Still Separated

The good news is that just under 3,000 of the 4,000 children separated from their families by ex-President Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy at the southern U.S. border have been reunited. That policy was lambasted as cruel and inhumane by critics. It has taken years for government officials to reconnect relatives with their young children.

Nearly 1,000 children still need to be reunited with their relatives. It is the second anniversary of the task force created to help with the reunifications. Many of those kids are Central American migrants who were separated from their parents at the border and placed in detention centers. That method was part of the Trump administration’s hardline approach to immigration and was meant to deter millions of migrants from seeking asylum in the US during his term in the White House.

“We understand that our critical work is not finished,” DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement. “We remain steadfast in our commitment to fulfill President Biden’s pledge to reunify all children who were separated from their families under the ‘zero-tolerance’ policy to the greatest extent possible, and we continue to work diligently to incorporate the foundational principle of family unity in our policies and operations.”

“We have made significant progress toward reunifying families and providing them with necessary services and support,” the Dept of Homeland Security said. “This critical work will continue until all separated families that can be found have been provided the opportunity to reunify.”

Been There, Doing Better

Today’s story – not my own.

I am a former foster care youth who was adopted. When my biological niece (I found my family via Ancestry) was taken and placed in foster care, I had to step up and help since I’ve been there. So, I got kinship guardianship of my niece while my brother was in a recovery program. He was making good progress. Sadly, about 4 months ago, he stopped going and relapsed. The timing was bad. The case worker and attorney are looking to switch my niece’s program to a Termination of Parental Rights goal. I’m afraid if they do this, my brother may spiral downward. I definitely don’t want to see that happen. I’m not given any specific information because I am just the caregiver. Admittedly, I’m not familiar with the termination process or addiction. I don’t know what to expect or how to help my brother.

From experience, someone commented – As the current legal custodian of my niece and myself, a child raised under legal guardianship – Would you be willing/able to remain her legal custodian under kinship as a long term permanency plan? Being raised within my family was in some ways very beneficial for me. There was still a lot of trauma. But if your niece is safe with you and you can raise her long term, that may be very beneficial for her.

In response, the original commenter said – she has been with me a little over a year now. she was in foster care 5 months before she came to me. She will always be welcome here. I did not know there were long term kinship options. The only options I am aware of come from the caseworker. His perspective is if my brother does what he should, he will get her back. If I take Article 6 Custody (from termination of parental rights) that drops the case for both my brother and the baby’s mother. (I have never meet her. She checked out of the hospital early and never set anything up with Dept of Social Services to have visits or anything.) I didn’t want the final option, which I was told was my willingness to adopt her. I don’t know where this will go but I definitely don’t want to see my brother fall down the rabbit hole.

And then there was this (people can really care !!) – Addiction is a disease that can be treated. This child has a genetic risk of inheriting this gene. I want to share with you that I’ve been in recovery for over 23 years – completely clean and sober. I can share some things with you and resources, as much as you want. Please feel free to ask me ANYTHING either here or privately in private message. There IS hope and as long as your brother is still breathing, he can still clean up. There are resources for you, for the child, all sorts of things. It’s ok, and my heart goes out to you and I am sending prayers to your brother, you and all in this situation. There IS hope and he CAN recover. I think you are doing the right thing by keeping your niece with you in a kinship capacity. Please feel free to reach out, now or later, ok? xo

Children Are Such Open People

We live in such an internet driven, open society and yet I was reminded recently by someone inquiring about recycling wine corks (which we haven’t done for years now) that it is nearly impossible to get information off of google once it is there. Sometimes that is good, other times not so much. I said once it is out there – it’s eternal. This story from a kinship guardian reflects some concerns that many caregivers have.

Kinship here (legal guardianship). Not a “traditional” adoption, but this is regarding my 10 year old niece whom I have custody of. Her parents are not in the picture at all. How do I express my concerns to my 10 year old niece regarding her disclosing information to her peers, without shaming her for it ? My niece is VERY open about the fact that she lives with Aunt instead of with her parents. She even includes the “why’s” behind it. Again, I am NOT trying to silence nor shame her. I, however, have some concerns:

1.) Whatever my niece shares now, cannot be “unshared” in the future… for MANY years to come. Children live in the moment. Many of us have made public “mistakes” as young kids, that we now look back and cringe at — whether it’s a bad haircut, odd fashion styles, or an obsession with pink glitter Barbies everything. But those are temporary. Information is permanent. What if my niece changes her mind in the future, and decides that she doesn’t want people knowing who/what/where/when/why??? It’s too late… people already know.

2.) As my niece gets older, she will feel differently about her parents. My niece sees her parents in a positive light now, and seemingly has “no issues” with her kinship placement. However, things change as people get older, and they begin to realize that life isn’t all about rainbows and unicorns. There are things that she’ll need to process down the road.

3.) Other people’s responses. I can’t control nor protect my niece from people who respond in a cruel manner. I worry that my niece isn’t emotionally mature enough to handle various different types of responses — both good AND bad. She is a sensitive child. Also, some people assume very very terrible things about kids who do not live with their parents.

Adoptees were quick to point out – It is her story and she should be able to share it as she chooses. Even if she is 10. Even if she may grow into a more nuanced understanding. There is nothing shameful about a child talking about her life and she should feel that nothing is too much to ask the world to handle with her.

An adoptive parent shared – I struggle with this too. My daughter is not quite 5 and so we are just getting into the stage of other kids asking questions, some of which she has never asked herself because to her it’s just normal to have two moms and two dads. I have to remind myself to trust her to make her own choices, since like one adoptee said, it’s her story. But I also worry about the fact that you can’t “unshare” things you have told people. Her class is working on a project right now about babies and her mom has been helping with some of it, and I was wondering if this is going to lead to more questions and whether or not I ought to be managing that more explicitly… but I think we are going to just keep on keeping on, showing what’s normal for our family.

Though there is this practical consideration – it’s totally reasonable to have periodic, age appropriate talks about boundaries and privacy, but at the end of the day, she needs to lead. She will figure out where she missteps, and what she wants to censor/disclose as she matures.

One adoptee shared her real life experience – I wouldn’t say anything. Just show support if something happens and someone is mean. I think the period of me telling my peers was the most important when it came to how I choose to disclose my adoption. I was able to learn and make the decisions based on other people’s reactions. At no point did I ever feel like information was chasing me or out of control.

Realistically – help her with handling cruel responses. It is not your job to protect her from the real world. It is your job to prepare her and help her handle it. She is going to experience the cruel world one way or the other, let it not be a surprise after a sheltered life,

Desaparecidos Of Argentina

Today’s blog is thanks to an article in The Guardian, LINK>Adopted by their parents’ enemies: tracing the stolen children of Argentina’s ‘dirty war.’

Back in the 1970s, after a military coup in Argentina, at least 500 newborns were taken from their parents while in captivity and given to military couples to raise as their own. Today, Russia is accused of doing something similar with children taken from Ukraine. Jorge Videla, was known as the “Hitler of the Pampa,” after the 1976 coup. Two years ago, the Argentinian government sent hundreds of DNA testing kits to its consulates around the world in an effort to put names to unidentified victims and to find the children of the disappeared, known as desaparecidos. Many of these children are still living today but unaware of their true identity. The Abuelas de Playa de Mayo is a human rights organization whose mission is to find the children who were illegally adopted during those years. (I wrote about these Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo in a blog some time ago.)

One of those children is now a 45-year-old banker living in London. His name is Javier Penino Viñas, and his biological parents, Cecilia Viñas and Hugo Penino, were abducted in 1977. Javier was illegally adopted by Jorge Vildoza (a high-ranking Argentinian navy officer) and his wife, Ana María Grimaldos. When asked to appear in court, Vildoza fled the country in a panic, taking the child with him. “After the Videla regime, there was a democratic transition, and in that period the trials against the military began,” says Javier. “My adoptive father was quite high up in the navy, and the family knew that the transition to democracy was starting to cause problems for anyone in the military. That’s when we moved to Paraguay and ended up changing our identities.”

Some experts say that behind the illegal military adoptions was a quasi-Catholic belief that, while the parents of the children were irredeemable sinners who deserved to die, killing their newborn children would be a sin. However, the Argentinian historian Fabricio Laino believes there was a more cynical logic at work. “The military were convinced they could ‘save’ and ‘reform’ these children. They wanted to redeem them from families who, according to them, would surely have raised them in a subversive environment.”

Baltasar Garzón is a former Spanish judge and human rights activist. He believes that “The appropriation of children, as well as rape, has always been aimed at humiliating and subduing the enemy. Taking away the enemy’s child was a bargaining chip.” They change a person’s life by taking them out of their environment and away from their biological family. The method used in Argentina was especially perverse. A pregnant woman was held in captivity until she gave birth. Then her baby was taken away from her. After torturing her, she was killed and effectively made to disappear.

Therefore for decades, hundreds of children have been raised by the same people who were responsible for the torture and death of their biological parents. After the return to democracy, members of the military fled with their adoptive families – often to countries where extradition was prohibited.

It could be that the taking of Ukrainian children is due to a similar intention by Putin. To, in effect, change these children’s lives by taking them out of their environment and away from their biological family. Then placing them with a Russian family on Russian soil. Time will tell the true extent of such efforts and hopefully reveal the number of children affected. War is such a hideous exercise. My wish is that these children ultimately find their way back to family in Ukraine.

To Separate Or Not

An interesting question from an adoptive parent showed up today – two children had to be removed from their natural parents. They have the same mother but different fathers. Each father has a sister willing to care for both kids until they can be returned to their parents. Is it better to keep the children together with one aunt ? In that case, one child will be related to the aunt caring for them but the other not – biologically. Or is it better to separate the children, in order to prioritize having each child be cared for by an aunt who they are biologically related to ?

Under these unfortunate and traumatic circumstances, is it better to be in the same home with your sibling, if you are being cared for by your sibling’s aunt (who is not biologically related to you) ? Or is it better to be in a separate home from your sibling, so that both of you are cared for by an aunt you are biologically related to, even if it means not living with your sibling ?

The originator of these question is one of the aunts. If placed with her, the toddlers will also be placed with their two older brothers. This she feels is an important aspect for all 4 of the kids. She does not want the kids separated but she does not know if being cared for by an only indirectly related adult matters, if that keeps the siblings together. She notes that their goal is reunification. The other aunt and this woman do not live near each other. If they are separated, their sibling contact will not be as often as might be desirable. Either aunt relocating is not an option. These kids are toddlers, so not old enough to establish their opinion. Their parents have not expressed a preference in this situation.

A response from a domestic infant adoptee – If the siblings get along, keep them together. Make sure they have opportunities to spend time with other family members as well. These siblings staying together should be your top priority.

Another adoptee shared – this actually happened to my nieces and they both ended up with the oldest one’s aunt and it worked well for them. I think it’s best to keep siblings together whenever possible UNLESS the relative would treat the non-biological child differently or keep them from seeing their family.

A former foster parent notes – in my experience it was best to keep siblings together. Sometimes the county would split up siblings and it was so hard for the kids to understand why they can’t be together. They missed each other. Are the toddlers more familiar with one of you, than the other ? They should go to the one they are most familiar with-in my opinion. (Response was that they are familiar with both aunts equally.) They are already being ripped from their home, their parents and everything they know (even if it wasn’t ideal, it was still what they know), so please don’t take them from each other.

A former foster care youth says – from experience, sibling separation is torture on top of trauma. Siblings are truly the only ones who are going through the same situation and having that support is invaluable. They can visit the other aunt.

Another adoptive parent to foster care siblings suggests – is it possible to do a shared custody – one aunt becomes primary home and the other aunt has lots of phone calls, takes care of the kids for long weekends, helps if there is an emergency, is a place that kids also know well as their extended family.

Another affirmed – I grew up in this exact situation, but it was my grandmothers. I am thankful for their supportive friendship that gave me stability. Always welcome at either house, open communication, always invited to things. At least once a week in Elementary School, my brother and I would get picked up by the grandma we didn’t live with, would have dinner at her house, she took me to dance class, I spent weekends and breaks with her. One took guardianship of me as a teen, so that she could make medical appointments for me since I lived with her. Absolutely a great solution.

The one who originally posed the questions confirmed – this is currently how we live. I’m one of the aunts and I have the toddlers’ two older siblings and what you describe is the relationship that we have with their immediate and extended family. The other aunt will be part of this village, without a doubt.

Beyond Cruel

Sometimes it is unbelievable –

Would it be good or bad to acknowledge to the young adoptees or the natural mom the day they got separated? Not a celebration at all, but like acknowledge a death date? I don’t think either one is consciously aware of the date, but I know their bodies remember. We have done nothing throughout the years, but we are in a much better place with the natural mom now and the children are older, and just wondering if reminding them would be cruel or like recognizing the elephant in the room.

Some replies –

Would YOU want to be forcefully reminded of your relinquishment/choice to relinquish every year?? No. This seems cruel to think of and remember. 

Seems an odd thing celebrate. I lost 4 kids to child protective services. I have two of those I am now able to parent and am in reunion with the 2 oldest, who are now mature. No one among any of us has ever mentioned the date they were taken, or the last good bye visit date etc and I certainly do not know it, People don’t tend to want to remember/celebrate negative events. If someone dies, you may remember their birthdate openly but not the death of their date (other than perhaps privately in the sorrow of your heart – definitely not as a celebration). My daughter had our reunion date tattooed on her arm, Find something positive to celebrate, if you must.

Being forced to surrender my newborn was the worst, most traumatic day of my life. I have C-PTSD (complex post-traumatic stress disorder) in part because of the experience. The last thing I would want is some sort of remembrance or it made into an occasion.

I remember that day as if a national tragedy occurred (for me and my child it was). I remember the last day I held him, I remember the day the adoptive parents cut contact. Now it is a season of deep depression and sorrow every single year when it rolls around.

Beyond cruel. Borderline evil. This is the damned problem with y’all (y’all being adopters). Y’all are so out of touch and lack a drop of understanding of anyone else. It was a happy day for you. You got to steal someone’s child, erase their identity and claim to be their mom. You aren’t, btw. They have a mom. It’s not you. But what on earth would make you think they want to be reminded of the day their family was permanently destroyed and that some random stranger decided they were now mom?

You’re trying to make the mom acknowledge the date too ? Its a very traumatic time for both and referring to it as a time of their bonding death is just …..I’m not sure I have words in my vocabulary for what that is. It’s like you’re saying they are dead to each other now and you would like to remind them both of that.

Have this information written down for the children because they may want to have that information some day, if they have an interest in piecing together what happened to them. That is all. If you happen to see that the kids or their mother is struggling around this time give them space for their grief. I’m not sure that poking this wound would be beneficial for anyone – however well intended.

It got through and she said –  I will back off. I will definitely not be bringing it up.

Being forced to surrender my newborn was the worst, most traumatic day of my life. I have CPTSD in part because of the experience. The last thing I would want is some sort of remembrance or it made into an occasion.

Hasty Accusations

Syesha Mercado and Tyron Deener

I stumbled on a LINK> Change.org petition and thought – there must be a larger story here. Because of her high profile as an American Idol alumus (season 7), her story got more attention nationally than it may have otherwise. Because wrongful child/parent separations concern me, I cared to look further.

Dr Sally Smith is said to have wrongly accused more than a dozen parents of child abuse. There are hundreds of child abuse cases tied to her, where parents were proven innocent but suffered irreparable trauma and harm due too her accusations. This doctor is said to hastily diagnose child abuse which rips families apart. Dr Smith is the medical director for the Pinellas County Child Protective Services team and is a contracted child abuse Pediatrician at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Syesha’s nightmare started when her 15-month-old son, Amen’Ra, was ripped from his family, and placed in foster care, following a hospital visit. Mercado and her partner, Tyron Deener, had taken their baby boy to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg on Feb. 26 for a routine check-up. The couple had become concerned about the possibility of malnutrition when Mercado’s breast milk started to run dry. She was pregnant (later delivering her newborn daughter) and her son, Amen’Ra, stopped accepting fluids. I remember the challenges of weaning my own children off breast feeding.

During their legal battle for custody of Amen’Ra, Mercado and Deener were in the car with their 10 day old daughter. They were subjected to a police conducted roadside welfare check in the middle of the highway. The result was their newborn baby was also taken away by Child Protective Services.  The couple said that they directed all communication to their attorney who had not been given a warning about the safety check.  

The Change.org petition has a summary of just a few of the other cases that Smith has been involved in, which pointed to significant inconsistencies in Smith’s medical notes. Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal said as it overturned one such removal – Smith’s conclusions were based “primarily on her assessment of the father’s credibility, not on the available medical reports.” In another case, a wrongfully accused mother committed suicide due to Smith’s trumped-up claims. One Marine Corps veteran spent 300 days in jail on Smith’s allegation that he killed his girlfriend’s son and was freed when a neuropathologist contradicted her findings.

Dr Smith has long been criticized by defense attorneys, parents and child welfare employees for her aggressive way of interrogating parents. Oftentimes, she sees injuries that other doctors do not.

Mercado said, “He wanted mama’s breast milk, like a lot of breastfeeding babies do, and I went to the hospital in the middle of this entire process, in the middle of the weaning process, which I know a lot of mothers out there experience all the time. I was met with a lot of judgment and accusations that literally just started to spiral out of control.” Deener noted that every person who has handled his child’s case has been white, from the case manager to the guardian ad litem to the judge. 

Every day in America, parents are separated from their families and mistreated, they are mishandled and they are misquoted, by a very oppressive system. Since 2004, there have been 7,425 claims of medical neglect reported in Pinellas County. Of those,1,490 were verified, representing about 20 percent, according to the Florida Department of Children and Families. The agency verified 16% of medical neglect claims statewide in that time frame, with 14% of claims verified in the Suncoast Region, an area that covers Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee and Sarasota, among other counties. Experts say parents like Mercado and Deener are often confused about their rights, when dealing with pediatricians in cases of alleged child abuse. They are talking to the equivalent of the police without knowing their rights.

In August of 2021, the couple regained custody of their baby daughter after only a few days. It took the couple 7 months to regain custody in October 2021 of their toddler son. At that point, they were still faced with six months of supervision by the state, coming to their home to check their competency and ability to raise their own children. Their children should have never been taken from them in the first place. The couple are vegans who live holistically. They have maintained that the doctors didn’t understand their lifestyle. They also believe there is a racial element to their case. In fact, the children of people of color are more often removed from their families than the children of white people.

Will the US Supreme Court End the ICWA ?

Within my all things adoption group, I have become aware of the Indian Child Welfare Act, as one outspoken member has brought us awareness of this. The Indian Child Welfare Act was passed to redress years of mass separations of Native families.

In custody battles involving criminality and other race spouses, Native rooted children can find themselves removed over legal involvement and then removed again over abuse, ending up in and out of group homes and rehabilitation centers, and often eventually landing in foster care.

On November 9th, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Haaland v Brackeen, a case challenging the constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act. Designed to keep Native American children in their communities during custody, foster care and adoption proceedings, ICWA was passed in 1978 in response to the mass separations of families that had been customary since the 19th century. Many Native American activists are worried for the future of ICWA, given the rightwing composition of the supreme court.

Some history – In 1860, the Bureau of Indian Affairs opened the first of what would become more than 350 American Indian boarding schools, with the intention of “civilizing” Native American children – an assimilationist policy regarded by many as “cultural genocide” today. By the 1920s, nearly 83% of school-age Native American children were enrolled in boarding schools, where a government report found they were malnourished, overworked, harshly punished and poorly educated. As boarding school attendance increased into the 1960s and 70s – peaking at 60,000 in 1973 – the US government rolled out another program, called the Indian Adoption Project. It ended up placing 395 Native American children from western states with white families in the midwest and east coast.

By the 1970s, data showed that 25% to 35% of Native children had been removed from their families during the boarding school era, leading to the passage of the Indian Child Welfare Act in 1978. According to the law, states are required to follow protocols when handling certain custody cases involving a Native child, including involving the tribe in the proceedings. Perhaps most notably, ICWA also establishes a placement preference system, requiring child welfare agencies to try to keep Native children within their communities – by placing them, for example, with extended family or with a foster family in their own tribe – to ensure that they do not lose ties to their heritage.

Despite ICWA’s existence, the law has often gone unenforced. That’s in part because there is no federal oversight agency monitoring compliance. Although the Bureau of Indian Affairs released guidelines designed to improve enforcement in 2016, tribal officials say that state welfare agencies regarded them as suggestions that were not legally binding.

Therefore, regarding this Supreme Court case – in 2016, a 10-month-old Navajo and Cherokee boy was fostered by a white Texas couple, Chad and Jennifer Brackeen, who ultimately adopted him. When the Navajo Nation was alerted to the case and stepped in to place the child with a Navajo family, the Brackeens sued.

The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on November 9 2022 and eventually decide these questions related to the Haaland v Brackeen case – does the ICWA discriminate on the basis of race and does the law supersede a state’s right to control child custody placements ? The Brackeens and their supporters argue that ICWA violates the constitution’s equal protection clause, discriminating against them as a white family, and imposes unlawful requirements on states. The federal government and Native advocates say that Congress may enact laws that apply to states in order to uphold its treaty obligations, and that Native Americans belong to a political class based on their sovereign status, not a racial group. Overturning ICWA would reshape the legal relationship between the federal government and Indian tribes.

Many states are now enshrining ICWA in their state law. To date, ten states have codified ICWA – and eight have added provisions to augment it. Native-led coalitions in other states are working to do the same.

Russia Stealing Ukrainian Children

Yevhen Mezhevyi with his children

This has troubled me for some time. Today, I learned about this story in Vanity Fair. I have been troubled about what Russia is doing with the people of Ukraine for some time. Here’s the story LINK> “Dad, You Have to Come—Or We Will Be Adopted!”: One Ukrainian Family’s Harrowing Wartime Saga. The subtitle is “Three children survived the siege of Mariupol, forced relocation, their father’s horrific detainment, and their own exile—to Russia.” by Iryna Lopatina via The Reckoning Project.

Since Yevhen Mezhevyi (39 years old) was released from the Olenivka prison camp after a lengthy filtration process, he has been intensely focused on the lives and safety of his three kids. Their story is one of many tales of family separation, loss, trauma, and, in their case, relocation to another country. Since the end of June, the family has been living in one of the rooms of a small, rented apartment in Riga Latvia.

Back on April 7 2022, Russian allied soldiers came to the bunker where the Mezhevyis’ had been sheltering. They made it sound like it was a voluntary evacuation; but in fact, the four of them, along with a group of fellow displaced Mariupol residents, were being forced from the building. There the family was separated. The children were told that her father might not return for five to seven years. The children decided to initiate their own independent search.

The DPR military asked Yevhen about alleged links to the Azov Battalion, a Ukrainian National Guard unit with roots in Mariupol. He was sent to Olenivka prison camp in eastern Ukraine. In July, an explosion in a room designated for Ukrainian POWs would killed more than 50 detainees, many of them from Azovstal, and injuring an estimated 130. By mid-May (at which point he had not seen his children for more than a month), Yevhen and other prisoners were assigned a new task. They were forced to begin preparing rooms for an estimated 2,700 people—captured members of the Ukrainian military who had left Azovstal.

In total, Yevhen Mezhevyi spent 45 days in the prison camp. On May 26, a security guard approached him and told him he was free to go. He made his way to the DOC to pick up his documents where he was told that his children’s birth certificates were the only documents missing. When he asked why, she answered, “Your children flew to the Moscow region today, five in the morning.” A week after his children’s arrival on Russian soil, they were finally allowed to receive a call from their father in Ukraine. They were relieved to be in contact with him for the first time in almost 60 days.

The children’s stay was due to end June 27, at which point they were scheduled to be brought back to Donetsk so that their father could pick them up. But then they were told he couldn’t pick them up and they would be taken to a foster home or shelter. His son said that it was better to go to an orphanage than a foster family. The son was able to call his dad and said to him “you have five days to come and pick us up, or we will be adopted!”

After receiving his son’s call, he felt he had to go to Russia immediately, find his kids, and bring them home. When he arrived where his children were being kept they asked him to tell them how everything happened, how and why the children ended up alone, and where their mother was (they were divorced and he had sole custody).

It took about half a day to do all the paperwork required for the children to be officially handed over. The Mezhevyis stayed in Moscow for a few more days with the volunteer who had hosted them. It soon became apparent that because of the fighting in Ukraine, repatriating to Mariupol was not an option. So they made plans to seek refuge for the foreseeable future in Latvia, which was taking in families displaced by the invasion. On June 22, they arrived by bus in the Latvian capital, Riga, where they have been living ever since.

Ukrainian authorities have confirmed the deportation or forced displacement of more than 7,000 children—5,100 of whose names have been submitted to international agencies in hopes that their representatives can begin to locate them in the Russian Federation or in temporarily occupied parts of Ukraine. Russian officials, meanwhile, have made reference to as many 2.8 million Ukrainian citizens, including over 440,000 children that have been transported to the Russian Federation, though the government has not provided certified lists with the names of the minors or details about their families and hometowns.

CODE PINK

I once read a book titled The Foundling. It is the true story of a man who discovered that he had been kidnapped as a baby. Yet, his quest to find out who he really is shook up the genealogy industry, his own family and set in motion the second longest cold case in US history. It started in 1964, when a woman pretending to be a nurse kidnapped an infant boy named Paul Fronczak from a Chicago hospital.

Two years later, police found a boy abandoned outside a variety store in New Jersey. The FBI tracked down Dora Fronczak, the kidnapped infant’s mother, and she identified the abandoned boy as her son. The family spent the next fifty years believing they were whole again. Paul had long suspected however that he was not that infant.

So, not too long ago, Paul took a DNA test after the birth of his first child, Emma Faith. The test revealed that he definitely was not Paul Fronczak. From that moment on, Paul wanted to find the man whose life he had been living, as well as discover who abandoned him and why.

Now in 2022, hospitals take the situation very seriously and have drills and procedures known as Code Pink.

Recently Jesenea Miron, who is 23 years old, walked into the Riverside University Health System – Medical Center in California. She was allegedly posing as a newly-hired nurse. Miron was able to gain access to a medical unit where newborn infants were present. She then entered a patient’s room and identified herself as a nurse. The Code Pink procedures worked and she is now in custody.

There was a case in 1998, when Gloria Williams walked into a Florida hospital dressed as a nurse. She walked out with a newborn named was Kamiyah Mobley. Williams raised Mobley for 18 years as her own daughter in South Carolina after renaming her Alexis Kelli Manigo.

In the event of a suspected or actual abduction, “Code Pink” is announced loudly over the hospital system if the infant is less than 12 months of age. As more information is developed, up-dated announcements are made. When an infant is suspected or confirmed to be missing, the employee who made the discovery notifies the hospital’s Security Control Center by calling 911.

Out of 325 cases of infant abduction over the past five decades, nearly all of the cases involve a female abductor. In analyzing those abductions, not only do many abductors use similar tactics to steal babies, like dressing as a nurse. Nearly all abductors fit a similar profile. Many women who steal babies do so in a desperate attempt to keep a boyfriend or husband they fear may leave them, if they don’t have a child to bind them together. They are usually of child-bearing age and some may already have children at home. They may pretend to be pregnant, they may have recently lost a baby due to a miscarriage or they suffer from infertility which prevents them from becoming pregnant themselves.