about it, you want the adoption to go through, don't you?"

If all it takes is a doctor's signature to hide a switch in DNA, it would challenge the bedrock evidence on which the U.S. Embassy has depended to guarantee the legitimacy of thousands of Guatemalan adoptions over the past 10 years. Doctors' statements are routinely accepted on faith by the U.S. Embassy, Guatemalan authorities and adoptive American parents.

Neither country has the appetite for challenging already-approved adoptions. But Hemsley says anyone who has doubts about an adopted baby's true identity should know that the Guatemalan DNA evidence might be worthless.

Guatemala's quick adoptions made the nation of 13 million the world's second largest source of babies to the U.S. after China. But last year the industry was closed down, starting with an August 2007 raid on what had been considered one of the country's most reputable adoption agencies.

Voluminous fraud has been exposed since then — false paperwork, fake birth certificates, women coerced into giving up their children and even baby theft. At least 25 cases resulted in criminal charges against doctors, lawyers, mothers and civil registrars.

Thousands of adoptions, including that of the Hemsleys, were put on hold until this year, when the newly formed National Adoptions Council began requiring birth mothers to personally verify they still wanted to give up their children. Of 3,032 pending cases, nearly 1,000 were dismissed because no birth mother showed up.

Prosecutors suspect many of the babies in these cases never existed — that Guatemalan baby brokers registered false identities with the council in hopes of matching them later to babies obtained through fraud.

Understaffed and with few resources, the adoptions council ruled out new DNA tests as too costly and time-consuming. All but a few hundred cases have been pushed through in the months since.

"The ramifications are immense," Hemsley said. "How many children adopted by U.S. families may have had DNA falsifications such as this, and the U.S. adopting family is unknowing of the fraud?"

Prompted by the Hemsleys, Guatemalan investigators are trying to determine Hazel's true identity and have opened a criminal investigation into the people who vouched for her paperwork — from the U.S. adoption agency to Guatemalan notaries, foster parents, a doctor and the laboratory that said it collected the girl's DNA.

Jaime Tecu, a former prosecutor who now leads investigations for the adoptions council, praised Jennifer Hemsley.

"This makes me believe that there are people who still hold ethical values," he said. "She could have easily ignored her suspicions and gone ahead with the paperwork; instead she decided to risk the adoption to do what she believes was right."

In an earlier case of switched DNA, Esther Sulamita, a girl stolen at gunpoint and given a false identity, was recognized and recovered by her birth mother in July just before an unknowing Indiana couple could adopt her.

Dr. Aida Gutierrez handled the DNA for both Hazel and Esther Sulamita. Now under investigation for allegedly forging birth documents, she told prosecutors she followed established procedures. She refused an interview, saying the embassy prohibited her from talking with the media, a claim the embassy denies.

The problem could be solved by improving the chain of custody over DNA evidence — for example, by requiring new mother-and-child saliva samples taken under the supervision of a government authority that would send it directly to U.S. labs for testing.

But the embassy still says it must depend on the ethics of the Guatemalan doctors involved. The adoptions council president, Elizabeth de Larios, says more DNA tests would mean more costs and "more and more months of being away from loving families" for the babies in question.

Guatemala's old, fraud-plagued adoption industry was still going full speed in June 2007 when the Hemsleys first held the 4-month-old girl.

"It was magical and a gift, and a feeling beyond description," Jennifer Hemsley said.

But even before their case was turned over to the adoptions council, the Hemsleys were suspicious. The supposed birth mother disappeared after a brief meeting where she "had no visible reaction at all to the child," Hemsley said.

Medical reports seemed obvious forgeries, without letterhead or doctor's signature. And during a critical hearing, Hemsley said, her Guatemalan advisers tried to pay a stranger to pose as Hazel's foster mother.

"Todd and I felt a lot like, 'Gee, is this really happening?' Maybe we should just look the other way and keep plodding along, because every time I tried to tell someone, nobody cared," Hemsley said. "I couldn't look the other way. I just couldn't turn my head."

Ricardo Ordonez, the Hemsleys' adoption attorney, denied any fraud and vowed to clear his name by producing the birth mother for new DNA tests. Another court hearing is pending.

If the Hemsleys had walked away, as hundreds of other Americans did after problems surfaced, Hazel would likely have been abandoned or reoffered for adoption under another false identity, Tecu said. Instead, Jennifer Hemsley stayed with Hazel for months, draining more than $70,000 from a second mortgage on their home and paying for a trusted nanny.

"She was a real take-charge little girl," Hemsley said. "We had a little walker for her and she's just a real daredevil. She always let you know what she wanted."

Finally, as a colleague of Ordonez threatened to take the girl away, she asked the adoptions council for a "rescue."

The new rules require authorities to consider Guatemalan citizens before Americans, and several dozen Guatemalan couples are in line ahead of the Hemsleys. But they aren't giving up yet.

Jennifer Hemsley returned this month to Guatemala City, where she briefly held Hazel — now more than 19 months old — at a crowded orphanage. She emerged devastated.

Crying and shaking, she said Hazel had open sores on her face and a cut on her head. Within hours, she managed to persuade authorities to transfer the girl to a better nursery while the case is resolved.

"I think about her every day," Hemsley said. "It's horrifying on many levels. It's horrifying for Guatemalan women who may have missing children ... It's horrifying for adoptive families in the U.S. My parents are devastated over this. This affects our whole entire family, our friends, our neighbors."

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


This article came out today. I am stunned at the lack of compassion on the part of legislators for abandoned child. Some of these children have been abandoned by their adoptive parents. No one wants to provide support for families in need of any kind. Whether it be the families of origin or adoption. I hope that they get it right.

Here is the link and the story:

LINCOLN -- The Legislature was to begin first-round debate this morning on amending the safe haven law, but with a 30-day age limit instead of the original 3-day limit.
The Legislature’s Judiciary Committee on Monday afternoon heard nearly four hours of testimony -- from child welfare experts, hospital officials, parents, a former foster child and a Department of Health and Human Services official -- on two bills that would amend the law. Afterward, the committee voted 7-1 to advance the amended version of LB1, introduced by Speaker Mike Flood on behalf of Gov. Dave Heineman.

Omaha Sen. Ernie Chambers argued on behalf of sending the original bill to the floor for debate, even though he doesn’t believe in safe haven bills, and doesn’t believe services are attainable for older children.

“The die is cast, the skids are greased,” he said. “You can get in the way of the train if you want to, but you’re not going to stop it. The only train that’s going to make it to the station is LB1.”

The committee expects the bill will be subjected to a number of amendments once it gets to the floor. Lincoln Sen. Bill Avery has already filed an amendment to change the age limit of the safe haven bill to 1 year.

A motion to repeal the law, to stop dropoffs of older children and to give state senators time in the regular session to deal with the issues that have surfaced is also an option, said Lincoln Sen. DiAnna Schimek, a member of the committee.

“If the question of the (age limit) puts us in knots, (repeal) might be the solution,” she said.

The committee heard from 21 people. Only a couple agreed a 3-day age limit was the answer in this special session.

Even though they knew the Legislature most likely couldn’t deal with anything but the age limit, most wanted to have their say about the problems the law had uncovered with services for older children. Thirty-four children �” none of them younger than a year old -- have been dropped off at Nebraska hospitals since the law went into effect.

Among those who spoke was Peter Meyer, who told a chilling story about his family’s experience with HHS in the 1990s and his parents attempts to get help for the troubled children they had adopted.

In the end, it destroyed his family, he said, and he believes it led to the untimely death of his mother in July.

His mother, an attorney, and his father, a doctor, brought four children into their family, beginning when Meyer was 7. Two of them had severe problems.

“The Department of Health and Human Services failed to inform my parents about the psychological condition of the children who were being adopted into our home,” Meyer said.

It became evident not long after they came to live there the children were seriously disturbed, with attachment disorders that made them incapable of forming relationships, he said.

His parents took them to many counselors. When it became clear the parents were in over their head, they wanted the children removed and placed elsewhere. HHS said if they tried that, they would be accused of child abuse and in danger of losing their biological children.

The behavior crushed the family, he said, and in the end the pressure caused his father to leave. His mother postponed surgery after surgery needed for the rheumatoid arthritis she’d had since childhood, searching for help for the children, which she never found.

“It’s really upsetting to know that a law like this with no age limit could have helped my family,” he said.

“It could have saved my family. It could have saved my mom.”

Senators also heard from the other side: a 28-year-old man who was abandoned as a boy by his mother. Scott Wosterel, now a University of Nebraska-Lincoln student, and his brothers were taken from their family when he was 9 and once in foster care moved around 15 times. Eventually he went back to his mother, but she sent him away again.

“My heart was shut down by abandonment,” he said. “It leaves a scar on a person’s life.”

Even if a parent says she loves her child as she leaves him, a child is smart enough to figure out that’s not the case, he said.

Some who testified expressed distrust that if the Legislature does not deal with older children in the special session, they will be forgotten later on.

If the pressure is taken off, said Voices for Children in Nebraska director Kathy Bigsby Moore, “I am fearful we will not see the true solution we need to see.”

Topher Hansen, representing the Behavioral Health Coalition, said the state was operating under a system dominated by cost, not care.

“We’re whittled down, and now we’re into bone,” he said.

But Judiciary Chairman Brad Ashford of Omaha told providers they must work together, come up with a plan and bring it to the Legislature by the regular session.

“You’re the experts,” he said.

Todd Landry, director of HHS division of children and family services, underwent some tough questioning from senators.

Although HHS repeatedly said none of the children dropped off at hospitals were in immediate danger of being harmed, some had threatened suicide, Omaha Sen. Steve Lathrop said.

But Landry said that didn’t mean they were actively suicidal at the time.

Only three of the 29 children still in the state’s care had serious enough problems to be placed in higher-level treatment, he said. All others are in foster homes, with relatives or in shelters.

Lincoln Sen. Amanda McGill said she was disturbed by some of the judgmental statements made by Landry about parents who used the law, and that he had not personally contacted them when they called him. He found time, she said, to personally contact members of the media.

Landry said it was not the role of government to intervene in a family’s life.

In the end, he said HHS has always tried to be as open and transparent as it can be.

“All I’m asking you to do is step it up with us in the next six to eight weeks,” Ashford said, asking for his help to solve the problems of the families who need services.


This report came out of the Associated Press. Many want to gloom and doom this but it is really a reflection on the economy just as an increase in abortions would be more of reflection on the economy than anything to do with adoption or people in general.

I think this decrease clearly represents the economy. I think adoptive parents now are starting to ask questions. More and more adoptive parents are wanting transparency in their adoptions. Adoptive parents are also wanting to be sure that their adopted child is actually an orphan compared to be trafficked.

St. Elizabeth/Coleman is now doing international homestudies. So I am sure this decline affects them.

Here is the story and the link.

Foreign adoptions by Americans drop sharply

4:32 p.m. November 17, 2008

Graphic shows international adoptions to the U.S. since 1998; includes leading countries; two sizes; - AP

— The number of foreign children adopted by Americans fell 12 percent in the past year, reaching the lowest level since 1999 as some countries clamped down on the process and others battled with allegations of adoption fraud.

China, which for a decade was the leading source for international adoptions, accounted for the biggest decline and dropped out of the top spot. It was replaced by Guatemala, which almost certainly will lose that status in 2009 because of a corruption-related moratorium on new adoptions imposed by U.S. officials.

Figures for the 2008 fiscal year, released by the State Department on Monday, showed 17,438 adoptions from abroad, down from 19,613 in 2007. The all-time peak was 22,884 in 2004.

Reasons for the decline vary from country to country. China and Russia _ the two largest sources of adoptees over the past 15 years _ have sought to care for more of their abandoned and orphaned children at home, and China has imposed tighter restrictions on foreign applicants.

The numbers were sobering to advocates of international adoption, who expect the drop to continue for 2009 as Guatemala struggles to rein in its formerly freewheeling adoption industry.

"There are still tens of millions of orphans around the world _ and we know there are millions of Americans willing to adopt these kids," said Chuck Johnson, chief operating officer of the National Council for Adoption. "Countries are very reluctant to let go of what they consider their future, even though they'll readily acknowledge the future for these kids is not promising."

By far the biggest drop was for adoptions from China, which fell to 3,909 from 5,453 in 2007 and a peak of 7,906 in 2005. Among the factors: a rise in domestic adoptions as China prospers and tighter restrictions on foreign adoptions that exclude single people, older couples, the obese and those with financial or health problems.

As a result, waiting times to complete an adoption from China have increased in many cases to three or four years, a deterrent to many aspiring adoptive parents. China offers a faster timetable for foreigners willing to adopt children with physical or emotional disabilities.

Adoptions from Guatemala also declined in the past year, from 4,728 to 4,123, and the number is projected to be sharply lower for 2009. Guatemalan officials are trying to replace an old system, which allowed abuses ranging from fraud to child snatching, with stringent new practices conforming with the Hague Convention, an international adoption treaty.

Other countries from which adoptions declined significantly included Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan and India.

The biggest increase was in adoptions from Ethiopia _ they rose from 1,255 to 1,725, moving the Horn of Africa nation into fourth place on the State Department's list, just behind Russia. No other African country provided more than 250 adoptees last year, although the continent is viewed as one of the few potential growth regions for international adoption.

Thomas DiFilipo, president of the Joint Council on International Children's Services, predicted overall numbers would drop even more sharply for 2009, to as low as 10,000 to 12,000 foreign adoptions, as China continues its cutback and adoptions from Guatemala and Vietnam diminish.

There were 751 adoptions from Vietnam in fiscal 2008, but the U.S.-Vietnam adoption agreement expired on Sept. 1 as the two countries argued about fraud and corruption in the system. Hundreds of American families seeking to adopt from Vietnam were left in limbo.

DiFilipo said he doubted any foreign country would ever replace China as the source of 7,000 or even 5,000 adoptees per year. He predicted instead that far smaller numbers of adoptees would be comimg from a pool of perhaps 40 or 50 countries, including an increasing share from Africa and Latin America.

DiFilipo said the drop-off in foreign adoptions has been devastating to many U.S.-based agencies which specialize in them _ forcing closures or mergers. He predicted that the number of direct-service agencies with programs abroad would drop to fewer than 100 by the end of 2009, a third of the peak a few years ago.

"It's a rough time for the agencies," said Joshua Zhong, president of Colorado-based Chinese Children Adoption International. "It is more difficult for the families. They feel they're waiting forever; they're very discouraged."

Zhong said his agency _ one of the largest in the U.S. that specializes in adoptions from China _ expects to place 450 children by the end of the year, down from about 1,200 in 2005. The average waiting time for his clients has stretched from 12 months to three years, he said.

One byproduct of the decline in foreign adoptions is likely to be an intensified campaign to persuade adoptive parents to take children from the U.S. foster care system. Roughly 125,000 youths in the system are available for adoption, including a disproportionately large number of racial minorities.

"We're urging families to think about these kids," said Chuck Johnson. "We have a lot of work to do."


State Dept. data: http://adoption.state.gov/adoption.homepage.html

(This version CORRECTS graphic slug.)


Some days I really get sick and tired of adoption. It really just pisses me off at the ridiculous attitudes of society. There was the call out for help by Bastard Nation yesterday and the day before. I sent my email in to the legislators in Nebraska or whatever state is called for action upon. I have done this faithfully for years and years.

Here is my email that I sent the legislators in Nebraska:

I am writing to you to stop these laws. These laws encourage irresponsibility. We must as a society start treating the natural parents and children better and with more respect. These types of laws continue the shaming of women who are pregnant. These laws also deny due process to both natural parents. These laws violate the Hague Convention on the Rights of the Child. The child has the right to be raised by his/her natural parents. The child also has the right to his heritage or origins. These laws do not protect children. They make the child suffer for the decisions of their parents or other relatives. These laws were invented to circumvent adoptee access laws across the country. We owe it to the children to do things right by them.

Please end this safe haven business. Lets start with providing comprehensive sex education, providing contraception, teaching parenting classes in junior high and high school, and teach responsibility. We owe to the children of our country to get this right. The only way to do so is to eliminate safe haven laws.

Amy K. Burt

Here is the call to action by Bastard Nation:




Members of the Nebraska Legislature convened Monday, Nov. 14 for a Unicam special session to address Nebraska's disastrous safe haven law, LB157. This law allows any person to abandon any child up to the age of 19 to a state- designated safe haven. Since its passage last summer, this law has turned the safe-haven concept on its head. 34 children have been abandoned to state designated safe havens since Sept. 1st.

It is urgent that you contact the Unicam legislators at once because bills introduced on the opening day of the Unicam session, Nov. 14th, will be eligible for final passage as early as this Friday, Nov. 21st.

Bastard Nation calls for the immediate and PERMANENT repeal of LB 157. Furthermore, it calls for the defeat of LB 1, LB 3 and any other subsequent attempts by the Unicam to impose any baby dump/Baby Moses, safe haven bill on the people of Nebraska.

LB 1 and LB 3, two alternatives to LB157, were introduced on Nov. 14th. LB1 would change the safe haven law to apply to infants 72 hours or younger. LB 3 would create a 2-tiered system of "legal abandonment": one for infants up to one year of age; the other for children between the ages of 1 and 16. The second tier would also create regional and state "intervention teams" to assist families in abandonment crisis enabling them to access services and avoid abandoning their children if possible. There is no intervention team for infants and their moms.

Nebraska's experience proves that abandonment is unacceptable at any age. The legislature must concentrate on saving Nebraska families rather than saving only the infants, who by the way, are in high demand in the adoption world.


On July 8, 2008, Nebraska's LB 157 baby dump bill went into effect. Unlike other so-called "safe haven" laws which limit "legal abandonment" of children anywhere from birth up to the age of 1-year, this 47-word, 2-sentence law authorizes the "legal abandonment" of any child up to the age of 19 by any person. From September 1 to today, 34 children have been abandoned by their parents or guardians. These include a family of 9 children (age 1-17) left by their father and four dumpees brought in from out of state. At least another dozen unsuccessful attempts have been reported. These include two-self dump attempts: an 18-year old male in Grand Island living in a storage unit with his grandmother after he was kicked out of his home by his mother's boyfriend and a 16-year old high school honors student with her 10-month old baby. The young mom said her own mother physically abused her and stole her government assistance money.

The nightmare consequences of legal child abandonment have become a reality in Nebraska and have quickly spread its evil tentacles to other states. One woman rushed across the river from Iowa to dump her 14 year old daughter. A Georgia mother made speedy plans to drive to Nebraska to abandon her teen "before the Unicam had a chance to meet and change the bill."


Information links: http://cornkids.blogspot.com


Adams Greg

District 24


Aguilar Ray

District 35


Ashford Brad

District 20


Avery Bill

District 28


Burling Carroll

District 33


Carlson Tom

District 38


Christensen Mark

District 44


Cornett Abbie

District 45


Dierks Cap

District 40


Dubas Annette

District 34


Engel L. Patrick

District 17


Erdman Philip

District 47


Fischer Deb

District 43



District 19


Friend Mike

District 10


Fulton Tony

District 29


Gay Tim

District 14


Hansen Thomas

District 42


Harms John

District 48


Heidemann Lavon

District 1


Howard Gwen

District 9


Hudkins Carol

District 21


Janssen Ray

District 15


Johnson Joel

District 37


Karpisek Russ

District 32


Kopplin Gail

District 3


Kruse Lowen

District 13


Langemeier Chris

District 23


Lathrop Steve

District 12


Lautenbaugh Scott

District 18


Louden LeRoy

District 49


McDonald Vickie

District 41


McGill Amanda

District 26


Nantkes Danielle

District 46


Nelson John

District 6


Pahls Rich

District 31


Pankonin Dave

District 2


Pedersen Dwite

District 39


Pirsch Pete

District 4


Preister Don

District 5


Raikes Ron

District 25


Rogert Kent

District 16


Schimek DiAnna

District 27


Stuthman Arnie

District 22


Synowiecki John

District 7


Wallman Norman

District 30


White Tom

District 8



My responses from various legislators were the following:

Thank you for letting me know your thoughts about the Safe Haven law.

Clearly, there are consequences with the language that was included in the law. As a social worker for 34 years, I warned of these consequences when the age restriction was removed from the bill during debate. I have told my colleagues that we must do a better job of providing services to the struggling families who feel it necessary to resort to using the Safe Haven law. My top priority will always be the safety and well-being of every child in Nebraska.

During debate on this legislation, I supported an amendment that would have set the time limit at one year but that amendment fell two votes short of passage. The Legislature did decide to adopt language setting the safe haven limit at 30 days after birth which I ended up supporting. I am absolutely committed to addressing the availability of services to families of older children in crisis during the upcoming session in January. This experience has shown that we are not doing a very good job in helping families deal with older children with serious problems.

I appreciate your taking the time to write.


Gwen Howard
State Senator

Thank you for writing. The media attention to individual children is troubling, as we have to shut that off. However the need is real. People are hurting. The cost to the state, long term, can become huge.

I agree with those who say three days is too short a time and would guess most of us agree. It is good to see that the public understands that age is not the issue. We have parents/guardians in great distress, often at the end of their rope. Safe Haven gets a few in by the back door. We know they should be inside for services but we do not know how to help mentally ill or troubled children get in the front door to access services. Nor do other states. Either the state or the parent has to be in charge of a child and we do not know how to share that responsibility smoothly. So, much work is to be done.

By the way, the present law has no age limit, it says “child” which by law is interpreted to be 14 years and younger.

May we work together to help all our kids to become productive citizens.


Thank you for your compassionate reply.
Don Preister

Dear Amy:
Thank you for writing. We appreciate hearing as many views as possible. I do use the information I receive in weighing what we should do on any given issue.