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:
U.S. SENATE AND E.U. ASK ROMANIA TO RESOLVE ADOPTION CASES
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.