but will continue here: Romania for Export Only BLOG

President Basescu at the European Commission, 22 April 2010

Friday, 29 February 2008

Untangling the Adoption Industry

It is true that my book holds so much information that, even for me, at times I could not see the wood for the trees.

But with the help of others, the players' backgrounds become clearer now.

Here a quote from my book - 30 March 1999

  • 'I spent three days searching the Internet about intercountry adoptions and found an incredible number of sites, mostly of US-based adoption foundations often with religious calling. Even at places as far away as Hawaii and Alaska.

    Children were offered on a silver plate: with pictures, with birth dates and short descriptions: healthy, cute, intelligent, slight handicap, ready to help in the household. The US agency United Families offered the most detailed price indication: between 20.000 and 40.000 dollars (‘Gypsy’ children were cheaper). Their Romanian partner: Copiii Fericiti. No wonder the European countries, who according to the Hague letter paid between 2.500 and 3.500 dollars, had no longer received children!

    And there was Adopt an Angel, a US Agency that worked with an American-Romanian adoption facilitator, David Livianu. Adopt an Angel was set up by a woman who adopted a child after her own child had died. Its website had an extraordinary statement:
    ‘Even though we do have children waiting for adoption we do specialize in providing a child search designed especially for your needs.’

    I also found the ‘US Embassy Guide to Adopting in Romania’ with a foreword of the US Ambassador, James Rosapepe. He wrote Romania had become one of the most popular places in the world for adoption by US citizens and other foreign families. In 1998 alone, American families had adopted 630 Romanian children. That figure was expected to climb significantly to as many as 900 or even 1,000 Romanian children this year. According to the US Ambassador the new adoption system had proved to be extremely successful. The US had not yet ratified the Hague Convention, and therefore had no Central Authority in place in the US. Therefore the US Embassy in Bucharest played a key coordination role between prospective US parents and Romania’s adoption authorities. The rest of the Adoption Guide was a warm invitation to adopt, explained all procedures and held a list of all US adoption agencies and their Romanian partner adoption NGOs.'
So it was United Families that caught my attention and made me clear there was big business going on!
United Families is owned by Lynn Wetterberg, who as I described on 19/2/2008 was at the basis of the US agency lobby to reopen Romanian adoptions. I wrote she was a member of the Board of the Joint Council of International Children Services. Thanks to Guidestar I know now she was in fact VICE-PRESIDENT of that lobby firm in 2005! And her colleague Deb Murphy-Scheumann was PRESIDENT. Not very transparent to hide as being SOS for the Children and to make Linda Robak present the 'drama' in their place at the European Parliament - which since then has turned in an international adoption lobby group themselves. First calling for the resolving of pipelinecases and now for a European adoption policy - just to re-open Romanian adoptions.
Read more on Deb Murphy-Sneuman's activities in the global curruption in the global (adoption) village in James Marsh' splendid Blog.
Stay tuned - more will follow.

Friday, 22 February 2008

Others on the Joint Declaration on intercountry adoptions

At the bottom of this commentary on the Joint Declaration on intercountry adoptions you can download the full press conference audio file:

Joint declaration on intercountry adoption
Fri, 2008-02-22 18:02 — Niels
Last night I listened to the attached audio file, a press conference held by Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, Claire Gibault and Francois de Combret. Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, I don't know much about, but the other two names certainly rang a bell, having read Romania For Export Only. Read full text

And Brian Douglas, since many years living in Romania, wrote an open letter to MEP Gibault:

Dear Claire Gibault MEP.
I have just read the press French statement titled ‘Adoption Internationale: En finir avec l’hypocrise’ and fail to see why you continue to distort the real facts regarding both Bulgaria and Romania. Read full text

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

The European Lobby exposed

When I started writing 'Romania-For Export Only' I did not want to write a book about Francois de Combret. When the book was written, I saw I had.

Because all over the years, it was Francois de Combret pushing for intercountry adoptions from Romania.

Since 1990 De Combret was pushing the European Union and the Council of Europe to invest in improving the lot of the Romanian 'orphans'. Millions and millions were spend mainly through NGOs.

It would take until 2000 when due to a change in EU policy financial and technical support was given to the Romanian child protection directly, AND international adoptions were halted, that real improvements could start.

Even though De Combret has acknowledged the progress, he maintains that re-opening adoptions is necessary because 10.000 children per year are abandoned by Romanian mothers. He bases his opinion on a much disputed Unicef report. And if it were true, there should now have been over 50.000 abandoned children in Romania - and there are not!

The full disgracefull story is in Romania-For Export Only.

But clearly Francois de Combret's influence is still ongoing. Yesterday MEP Claire Gibault, the Deputy Secretary-General of the Council of Europe Maud de Boer-Buquicchio and Francois de Combret gave a Joint Declaration.

Although not said explicitely in this video, during the press conference it became clear that European Adoptions is all about re-opening Romanian adoptions and the creation of a European Adoption Agency.

MEP Claire Gibault is very outspoken about it in her press statement (French).

To hear the full press conference in English, you can download it here (you can register for free)

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

The US lobby exposed

James Marsh’s article Focus on Adoption - a Rogues Gallery held some names which brought back bad memories. Names of those who were and probably still are pressuring Romania to re-open adoptions.

So, I went through my book and had a closer look at the US adoption agency's lobby. It is just a small part of all that happened, but below a summary of the most important events.

In 2004 it became clear the Romania’s new laws on children’s rights and adoption meant adoptions would NOT re-open, PANIC hit the adoption industry.

On 25 March 2004 Hannah Wallace of Focus on Adoption calls to Rally for Adoption in front of the British Embassy and the European Commission Delegation in Washington:

There is a very important rally being held in Washington, D.C. on Monday and Tuesday, March 29 and 30, on behalf of the children of Romania, whose opportunity to be adopted may be permanently denied. While Romania and Guatemala are worlds apart, the insidious influences of the E.U. anti intercountry adoption proponents, along with the misguided principles of UNICEF, is affecting every country of world, and is condemning many children from Third World Countries to death, or lives without hope. (full text available on GuatAdopt}

Organisers: Lynn Wetterberg, owner of Uniting Families Foundation and Debra Murphy-Scheumann, owner of Special Additions (now part of Families Thru International Adoption). Both women are Board Members of the Joint Council on International Children Services (JCICS) – the undercover name for the US Adoption Agencies’ lobby tool.

Special Additions and FTIA (founded by Keith Wallace/Board Member JCICS, and where Jeannene Smith worked - who is a Board Member of Focus on Adoption and was in JCICS) and ‘involved’ in Masha Allan’s adoption by a pedophile) together financed a home in Romania where 14 orphans were waiting until adoptions re-opened.

So they had a problem. Children assigned to US families (and paid for?) and now adoptions were closed?!

Only a 25 protesters show up at the Washington RALLY.

End April 2004, Wetterberg and Scheumann are joined by Linda Robak and write a letter to the European Commission. They present themselves as For the Children, a grassroots organisation of US adoptive parents and “concerned parties”. They receive the usual reply: EU Member States are bound by the UNCRC and the new approach on intercountry adoption taken by the Romanian Government, to strongly limit intercountry adoptions, complements the general progress in childcare and brings Romania’s situation in line with practices in EU Member States, where intercountry adoptions, if all, are the extreme exception.

In May 2004, the three lobbying women of For the Children SOS take 10 American families and their adopted Romanian children to Bucharest for a garden party organised by the US Embassy. As they explain: to show that these children were not adopted by pedophiles and still had their organs.

Mid June 2004, despite the lobby actions, the Romanian President signs the new laws.

USAToday rings the alarm bell:

Romania to ban international adoptions permanently:

"I've been up since 5 this morning," said Linda Robak, who adopted a Romanian girl three years ago. "We've got phone calls into the State Department while we're strategizing in the back room."
She was sending e-mails to about 175 U.S. families, plus groups in Spain, France, Italy, Ireland and Switzerland.
'The next step is planning a protest march in Brussels in late September," she said, when the new parliament is seated in the European Union. Romania hopes to join the European Union in 2007

From then onwards Linda Robak is in charge: SO WHO IS LINDA ROBAK?
Linda Robak adopted from Romania just before the moratorium started. She presents herself as adoptive mother, leading For the Children SOS, a non registered organisation.

But exactly how independent can you be, if you start with two Board Members of the JCICS. And if you are supported by Regeneration Ministries, now called Romania Reborn, a small religious ministry with children homes and adoptable children…

Our Adoption Advocacy fund was begun out of pure necessity. We never sought to become involved in Romanian law or politics, and we have been solely interested in sponsoring Romanian ministries among children. However, when Romania bowed to EU pressure and passed a new set of "child welfare" laws in June 2004, we suddenly saw our primary ministry, Hope House Family Center, crippled in its efforts to rescue children. […]Romania Reborn has teamed up with For the Children S.O.S., a small, grassroots organization formed specifically to fight this new law. Chaired by adoptive mother Linda Robak, For the Children S.O.S. has organized hearings in both the U.S. government and the European Parliament, facilitated numerous stories in the U.S. and international media, and worked to pressure government leaders to change this ill-advised law.

June 2004 – For the Children, Linda Robak organises a Petition to support the children of Romania. – you have to read it to believe it.

November 2005 - Helsinki Committee blast Romania adoption policy – organised mainly through intervention Linda Robak/For the Children.

April 2006: For the Children - Robak moves to the European Parliament and co-chaires a Hearing with Member of the European Parliament Charles Tannock:

The hearing was organized in large part by Linda Robak, an adoptive mother
turned-activist who heads up the grassroots group For the Children S.O.S. In a March trip to Brussels, Ms. Robak was able to secure MEPs to sponsor a hearing the following month, volunteering to do most of the “legwork” of preparation herself.

The Italian Amici dei Adozioni (friends of adoption) were present during the meeting. As were adoptive parent organisations from France, Switzerland, UK, Israel, Ireland – who according to Amici’s website are all in contact. But according to the Italians this meeting was organised by the French Members of the European Parliament Jean-Marie Cavada and Claire Gibault. And the 'friends of adoption' announce on their website:

Sinds May 2006 UNITED STATES: beginning of closer contacts with LINDA ROBAK, founder and president of "For the children SOS", in order to begin worldwide mobilisation in favour of the children of Romania. Robak has close contact with the US State Department and many Senators.

For the Children SOS, a non-registered organisation, was quite instrumental in lobbying both the US and the European Parliament – THE OUTCOME:

The U.S. Senate passed a resolution (S.Res.359) on July 27 urging the Romanian government to modify its ban on all international adoptions (but exempts a child's biological grandparents) by allowing intercountry adoption by non-relatives and completing adoptions of the 1,100 "pipeline" cases of foreign families who had registered adoption petitions prior to the January 1, 2005, ban. An identical resolution was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on April 6 (H.RES.578.EH). The European Parliament also approved a written declaration on July 10 asking the Romanian government to resume without delay pending international adoption cases and to authorize international adoptions where appropriate. The Parliament also urged the Romanian government in its December 7, 2005 resolution - which dealt with Romania's readiness for accession to the European Union - to settle the pending international adoption cases.

The final cherry on the cake was the EP Conference on European Adoptions, apparently also here the US agencies were of influence, although at the background:

Read this MESSAGE FROM TREE OF LIFE (who facilitated an adoption for William Peckenpaugh – now in prison for 30 years for sexual abusing ‘his’ child)

'several US agencies also provided support for the initiation of this discussion'

I leave it to you to guess which agencies that were.

The final destiny, European Adoptions are meant to open up the whole of the European Union, but especially Romania and Bulgaria for the intercountry adoption market.

Isn't it funny that the big world of adoptions, seems so small at the same time!

Of course, the American Agencies are not alone.
They have European partners – more on that later.

Towards a European procedure for adoption

Those who read the book know it ends with a desperate attempt by some members of the European Parliament to re-open Romanian adoption - going as far as proposing European Adoptions: A european market for children.

MEPs Jean-Marie Cavada and Claire Gibault (who were alerted to this issue by Francois de Combret) had their way, as the European Parliament adopted a Resolution on European Adoptions and have now teamed up with the Council of Europe, who not long ago pleaded for easier adoptions.


Strasbourg, 12.02.2008 – Despite the considerable volume of content of legal provisions on national and international adoption, the best interests of the child do not always take precedence over other considerations. Nevertheless, these legal arrangements decide the future of thousands of orphans and abandoned children every year.

Convinced of the need to create an adoption procedure common to all EU member states – in line with the recent adoption of a report on children’s rights calling for such a mechanism – and to encourage international adoption where there is no national solution, a number of Members of the European Parliament, together with the Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, have drawn up a joint declaration addressed to European ministers responsible for family affairs.

Jean-Marie Cavada (ALDE, France), Claire Gibault (ALDE, France) and Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, would like to invite you to a press conference at 3pm on Tuesday 19 February in the European Parliament press room (LOW) in Strasbourg where they will present this initiative.

Full text: Towards a European Procedure for Adoption

Or in French: Pour une procédure européenne d'adoption

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Children for Sale - adoption as pedo-paradise?

James R. Marsh on his website ChildLaw is doing a brilliant job in exposing some of the worst adoption scandals: adoptions by pedophiles.

Masha Allan was adopted from Russia by a pedophile named Matthew Mancuso.

Apart from Masha Allan, there is the case of young Daniel, adopted in 2001 from Romania at the age of four by William Peckenpaugh (page 242 of my book). Peckenpaugh is serving a 30 years prison sentence for having raped and sodemized the boy from the first week until he was arrested in December 2004.

Peckenpaugh was caught because his video of the abuse was discovered, Mancuso placed pictures on the Internet.

In my book I gave many examples of pedophiles' interest in children in children's homes. And about a pedophile who was rumoured to be selecting children for adoption - for pedophiles.

But not many people can believe such horrors exist.

Having read James Marsh' article about NBC's exposé on Guatemalan children sold for adoption I can only agree with him: ' If this can't convince people that there is a pedophile adoption play book then nothing will.'

'Using hidden cameras, NBC solicited a child from a Guatemalan baby broker for an American man with a history of sex crimes against children. The broker tells the undercover reporter that the easiest way to get the adoption approved is to either bribe the police for a clean background check or just remove this information from the adoption home study.'

Now, let's look at the details of the two known cases: Mancuso and Peckenpaugh.

Mancuso adopted through Reaching Out Through Adoption (ROTIA) :

Quote from Marsh's article:

'Consider that fact that renowned naturist leader Toni Egbert was the sister of ROTIA's executive director when Mancuso adopted, the prevalence of Russian and Ukrainian children in naturist videos (click at your own risk), and the accepted practice of supplying nude pre-adoption videos of East European children, and the question becomes why WOULDN'T pedophiles adopt?'

Peckenpaugh adopted through Tree of Life.

Now read this:

Peckenpaugh, at the time of his arrest was a member of both The Naturist Society and the American Association for Nude Recreation (AANR). He claims to be a Catholic Bishop. He is the author of "Familial and Societal Attitudes Toward Nudity, and The Effects on Children's Development," a much quoted article by Nudists and Naturists, that makes the claim that naturist children are less sexually active and more emotionally healthy than non-naturist children. Peckenpaugh has been a frequent poster on rec.nude, alt.christnet.nudism and


Uproot Criminal Child Adoption

After Romania closed its doors to intercountry adoptions, the adoption business packed their suitcases and moved to Guatemala, Vietnam, Ukraine etc. Most recently the market is moving to Africa. Foreign adoption agencies are setting up children homes by the minute and thousands of children are flown out. Ethiopia is the saddest example.

But Africa is striking back. Congo, Zambia, Liberia closed their doors as questions are being asked about this new form of slavery and colonisation.

My fear is that soon the importing countries will pressure these countries to join the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoptions, and thus to legalise the trade. Unfortunately this Conventions holds no safeguards whatsoever.

Romania's example showed how the Hague Convention shaped a regulated market for children, in which the rights of children were betrayed. Instead of being a last option, as was intended by international conventions, intercountry adoptions was made into a 'normal' child protection measure. And the receiving countries' politicians, adoption agencies and adopters bended over backwards in their attempts to keep this market open. Political pressure, economical pressure, distorted media reporting - well, it's all in the book.

Not because of the need of children, but because of the need FOR children.
It is the demand side that rules this business.

Instead of saying SORRY to Africa for all our wroingdoings of the past, and pay compensation, the 'developed' Western world now wants their children.

Read this excellent editorial:

Liberia: Uproot Criminal Child Adoption

The Analyst (Monrovia)
EDITORIAL 7 February 2008

THE LATE PRESIDENT William Richard Tolbert described children as his 'precious jewels' and future leaders of the nation, endeavoring by so doing to drive home the idea that today's children are tomorrow's adults with the challenging responsibility to shoulder the affairs of the country. Some of the children of Tolbert's days are obviously today's ministers, directors, doctors, lawyers, rights' advocates to name a few.

IN ESSENCE, THE late President saw the strength of the nation in terms of the quality and quantity of its young people, whose development he considered as underpinning all calculations of national development planning and humanitarian endeavors. But current practice, especially, as an outgrowth of the war era, is the criminal enterprise of child abduction euphemistically camouflaged as adoption. In Liberia today, so called humanitarian workers including religious workers acting on catalogue orders of crafty child-seekers, come to the country under the name of benevolent institutions and establish what are referred to as orphanages. From these institutions, the good-doers capture en masse children of poverty stricken families and quickly fly them to childless couples abroad, who in turn defray their criminal deeds with mouthwatering financial rewards.

WHILE THE ATTITUDE of these child seekers is dangerous to the consistent retention of the population, parents who are easily conceding to the carrying out of these criminal designs must be blamed on the same scale. There is demand and supply that is fueling the evil transaction. But government institutions responsible for monitoring such charitable institutions cannot be spared from the same blame game because the organizations involved in these activities secure the necessary backings before going ahead. It would not be a mistake to say that these officials, not content with their wages as usual are financially trapped against using their best wisdom of nationalism to stem this practice. Like mindless shepherds, they widely open the gates for lions, leopards and other predators to devour their animals. What a shameful dilemma for the innocent children, the gifts of the Creator to both the parents and the country?

WHERE THEN IS the future of the country? What stakes have the country in these children that are carted away without future report about their wellbeing or social progress? In this way, we waste the future of our country without any national consideration of the devastating consequence this will pose for the country. We must learn to keep our children here and secure means of educating them to shoulder the future of the nation with capable leadership. In some ways, there is a similarity of slavery to the current practice of abduction now called adoption. Our ancestors, according to history were captured in the hinterland, herded to the coast and then stockpiled in the holds of ships and taken abroad to provide various forms of backbreaking agricultural supports. Instead of adults, as the current practice is, our younger ones, the tender children, Tolbert's 'Precious Jewels' are taken away in the 21st Century without public outcry or questioning by even 'authorities'.

A RECENT NEWS that provoked this analysis has it that some child adoption groups are now directly engaged in child trafficking. The disturbing news has it that two child adoption agencies Addy's Hope Adoption Agency based in Texas, USA, and Greater Love Children's Home in Liberia are at the center of controversy in this trafficking. According to the news, the two groups have succeeded in taking seven of ten children out of Liberia under the same scheme.
WE BELIEVE THAT this news is a dangerous signal of the extent to which this sad practice in our national history has evolved.

Friday, 15 February 2008

United Adoptees International ONLINE

United Adoptees International is an organisation run and maneged by adoptees. Foremost in the Netherlands but with great help and support from all kind of adoptees and organisations worldwide.

The UAI want to initiate a worldwide dialogue whereby adoption, the position of adoptees and children rights are the center point of developing social, political and cultural policies.

The UAI wants to participate and if necessarily enforce influence on the (adoption) society where the rights and lives of adoptees and children are endangered.The UAI became last few years an important opinion leader in the Netherlands and abroad in the field of Intercountry Adoption.

The UAI is now ONLINE:

UAI Blog
UAI NewsBlog

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

International Adoption: Aid or Trade

Source: Adoptie Trefpunt

'Marie Claire’ - March 2008 - Anneke Bots.

'India demands stolen adopted child back from the Netherlands'. 'Dutch couple in prison in Sri Lanka because of illegal adoption'. There are scandals all over and criticism on intercountry adoption – yes, also on those of Madonna and Angelina – grows. What is going on?

He lives since seven year with his adoptive parents in the Netherlands, when all of a sudden his biological mother from India announced herself. Nine-year-old Rahul recently became world news. The boy had not at all been voluntarily relinquished, said his mother, but was stolen during the night. Rahul’s story is not the only recent adoption scandal. A Dutch couple was arrested this summer in Sri Lanka because they were trying to take a baby illegally out of the country. And last October the world was shocked by the images of hundreds of so-called orphans from Darfur, who were about to be taken out of the country by a French aid organisation. Another shocking fact? In Guatemala one out of a hundred children is especially delivered for export to the US. The mothers get 600 to 1600 dollar per child, adoptive parents pay around 30.000 dollar for a baby. The difference goes into the pockets of lawyers, baby brokers and directors of orphanages. The reason for all these wrongdoings: the demand for adoptions bypasses the offer, so all children are welcome. According to Unicef there are worldwide fifty potential adopters lining up per adoptable child.

The full article can be found here (in Dutch) Verder Lezen

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

The shocking truth

CNN recently broadcasted the documentary Romanian Sex Trade made by Chris Rogers (ITV). Towards the end of my book, in 2006, one can read how another one of Chris Rogers' documentaries on Romanian children was used by the pro-adoption activists in the European Parliament, in his own presence.

Just before that, Chris Rogers had gone undercover to expose how Romanian mothers were willing to sell their children. However, at the time of writing the book, I did not yet know how that documentary was made.

Last week, another Chris Rogers documentary was broadcasted worldwide by CNN. This time on the Romanian Sex Trade.
The UK Daily Mail dedicated an article to it:
The shocking truth about the vice trade: Girls of 14 working as sex slaves.

The US-based Adoption Policy Center eagerly welcomed this documentary as an occasion to plea for re-opening intercountry adoptions from Romania:

February 4, 2008. Those Left Behind. When a country closes to Intercountry Adoption, as Romania did in 2004, its children fall off the international radar screen. But thousands of children go unparented and unprotected. CNN and the Daily Mail (UK) have done a horrific story about trafficked Romanian children, featuring a fourteen year old girl who was sold into slavery by her birth parents when she was nine. Male and female pimps run this evil business which has boomed since Eastern European nations joined the European Union. Now criminals in Romania are reaping millions of dollars in profit sending trafficked children and women to Britain and other rich Western European countries. With an estimated one out of ten British men apparently frequenting prostitutes, the demand is huge. Clearly, the end of ICA in Romania has not brought these victims a better life. More Information.

But guess what.

The Romanian police has investigated the case:
The fourteen year old girl was not fourteen, but twenty-five years old, taken against her will on a 400 km travel.
Yes, by Chris Rogers.

Here the story Chris Rogers did not tell - straight from Romania:


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