Kidnapping,Adoption,Child abduction,Informed consent

Adoption and Abduction: Legal Differences, Emotional Similarities

January 28, 2017

This post is hosted on the Huffington Post’s Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and post freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email. Currently making international news is the miraculous recovery of 18-year-old Kamiyah Mobley who was kidnapped from a Florida hospital by a woman who had been lurking in the hospital in scrubs looking for a suitable victim. She snatched the newborn infant and flew the state with her, changed the baby’s name, name, and hid her from her parents for 18 long years while they mourned the loss and prayed for her well-being and safe return. The young woman at the center of this headline-making case, now known as Alexis Manigo, originally told police that she suspected something was wrong. How could she not when she had no birth certificate, no ID of any kind, including no driver’s license and no social security number? However, she has since declined to comment any further on her suspicions now that the woman, Gloria Williams, whom she knew all of her life – and still loves – as her mother, sits in jail, charged with child abduction. Several news accounts report the confusion she is experiencing as she tries to come to terms with her new reality. Geoffrey Greif, a professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work who has studied abduction cases, notes that child abductions by non-related strangers generally remain unsolved or end poorly with sexual abuse, as in the notorious cases of the four women held captive in Cleveland from their teens or early 20s and Elizabeth Smart, held captive for nine months. Other stranger abductions have ended with murder. Dr. Greif notes that those few who are taken by strangers and raised well, as their own children – as well as those abducted by a non-custodial parent – still experience some common psychological effects when found and reunited with their parents: “As you connect the dots over a period of time, it’s a pretty normal reaction to become upset with the abductor, and a child who was abducted may have trouble developing intimacy and trust with other people … We often see a degree of anger at the parents who were left behind, even if that’s not really justified, like ‘Why didn’t you look harder for me?’” Shawn Hornbeck can relate. An abduction survivor, Shawn currently works to help other victims of abduction and abuse adjust after reunification. He tells them, “Don’t rush life. It will come natural to you.” They need to “take their time reintegrating into society “ There are others who can also identify with the feeling of having one’s whole sense of reality – and identity – turned upside down. Adoption and Abduction: The Similarities Adoption often legalizes a parent-child relationship that began with an abduction or kidnapping. In both the US and the UK, child protective services have been accused of overstepping their powers and committing “governmental abductions for adoption.” When adopting internationally, adopters many have no indication of illegalities, trusting the details to a reputable adoption agency. In other cases, desperation causes adopters to turn a blind eye to obvious red flags, as may be seen in the documentary Wo Ai Ni (I Love You) Mommy and in the book Finding Fernanda. Demand for children to adopt remains high, while fewer and fewer children are being relinquished for adoption. As a result, fees are high and corruption is rampant. Worldwide, children are trafficked for adoption, and the lines between illegal and unethical are further blurred when you factor in the desperation of mothers and fathers in crisis, both here and abroad, who seek temporary help. They are often deceived, coerced, and pressured to sign papers they may or may not fully understand, as has been reported in the well-publicized adoptions by Madonna and Angelina Jolie. The Netherlands is the latest to consider banning international child adoption (IA) due to concerns of trafficking and “laundering” children. Romania, Guatemala, Cambodia, Vietnam, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Ethiopia have all banned IA due to corruption. In Guatemala, for example, children were being snatched and reported as abandoned, then adopted for...

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