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Guatemalan mother seeks 'stolen' daughter's return from U.S.

(CNN) -- Loyda Rodriguez says she can still remember the day her daughter was taken.

What began as a simple walk home from a shopping trip more than five years ago became a nightmare, she says.

"November 3, 2006, is when they stole my daughter," she told CNN Thursday. "I had left to go shopping. When I came back, I did not realize that a woman was following me. When I entered my house, my daughter stayed on the patio, and that was when she was taken."

But that account is not what she has told other news organizations in describing what happened that day.

In 2008, she told ABC News a woman appeared in her backyard and grabbed her out of her arms, while she was trying to enter her house.

Last year, the Associated Press reported that Rodriguez felt someone tug at her daughter as she tried to enter her home, and then turned to see a woman get into a waiting taxi, along with her young daughter.

And the El Periodico newspaper reported that Rodriguez said she left her daughter on the patio with other children while she went to deal with clothes on the terrace.

Reached Friday by phone, Rodriguez told CNN she does not remember telling ABC or anyone that the girl was snatched from her arms. She said she's given multiple interviews on the case, and stood by what she said earlier -- that she left the girl outside after returning from a shopping trip.

It all happened in about two minutes, Rodriguez said.

Now, the 7-year-old girl is at the center of an international custody dispute. She is a child with two identities, in two countries, with two sets of parents who claim her as their own.

In Missouri, they call her Karen. In Guatemala, she is known as Anyeli.

Guatemalan authorities say Anyeli was snatched from Rodriguez and sold to an international adoption agency.

Last year, a Guatemalan judge ruled that the girl belonged with Rodriguez and not with her adoptive U.S. parents.

The Guatemalan government suspended adoptions in 2007 after authorities found multiple cases of falsified birth certificates and paperwork, as well as alleged thefts of babies.

This week, the U.S. State Department weighed in on the case of the 7-year-old girl, saying a U.S. state court would have to decide whether the girl should return to Guatemala, because when the incident happened, the two countries had not yet signed an international treaty dealing with abducted children.

"Our view remains that, at the time, this appeared to be a legitimate adoption. So again, our preferred course of action would be for any claims to be pursued in the state courts of the United States," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.

Rodriguez told CNN she was devastated by the news.

"I feel very sad, and I am still suffering, because I had hope that the United States would respond to me and would return my daughter. ... I do not know why they are unfair, because I have my rights, because I am her real mother," she said.

In Guatemala at least 10 people have been charged with human trafficking in connection with the case of this adoptive girl. So far, two of those people have been convicted, and the others are awaiting trial.

That's more than enough proof, Rodriguez says, that her daughter should come home.

"There is very important evidence, which revealed that she was stolen from me, and DNA evidence proves that I am her real mother," she told CNN.

However, a source with knowledge of the case told CNN that while Rodriguez's DNA matches the DNA of a child brought to the embassy in Guatemala, there is no evidence the child in question in the United States is the same child tested at the embassy.

Also, questions have been raised about whether the person presenting the child at the embassy was, in fact, Rodriguez's sister, which casts doubt on the kidnapping story, the source said.

Guatemalan authorities say the adoption agency falsified documents to make the girl eligible for adoption, something that the adoptive parents in Missouri apparently didn't know.

Rodriguez says she now hopes to go to court in Missouri to get her daughter back.

The adoptive parents were unavailable for comment, referring CNN to their lawyer in Washington, who declined to comment.

Last year a family representative said the adoptive parents would "continue to advocate for the safety and best interests of their legally adopted child. They remain committed to protecting their daughter from additional traumas as they pursue the truth of her past through appropriate legal channels."

Link to CNN Article

International Adoption’s Trafficking Problem

The Illusion
International adoptions have an illustrious fa├žade, conjuring images of couples saving a hungry, orphaned child and living happily ever. While imagining international adoptions as a corrupt business is abhorrent, connections to child trafficking have recently arisen. Accordingly, the State Department reports that though Americans adopted 22,991 international children in 2004, the implementation of The Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption brought about a precipitous drop to 9,319 adoptions in 2011.

Over the past decade, Western investigative journalists led by Scott Carney have published on hidden realities. Despite the illusion that there are more orphans available than parents looking to adopt, there is insatiable demand for children from the developing world, particularly healthy infants.

With this enormous market, many opportunities exist for profit seekers. Promises of astronomical adoption fees motivate orphanages to ensure a steady supply of children. This causes orphanages to resort to drastic measures, even occasionally paying kidnappers directly. According to Carney’s reports in his book The Red Market, the problem is particularly rampant in impoverished Asian countries. Malaysian Social Services, located in Chennai, India, has paid about $236 per child, while China’s Hunan Province hosts institutions that openly purchase children openly for up to $350.

Western adoption agencies are not immune from temptation either. Notably, employees of Zoe’s Ark, a French charity, attempted to fly 103 “Sudanese war refugees” from Chad in 2007. Police later determined that most of the children had been taken unwillingly from their families in Chad.

Link to the remaining article

Elder slams NT forced adoption plan

AAP
An indigenous elder is pleading with Northern Territory Chief Minister Adam Giles to scrap plans to address Aboriginal child neglect via forced adoptions.

Mr Giles has warned that Aboriginal children are being left with neglectful parents for fear of creating another stolen generation.

The first indigenous head of government in Australia has flagged placing Aboriginal kids in adopted homes if their parents don't take responsibility for them.

But in a letter obtained by AAP, elder Djiniyini Gondarra, who represents 8000 Yolngu people of east Arnhem Land, urges Mr Giles to have a rethink.

"We vehemently oppose your proposed policy to take away our children and give them up for adoption," Dr Gondarra writes.

"We already live under such heavy control, with no respect. This will paralyse our people."

There is an urgent need for more family support programs in indigenous communities, Dr Gondarra adds.

"We need your help to do this, not your punishment and more pain for our people."

Dr Gondarra writes that the healing process since the federal government's 2008 apology to the stolen generations would be ruined if forced adoptions were reintroduced.

"What you now propose to do is to tear open the bandages and cut us again," he says.

Community dysfunction is caused by decades of poverty and further exacerbated by the disempowering policies of the federal and NT governments, Dr Gondarra says.

He disputes Mr Giles's claim that only one child has been taken away and given up for adoption in the Northern Territory in the past 10 years.

About 60 children are being taken away every month by child protection services, he says.

"Children are being taken away from us at numbers not seen since the stolen generations."
The Yolngu child has a spirituality, "skin", culture, language and a place in the community.

"You are committing a deep wrong by taking that away," he tells Mr Giles.

Dr Gondarra's community supports kinship-care placements and direct negotiation and resolution with parents, extended family and clan leaders.

Source of Article:
http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/elder-slams-nt-forced-adoption-plan-20130520-2jw5t.html