‘Adopted’ woman fights for identity

Source: http://www.timesnow.tv/articleshow/4340846.cms
18 Mar 2010, 0845 hrs IST
For over two years now, Jennifer Haynes has been languishing in Mumbai away from her family in the USA. In her 24 years, Jennifer has seen far more of the cruel world than her peers. Entrusted to a children’s home at a tender age to get an education, she was instead given up for adoption to an American couple when she turned 8. “There are so many things that happen and nobody knows. The outside is good but the inside is terrible,” says Jennifer. Jennifer’s journey, spanning over fifty foster homes, practically destroyed what was left of her childhood. “I remember bits and pieces. Like him (first foster father) giving me too much affection. But the abuse really started with the second home. The abuse was directed towards not only me but other children as well,” she recounts. Years later, as a married woman with children, she was deported from the US because the adoption agency – ‘Americans for International Aid & Adoption’ – never bothered to get her paperwork right and now refuses to take the blame. Clarice D’Souza, a trustee of the now defunct Kuanyin Charitable Trust from where Haynes was adopted, has stated that many children are adopted by US nationals and they settle and adapt well. She refuse to talk to TIMES NOW, only denying the allegation saying Jennifer’s trials and subsequent deportation has nothing to do with her adoption papers which were “complete”. Jennifer meanwhile, only says the agency knows but doesn’t care. “And that is wrong because then that child has to suffer through the whole process,” she says. Despite her exile from her family and children, Jennifer hasn’t given up hope, or the fight. After a year long search in India, she managed to locate and contact her brother Christopher in January this year. Christopher, 24, lives in Ambernath. But in the reunion there was no drama, no emotion. “I felt nothing. Nothing hurts anymore. I only think of my kids”, Haynes said. Chris knows that, though he has just discovered Jennifer after so many years, he has to let her go again. “Any brother in my place who cares about his sister, would tell her, go back to your husband and kids,” he says. But Jennifer knows it’s all in the Indian government’s hands now and it takes time. Something of her frustration was conveyed when she spoke on Newshour on Wednesday (March 17). “I got sent from home to home, no family and no love I was abused by all the families. Then I finally got the love, I got married, and had two children. And now I am taken away from them. Everyday I am without my children, everyday I struggle, and I sit at home with no documents, no nothing to get away. And it hurts. I blame everybody, I blame the whole system of India, for accepting me back.,” she said. Jennifer is only one victim of hundreds who suffer due to the lack of adequate laws on inter-country adoption in this country. India also needs better implementation of existing laws. Meanwhile the number of reported cases of adoption of Indian children by foreign nationals has been steadily increasing. In 2001 there were 573 cases while shot up to 984 in 2007. Children are voiceless, vulnerable, and they are not votebanks. Perhaps that is why it seems so easy to rob these innocents of their childhood. Action assured TIMES NOW brought Jennifer’s plight to light with the US government who has now assured to look into the case. After hearing of TIMES NOW’s investigation, MoS for Child Welfare, Krishna Tirath, has promised strong action against adoption rackets such as the ones TIMES NOW has exposed. The minister has promised strong action against adoption rackets responsible for the fate of children like Jennifer Haynes. Krishna Tirath said the minsitry will take action if something illegal is taking place in adoption agencies.