Friday, January 31, 2014

Armenian Adoption Adventure, Senator McCaskill meets with real life heroine of oscar nominated film "Philomena" discuss ways to unite Irish children seperated from their families via Adoptions

Senator McCaskill meets with real heroine of academy award nominated "Philomena" to
discuss ways to unit children stolen from Irish mothers for adoption to US Families

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill today met with Philomena Lee to discuss Irish adoption laws and Philomena’s work to reunite American children separated from their Irish families through forced adoption. The story of Philomena’s decades-long search for the son who was forcibly adopted and raised by a family in St. Louis, Mo., is the subject of a recent book and Oscar-nominated film.
“Philomena’s story is heart-wrenching, and she has one of the most just causes you could possibly have—the simple premise that if a child is taken from a mother against her will, there should be an easy way to reconnect with that child,” McCaskill said. “Unfortunately in Ireland, for many years there was a repugnant practice of children taken from their young mothers, put in a home, and when the child got a certain age, shipped off to America to new parents. I have a blended family of seven children. All of my husband’s children from his first marriage are adopted, and we are fortunate in that his oldest son has reconnected with his birthmother—we know and socialize with her, and they have a wonderful relationship. So I know firsthand how important it is to keep those doors open and to allow the transparency and availability of adoption records so that children and parents can have the opportunity to reunite when it is their life’s wish.”
Philomena and her daughter Jane Libberton were inspired to take action on the issue of forced adoption by the recent outpouring of support surrounding the true story of Philomena’s decades-long search her son, who was taken from her while living at the Sean Ross Abbey in Rosecrea, Ireland. Philomena and her son Anthony were deliberately kept apart and never reunited, despite the fact each was actively looking for the other.
Sitting alongside McCaskill today, Philomena and her daughter talked about her family’s story.
“He died thinking I abandoned him,” Philomena said of her son. “But I know he’s now at peace.”
Philomena and her daughter created the Philomena Project in association with the Adoption Rights Alliance. The Philomena Project aims to prevent similar tragedies and reconcile families that were separated under similar circumstances in honor of Anthony’s memory. It is calling on the Irish government to make adoption records public and transparent as swiftly as possible.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Armenian Adoption Adventure, 4 academy award nominations for "Philomena" true story of children stolen into International Adoption

Philomena is the true story of one mother’s search for her lost son, taken by International Adoption

Falling pregnant as a teenager in Ireland in 1952, Philomena was sent to the convent of Roscrea to be looked after as a “fallen woman”. When her baby was only a toddler, he was taken away by the nuns for adoption in America. Philomena spent the next fifty years searching for him in vain.

Then she met Martin Sixsmith, a world-weary political journalist who happened to be intrigued by her story. Together they set off for America on a journey that would not only reveal the extraordinary story of Philomena’s son, but also create an unexpectedly close bond between them.

The film is a compelling narrative of human love and loss and ultimately celebrates life. It is both funny and sad and concerns two very different people, at different stages of their lives, who help each other and show that there is laughter even in the darkest places.

The book “The Lost Child Of Philomena Lee” was published in 2009. It acted as a catalyst for thousands of adopted Irish children and their ‘shamed’ mothers to come forward to tell their stories. Many are still searching for their lost families.

Sadly, this same true story plays out in today’s world where poor mothers particular those that are single have little option but to relinquish their children for cash.  Us Armenians know this story all too well and this behavior continues although it has been curtailed with more procedures and additional layers of checks and balances. 

In Ireland the Catholic Church was responsible for much of this, separating the children from their mothers and unlawfully detaining the mothers in work laundry.  They church took possession of their children and without the mother’s permission sold the children into Adoption, mostly to Americans.

How is it that a woman with money in the west can abuse the rights of a poor single woman in a country where their rights are not heard?  Watch the movie it is great and up for 4 academy awards. 



Armenian Adoption Adventure, documentary about Armenian Orphans makes it's way to Lebanon and back to USA

Award winning documentary "Orphans of the Genocide" by my friend film maker Bared Maronian
has just had a successful showing in Lebanon.  They travel back for a showing in Los Angeles for the Armenians of Istanbul and up to Northern California where we have 3 showings scheduled.  In San Francisco, San Jose and at UC Berkely. 

Hope to see you at some of the showings:

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Armenian Adoption Adventure, list of adoption agencies denied accreditation tougher laws comming July 2014

US State Department Susan Jacobs talks about how the laws for facilitators in country will change in July 2014.  Adoption agencies will no longer not be responsible for their facilitators, they will be watched, audited, acrediated and no longer allowed to bribe orphanage workers or members of the Ministry of Social Services for Women and Children.

The facilitators in country will be registered and scrutinized as the adoption agencies are. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Armenian Adoption Adventure, 48 hours January 18, 2014 expose on International Adoption (Abduction) fraud

Maureen Maher and 48 Hours investigate the sometimes-shady business of international child adoptions and the lengths families will go to bring children home to the United States in "Perilous Journey," to be broadcast Saturday, Jan. 18 (10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

The investigation reveals the extraordinary journey of one family to adopt two children from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the questionable practices of the U.S.-based adoption agency they'd chosen, as well as the harrowing story of one woman's attempt to adopt a child from Guatemala - through the same agency - and allegations of child trafficking against Guatemalan nationals that emerged afterward.

"We knew that international adoption is challenging. We were naïve in how much real trouble there is," says adoptive parent Ryan Owen, an Army officer who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Maher follows Owen and his wife, Jeri Lynn, who live at Fort Campbell, Ky., with three sons of their own, as they travel to Kinshasa and discover just what a perilous journey overseas adoption can be. The Owens began working on the adoption through Celebrate Children International (CCI), a small Florida agency, run by Sue Hedberg.
"Children need to be in families, not in institutions," Hedberg tells 48 HOURS. "Many of these children would die if it wasn't for adoption."

But the Owens' relationship with CCI began to deteriorate when their adoption process inexplicably stalled and they started hearing disturbing things about Hedberg's Congolese lawyer. The Owens took matters into their own hands, hiring their own attorney and travelling to the Congo to try to complete the adoption themselves. "I love these kids enough to do whatever it takes to get them home - whatever it takes," Jeri Lynn tells 48 HOURS.

The Owens, who named their daughters Ava and Zoey, are not alone in their struggle to get children from abroad or to raise questions about the process. Nor are they alone in their questions about Sue Hedberg, who sent 48 Hours a written statement through a representative maintaining, "each and every adoption undertaken by CCI was, and is, in strict compliance with the laws of the United States and the laws and regulations of the originating nation at the time of the adoption."

Betsy Emanuel, a Tennessee mother of five adopted children, talks with Maher about her attempt to adopt a child from Guatemala, also through Hedberg's agency CCI. Emanuel fell in love with a girl named Maria Fernanda, after seeing her in a video CCI sent her. Shortly thereafter, CCI offered her Maria Fernanda's newborn sister, Ana Christina. Emanuel couldn't afford to adopt two children, so she kept going with the adoption of Maria Fernanda - until one day, she says, a representative of CCI told her the girls' mother had resurfaced and, accompanied by armed men, demanded the children back.
"I knew something was wrong," Emanuel tells 48 HOURS.

Having already invested heavily with CCI, Emanuel adopted a different child through the agency. Around the same time, she learned Maria Fernanda and her sister were again being offered for adoption, though this time not by CCI. Preoccupied with the girl, she later searched online for Maria Fernanda's name and found a Guatemalan newspaper story about children who had been abducted for adoption. The story included Maria Fernanda and her sister. Emanuel was stunned to read the girls' mother, Mildred Alvarado, had been looking for them for more than a year. Emanuel immediately got involved in exposing problems within the Guatemalan adoption system.

In an emotional interview with Maher in Guatemala, Alvarado recalled how she was coerced to give up her 3-year-old daughter, Maria Fernanda, being told that it was temporary. Then, she says, she was duped into undergoing an early C-section to deliver her daughter, Ana Christina. When she awoke, she was taped to the bed and the newborn was gone. More than a year later, Emanuel would help reunite the family when she found the article and Guatemalan authorities gave Mildred Alvarado her children back.

More than five years later, Maher travels with Emanuel to Guatemala to meet Alvarado, and her two girls, for the first time.

48 HOURS: "Perilous Journey" features interviews with the Owens, Emanuel, CCI supporters Brian and Sarah Grandstaff, Mildred Alvarado, and Susan Jacobs, the State Department's special representative for children's issues. 48 HOURS: "Perilous Journey" is produced by Joshua Yager, Doug Longhini, Jonathan Leach and Ana Real. Kathleen O'Connell is the development producer. Peter Schweitzer is the senior producer. Susan Zirinsky is the senior executive producer.

Chat with members of the 48 Hours team during the broadcast on Twitter and Facebook.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Armenian Adoption Adventure, US State Department has suspended Adoption Advocates Adoption Agency

Adoption Advocates Inc.'s Hague Accreditation suspended
January 9, 2014
On January 9, 2014, the Council on Accreditation (COA), the Department of State’s designated Accrediting Entity for adoption service providers under the Hague Adoption Convention (Convention) and Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000, suspended the accreditation of Adoption Advocates Inc. to provide adoption services in outgoing Convention adoption cases for failing to maintain substantial compliance with the accreditation standards at 22 Code of Federal Regulations Part 96 Subpart F.
As a result of this suspension, Adoption Advocates Inc. must cease to provide all adoption services in connection with cases covered under the Convention. This adoption service provider has provided services to adoptive parents in Ireland, Canada, and the Netherlands. Please note that this suspension will not affect Adoption Advocates Inc.’s ability to work in non-Convention countries.  Persons with an open case with Adoption Advocates, Inc. may contact the adoption service provider directly to find out how the suspension may affect their adoption services.
The suspension will begin on January 9, 2014and will last for at least 60 days. In order for the suspension to be lifted at the end of the 60 days, Adoption Advocates Inc. must complete corrective action required by the accrediting entity. Updated information will be provided on the website.