Guilty as charged: Aiding and abetting adoption

In a previous post [link], Lucy explores the idea of abuse that can be stated is functional to adoptive parents withholding information from a child temporarily in their care. I didn’t want to hijack that post, so I’m hoping to expand on that here a bit.

If we define the systemic displacement, dispossession, and disinheritance of a human being as a crime, how do we “unformalize” what has been deemed legal (with the unformalized notion of things like “trafficking” already being considered illegal)?

I ask this because when my lawyer went (for the third time) to attempt to find my records at the civil registry here, she was told (yet again) that there wasn’t any file for me. It could be that the clerk was just lazy; was expecting a “tip”; couldn’t be bothered—we don’t know.

But my lawyer said: “I have a birth certificate here, there should be a corresponding document in your office. If you are saying there isn’t one, than you are implying that this is a falsified document. If you let me leave with falsified government documents, than you are guilty of fraud, and I will press charges.” The manager found my file in 5 minutes.

My point is that there is the direct abuse of withholding information, then there is the “aiding and abetting” of a crime by participating in known fraudulent circumstances. I acknowledge what “works” in the periphery is very different from what goes on in the core, as it were.

All the same, we’re no longer in the halcyon days of Harry Holt and Pearl S. Buck. We know very well what is taking place when children change hands. Guatemalan mothers are already attempting to get the legal system to acknowledge their claims to their children, both in foreign and American courts.

The irony is that a falsified document in such a mother’s hands that allows her to, say, work in the United States gets her deported. A similar falsified document in her son’s or daughter’s hands allows him or her to be adopted.

Might it be possible to frame a case to establish the fraudulent nature of adoption in and of itself, and by extension, the “aiding and abetting” of such fraud?

How might we stop “living a lie” and actually establish recognition of that lie?

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5 thoughts on “Guilty as charged: Aiding and abetting adoption

  1. Daniel,

    I was told I was A-worded. Based upon the information provided, I believed:

    1. Those-who-raised-me never knew anything about my mother;
    2. A sealed court file existed regarding my situation;
    3. The birth certificate I have used most of my life was an amended (falsified) one; and,
    4. An original (accurate) birth certificate existed.

    Of the foregoing, only the second matter turned out to be true.

    After a direct confrontation, those-who-raised-me admitted they had driven several hours in order to met my mother. They had interviewed her and had provided her with money for food and prenatal care. They arranged for her to travel to where they lived, and to stay with their friends both before and for a brief period after I was born, and also arranged for her to receive care at the hospital where I was apparently born.

    My “court file” is comprised of a one-line entry on the court’s docket sheet (which is merely a record of documents filed with the court). A law firm paid a whopping $3.00 court fee for this entry. No pleadings, supplementary documents or Court Orders exist.

    My original birth certificate reflects the name of a woman who gave birth to me. The surname is accurate (it is a fairly common surname) but the given name is not — I suspect the given name was purposefully altered because my mother’s first name, and particularly its spelling, is uncommon. Further, my original birth certificate reflects that I was born a female, which, unless I had a complete DNA change sometime after being born, is completely false.

    My birth mother died when I was six years of age. I have nearly irrefutable confirmation of my mother’s true identity by way of the results of search efforts that many of us undertake, and confirmation of a DNA relationship with my mother’s sister, a true aunt, who would be several years senior to my mother.

    The physician who delivered me was know to be involved in “helping unwed mothers”. I have interviewed not only those-who-raised me (who ultimately fessed up to having never followed laws pertaining to the A-word), but also a woman who procured two infants in the same manner. I also have two A-worded contacts who were also subjected to the same extra-legal (i.e., unlawful) processes as was I.

    Involved in unlawful procurement/trafficking of myself and at least two others I have communicated with were:

    1. Attorneys of a law firm;
    2. The Court Clerk, or at least Court employees;
    3. A physician;
    4. Those-who-raised-me;
    5. Other “A-parents”;
    6. Officials at the level of the County Welfare Department and possibly officials at the level of the State Health Department (certain conflicting Court docket numbers exist in the file materials).

    It almost sounds like a “conspiracy theory”, except it is not theoretical at all.

    I have been giving consideration to two separate methods of “How to stop living the lie”. One is a legal action to attack what was apparently a well-known secret. The other is to write a book and make a buck…

    Brent

  2. If you figure out a way to do this let me know. My birthmom was given a fake name. I have a court document, the Consent for Adoption, that she was forced to sign with the fake name. The fake name was notarized. It’s fraud and I need to find a lawyer but have no idea how to go about this.

  3. “The crime of false impersonation is defined by federal statutes and by state statutes that differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In some states, pretending to be someone who does not actually exist can constitute false impersonation.”

    Fraud must be proved by showing that the defendant’s actions involved five separate elements: (1) a false statement of a material fact,(2) knowledge on the part of the defendant that the statement is untrue, (3) intent on the part of the defendant to deceive the alleged victim, (4) justifiable reliance by the alleged victim on the statement, and (5) injury to the alleged victim as a result.”

    • If I take the list of five conditions for fraud as part of a genuine effort to work out the matter legally, and not simply a mealy-mouthed way to escape “justice” or a vacuously “complete” gesture on the part of a legal system to fill in all the details, then the nub of the issue for orphans comes out in a couple of directions.

      (1) in the absence of the first three items, what is the injury done to the victim; who is culpable? If no inconsistencies exist in the documents, but orphan relies on the information and suffers an injury as a result, this fails to make the provisioners of the documents guilty of fraud (whether the information is true, false, or otherwise). In my parents’ case, there was no fraudulence in neglecting to mention my African heritage (when they claimed I was Irish, German, and Welsh); that description was “false” but the doctors didn’t know it (in all likelihood), and so could not have had any intent to deceive my parents.

      People sufficiently outraged to have received a Black baby (against expectation) would likely say, “Well, the doctor should have known better. We relied on him to be well-informed.” And thus the tricky ground of “negligence” gets entered into. Doubtless the doctor would say, “We went with the best information we had at the time,” and unless my parents could find a report on my genetics in the doctor’s file that clearly indicated my origins, contra their claim, then the courts will not be open to my parents’ pleas.

      (2) in the absence of the last two items, does an injury exist even when not registered by the victim? Assume the doctors knew my history and falsified documents in order to “make the sale.” But my parents never registered any (injury from this. Or, even now, perceive no injury in getting a Black baby. Once again, no case of fraud results, even though the first three conditions are explicitly met. As I said elsewhere, a missing element involves that the person trafficked is not a party to these offenses. The injury for falsified documents goes to the adopting parents, not the orphan adopted.

      Brent can probably tell us what the legal precedents are that would attach the (adult) child’s interests to such fraudulent transactions.

      Leave aside what actions are warranted in the case of demonstrating fraud.

      What you are calling for–apart from calling adoption in general fraudulent (an argument that might work rhetorically for politicians changing the law, but I’m pretty sure it would fall flat in a court setting)–is a mechanism to acknowledge a kind of fraud resulting from items 1, 2 and 3 above, where a third-party (the orphan) is affected as if item 4 and 5. It visually makes me think of it as legal photo-bombing–a doctor falsifies information to smiling parents in a photo, but the child jumps into it and says, “What about me?”

      As always, this point to the “missing third” in the triad, the child. By saying this, I admit that I think of the “triad” actually as a “quad”: the “sender” (genetic parents), “receiver” (adopting parents), the “means of transmission” (adoption trafficker), and the “message” (the orphan, however manufactured).

      Legally, the child (as a non-human and a piece of property) has his or her inalienable rights violated by this trafficking, but no one intervenes to stop these violations, legally because it is sanctioned, culturally because it is normalized. Orphans have been lobbying push-back for years now.

      I learned, importantly, that the reason Washington opened its adoption records was because one of its elected politicians is herself adopted. A fine case of an individual taking advantage of the legal system for her own advantage (and the advantage of others). But I’m sure it’s no accident that it was an orphan who pushed for and brought about the change.

      So, to restate, in examining the conditions for fraud (assuming that the first three conditions are met), you propose the recognition of those rights (of the “fourth”) that were overlooked at the time of the trafficking to be permitted a claim of injury for that falsification as well.

      But then beyond even that, you are proposing something other than “fraud,” that would name the injury done, even when items 1, 2 and 3 are handled with all due diligence, that would make the trafficking (the injury in 4 and 5) actionable.

      This is actually a very far-ranging claim. The overwhelming bulk of Law around the world permits parents to “dispose of children” as they see fit, which includes selling a child (in the narrowly sanctioned channels where “sales” are permitted, which now includes surrogacy, &c). It will be a while before the injury of “life” gets acknowledged as actionable, but on a smaller scale, amongst the inalienable rights of a human being must be better articulated that right that states parents do not, in fact, get to dispose of their children as they “see fit”. So long as children are, essentially, sub-humans (in legal terms), then they suffer the fate of slaves. And just as it was once not indecorous to purchase adults, so it is still not indecorous to purchase infants (through the proper channels of course).

      I think Brent is largely telling us that “injuries” done to third-parties (the orphan) through the fraudulence of traffickers are not generally recognized by the courts, principally (it seems) because the injury properly speaking only attaches to the parents who were deceived. Unless they complain, nothing will be done.

      So, if I’ve not completely muddled things up, then “fraud” will likely not provide a powerful channel for redress, all the more so given that its strictly application would be extremely difficult to prove.

      • I’m certainly no lawyer, and perhaps I’ve been amazed by my lawyers here in Lebanon and their ability to bend laws to fit the exceptional case which happens to be the adoptee returned and wanting nationality. That and enough bad lawyer drama from the television gives me an idea that there is often a way to twist things out of the system.

        It’s the very fact that the adoptee is considered to be the direct object (with no recourse and no need for recourse) that makes this seem ripe to me for some kind of legal activism. Especially given the vagaries of the definitions from state to state. And sometimes a case that is doomed to failure can stand as a testament for change.

        This kind of thing already has a precedent in the “adopting back” legal activism (http://adoptingback.com/) which I’ve read about mostly in Canada.

        Above and beyond the legal viability of the idea is me simply waxing hyperbolic on the subject….individual mileage may vary.

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