Saturday, March 22, 2014

I think I'll stick to adopting dogs...

I spent yesterday reading more about the scandalous re-homing practice some adoptive parents of international children resort to when things don't work out.  If you haven't read the Reuters series, The Child Exchange, about Nicole and Calvin Eason and you have both a strong stomach and the desire to know, I would recommend reading it.  It's very well written and researched, but also very sad and disturbing.  I can't believe I missed this when it first appeared last September.

The series spawned a number of articles including this one by Tim Steller, a reporter for the Arizona Star.  Steller interviewed Nicole Eason, who insists that what she's doing with the children is nobody's business.  She rationalizes that what she and her husband have been doing is offering "respite" to overwhelmed parents.  Apparently, her brand of respite includes asking the children to sleep with her and her husband.  By more than one account, Nicole Eason sleeps nude.

According to Steller's article:

When I told her I think society does have an interest in keeping children out of the homes of people who’ve proved to be unfit parents, Eason disagreed.

“I don’t care if I dug a basement and buried a hundred kids there. Who is in my house is none of your business,” she said.

“I think that would be my business,” I said.

She held firm.

No,” she responded, “it wouldn’t.”

Only authorities armed with a subpoena will get past her door, she said.

Steller's article is actually a follow up to one he wrote previously, just after the adoption re-homing articles broke.  In the first article, he writes about visiting a home the Easons previously lived in.  He spoke to one of their neighbors, a woman that Steller knew from another story he'd written.  

From that article:

“Those horrible neighbors moved out,” Taylor told me. “They had those kids living in dog (poop).”

What kids? Taylor described to me a revolving door of children and dogs going through the mobile home. Two young Native American children were there frequently, as well as a young woman with her own baby. Then there were the two pit bulls that arrived and made their own babies, puppies that were left behind when the Easons were evicted in August.

The couple did their personal travel in taxis from Freedom Cab, a company at least one of them worked for, Taylor said. Nobody at Freedom Cab would return my calls Tuesday.

This is some seriously crazy shit.  I had absolutely no idea about this adoption re-homing stuff.  I mean, I had read and heard stories about people who had taken in children from other countries and then the adoption didn't work out.  I had seen Jessica Beagley on Dr. Phil, abusing the Russian born boy who was allegedly misbehaving in school.  She claimed he had behavioral issues.  I don't doubt it.  A lot of kids born abroad have terrible pasts that haunt them and make parenting them very difficult.  

At the same time, I was as shocked and horrified as a lot of other people were when I saw Jessica Beagley screaming at her son, forcing him to swish hot sauce in his mouth, and then putting him in a freezing cold shower on national TV.  I was dismayed and amazed by Torry Hansen, a woman who adopted a Russian boy, couldn't handle him, and put him on a plane back to Russia.  Hansen claims that the Russian authorities had lied to her about the boy's mental health.   

I have never had to deal with a child who has these severe psychiatric and medical problems, so I hesitate to judge the parents too severely.  On the other hand, it's hard to fathom what drives a caring person to the point at which they're ready to hand over a child to just anyone.  Evidently, a lot of these parents are driven to do that because they don't have the support and resources to either make the adoptions work out or get their children appropriate help.  It seems that a lot of these parents are afraid of being investigated by CPS and judged to be unfit.  I think that's a valid concern, especially if there are other children involved.  

My post from yesterday has exploded with hits, which proves to me that a lot of folks are reading the news and feeling shocked by what's happening to some of these kids.  Reading the comments on the story about Nita Dittenber, I see that many people have no empathy for the parents who re-home their children.  Some rather self-righteously claim that they would never do such a thing.  I like to think I wouldn't, either.  But again, I am not a parent of my own child, let alone the adoptive parent of someone else's biological child who was traumatized from birth.  It just seems that the system is terribly broken, from child welfare officials who lie about the health and history of the children they place, to parents who are not at all prepared to deal with the reality of adopting one of these kids with extremely special needs.  

As I wrote yesterday, I think a lot of these adoptive parents may not be going into the adoption process with their eyes wide open.  Many of them seem to be involved with religious groups that encourage adoption as a means of bringing children to Christ and, let's face it, a potential for more tithing money in the future.  Churches need new members in order to keep growing.  There is a woman named Shannon who regularly posts on RfM about how she felt impressed by the spirit to adopt two Russian sisters.  I have linked to an article about how, after she and her husband adopted a girl named Sasha, Shannon adopted Sasha's older sister, Marina, in order to help the girl cope.  Shannon has written many stories on RfM about how that adoption ultimately worked out…  not well at all.  Apparently, Sasha had been re-homed a few times before she came to Shannon's home and upon her arrival, proceeded to wreak havoc.  Sasha, like some other children from abroad, had reactive attachment disorder, which made it difficult or impossible for her to bond.   

I read yet another disturbing story about adoption this morning.  This time, it wasn't about a child from abroad, but rather three kids who were being beaten and starved by their two moms, Eraca Dawn Craig, 31, and Cristian Jessica Deana, 44.  An eight year old girl, a five year old boy, and a three year old boy were found in a squalid home in northern California.  The girl was chained to the floor to prevent her from getting food.  She and the five year old were apparently adopted, while the toddler was the biological child of one of the women.  The girl appeared to suffer the worst of the abuse.  She was hospitalized for five days.  I imagine she has a horrible road ahead of her.  Those who tasked with caring for her will probably have a tough time of it, too.  This kind of trauma has terrible effects on children.

According to the article I linked to, the two women were going to be married March 29th.  One was as a former corrections officer while the other, shockingly, was a businesswoman and counselor!  They were living in Salinas, California, but there were indications that they planned to move to Fresno.  Looks like those plans are now on hold as they answer to charges of child abuse.   


  1. My mom says the word on the street is that Fresno is a good place to live if you're a habitual child abuser because the CWS office isn't terribly gung-ho about getting the job done.

    1. Sheesh!

      That article about those kids sickened me. Actually, the whole thing is sickening.


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