Orphanages and adoption agencies out of Chennai, India have all been told to not speak with the media. Most of the stories have come out of one orphanage in particular, Malaysian Social Services. This investigation has been dragging on since 2000. "Strict action" was taken against MSS in 2002 but there have been no more incidents reported since that time. MSS also had its license suspended in 1999. Poor women are taken advantage of. They are encouraged and threatened with their very lives to relinquish their children.
So what is the story behind the India adoption industry? According to the U. S. State Department website, American adoptive parents must use an adoption agency that is enlisted with the Indian Centeral Adoption Agency. The adoptive parents are not allowed to adopt those children in India. They are however allowed to foster or act as guardians of those children until they get back to the United States where they are allowed to adopt them. You can find many of the accredited adoption agencies here. Many of the adoption agencies have not had their contracts renewed including Families through International Adoption and Commonwealth Adoptions International (they are not expired but have closed down.)
With permission of Gershom, I am reprinting a post on her blog.
I read this article tonight and I thought it would be the perfect time to start tracking more corruption in the industry.
If you start to research adoption agencies you'll begin to see these umbrella-style associations between a LOT of groups of agencies. I've been checking into agencies for my own personal interest for about a year now and I have learned a lot! Let me tell YOU something!
Many people aren't aware that 990 forms are available online for public viewing. 990 forms are the account of agencies expenses and salaries for any given year of operation. I find this tool to be incredibly useful when I want to look into an adoption agency, and I usually start looking into agencies when they come up in the headlines of my google news alerts. So after you're done reading this, your homework assignment ( because I'm too tired and ready to go to bed ) will be to 990 form search the below agencies and see how much their Directors and CEO's are making. No director of any non profit adoption agency should be making 6 digits annually, in my opinion.
During my research for an upcoming show on Vietnam, I wanted to find what agencies were linked between countries coming up with numerous accounts of reported corruption. I found 3 agencies in Guatemala and Vietnam: (Adoption Priorities, Adoptions from the Heart, and Journeys of the Heart Adoption Services.)(There could be more, I may not know how to track all of them, I'm still new to this.)
I wanted to find agencies working in both countries because on a *hunch* I think that child traffickers who are in it for the money, would be in as many places, as they could, making as much as they could, while the holes in the system remain wide open. Although I haven't uncovered "child trafficking" rings between the above 3 agencies, they did lead me to some interesting discoveries which I'm about to reveal to you below.
A bit of history first:
Sardar Joginder Singh Bhasin is the director of an foundation called Preet Mandir. To my knowledge this foundation facilitates 4 organizations / agencies: AC International Child Support (AC Børnehjælp), Family for You, Adoptions from the Heart, and Meiling ) A simple google of Preet Mandir and up pops many accounts of child trafficing. Despite numerous significant documentations of corruption Preet Mandir keeps getting licensed and continues practice. It is even alleged that he has paid the hotel bill for the head of CARA. *PAP ALERT* This is nobody to be doing business with especially when its the business of children.
Adoptions from the Heart (One of the agencies in Guatemala and Vietnam)
Adoptions from the heart not to long ago mentioned that they were working with Preet Mandir on Project India to provide a home to 100 orphans and another home for mothers.
I emailed them yesterday(5/19/08) inquiring about the status of Project India and their relations with Preet Mandir. They replied today and said that they hadn't been working with Preet Mandir for some time and never had any donations for project India.
A quick review of their agency on Adoption Agency Ratings shows that there are many unhappy "customers" even on the adoptive parents side of things. Calling them "Adoptions from the Heartless", "miserable experience" "run the other way" and "not recommended."
This agency continues to operate in: PA,NJ,VA,DE, Kazakhstan,Ukraine,Russia, China(applications on hold),Guatemala(applications on hold), Vietnam(no longer taking application), and India(no new applications accepted.)
They are a member of the Joint Council on International Adoptions, as well as accredited by China Center of Adoption Affairs. They are also a member of Three Rivers Adoption Council(along side of Adopt-A-Child Inc and Bethany Christian Services)
Journey of the Heart Adoption Services
(Another agency in Guatemala and Vietnam)
They operate in Portland, Oregon, Chicago, Illinois, Seattle, Washington, and Honolulu, Hawaii although they can work with anyone in any of our 50 states. They handle international adoptions in Guatemala ( not currently,)Vietnam (not anymore,) Taiwan, and Samoa.
They have been accredited by CARA and CCAA and worked with AMREX (more on Amrex below.)They've worked with Hands of heart ( busted in 2001 for child "lifting")as well as worked with Madras Social Service Guild (busted w/ Hands of Heart in 2001.)*Inside sources* have also told me they're affiliated with New Hope Child and Family Agency, an agency now closed, once linked to a CPS worker also on paid salary with the agency, alledgedly bringing in children for adoption. This however hasn't stopped the US Department of State from accrediting them.
Family For You(Preet Mandir affiliation)
Founded by Petra Fembek in 2000. They have a history of relations with AMREX and Crossroads Adoption Services and Precious Moments(Petra adopted through PM). If you don't know about Amrex, read here. Family For You, is a member of Euradopt They also founded the CCC, Child Care Center in Ethiopia. They have been accreditted by CARA, ICAB(Inter-country adoption board), Slovac Republic, Department of S. Africa( I can't find a site for them, anyone got one?) and The Moldovan Adoption Committee(no site for them either.)
As you can see form the "history of relations" they're not doing "humanitarian" work.
Meiling(Preet Mandir affiliation)
Also a member of Euradopt, sponsored Christ Faith Home for Children, Accredited by CARA and CCAA, and the Ministry of Justice in the Netherlands. What I'll be focusing on tonight though, is its connection to the Malaysian Social Services.
The Malaysian Social Services facilitates adoptions in Malaysia for Meiling, and Pauquette Children Services. CARA has also accredited The MSS.
I am almost to my point...
May 17th an article came out in the India Times called Adoption Kingpins in CBI cradle covering :
Making fresh breakthrough in the illegal child adoption case, the sleuths of CBI's anti-corruption bureau on Friday arrested the chairperson of Malaysian Social Service Agency (MSSA) and its manager Somasundaram. Both Vatsala and Somasundaram were arrested by the central crime branch of city police in 2005 during a crackdown on MSSA's illegal activities including kidnapping and selling of children to couples abroad.
In May 2005(article here), the crime branch of the city police had arrested Somasundaram, Vatsala and Ravindranath along with 10 others. Somasundaram was charged with signing fake documents to help the agency sell about 40 children to foreign couples and for his involvement in the kidnap of a child from a government hospital in Salem in 1999. The cases of illegal adoption came to light in the first week of May 2005, when the Otteri police received specific information about kidnapping of children from residential areas. They busted the racket, exposing the malpractice in child adoption
My point being, when in the heck are the governements going to open up their eyes and stop "accrediting" these agencies, and allowing them to continue practice ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD? I am convinced that the government of the US could care less about its children, the US hasn't even enacted the convention on the rights to the child. Is it even illegal to sell a child in the United States? I recently watched a speech and presentation called "What really happened in Cambodia" by Richard Cross, Federal Senior Special Agenct for US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. He was on the case of Cambodia adoption scandals of Lauryn Galindo and Lynn Devin(google them for taste of vomit in your own mouth. Busted for child trafficking, hid over a million dollars in cash, children found with dried feces on them, crying, no care, falsified documents and child trafficking and she gets 18 months in jail aka a slap on the wrist.)Just minutes into his presentation he talks about how human trafficking doesn't deal with baby buying, that you can't get charged w/ baby buying in the United States and most people don't understand that. Its not illegal.
I repeat: Its not illegal.
All of these agencies I've written about tonight are a pinch of the corruption in the industry. These types of "crime rings" are all over the place. They're getting away with it, because we're letting them.
Tighter laws, no accreditation, adoption agency monitors, all of this needs to start happening MORE. We can't give people slaps on the wrist for taking away hundreds of identities of children, for stealing children from families and separating families who want to be together. Making millions off of innocent families and raping them of their heritage is not okay. This is worth far more time in prison than consequences currently being given. Some just have licenses "suspended" able to pick up practice 2, or 3 years later and start again. What is going on here? When are child traffickers going to be held accountable? REALLY held accountable? I mean, no more practice, 25 to LIFE in prison, "you take my life, I take yours" type of punishment?
Enough is enough!
I challenge everyone to think outside of the conventional american adoption box tonight and give some ideas on what you would like to see implemented into law to make the act of providing for a child who needs providing for ( separate from his/her natural family ) ETHICAL?
We have got to start somewhere. Because somewhere, right NOW a child has been stolen from her family, and she is crying for them and she wants to go home. Somewhere a child is sitting in a puddle of urine with a freakin child trafficker in possession of her, and these people need to be stopped. They need to be stopped NOW not tomorrow, not next week, not a slap on the wrist and allow them to continue, it is time to stop them NOW.