And now I am really mad

Like-minded friends in the adoption reform community, let me introduce you to Noel. Noel responded to my last post, and I thought I'd share her thoughts with you.

I think you may be missing the point: an evil father murdered his child. He is to blame. He committed this horrendous act. He is to blame. If one wants to research child abuse, it is overwhelmingly committed by biological parents... Not adoptive parents. Adoptive homes actually have a staggeringly low rate of abuse ... I mean crazy low...when compared to biological families. When we were foster parents we saw these stats. This is NOT an adoption issue. This is an issue of evil and the fact that although we have excellent agencies and laws ... They can't filter or predict all evil that may be residing in a person. No system can. Again I say, Korea needs to look at the rapid increase of infant murders and senseless abandonments that have caused the deaths of their own children due to the new adoption laws, just like the USA ought to look at our terrible foster care system which dooms children to transience for years upon years. Again I say, adoption didn't kill this boy, an evil father did.

Here are the stats to support what I'm saying:

According to the Children’s Bureau report, there were 436,321 substantiated reports of child abuse and neglect in 2010. Of these, 78% focused on neglect, 17.6% on physical abuse, and 9.2% on sexual abuse. It was not clear from this report how each of these was associated with a particular group of perpetrators, but it’s important to see that specific physical abuse was relatively infrequent--- these points should be kept in mind when looking at the rest of this post.

The Children’s Bureau report noted that parents (including step-parents and adoptive parents, but not foster parents) were responsible for 81.2% of the cases in the “duplicate count” (adults who were reported more than once for mistreatment of a child). Of these cases involving parents, 0.7% were perpetrated by adoptive parents, 84.2% by biological parents, 4.0% by step-parents, and 11.2% by parents whose relationship to the child was not recorded.

These numbers suggest that biological parents were by far the most frequent maltreaters, followed by the “unknown” group, with a much smaller frequency of mistreatment by step-parents, and the adoptive parents with a tiny proportion of cases.

So with this proof on the table...I think your anger in this case should be directed at the man, the father, who is to blame...not "adoption," Were all angry....terribly so, but its important to know the facts and respond to truth not blind anger and emotion that isn't supported by anything but a knee jerk reaction.

First of all, Noel, next time you choose to lecture someone, make sure you actually understand what they have said. And then have the humility to recognize that as the parent of a young child, you actually don't know squat in the scheme of things. Next to women who have lost children to adoption and adoptees whose experiences aren't as cozy as that of your young family (never mind those of the adoptees who have been deported by a government that ignores them or killed by their adopters) you. don't. know. s***.

So this is my response to Noel. And may this post and my response serve as a warning to anyone else who wants to go to the mat with me on this. A CHILD IS DEAD. Have the sense to recognize that this is NOT the time for statistics to explain away the fact that the child was adopted (or soon to be, for we should bear in mind that Hyunsu's adoption was not finalized). It's the time for a long long look at what we are doing wrong and fixing it. Once the horribly broken process of adoption is fixed we can talk about statistics again.

Oh, Noel, I am missing no point whatsoever. And I warned the adoptive parents of young kids that they'd better not jerk my chain on this issue today.

First of all, completely OT but since you blog I will say it - your use (and it is use) of your child on your blog is appalling. Give that child a break, and if you're going to write, write. She is not your accessory and she deserves privacy.

Second, you are the one missing the point. I did not ask nor deliver in this post an analysis of what causes child abuse, neglect or murder by biological parents, adoptive parents or anyone else. If you have actually read the entire post, you will see that I made the point quite clearly that that ISN'T the point.

The point is that adoption is mismanaged. Homestudies do not even begin to try to identify behaviors that could lead to such a horrible outcome. Laws discriminate against adopted people, put their citizenship at risk

Adoptive parents who make excuses for it do nothing but enable more abuse.

It doesn't matter that you have a happy family. It doesn't matter that your child is thriving. It doesn't matter that thousands of children have found nurturing families.

What matters is that the system of adoption is turning a blind eye toward violence against adopted children and adults. By defending the status quo, you identify yourself as part of the problem.

So done with mommy-bloggers.



Lorraine Dusky said…
Thank you for taking this on. It is unbelievable the stuff people say.
Thanks, Lorraine, I appreciate it. It dawned on me today - not sure why it took until now - that plenty of adoptive parents define the entire adoption experience in terms of their parenting experience. If that's good, it's all good.

I don't know how you keep going, because you get nothing but crap from most APs. Hugs!
Noel said…
I am 41 years old. My 5 children range in age from 19-3. I have been married to the same man for 21 years. I have fostered a variety of children who suffered abuse who have some awful things they've dealt with. I am not a young mother with a young little family who has an ideal life. My family is not ideal nor did I intend to portray my life as such. My blog portrays ALL of my children, even foster children (when permitted) and I have had many birthparents & foster parents thank me as they appreciate being able to see how their kiddos are doing. Also, my family doesn't live close and they love seeing the kids and just how were doing. I don't earn money or try to promote anything with my blog. I don't use my life or kids to sell anything or promote an ideal. I wasn't trying to lecture you honestly. and I apologize for making you angry. Im sorry we can't dialogue about this as I really feel there needs to be dialogue. I'm sorry I came off as lecturing as that was not my intent. I stand by my position but I don't do so in anger and hate.
Noel, do you want applause? Props for the volume of parenting you are doing? Me to say I think the photos are a good idea? Or me to say I think because you have so many kids you MUST actually know a whole lot?

I am 64. I have been married to the same man for 40 years in October.

I have raised only two kids, both in their 20s, and have embraced every aspect of adoption. I have served for six years on the board of the Korean American Coalition in DC. I have been to every KAAN conference since it was founded, to the detriment of no small number of family vacations when I'd be driving at 2 AM from Raleigh airport to the beach to meet the family. I am a co-founded of Korean Focus, an organization that provides support and information for adoptive families with Korean kids and Korean adoptees with chapters across the country. That organization is the only adoptive parent organization to take on the gaps in the CCA 2000. Where were the majority of adoptive parents when we were trying to get supporters? Or find a way for a deported adoptee to come home? I can tell you - they were nowhere to be found.

I write and I speak about the hard stuff because no one else will. Too many adoptive parents do exactly what you did when the bad stuff happen: they snap back with stats or reports or whatever information they can find to defend the status quo. Or worse, they are silent. Or maybe worst of all, they retreat to closed forums and criticize those of us who know the bad stuff happens.

Although you may be in the majority of adoptive parents, you all are wrong. Adoption is seriously, seriously broken, and I'm not having any of the "don't blame adoption" crap today. I normally put up with it, but little Hyunsu is dead, and adoption enabled his death.

I do not hate you. But I do not want to dialog with you. You blew that chance with your comment above. Instead, put your money where your mouth is and come to the Adoption Initiative conference in NYC in May. We can talk there.
aaryn b. said…
"Oh, and by the way, here's the fabulous adoption status quo for you: Catholic Charities, the US placing agency, is still silent about Hyunsu's death. Holt Korea put an article in Hani saying the bruises were Mongolian spots. Yeah, there's a child-focused system for you."

What else needs to be said?

Thank you for posting this and for not backing down. You're an inspiration.
Suz said…
Are you going to be at the Spring conference? Would love to see you. You might sway me towards attending!

Great post. Thank you for getting it. As a mother that surrendered her child against her wishes to a baby broker after five months in a maternity home, I appreciate you more than you will ever know.
Shea said…
"My blog portrays ALL of my children, even foster children (when permitted) and I have had many birthparents & foster parents thank me as they appreciate being able to see how their kiddos are doing."

The parents of these children have to read your BLOG to see how their children are doing? That's your justification?


Look, the bottom line here is adoptive and foster parents want to talk about how special the children they "choose" are, and their little snowflakes should be properly grateful because of the wonderful thing you've done for them, but when adoption abuses are exposed suddenly you're running to the bureau of statistics to give you cover. Adoption is different. You are taking children from their families of birth because supposedly they will be better off with you. YOU ARE HELD TO A HIGHER STANDARD. When an adopted child dies at the hands of his adoptive parents, that is an adoption tragedy and needs to be laid at the feet of the adoption system who is supposed to have extra oversight because taking a child from his family of birth is an extreme measure. We need to do better as a country before we take children from their home countries and their families, language, and culture and place them in homes that clearly aren't fit to parent.
Anonymous said…
Posting as anonymous b/c I don't have an account. The statistics noted by Noel is extremely flawed.

"The Children’s Bureau report noted that parents (including step-parents and adoptive parents, but not foster parents) were responsible for 81.2% of the cases in the “duplicate count” (adults who were reported more than once for mistreatment of a child). Of these cases involving parents, 0.7% were perpetrated by adoptive parents, 84.2% by biological parents, 4.0% by step-parents, and 11.2% by parents whose relationship to the child was not recorded."

This statistical analysis is flawed. If you look at it it says that "out of all abuse cases" 81.2% is from parents (inclusive) and then it details that 0.7% were perpetrated by adoptive parents, 84.2% by biological parents, 4.0% by step-parents, and 11.2% by parents whose relationship to the child was not recorded. This data analysis is confounded by the fact that biological parents completely outnumber adoptive parents. it is a sheer numbers game as to why there is more OVERALL biological parent abuse than adoptive parent abuse.

I do not have the numbers on me, but the correct way of analyzing this is to calculate and compare the following:
(abusive adoptive parents / total # of sampled adoptive parents)
(abusive biological parents / total # of sampled biological parents)

In this way, you can compare the rates of abuse between different groups. If for example, the rate of abuse is significantly higher in adoptive parents, then the adoptive parent variable is significant in causing higher abuse.

Does this all make sense?
kidnap said…
lies, damn lies and statistics.

let's see the link to the report, first.

anyone notice that relative size of the groups involved? there is an miniscule number of adoptees in this country, compared to children born into their families.

any controlling for that huge discrepancy?

who would know without reading the report and methodology?

where's the link, noel?
Hi Suz! I will be there and I hope you will be too! I can send what you say right back at you, because you have made me learn and grow more than you willever know. Hugs my dear friend!
kidnap said…
oh, anon, i made the same comment, more or less, before i saw yours. (it's below this reply, if you are interested.)

i could not agree more. the poster mixes raw numbers with some sort of derived percentage, and wants us to infer rates of abuse. there is no reported sample size, with no reported overall group size. for instance, in 2007, 135,000 or so kids were adopted into american families, whereas 4.3 million kids ( more or less) were born into american families.

i don't see those numbers accounted for anywhere in her excerpt.
Aaryn, Shea, Anon, Kidnap, thank you for commenting. It's good to know there are others who understand and who see the need for drastic change. Anon, I agree on the stats, the total number of adoptive parent vs bio parents has to be taken into account.

I am so grateful for all of you who are trying, too. Thank you!!!
Anonymous said…
To echo re: the statistics, what Noel presents is a classic case of misuse of statistics to made a point that is false.

The reason that the number of biological family abuse cases outnumber those of adoptive families is because there are far more biological families than their are adoptive families. Furthermore, there is no centralized tracking system for adoptee murders so we have yet to actually quantify the magnitude of this issue at all. When the data we do have has been compared, it has long been concluded that children are more likely to be killed in adoptive families than biological ones. This is not up for debate.

This boy's life was not statistically insignificant--nor was the way he died. This is also not up for debate.

Thank you, Margie, for your voice.
Here's the rest of my reply that wouldn't fit. :-)

For example, my daughter (DIA) had severe acid reflux and spent hours every day inconsolable, crying in pain. It was sad, scary, frustrating and isolating. I didn't want to leave her with a sitter who wouldn't love her like I do and might not be able to handle these long crying spells. That meant my hubs and I did it all. We did however, have support. I had people to call. I had people who would still go to lunch with me and LO. Those people helped me hold on to hope, keep up my strength and my spirirt during a very difficult time. They helped me be able to keep advocating for her until we got her relief. They made sure I was never in a position where I couldn't call someone for immediate assistance if we were having a hard day.

We were having post placement visits during this time. My SW and our peds both always asked about support, my network, did I have someone to call. That is important. Depending on this child's special needs, and maybe even just the language and cultural changes he was experiencing, this family needed that type of interaction with a SW. They needed a support system so that if the parents were at the breaking point the child didn't need to be broken. I don't know what happened here. I don't know if he's evil, an abuser, or just got in over his head and lost it. I know that too many times in these types of situations, it's easy to get isolated. We need to talk about that. WE HAVE TO TALK ABOUT IT. These kids deserve to live, to be loved, to be happy, to have connection to their biological families (unless not safe as sometimes happens in foster situations, but rarely in DIA or IA). If we can't talk about abuses, and deaths that occur to adoptees, we are FAILING them.

No child should die when they were supposed to be embarking on their "better life." No child should be adopted when it isn't necessary. No child should be abused or murdered by their parents. I can't do anything about what biological parents do to their children other than call DFACS if I know about it. We do however, have the ability to say wait a minute when something like this happens. We owe it to this little boy and his family in Korea, to question why it happened, how it happened and what might have prevented it. Then to work to make the reforms that have a possibility to help.

Sorry for the book, I just can't stay silent when other APs are acting the fool.
"This boy's life was not statistically insignificant--nor was the way he died. This is also not up for debate."

Yes, exactly! Thank you!
Anonymous said…
I think it's really important that adoptive parents recognize the need for adoption reform. The nation witnessed the forced adoption of Veronica last year, and now, I think we all know it happens a lot, and I'm convinced that it not only hurts families of origin, it truly and forever hurts the children who become commodities in these shenanigans. If adoptive parents are going to support adoption in its current state, it's a crying shame. Here's my take... I live in the same town as Jerry Sandusky. He probably actually did do a lot of good for a lot of children. But, he gets no credit for the good he did because the bad he did was so heinous. Just like I'm not going to forgive that monster just because he did some good, I'm not doing to forgive adoption because sometimes, it's the right thing. Adoptive parents are not automatically better than biological parents, and it seems the laws are written to portray them as better. I tell you what, if something happens to me and my husband, I want my family to take of my children, not strangers. I'm sure that most parents would say the same thing. But, when at-risk mothers are looking for someone to care for their children, there are people who encourage to give them to perfect strangers and then we're all supposed to encourage this and treat this as normal? It's weird.
That's exactly what I mean when I say there are things people would find horrible unless adoption is in the picture. Veronica's case and others like it are examples. Normally if we learned that someone was trying to take a child from a parent we'd call it kidnapping. Put PAPs in the picture and suddenly everyone is demeaning the genetic parents and hoping the child goes to the PAPs. It is wrong. So wrong.
Anonymous said…
Just because Noel is ignorant of the true aspects and flaws of the adoption system and used statistics incorrectly doesn't mean she should be criticized so harshly. Everyone here is ganging up on her, fueled by a shared hate for her ignorance. I can understand why you are all so angry. But why not channel this force into other activities to make a difference instead of picking on a poor woman who didn't know better. And she even tried to initiate dialogue to learn your point of view. From the looks of her blog she seems like a very caring mother and person. I don't see why we can't work together to create paradigm shifts through love and not angry words. The truth should be enough to compel others.
jacob farber said…
Noel, you should be proud of yourself for sticking up for what what you believe in. It appears that this blog is intended to be something of a good cause, yet insists on staying completely one sided with complete disregard for any potentially threatening (yet constructive) view points. Even though you could have constructed a more efficient argument, you were brave, true to yourself, and you encourage me to also stand up for my beliefs in hope that it can help others. You had great intentions that were immediately overlooked for a reason that is beyond me. When Jesus preached his beliefs he was crucified because they did not want to hear what he had to say, now he has over a billion followers. I'm not necessarily comparing you to Christ, or to the rest of the bloggers as the Roman soldiers....what I'm trying to say is that the human experience is about listening to one another. There's no way to make progress or learn when everyone agrees on everything. We should be encouraged to speak our own truths in hopes of progress...not shamed for being passionate human beings. I applaud you Noel, just as I applaud Margie for running such an interesting blog that allows people like her to identify with each other in hopes of making progress. Because of all the passion and progressive thinking; I consider everyone on this blog to be friends that I have not yet made.
Scott LaVergne said…
I had trouble following this blog at first. It took several rereads. I am so happy to see the passion in this. What welcome relief to see adopters critical of a system that served their passions.
I am a father who lost to the mother & the daughter to adoption. Now in union with daughter, the mother plagued with loss, that loss further compounded with subsequent children feeling that loss, the sadness their parents cannot effectively hide. I raised my younger daughter of only 9 months her older sister. Sister lost. Brother's of sister with loss their mother could not hide her sorrow. Such was the manipulation, through adoption, well after the baby scoop era. Closed adoption, third party interests, social systems, even the desire of the couple to make a child an orphan so they could reap. Glad to know there are those who wish to be responsible in this crazy world of adoption.
Caitlin A. said…
What I gather from Noel's post is that when we say, "the adoption system is broken," they (I use 'they' instead of Noel, because she is not alone) take it as "Holt should have done more: more eduction, more screening, more processing". (I do think screening should be amped up. Anyone who doesn't acknowledge racism or thinks she is doing a good deed by adopting and deserves a fundraiser should be excluded on the spot.) Yet, even I would agree that there is a point at which more ____ (fill in the blank) becomes too burdensome and counterproductive. However, if the problem was as simple as not enough screening, we would be in a much better place than we are in. The problems with the adoption system are far, far wider and deeper. Noel (and others), you are the one(s) who is(/are) missing the point!

Margie nailed it when she said that adoption has become like an untouchable religion. The problems with adoption are so great, the stakes are so high, and it seems like so much is being done about every other kind of injustice while adoption is usually ignored. I'm sick and tired of hearing that everyone should adopt to solve the "orphan crisis". Why are children separated/prevented from having families?

Poor social infrastructure
Social taboos and hardships
Lack of freedom
Limited or no access to proper healthcare
Lack of financial support
Lack of emotional support
Lack of familial support
Lack of short-term support/care for families to get on their feet
Lack of parenting education
Lack of health education
Lack of sex education
Lack of access to education
Lack of access to information
Unethical events, such as kidnapping, lying, bribing, or forcibly removing children from their families
Death of one or both parents

These are the things that folks who are concerned with the "orphan crisis" should be actively fighting. I often think about the vast amounts of money that are exchanged for adoptions. What if that money was used to try to solve the problems above? Adoption doesn't solve a single one of these problems! Adoption IS NOT the solution to the "orphan crisis". How about the adoption crisis?
Caitlin A. said…
Most of us here have a connection to Korea/Korean adoptions so let's talk specifically about Korea. Korea needs to address its social problems of which there are many--and this is coming from someone who has lived in Korea, has a (biological) child with a Korean, and loves Korea more than almost anyone you could ever meet.

I have to say I had hopes that the new Korean adoption process would be an improvement to the old, but I feel the new process is hardly anything more than a facade to give the appearance that something is being done. All I see happening is the same old thing, but now babies are waiting longer to go home, which is also horrible in a totally differnt way. Maybe it is time for Korea to shut down the adoption program. Korea needs to deal with these mothers and children. For the longest time I was sympathetic to the view that if adoptions shut down completely there would be many casualties as things were sorted out. But, what about the adoption casualties. We need to stop ignoring them!

I think the best way to begin to change the system is to demand more openness in the process. Perhaps birth mothers who adamantly and genuinely (with no coercion, which at this point with the social norms so deeply imbedded is nearly impossible) choose an adoption plan should have more of a say in what happens to their children, right down to selecting the family. In Korea, I don't understand why there cannot be contact between birth families and adoptive families.

I can't tell you how many times I have read, "the domestic foster care system is broken; I wish it was more like the international adoption system." All I hear from statements like this is, "I don't like the domestic foster care system because I'm not interested in adopting the kind of children that are adoptable through foster care. I shouldn't have to waste my time with birth mothers who may change their mind. I like international adoption because I can more easily get the kind of child I'm entitled to and if I don't have the money, I'll just find a way to chalk it up as charity and get other people to pay for it." Excuse me while I vomit over this statement, over the "I'm the perfect adoptive mommy" blogs, over the promotion of adoption to "save" children in the name of Jesus or otherwise, over the fact that a precious boy was murdered. I can't even begin to imagine the devastation of his birth mother.

I find it absolutely appalling that Holt has even hinted that this could have been a misunderstanding over a Mongolian spot rather than apologizing and taking responsibility. Maybe this man was under the radar, but they still placed Hyunsu in this situation. (And, am I the only one who finds Holt's own constant and excessive praise of Harry and Bertha Holt a bit much? I mean really! Why do I know their names without even having to look it up?)

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