Carri and Camden: Surmountable separation

Carri Stearns is a struggling mother, like many of us are for one reason or another. Raising five children, the birth of her son Camden on March 31, 2014 following an affair was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. Carri, by her account emotionally distraught and on mind-numbing pain medications, and without the support of the child’s father or her own boyfriend, surrendered her child to Adoption by Gentle Care of Columbus, Ohio (whom you will know from the Grayson Vaughn case) four days after Camden’s birth. Within days of surrender, Carri returned to AGC to request Camden's return. However, AGC ultimately declined Carri's request. A month later, on May 9, 2014, she filed a petition for the return of Camden, citing her emotional state and agency manipulation as cause for dissolution of the revocation documents.

Adoption by Gentle Care denies Carri's allegations of coercion. In a May 19 NBC News article agency spokesperson Patrick Hamilton describes AGC’s trained staff, who stop an adoption at any sign of stress or duress, and do not have the ability to send children to foster care, a threat Carri says was used repeatedly as she worked with the agency.

Carri has made mistakes. She isn’t proud of her affair, and has been convicted more than once of theft. She is, however, successfully parenting five children and wants to parent her sixth. The agency, however, says there is nothing they can do to overturn the revocation order.

At the heart of this terrible dispute is the Permanent Surrender, the document by which mothers turn over custody of their children to an individual or agency. Carri believes the Permanent Surrender she signed has been invalidated by her emotional state, the effect of post-partum pain medication and the coercion of her social worker.

AGC says the Permanent Surrender is “sacrosanct.” In their words, from a highly-unprofessional and manipulated announcement on their web and Facebook pages, it must be so, or adoptive parents “could never be sure its adoptive son or daughter was there to stay, and could never be free of the risk of traumatic disruption.”

The problem with this statement is that, at the time of a mother’s surrender, there is no adoption. There is only a child no longer in the custody of the mother and/or father. If the perception of completed adoption exists, it is because adoption agencies create it, by considering adoptions final long before they are, and empowering and enabling prospective adopters to claim children that are not theirs to claim.

The document that ensures that an adoption cannot be disrupted is an adoption decree. There is no adoption decree standing in the way of Camden’s return to his mother. The only thing preventing it is Adoption by Gentle Care’s unwillingness to do the right thing by allowing this mother to rescind her signature.

Here is what Adoption by Gentle Care says about themselves on their home page:

Adoption by Gentle Care was founded on the belief that a child is a special gift who deserves the best opportunities in life. We believe it is truly a selfless act of love to consider adoption when parenting is not an option.
We attempt to cover every aspect of an adoption so that the adoptive process meets the needs of everyone involved, especially those of the child. We provide professional services to ensure a successful adoption.

Parenting is an option for Carri Stearns; she's successfully parenting five children now. She is making that selfless act to parent that AGCc describes. She needs the son she carried for nine months and brought into the world. Live up to your own standards, Adoption by Gentle Care, and return Camden to the mother who desperately wants him.

If you would like to support Carri, visit any of the following to find out how:


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