US-based Desiree and David Smolin were elated when they adopted two girls from Hyderabad. But their happiness was shortlived. Within weeks, the couple discovered that their two lovely daughters were not orphans, but victims of child trafficking.I met the Smolins in 2004, when they presented at a conference on international adoption that my law school hosted. He has written quite a bit about adoption corruption since that time. I've always remembered Desiree's presentation about language loss and acquisition -- she explained how children the age of her adopted children lost their original language at a rate greater than the acquisition of the new language such that they were incapable of even thinking, much less expressing, complex thoughts. How frustrating is that?!
That was 12 years ago. The Smolins now operate a website, in which they have catalogued international adoption injustices and offer advice to adopting parents, based on their own experience [the only website I know that the Smolins are involved in is Fleas Biting, which hasn't had a post since 2008 -- does anyone know of a more current website?].
The Smolins, who have five sons, adopted nine-year-old Bhagya and 11-year-old Manjula from Action for Social Development (ASD), a Hyderabad-based adoption agency, Nov 18, 1998.
"The girls were terribly depressed and one of them had suicidal tendencies," Desiree told IANS in an e-mail interview. The Smolins were saddened by the emotional state of the girls. Luckily, they got some information. The girls had told a friend at ASD about their past, which prompted the Smolins to probe further.
"When the girls finally began to open up after about six weeks, they told us that they were not orphans, but were stolen and sold to us. They were even threatened and forced to lie to the embassy official, who interviewed them," said Desiree, who still can't believe it after 12 years.
Still hoping for change
5 days ago