Sunday, December 20, 2009

Adopting a Lie

Another adoption fraud case from India, with the fraud leading to disruption of the adoptions:
In court papers that paved her way to Minnesota, Komal is described as a 12-year-old girl from northern India, eligible for adoption in the United States.

She liked to assemble puzzles and briefly attended fifth grade, but the 112-pound orphan displayed a violent streak that soon left a Mayer, Minn., couple wondering if they were told the truth about the two Indian siblings they spent $30,000 trying to adopt.

Within months of their arrival, and before the adoption became final, Komal confessed: She was 21. Her younger sister, Shallu, admitted she was 15, not 11 as advertised. The sisters said they were told to lie about their ages and backgrounds by orphanage officials and an India-based representative for Crossroads Adoption Services of Edina, which handled the failed placements.

At 21, Komal wouldn't have been a candidate for adoption. In fact, she wouldn't have qualified for an orphan visa to the United States. Under the rules, foreign children must be under 16 for adoption proceedings to begin.

Maria Melichar, who once hoped Komal and Shallu would become part of the family she and her husband, Carl, are raising, said Komal's rights were grossly violated.

"To adopt her against her will, when she has a life, had an identity [and] she was an
adult, is unthinkable," Maria Melichar said.

The sisters' lies reverberated halfway around the world, from a quiet farmhouse in Carver County to a noisy orphanage in Chandigarh, India, raising fresh questions about an international adoption treaty and the United States' commitment to investigate alleged corruption in the orphan pipeline. During the past decade, adoption scandals have erupted in at least six countries, including India, sometimes
shutting off the flow of children from those nations.

A U.S. immigration judge ordered the sisters sent back to India in July 2008 for visa fraud, after medical tests confirmed the age discrepancies. It appears to be the first time the U.S. government has expelled orphans under such circumstances, experts said.

* * *

Critics of the United States' commitment to the [Hague] treaty say the Melichars' case shows the government is not aggressively investigating adoptions that go wrong. "I can't understand why the U.S. government is moving so slow on these cases," said Arun Dohle, founder of the Belgium-based advocacy group Against Child Trafficking and author of a 2008 law review article on Indian adoption fraud.

Attorney Mark Solheim, who represents Crossroads, said the agency "never instructed any adoptive children to lie about their age." Over the past 33 years, Crossroads has successfully placed 3,500 children, including 500 from India, he said.
What do you think of expelling the two girls (one woman, one girl?) from the U.S.? Returning them to India if that is what they wished to do is one thing, but would it be right to expell them if they wished to stay?

Here's a story from an India newspaper about the girls (or at least I think it's the same kids, names have been changed, ages are uncertain, but date of adoption is the same):
The Bombay high court has has shown its concern towards the future well-being of
a teen-aged girl who faced psychological trouble in a 'failed international adoption' case.

Justice DY Chandrachud on Friday asked the agencies concerned to ensure her well-being before thinking of shifting her to a different shelter home and also to a different city.

"I am more worried about her. The child has faced several problems," remarked Chandrachud, after he was informed that the Family Service Centre proposes to shift her from an asylum in Bangalore to Arushi, a shelter home in Gurgaon.

Riddhi, 14 and Siddhi, 8 (names changed) were given for adoption in the USA in April 2006. Riddhi had developed behavioural problems and was sent back to India, whereas Siddhi adjusted to her new home. Riddhi was put under psychiatric treatment in Bangalore.

Now, before allowing her to shift to Gurgaon, the court has called for a detailed psychological evaluation report from Dr S Sheshadri, who has been treating her, explaining whether it would be in her welfare and interest, and most importantly, would not cause her further psychological problem.

"The report should also comment upon requirements which need to be met to rehabilitate her. The evaluation report should also contain whether rehabilitation is advisable in the first place," observed Justice Chandrachud.

A very sad case. What do you think of the disruption? The expulsion? The fraud?


Lorraine Dusky said...

Wow, what an amazing case of fraud...thanks for posting this and bringing it to our attention.

Anonymous said...

please check again precisely on google. Very precisely.
Bombay is in the middle of India.
It´s in the state of Maharashtra.
Bombay High Court cannot have
any jurisdiction over a case in Chandigarh. Because that is in the State of Haryana.
You are mixing/ combing up two seperate stories.
Sad but true...

malinda said...

Wow, anonymous, that is sad -- that there are two such cases of disrupted adoptions under like circdumstances . . . .