The Not-So-Happily-Ever-Afters

On May 15, 2010, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan announced that no new adoption dossiers (set of required documents) would be accepted due to Kazakhstan joining the Hague Convention, an international agreement to safeguard adoptions. On the upside, this will ultimately be a good thing for families, as the Hague Convention allows for greater transparency in the adoption process and aims to prevent child trafficking (although this is already very rare in Kazakhstan).  On the downside, this means that many people's hearts are breaking all over the world.


While Kazakhstan authorities have stated they hope to reopen the program by September of 2010, there is no guarantee that they will be able to implement the Hague Convention requirements by that date. In the meantime, many families are left in adoption limbo, their dreams of having a child within the next year or two slowly evaporating as their dossier documents expire. Many families are looking into switching to other countries, which means pretty much starting the process all over again. Other families can not afford to do this, so they wait. Or they opt not to adopt at all.


Prospective parents are told over and over again that there are no guarantees in adoption,  that you must be prepared for possible forks on the road. As someone who experienced one of these "forks on the road" with our Colombian adoption, I can tell you, there is no preparing for the heartbreak one feels when hearing this kind of news. It is devastating. In the end, of course, we were very lucky to end up with our beautiful boy. You have no idea how lucky we REALLY were.


The truth of the matter is that, as you have seen in the recent case of the boy sent back to Russia, adoptions don't always have a happy ending. But in most cases, the problem is not the parent or the child. It is the process itself. Prospective parents are at the total mercy of their agencies, their in-country representatives, and the laws of the country they are adopting from, and things do not always turn out the way we hope they will.


While we were in Kazakhstan, we met a woman who was adopting as a single mother with our same agency and had requested a healthy baby girl (at the time, you could specify a preferred gender. This is no longer allowed). She received an invitation to travel and spent thousands of dollars on tickets, clothes, gifts and toys, and arrived in Kazakhstan with her heart full of hope, only to find out that the only baby girl that was available for adoption suffered from a serious case of fetal alcohol syndrome and was severely delayed. There were no other baby girls available for adoption. She had to make the heart-wrenching decision not to adopt that child, and returned home empty-handed. These kinds of stories are becoming more and more common in International adoptions since we have brought Dylan home.


Barely a month after we returned home, the agency we worked with suddenly closed in the middle of a huge financial scandal, leaving hundreds and hundreds of families with no money to complete their adoptions and no idea of where they actually stood on their individual processes. For many, this was the end of the road, as they had used up all their funds hoping to adopt from this agency. Others who could afford to continue on were transferred to smaller agencies that they had never heard of and didn't trust. It was either stick with them or start the adoption process all over again. Several dozens of families started a class-action lawsuit against the agency hoping to at least receive some of their money back. The last I heard, the case has not yet been heard in court.


Then there are the worst-case-scenarios, those involving adoption fraud. Probably the most well-known of these cases was that against Orson Mozes, who ran an agency in California called Adoption International Program. Mozes would have  prospective parents look at (illegal) photo listings of children supposedly available for adoption in foreign countries, primarily Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Russia, and told them that he could "hold" a child for them to adopt. After the prospective parents sent Mozes a substantial "holding" fee, they would be told that their child was no longer available for adoption. On several occasions, Mozes promised the same child to multiple adoptive parents. Mozes went on the run in June of 2007 and was even featured on America's Most Wanted. He was captured in Florida in January of 2009, has pled guilty in court, and is now serving over 3 years in state prison.



Orson Mozes

I'm not telling all these horror stories to dissuade anyone from adopting. On the contrary, I am a huge advocate for adoption and am committed to helping educate and encourage others to adopt. However, it is important not to go into an adoption with rose-colored glasses. Things do not always turn out the way we think they will.


Despite the seemingly insurmountable bumps on the road, most people DO end up with a happy ending, though. The single woman I mentioned earlier in my entry ended up switching agencies, starting over again, and is now mother to a gorgeous baby girl she adopted from another region in Kazakhstan.


She found her happy ending, as did we. Hopefully, all those other waiting families will find theirs as well.


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  • It's amazing how often adoption processes/policies change. Not so interesting for prospective families...especially when the changes mean waiting longer or not being able to adopt. I will always appreciate the efforts, patience, & determination adoptive parents have.

  • In reply to kathikubal:

    It really is interesting, and very challenging to try to keep up with it all. Prospective parents have to be on the alert at all times, not only with what's going on in the countries but with their own agencies. Thanks for your comment, as always!

  • In reply to kathikubal:

    Wow! Great entry. Very scary, but I understand that these are facts of which those adopting need to be aware. I am so glad to hear about the single mom. I was so SAD when I read that part.

    Is it easier adopting an older child, let's say, aged 2 or so, here in the states?

  • In reply to anitarudite:

    Thanks, Anita! I'm glad you enjoyed reading it.

    I really don't know TOO much about domestic adoptions, but I do know that in International adoptions you do move through the process faster if you are willing to adopt an older child. I believe the case with the US is that, for the most part, in order to adopt an older child, you have to go through the foster-adopt route, which can vary greatly in terms of waiting times. Hope this helps...

  • In reply to anitarudite:

    Yes, this helps. Thanks. I know my cousin and his wife went through the foster-adopt route. They had 3 foster children who were siblings from the same mother, but with 3 different fathers-- in short-- complicated.

    The children were older when my cousin and his wife took them in as foster children, and then, after a couple years, they filed papers for adoption. I do remember it was quite the process. Their mother was alive, but on serious drugs. (She has since passed on, sadly.) At the time of adoption, the children's maternal grandmother had been the one taking care of them, but eventually decided she couldn't handle all the children. She had 6 just from my cousin's foster children's mother.

    It was a difficult few years, but now we are all very happy everything worked out. Now, my cousin, his wife and the children make trips to visit their Grandma and other siblings. They keep in contact, but it was a difficult road in the beginning.

  • My name is Orson Mozes;

    I would like to say that Zoie Browns accusations and statements about Orson molesting her are lies and totally false. I always know when Zoie is lying because her lips are moving. Since a very young child she has always lied. I served as someone she could blame for her arrests, felony charges and drug use and when she was caught and went to court she blamed me and got a lighter sentence.The real reason for her actions stem from anger about not getting the child support she thinks she deserves. These were moneys that her Mom took as alimony when she sold our house. Zoie also craves attention and she will do anything to get it, negative or positive. The judge said it is actually criminal to put alimony before child support to Christen in court but she did. She took the money from the house sale and used it as alimony. More than $400,000 of the house sale was Orson’s. He left a letter designating Christen Brown to pay his debts after the house sale, which the judge brought up in court. This was never known before the warrent. Christen should have given that money to the adoption clients and not used it as alimony. The year before I left I wanted to pay back clients but Christen said screw the clients we have contracts! She kept all the monies and proclaimed me the villain after I left. We adopted Zoie at about a year old and Christen also claimed Zoie was molested in the orphanage; how; her fortune teller again confirmed it. Zoie at two years old went into therapy???????????? I thought it was ridiculous. I never expected a warrant to be issued after I left! Christen and I at that point in almost 20 years had done over 1000 adoptions. When another agency paid money to the Kazakhstan government to get our agency out of Kazakhstan it resulted in problems for our adotions. I was sure Christen would pay money back to clients instead of blaming me and hoping I would never come back. Before the first hearing Christen threatened my attorney that if I testify she will bring up molestation allegations; the Judge never let her because everyone knew it was a threat and unfounded. I think her revenge has back fired. The judge found Christen complicit of fraud in court and the Queen of Greed; Christen could not get the money I designated go back to clients. She was furious! She even took it to the court of appeals and lost! Even more furious when I pleaded guilty; instead of no contest; so clients could use everything said in court in their civil suit against her. I pleaded guilty because to fight my case would have taken two years and I did not have the bail to get out of jail. I knew I would have to serve only one year and half if I pleaded guilty or no contest so I did. Before I was found; Christen said if I ever came back she would destroy me; I know now it is because her story of being the innocent spouse would be taken apart, as it was when she went to court to claim the client’s money as hers or child support. I guess this molestation petition and site is all part of their revenge. It states on the site that Zoie and Christen have this site together. Zoie is a drug addict and fought two felonies; she spent two years in a residential treatment center for drugs. She had severe delays from the orphanage etc. and has always had problems. I will not mention them all because there is no use dragging her through the mud. It is a shame that Christen is using Zoie to spread lies. I regret leaving and causing pain to ex clients. Trusting Christen Brown the Queen of Greed to do the right thing!

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