Our Global Travesty: Black Market Adoptions
Posted by Sarah Andre
Welcome back from the long weekend, readers! A QUICK REMINDER: Only 4 more days left to bid on fabulous trips, tickets, gift baskets, autographed books, jewelry, (our Kiss and Thrill cornucopia of critiques, gift cards, books and promotional help) and so much more at Brenda Novak’s Online Auction for Diabetes Research. Peruse and bid for a great cause http://brendanovak.auctionanything.com/ and help make this the highest donating year yet!
And now back to our blog. Today, multi-published author STACY GREEN guest blogs about a topic she extensively researched for her newest release TIN GOD: the horror and prevalence of black market adoptions.
What if you found out the child you gave up for adoption in the hopes of providing her a better life ended up sold as part of a black market adoption ring?
Believe it or not, illegal adoption happens. When I researched this horrific crime for my plot in TIN GOD, I started calling family attorneys in the state of Mississippi, where the book is set, as well as several adoption organizations.
Legally, attorneys are not allowed to charge a fee for matching a child to a set of parents. They can only charge a fee for the licensed adoption, and ONLY for the legal work.
But the black market industry continues to grow. Illegal practices in international adoptions are becoming more and more common and some countries, like Cambodia, Vietnam, and Guatemala, are becoming a type of breeding ground for nefarious acts like buying and selling children as well as kidnapping.
Switched and stolen babies are sold, as well as voluntarily relinquished children from unsuspecting birth parents to well-meaning adoptive parents. While some, desperate for a child, pay huge sums to brokers, others are taken in by attorneys who raise their legal fees in lieu of a finder’s fee.
But it doesn’t just happen overseas. Fraudulent adoption happens right here in the United States. The story that inspired the idea for TIN GOD comes from a family law attorney in Jackson, Mississippi. A woman spent months posing as a social worker from various adoption agencies throughout the cities. She convinced couples to pay for her services by preying on their need to adopt and assuring them she could expedite the process. While most of them DID end up with an adopted child, this woman not only posed as a worker of an adoption agency, but scammed thousands out of innocent couples.
Like Jaymee’s daughter in TIN GOD, these children’s records are often falsified or just plain don’t exist.
There have been other types of cases where the mother simply didn’t inform the birth father, denying him the decision to decide whether to retain his rights.
Georgia Tann operated one of the United States most notorious illegal adoption scams. She operated the Tennessee Children’s Home Society in Memphis and used the place as an unlicensed front for her black market sales from the 1920s until 1950. Tann used various manipulations to take children from birth parents – mostly poor, unwed mothers – and sell them to wealthy clients.
And then there are the Cole babies. From the 1930s to the 1960, Dr. Katherine Cole is said to have placed more than 1,000 babies without legal documentation. Known as the “Cole babies,” most had a difficult time piecing together their identities, and for many, the truth was discovered after noticing that Cole listed the adoptive parents as the birth parents on the birth certificate.
She was eventually arrested.
The horror of black market adoptions is the backbone of my newest release TIN GOD. Originally, Jaymee was mourning the death of a child, but that was darker than what I wanted to write. So my critique partner and I put our heads together, and she suggested looking into illegal adoption. I didn’t realize it was so prevalent in this country, but when I started researching, I realized this would be a great plot for a book.
TIN GOD (A Delta Crossroads Mystery)
Getting pregnant as a teenager and being coerced into giving her baby up for adoption left a festering scar on Jaymee Ballard’s life. Trapped by poverty and without many allies, Jaymee nearly gives up hope of getting her daughter back after her best friend is murdered. Now, four years later, a wealthy woman with legal connections hires her as a housekeeper, and Jaymee gathers the courage to seek her help. But Jaymee’s last chance ends up in a puddle of blood in one of the historic antebellum mansions in Roselea, Mississippi.
I just murdered your wife…again.
An unsigned letter consisting of six horrifying words turns Nick Samuels stagnant life upside down. Stuck in emotional purgatory since his wife’s unsolved murder four years ago, Nick is about to self-destruct. The arrival of the letter claiming credit for his wife’s murder and boasting of a new kill sends Nick to Roselea, where he and Jaymee’s worlds collide.
Jaymee and Nick realize exposing the truth about her daughter’s adoption is the only way to solve the murders. Up against years of deception, they rush to identify the killer before the evidence–and Jaymee’s daughter–are lost.
But the truth doesn’t always set the guilt-ridden free. Sometimes, it destroys them.
What to do if you suspect you or someone you know is a victim of black market adoption: If a parent or adoptive family believes they have been a victim of an illegal adoption, they can call their social worker, local police or FBI, or attorney general’s office.
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About the author
Born in Indiana and raised in Iowa, Stacy Green earned degrees in journalism and sociology from Drake University. After a successful advertising career, Stacy became a proud stay-at-home mom to her miracle child. Now a full-time author, Stacy juggles her time between her demanding characters and supportive family. She loves reading, cooking, and the occasional gardening excursion. Stacy lives in Marion, Iowa with her husband Rob, their daughter Grace, and the family’s three obnoxious but lovable canine children.
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Thank you for being here today, Stacy and sharing your research on such a tragic crime.
READERS: Stacy is giving away swag for one lucky commenter. Check back on Thursday to see if you won a TIN GOD pin, bookmark and book charm!
(Snail Mail and only in the US please.)