in adoption is alive and well in the USA. The latest and greatest
tactic for coercing young mothers into signing a binding consent to
adoption is through the use of a pre-birth consent and dual representation.
young person who is inexperienced in legal matters would ever question
her own lawyer's dedication and honesty towards her? This misguided
trust is a powerful tool used to convince a young mother that she
is legally bound to an adoption agreement before she actually is,
ensuring her consent will be obtained for the binding relinquishment.
are not the only ones using this tactic. Trusting your counsellor
is just as automatic as trusting your lawyer. You may spend
weeks or months talking with your adoption councilor before
giving birth. She seems so sympathetic towards your fears and
concerns and is dedicated to reassuring you, and you firmly
believe it is your interest only that she cares about. But don't
be fooled! If an adoptive family is already chosen she will
be sharing with them vital information concerning the things
you want to hear so that they will know exactly what to say
to you to ensure you do give them your baby.
my daughter, Tarin, trusting an attorney in dual representation
turned out to be the most heartbreaking mistake of her life.
It was just two weeks before her due date when she went to see
a new doctor, unaware that the receptionist in that doctor's
office was on a mission to find a baby for her friend as soon
as possible. Prior to that day, Tarin had never even considered
the adoption of her child, but agreed to meet with the receptionist's
friend for supper after her appointment. Pressure was applied
to meet again the next evening with the potential adoptive couple's
lawyer was friendly, and seemed caring, always smiling, laughing
and comforting. In no way did she appear threatening or dangerous
or corruptly evil. She offered to represent Tarin, free of charge.
How much nicer could a lawyer be? The first step was to get
a pre-birth consent from both her and the baby's father. "This
pre-birth consent does not commit you do the adoption plan,"
she said. It was only to be a non-binding form to show your
intent to continue looking into the option of adoption with
them. The potential adoptive father did not want to risk getting
his heart broken, and so until you are willing to sign something,
to show an intent, he would not agree to meet. Seemed harmless
enough, though a day was hardly long enough to give serious
consideration to the idea.
were made for the signing the following Monday. The meeting
began with friendly small-talk and an explanation of the importance
of continuing contact between mother and child in what was to
be an open adoption with lots of visitation. Once the papers
were signed, suddenly the casual non-threatening talk turned
to one of legal issues. "We got the judge I wanted. He
is an adoptive father," said the lawyer to the potential
adoption mother. Seemed innocent enough, but there was more
Tarin's lawyer started explaining that a pre-birth consent's
validity was up to the discretion of the judge in the event
that either parent chose not to sign again 12 hours after birth.
This was said for reassurance of course. It came across as,
"don't worry, if Eric doesn't show up at the hospital to
sign again, it doesn't matter because a pre-birth consent is
binding at the judge's discretion and this judge does consider
them binding. Although her words were true to some degree, she
failed to specify that this was only in regards to a father's
pre-birth consent to adoption. The purpose was to ensure that
Tarin and I believed that she was already legally bound to the
have to sign again after birth, but if you try to change your
mind it's going to cost you a huge amount of money," she
said. From there the conversation led into what the results
would be if either party changed their mind. "What if they
change their mind," Tarin asked. The lawyer responded,
"then it will cost them a huge amount of money." It
was explained to Tarin that it would have to be settled in court
and the party who changed her, or their minds would be responsible
for the payment of everybody's legal fees. "I will have
to withdraw and testify, so you will both have to find new attorneys."
the friendly, but none-the-less threatening and deceitful discussion
about the legal issues, the clincher was in returning to the
discussion of visitation. We were again reassured that they
were looking forward to frequent visitation from Tarin. But
the lawyer made sure she knew that if a conflict occurred and
they had to go to court to adopt in a contested adoption, they
could decide to close the adoption. Without this concern, the
other threats would have had little result. After all, what
was there to lose aside from money if she wanted to keep her
baby. Contact! Knowing her baby and being a part of her life!
That was what she had to lose if she protested.
week later 8 lb. 5 oz, Katelynn was born, healthy and perfect.
Tarin knew the moment she laid eyes on her sweet baby girl she
could never stand to no longer be a part of her life. She wanted
to take her home. She loved her with all her heart, like no
love she had ever dreamed possible. But she also knew that if
she did not go through with the adoption, they would take her
to court based on her pre-birth consent and that the judge was
an adoptive father who considered pre-birth consents to be binding.
They would make her pay for everyone's legal fees preventing
her from being able to go to college in the fall, and also would
never allow her to see her child again. She was devastated.
12 hours after birth, the second relinquishment was to be signed.
By ten hours after birth, she was so distraught over the thought
of the loss of her baby girl she could barely speak. Out of
fear of never seeing her daughter again, and with regular reassurances
throughout the day from the adoptress that Tarin was welcome
at their home any time, at 12 hours after Katelynn's birth,
she signed the paper and was shortly released from the hospital,
falling apart in hysterical tears immediately upon stepping
outside the hospital.
next morning, she begged me to call a lawyer and see if there
was anything she could do to get her baby back. I did, but the
news was bad. The lawyer said that once a consent is signed,
12 hours after birth, there was nothing you can do. We went
back to the hospital and told the adoptress that it was just
too hard and that Tarin wanted her baby back. But she made it
clear that was not going to happen. Oh she was nice enough about
it. She reassured us that Tarin should stop by every time she
was in town and again encouraged her to come by each day during
those first three weeks that she would be taking off of work,
so they could get better acquainted. Tarin's feeling were attributed
there was nothing to do, and so much to lose if she made any
effort to contest, Tarin accepted the visitation and tried to
deal with the lose of her daughter. Three weeks later, the adoptress
told her that her husband had decided he was not comfortable
with the visitation. "If it were up to me, you could come
by any time. But he just isn't comfortable with the idea."
Tarin would still be able to see her daughter on her birthday,
and perhaps another time or two, and she would not cancel the
visitation that was already scheduled for next week for her
grandmother to meet little Katelynn, but other than that, visits
would be few and far between if at all. How could she trust
that they would even allow her to see her on her birthday, after
they had already lied to her about wanting frequent contact?
She knew she could not live with that, and the adoption would
be final in two weeks. She hired a lawyer to contest the adoption.
was an experience that I still find impossible to believe. We
actually thought it was going well. I was the first to testify.
While on the witness stand, I was shown a letter that was supposedly
given to Tarin at the first meeting. It was suppose to have
been written by the adopters' adopted son's natural grandparents.
I was asked to identify it. I was familiar with the letter,
but by the grace of God, in that one slight moment, my eyes
went straight to one word 2/3 down the page. The word, "Jarvis"
had been inserted, where on the original letter no last name
had been provided.
adoptress had told me their last name was "Johns"
and had encouraged me to call them. But she didn't know their
number and "they are very poor" she told me. I wrote
down their name and did try to call them later, but there was
no "Tom and Barb Johns" listed and so I assumed that
because of poverty, they either did not have a phone or were
unlisted due to irritating calls from creditors.
judge then held in his hands, the altered version of that letter
and the real letter that did not provide a name. I had testified
that this was not the real letter. That the name we had been
told was"Johns." The judge even pointed out that even
the font was different. This evidence had been altered for court.
had been done earlier, and the lawyer had admitted that she
had made a comment to Tarin about the judge in the case being
an adoptive father. However, Tarin's lawyer did not view her
statement as coercion, because it was a simple statement of
fact, so he did not ask her that question again on the witness
stand. When Tarin testified to this statement made by the attorney,
the judge instantly doubted her credibility, pointing out how
unlikely it was that such a statement had been made on December
20, when he had not been assigned to the case until the day
after the baby was born on December 29th. Again, we thought
we had them. Though the judge was unaware of this, and the attorney
had been dismissed, if the adoptress did not admit the statement
had been made, Tarin's attorney would be able to recall the
attorney on rebuttal and ask the question again. She would have
no choice but to admit that she told Tarin this about the judge,
9 days before there was a judge on the case. To avoid additional
related questions on the subject in rebuttal, the adoptress
admitted the statement had in fact been made.
father did not want Tarin to win, and he testified for the adopters.
His testimony was well rehearsed but when he was subjected to
cross-examination, and the same questions were posed in different
ways he completely changed his answers. After numerous contradictions,
it was obvious that his answers had been rehearsed, so Tarin's
lawyer asked him how many times he had met with the adopter's
attorney to rehearse his testimony. He answered, "a few."
Wanting a specific number, her lawyer asked him how many that
was. He said, "once or twice." Well which was it,
once or twice, asked Tarin's lawyer. "Once, I think,"
Eric's mother joined in on the battle to assist the adopters.
While I was under cross examination, I was handed an affidavit,
signed by Katelynn 's other grandmother, claiming I had been
harassing her and had tried to get her to get Eric to lie for
Tarin. Despite the disclosure rules, Tarin's lawyer had never
before been given a copy of this. Fortunately, when Malissa
took the stand, she completely fell apart and admitted that
it was untrue. The deceitful means that these people were willing
to go to, many of which involved illegal court activity, was
so obvious that it looked like the court process was going well.
attorney had even admitted to making comments about a pre-birth
consent being considered binding but pointed out that in her
opinion, though never challenged in a court of law, a father's
pre-birth consent is binding, so the statement was true, thus
not coercion. It was not her fault Tarin never asked if she
was referring to all pre-birth consents or just a father's pre-birth
consent. As Tarin's lawyer, it certainly seemed to us that she
would have had the obligation to make that difference clear.
testimony got long and tedious, and difficult questions were
asked that could have shown fraudulent and coercive behavior
towards her client. Disbarment was an obvious concern. More
than 60 times, she would not give a direct answer to questions
asked of her. She preceded every difficult answer with words
that literally meant that the statement to follow, may or may
not be accurate. Again and again, she preceded her answers with,
"I would have," "I might have," "I
may have," "I probably," and other phrases that
protected her from perjury charges if it were later shown that
the words that followed these phrases were inaccurate. Her evasion
of answers that specified what actually occurred was brought
to the attention of the judge, who seems unconcerned by it.
the time of the pre-birth consent signing, another form was
also signed. This form was for the purpose of approving the
lawyer's dual representation of both parties. Tarin was asked
to sign page 3. At the bottom of page three, the lawyer signed,
just below a statement which stated that the adopters had already
agreed to the same terms of this contract. Page four was for
their signature and consent to the terms, which included the
fact that if a conflict developed, the attorney would withdraw
and be called to testify against them. Page four was not signed,
but we assumed they had already signed another copy and did
not question this at the time.
every witness for the adopters proved non-credible, though they
were clearly caught at having altered evidence, though there
was strong indication of manufactured evidence and though many
coercive remarks were admitted to, Tarin lost in district court.
On appeal, the fact that the lawyer had evaded answering so
many questions was brought to the attention of the appellate
court, who ruled that in dual representation, once a conflict
occurs, the attorney must withdraw from "ONE" but
not both of her dual clients. This left the adopters protected
under attorney-client rules.
filed a complaint with the disciplinary administrator, because
the lawyer had signed the statement stating that the adopters
had agreed that she could testify against them, and yet no such
signed agreement was turned over under sopoena order. This is
fraud, if she claimed to have their signed consent in order
to get Tarin to agree to the terms, but in reality did not have
their consent. The lawyer admitted that she did not have their
signed consent, but claimed that at the time she signed that
paper, saying that they had agreed she could testify against
them in the event of conflict, she did have it, but later lost
it. The disciplinary administrator saw this as a reasonable
explanation for what occurred. Tarin went on to the Kansas State
Supreme Court and the United States Supreme Court, both of which
denied her petition for their review. A rehearing request was
also denied by the United States Supreme Court in January, 2002.
following the US Supreme Court denial for review, the United
Nations, Human rights Commission was contacted and were interested
in hearing more. They had established the office of Special
Rapporteur of the sale of children in 1990 to address international
adoption fraud problems. In those past 11 years, they had been
able to establish that the primary source of the problems in
the international adoption industry was the high demand for
children by USA citizens. For this reason, they were interested
in USA domestic adoption fraud and coercion.
were able to send the United Nations, a full copy of the court
transcripts of everyone's testimony and piles of other evidence.
From this they could see that fraud and coercion were not even
in dispute. Much had been admitted to, crimes had been clearly
proven and not denied, and yet, still, four separate courts
declined to return Katelynn to her mother, including the highest
federal court in the country. With this much evidence, Dr. Juan
Miguel Petit, special Rapporteur on the sale of Children for
the United Nations, Human Rights Commission, decided that if
evidence could be gathered to show this was not an isolated
incident, action could be sought.
was time to get busy and to persuade other USA victims of adoption
fraud and coercion to turn in their stories as well. With the
help of internet friends who had themselves lost children to
coercive adoption practices, the word spread fast. Articles
were sent to the UN showing federal involvement in promoting
adoption. Financial motivations were shown, proving that the
state governments had financial motivation for permitting fraudulent
adoption practices in private, agency and Child Protective Services
adoptions. Numerous cases had complaints against the United
States Government submitted for action. Court case decisions
were sent in, showing that in some states, father's rights to
their children had been completely done away with and others
showing that when a parent could not parent, priority was given
to strangers to adopt, rather than allowing relatives to raise
and coercion tactics in private and agency adoptions were described
to the UN and evidence provided. Most importantly, it was shown
beyond any shadow of doubt that all three branches of the government
were participating together in promoting these coercive and
fraudulent practices, defying the basis human rights of parents
to raise their own children, and permitting the sale of children
who were obtained through fraud and coercion to infertile American
couples who could pay tens of thousands of dollars for a baby.
evidence was so overwhelming that the UN Human Rights commission
decided to take the most influential means available in handling
the problem. They established a special committee known as a
1503 committee to take over the case, exam the evidence and
confront the United States Government with demands of action
in both general adoption practices and on some specific cases.
This committee takes over on May 24th, 2002, and decisions will
be made as to what action will be demanded of the USA government
in August 2002. If President Bush refuses to cooperate, the
full UN Human Rights commission will vote on what action to
take against the United States government in April of 2003.
To avoid this, we are hoping that President Bush, realizing
the immensity of the evidence will agree to voluntarily take
action to stop these coercive adoption practices and to prosecute
those responsible in recent cases and to return the youngest
of the children involved, to their mothers. Time will tell.
Submitted by Melinda Walmsley
PO Box 136, Minneapolis Kansas 67467