Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I wish
 Alyssa was here to tell her own story, but she is languishing in the Edhi Home in Pakistan. I am sure they are doing their best by her, but there was no Christmas tree with presents under it, those are still in her closet, here in what should have been her home. I am sure there is no one laying beside her at night to rub her back and tell her everything will be alright when she wakes up with one of her nightmares. No car rides to get an ice-cream, no puppy to play with ... no Mommy. I am so filled with grief when I think what must she be thinking. Where did that woman go that I called Momma? That played with me, fed me and told me she loved me a hundred times a day.

Alyssa isn't here because she was trafficked, so I will tell her story for her.

There are so many people involved in this story that I have created a list so you will better understand. Those names with * are not their real names, but this isn't their story and it would be unfair of me to name their real names.

Izak: Pakistan coordinator. I was told to follow his instructions without questioning because he was a male Pakistani who had been doing this for a long time and had my safety and best interest at heart.

Natasha*: My agency's CEO

Dinah*: Director of International Programs: I was told was in charge of the Pakistan Program, who, along with Jane told me what to do and say while I was in Pakistan

Jane*: "Case Worker" who told me she had never heard of "Karen", who along with Dinah did a conference call right before I left to reiterate directions.

Sadeem: Pakistan coordinator.

Qazi: Pakistani lawyer I was told to pay for legal services while in Pakistan.

Anwar: Alyssa's supposed birth father, who I now believe is not related to her in anyway.

Pastor Afzal Bhatti: The pastor who my agency had me write to who would be sending Alyssa's referral to me.

Pastor Kamran John: The second pastor I was given to establish a relationship with who supposedly found Alyssa for me.

Frank Tu: Fraud division chief at the U.S. embassy in Islamabad.

FIA: Pakistan's version of the U.S. of our FBI

Karen* woman who was also in Pakistan adopting through another agency

Sandy* : Another single woman with my adoption agency travelling the same time as me to adopt.



Things went really well in the beginning. I met her father and several grandmothers who were all staying at the same guest house as I was until we were finished with our court proceedings. They seemed nice, but Alyssa didn't want to go to them when they held out their arms. Being over the moon with her I attributed this to her quick bonding with me. I sailed through the first court appointment and I had a date a few days later to return to gain permanent custody. That night Anwar came to my room with a friend of his and told me that Izak had not paid him the $10,000 he had promised him. He asked me for the money. I had been warned that the birth family may try to extort money from me so I told him I would need to call Izak. my adoption agency had already sent $1,000 to him for surgery on his injured leg, which probably hadn't helped matters any. (I found out later this is in direct violation of Hague rules). When Izak arrived the men talked alone and then Izak came to me and said Anwar was going to take Alyssa away from me if I didn't pay the money. He told me not to worry because he could replace her within a day. I was shocked! Children are not stereo system...yours breaks, go get a new one!" I went to Anwar with my heart pounding in my chest and tears streaming down my face, and told him that I would not pay him one penny because that was buying a child and I would have no part in that. If he truly could not care for her, and wanted her to be raised in the United States by me, then we would move forward, but I would not be paying him one penny. It seemed like forever for him to answer, my future with my Alyssa hung in the balance.... but he apologized for causing me this stress and yes, he wanted me to adopt her. Now that I know everything I know, I believe Anwar was promised that money by Izak. But, Izak got greedy and didn't want to pay Anwar his cut.

I went to court several days later and I was truly Alyssa's "Momma" as she liked to call me. That night Alyssa and I were taken to a house in a very remote area to meet the rest of Alyssa's family, celebrate the custody hearing and say good bye. I was told by Izak that we could only stay a very short time since Alyssa would be getting tired. This was odd since he had insisted we both attend Sandy's court party which lasted until very late at night. When we finally reached the tiny house at the end of a very rutted dirt road we met three grandmothers, several aunts, Anwar, several cousins, two sisters and a brother. They seemed very pleased to meet me. I felt so terrible thinking that these people were saying goodbye to such a sweet little girl that I cried. They all said not to cry, that they were happy she was going with me. The entire time we were there Alyssa cried whenever one of them tried to pick her up or held out their arms to her. It made me grieve for them at the time, but now I know why. I now know why not one of them shed a tear when we said goodbye, yet I was crying on their behalf. I now know why she never even turned her head when they called out "Romisia" (her name as listed on her birth certificate), yet she learned the name Alyssa within a day of being with me. I now know why she wanted nothing to do with any of them. She didn't know any of them! They were not in any way related to Alyssa. But that knowledge didn't come until much later.

We spent most of our time inside our guest house room. Ordering food from downstairs and eating it on the coffee table. There were days when being cooped up really got to both of us and Alyssa would go to the door and pound on it to get out, but for the most part I was just thrilled to be there with her. I watched her go from barely being able to crawl to walking. She learned English words very quickly and could say "up", "Momma" , "love" and "bottle" very early on. We spent our days making up stories. I took her on a trip to my mother's pool, and we had a pretend Christmas with a few things I wrapped up and snowballs made up of crumpled paper. We sang and danced and read books but mostly I just loved on her and she came to trust and love me. One of our favorite things to do was to roughhouse on the bed, tickling and bouncing around, with frequent stops for one of her incredible hugs. She would just throw herself on me, hug and say "love". It was the best!

Sometimes we had company. Pastor Kamran John would come by, alone or with his family. One of the drivers came frequently and once even brought this wife and daughter who was smaller than Alyssa but only a month younger. I fell in love with his whole family. They were wonderful! One evening his wife and daughter came with him and we spent the evening together. I realized they didn't have much so I gave them all Alyssa's clothing that didn't fit her, formula, diapers and several of her toys. The two girls fell asleep in bed together and we visited all evening. I told them that if they ever wanted to live in the U.S. they could stay with me until they got their feet under them. They were just those sort of people. They were kind and sweet, loved one another and their daughter.... or so I thought. About a month after I returned to the US I was sent a newsletter that had come from my adoption agency out while I was gone. There were several pictures of children "up for adoption" from Pakistan. There was the little sweetie who had fallen asleep with Alyssa in my bed! She wasn't really their daughter! The woman had just been one of Izak's nanny's! The sense of betrayal that was already overwhelming me was almost more than I could stand. But back to what was going on in Pakistan....

A friend back in the U.S. told me they had read on a blog about another woman in Pakistan from the U.S. that was in Islamabad adopting a child. I was so excited! Maybe she could come to the guest house for a visit. By this time any contact with someone else from the U.S. would be huge to me! I wrote on Karen's* blog and gave her my email address. She wrote back that she was leaving Pakistan in a few minutes but would email me once she got home. I was so jealous! She was going home with her baby and I still had a couple of weeks to go! The next day I read her newest blog entry and she wrote a letter to me. My stomach went cold. She had come here, just like me, through a U.S. agency. She had a coordinator, just like me, but his name was Sadeem. She had actually used the same pastor as I had named Pastor Afzal Bhatti. She had gained custody of her daughter, just like me. But when she went to get her visa, she was told the death certificate of the mother, and her daughter's birth certificate were forged. Just like me??!! While I mourned with her, her loss. I was terrified Alyssa and I would follow in her steps. I contacted Izak and he came to the guest house. I showed him Karen's story and he freaked out and contacted my adoption agency. I don't know what was said, I can only imagine. He came back into my room and ordered me to delete everything on my computer. All emails and documents. At first I refused, but then he told me that Sadeem had been arrested and was being tortured to tell everything he knew. I asked Izak if that had anything to do with me. he said it didn't but, the pastor Karen and I had both been told to contact had been arrested also and it would be best not to have ties to this man who had been child trafficking. He told me that Pastor Kamran John had actually been the one that Alyssa was brought to by her father and that Pastor Bhatti really had nothing to do with my case, so not to worry. Well, I was worried! But after many hours of trying to reach my adoption agency and them finally returning my call I was assured that they didn't know Karen, didn't know Sadeem and my adoption was legit, Izak was legit, all my documents were legit. I spoke with the lawyer who had taken our case in court and he said Alyssa's papers were "110% correct and authentic". He said we should go to the embassy and apply for Alyssa's visa the next day and then head home. That sounded great to me! We had already lived through an earth quake, several suicide bombers nearby and I was anxious to leave.

One day Alyssa and I woke up extremely ill. We had very high fevers, every piece of my body hurt from my hair to my toes and Alyssa was lethargic except when she was throwing up or filling her pants with a sickish yellow mess that I soon realized I had too. I asked Izak to get us to a clinic. He said he couldn't until very late that night. I was very worried about both of us and I asked if a driver could take us earlier. He said no. We finally got to go at 10PM that night. The doctor was a sweet woman who was very concerned. Our stomachs and intestines were very infected by something we had eaten. I will spare you most of the details, but will say we didn't eat it knowing what it was. We were given antibiotics and it took several days to even start to feel better.

Because of a very difficult situation with Sandy who was living in the room next door, Izak and the people at my adoption agency forcing me to decide if she could keep her baby, plus the food followed by our sickness, I decided I needed to move Alyssa to a different guest house. I called Izak and he arranged for me to move the next morning. Alyssa and I packed up our things and putting them in the hallway only to discover Sandy was doing the same thing! Izak had called her and she was moving to the same guest house along with me. I chalked it up to miscommunication until he arrived and it became clear he was moving all of us. I found out later that too many people had seen us with him in the area where the first guest house was so it was no longer safe for him there.

Little did I know that would be the last time I saw Izak, any of the drivers, or anyone I had come to know, like and trust, except my lawyer Qazi, and Pastor Kamran John.

Several days later Qazi and Pastor Kamran came by to talk. We discussed Izak, Karen's case, Sadeem and child trafficking. Kamran was extremely nervous, wearing dark glasses and literally wringing his hands the whole time. I asked him if he had done anything illegal, he said no. I asked him if Alyssa was trafficked. He said no. Then I told him he had nothing to worry about and should stop fretting. Qazi told me that I should go get Alyssa's visa the next day so I could return to the U.S.

I went to the Embassy paid the $400 and was taken to a room where I met Frank Tu. He gently explained about Karen and what had happened to her and her baby. I didn't let on that I already knew anything about it. He asked a bunch of questions, took my papers for verification and told me he would know within a week if Alyssa's papers were forged or not. I began to panic. Frank sounded like there was something more he wasn't telling me.

When I got back to the guesthouse Sandy and I attempted all day and night to contact Natasha, Dinah, Jane or anyone at my adoption agency but they weren't answering there emergency number. I also tried over and over to contact Izak, but his phone had been disconnected. None of the drivers answered their phones either. Suddenly I felt very deserted and very scared. The next day we were able to connect with my adoption agency. I asked them what they knew about Karen's case and Sadeem. They again denied they knew anything about any of it. (I later found out Sadeem actually used to be one of their coordinators and that Karen used to be a client of theirs. they had actually sent her a sympathy note 3 days before!) I needed to know if my Alyssa was in any way a part of this child trafficking ring of Sadeem's I had been hearing about. If so, we were in more danger than I had realized. But, they denied ever knowing anything about them. I told them about the meeting at the embassy. They reminded me that I was not to mention their name to anyone. I said I had understood that to mean the Pakistanis, not the US government officials. They said "No! remember you are not allowed to mention our name!" I said, "If a US federal official (which Frank Tu is) asks me I most certainly will not lie to him!" Their reply..."Well remember, we do not have a Pakistan adoption program, we just helped you put together your dossier for a private adoption!". I was astonished by that statement! That simply wasn't the truth. I suddenly realized they was stranding me in the middle of this situation they had place me in. They had convinced me was "safe", stable" "wonderful". I didn't have any words left to reply to their statement and so I just hung up, picked Alyssa up and sat holding her for the longest time, praying, while I tried to figure out what to do. I called Frank at the embassy and told him all about the people at my agency, Izak, the drivers, everyone I could think of. I told him that if Alyssa's documents had been forged, or her mother wasn't truly dead, or she had been taken from her real mother as much as it would kill me, she would need to be returned to her. Frank said he was still investigating and that my papers might be legit, just to give him time to finishing checking everything out. Once again I was feeling hopeful. Alyssa and I spent a couple more wonderful days together. There was a small plot of grass outside the guesthouse where we would go and we could play and laugh. She learned more English words and I began to relax.

My visa was close to running out so I made the trip to have it renewed. They kept my passport and said I could pick it up in two days.

Karen's baby had been taken to the Muslim orphanage the Edhi Home, and in writing back and forth to one another I had offered to go and visit her, hold her and sing a list of songs to her that Karen had sent to me that she had once sung to her when they were in Pakistan together. After dropping off my passport I returned to the guesthouse to change Alyssa and pick up a spare bottle before heading over to the orphanage. We drove into the driveway and Qazi was standing there looking very upset. This man who had been so confidant all this time now looked panicked. I could barely breath when I got out of the car and asked him if it was good news or bad. He only said "All's well that ends well". I was in no mood for any more rhetoric, and insisted he tell me what was going on, but then suddenly I didn't want to...couldn't hear what he had to say. I took Alyssa upstairs for a minute to buy myself just one more moment before my world would crash down around me. I changed, hugged and loved on her for a short while before my phone rang. It was Frank from the Embassy. He was terribly sorry, and obviously very upset, but he could not issue Alyssa a visa because she was part of a very large child trafficking ring. I will never forget the feelings I had at that moment. But wait!! Alyssa was my daughter! We had plans! She had a room waiting for her back in the U.S. with toys and books and stuffed animals!

I walked downstairs completely numb to see what the lawyer had to say about any of it. He continued to repeat that the documents were still good...blah blah blah. I wasn't up for listening to any more lies.

I called Frank back to find out how long I had left to be Alyssa's mother. He said it would be a day or two because Hillary Clinton was visiting and the Embassy was in lock down. No one could come in or leave. I spent that last night wide awake watching my daughter sleep. Rubbing her back when she stirred from a bad dream and just memorizing her every feature. It was torture. The next day Frank called and told me that the FIA would be arriving sometime that afternoon to pick her up and question me about my involvement and knowledge of what happened. Frank wished very much he could be there but he wasn't allowed to leave the Embassy due to the lock down. I had heard stories of their corruption and torture. I was not looking forward to this one bit. I later learned Hillary had been told everything that was happening. I don't know if she couldn't or chose not to help, but the end result was the same. There would be nothing our government could do.

All day I tried so hard not to think "this is the last bath you will give Alyssa", the last silly dancing and singing. She was very confused. Momma was playing like always, but the tears kept coming.

I waited until she took her nap to pack. All her things went into cardboard boxes, mine into the open suitcases. She woke up before I finished and tried to help. Somehow she knew which container were hers and which were mine. One of the last things to get packed was the yellow rubber duck we played with when she took her bath. She picked it up, looked right at me and put it into my suitcase. I had wanted to keep everything we had ever played with and she had ever worn. I was desperate to cling to anything that would tie me to her, but more than that I loved her and wanted her to have toys to play with so I had kept very few of her things. But, somehow she knew, and wanted me to have that duck! I actually snapped a picture of her putting that duck into my suitcase, but it is almost too much for me to bear to look at it.

Frank called around 5 and said the FIA would be arriving anytime now. Then my phone started ringing and ringing. It was Pastor Kamran. he wanted to know what I was going to say to the FIA about him. How did he know they were coming? ! How, when he was supposedly 5 hours away did he find this information out so fast? I later found out that one of the houseboys had been watching me and listening to everything I said and reporting it to Izak and Pastor Kamran. I told him I was only going to tell the truth and hung up. I got 5-6 more phone calls from he and his family. Each one more urgent, more threatening. They called from many different numbers and I never knew if it was them or the embassy so I answered each call.

Those last few hours with Alyssa are all a blur now. A lot of hugs, a lot of "I love you's" a letter written to whoever would be taking her, telling them all about her, and how much I loved her. My mother had knit a beautiful soft pink sweater for her. They would never meet one another, Alyssa would never swim in her pool or call her Nana, but somehow that sweater would tie them together.

The FIA arrived at 7PM. Armed men filled my room. The FIA director breezed into my room and his opening question was said with a huge smirk, "So how are you enjoying your stay in our wonderful country?" Something inside me snapped. "It sucks" was my reply, which didn't please them any. For three hours they questioned me while Alyssa sat on my lap, somehow knowing there was something very serious happening. Frank called every half hour to make certain I was still ok. That they hadn't arrested or harmed me. The questions were everything from "Why are you crying over that girl. She is a nobody!?" to "Who is this girl in this picture? Is she your other daughter?" "Give us her information, her address, place of work" The mother bear in me roared to life at that point. I was an emotional wreck, scared to death, grieving for the loss of the daughter who for just a few more minutes was in my arms. And I refused to give them Jen's information. She had nothing to do with any of this. As they searched through all my things the questions and comments kept coming from them. They read that I had been divorced and said it was obvious I don't know how "to have good sex or that wouldn't have happened". At one point the director blamed me that he was not home with his son on his birthday. I realized I needed to win these people over, so sympathetically I said, "Oh you should be home with your son on his birthday." He was outraged by this "Don't you ever tell me where I should be!" I quickly explained that I was feeling sorry for him. He yelled at me "You stupid American women and your sarcasm!!!"

After about 2 1/2 hours of this kind of questioning I was getting panicked to leave, but leaving meant leaving Alyssa. It is hard to explain, but both emotions were so strong. "LEAVE this is getting very dangerous." " STAY as long as you can to be holding Alyssa." Then the phone rang. It was Frank. Enough was enough and the FIA needed to let me go and Frank was sending a car to pick me up. He gave me a description of the car and the drivers name and orders to make certain it was him before getting into the car. The driver would call him and he would call me when he reached the gate at the house. I got another call 15 minutes later. Frank said the driver had called him to tell him that Pastor Kamran and a gang were outside the guest house, waiting for me to come out. He would call back when it was safe, but for now do not leave. One of the more trustworthy guesthouse boys came into the room and whispered to me that the men outside were armed. I told him when it was clear to leave I needed him to grab my bags and put them in the car.

I had just been given a few more minutes with my daughter, and I wasn't going to waste any more time answering questions. Thankfully the FIA seemed to have run out of steam. I smelled her hair, kissed her cheek and asked the FIA to please take good care of her. Frank called and it was safe. Somehow they had gotten rid of the men outside. I was to leave immediately. The houseboy grabbed my bags and suddenly I was free. I wanted to run, but I never wanted to leave my daughter. I prayed "Please don't let her cry. If her cries are the last thing I hear I know they will echo in my head and heart forever". Somehow she didn't. It is amazing! I held her, kissed her and said two things to her. "I swear to you Alyssa, Mommy will do what I can to make sure this doesn't happen to any other little girls or boys" and "I love you and always will". I then had to hand her over to the FIA and ran out the door. As I was leaving the director called after me. "Stupid woman, said she loved her daughter but see how fast she leaves her?" I am so glad Alyssa had no way of knowing what he had just said.

The rest is a blur... meeting with Frank who was finally able to leave the embassy. He actually had tears in his eyes as I told him the story. He stayed with me for hours in the safe place I had been taken to. My flight left at 4 that morning. I have almost no memories of the long flights home, just a deep sense of sadness and loss. I remember openly crying as I walked through the airports and not caring one bit. I also remember doing math over and over figuring out what time it was for Alyssa and wondering how she was doing. Imagining her calling "Momma" in that insistent little way she had when she wanted my attention.

I am home now. My family was kind enough to take all Alyssa's things and put them in her room and shut the door so I wouldn't face that pain until I was ready. Two months later, and I am still not ready. I still do the math, wanting to always imagine what she might be doing. I have called the orphanage to check on her, but communication is difficult. I am sent pictures of her occasionally, but they are painful depictions of her life the way it is now.

Some of those involved in Pakistan have been arrested and will stand trial. Those who did wrong here in the US continue to do what they have always done. When I heard they had actually signed another client up for their Pakistan program while I was in the airplane on my way home I was horrified!

Justice? I don't know. Alyssa is still in the orphanage, her future in the hands of the FIA. There is talk about DNA to verify her "real" parents, but then there is talk that she will remain there "indefinitely". It has been since learned that her real parents sold her and if she were returned to them, what would prevent them from doing that again? Her Christmas presents are still in her closet. My mother just finished knitting her another sweater, but my heart knows she will probably never wear it. It feels like someone has kidnapped my daughter, I know where she is, but I can't get to her. I still love her and I still cry every night for my daughter who is half way around the world wondering whatever happened?

75 comments:

FinsUp said...

Just horrific. I don't know what else to say. Is there anything we as a community can do?

Anonymous said...

I have tears in my eyes, I am so sorry...

KJS said...

Even though I knew the story, reading it just broke my heart for you and Ally. I am so sorry that this happened to both of you.

Anonymous said...

There are no words. I am horrified, angry, incredibly sad for Alyssa and you. I cannot imagine going through this horror. I hope the media picks up this story and I hope the guilty parties are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I am so sorry for your tremendous loss.

Luckymama2two

Janet said...

Heartbroken for you and your beautiful daughter.
Gertiesquidge on RQ

Kelley said...

I am so sorry Linda, and am physically ill. I don't care how wonderful others' experiences were-this agency needs to FRY.

Holli said...

oh my....why....this world can be so ugly....scary and SO UNFAIR.... I will be praying for you and YOUR DAUGHTER....

Bailey said...

Oh my gosh. I am so saddened by your story, tears are streaming down my face as I write this. I caanot imagine what you have gone through, and what you continue to go through. Please know that there are so many adoptive families who are supporting you through this horrific time in your life. {{{Hugs}}}

Dear Hazel said...

CB,
I am shocked and horrified. I can't even imagine your pain.
Thank you for telling your story.

Knowledge is power!

You and Ally are in my prayers.


WaitingforHazel (RQ)

Anonymous said...

I am just so saddened for you and Alyssa. What a nightmare you have both experienced. I pray that there will be some sort of miracle in this situation for you to be together. I am so very sorry.

J said...

This story is heartbreaking. I am so sorry for you and your lovely daughter. I have to commend you for speaking out about what happened, and wish you luck in your fight against the horrible people that did this to you.

Charissa said...

The most frustrating part of this is that people will come out in defense and say what a wonderful experience they had with the same agency. I am so sorry for your pain. I just posted a similar (yet not near as tragic) adoption corruption experience on my blog and was overwhelmed with support, as it appears you are. God bless you for speaking out. It's the only way it will stop.

Kameron said...

I know this does not help at all, but my heart is breaking for you and Alyssa. I am so sorry and pray for your healing and for poor little Alyssa. Poor baby girl, i am so very sorry.
Kameron Shadrick

Kristin said...

I am so sorry. No words.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your story. This may save others from the same fate. You are very brave and I wish you the best.

Margaret said...

I am so so so sorry for your loss, for Alyssa's loss, and for the other families that have been and will be affected.

Please know that I am praying for you, your family and for Alyssa!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm so sad for you and even more sad for your daughter. I'm so happy you have come forward with your story...That agency needs to be stopped! My heart is breaking for you and for Alyssa...You both are in my thoughts and prayers. ((Hugs))

~Luna from RQ

CountryMidwife said...

Oh, how I cry for you and Alyssa. I am so sorry for what you have endured. And so grateful for your strength in sharing it all. Many, many blessings for you and yours...

cw said...

there continue to be no words to appropriately express how sad, how angry, how horrified I am.
You know if there is anything we can do- please let us know.

hikinglorax

Liz S. said...

I am heartsick for you. I am so very sorry for what you and Alyssa have gone through and are still going through. Thank you for having the courage to tell your story and fight for justice. Bless you.

Jennifer said...

Hi Linda - send me your email address and I'll let you know what I have.

Mary said...

Jennifer, I took a plane ride all too similar to yours. If you haven't done so yet, I'd encourage you to contact Ethica. I also have some emails for contacts at DOS and CIS for people who will be straight with you. Maybe they can even help. Can you get my email from this? Mary

Ali said...

Praying for you. I don't know what else to say. It is too horrible to even imagine.

Deborah said...

I, like so many others, am heartbroken for you, and for Alyssa. Utterly.

Debbie

Jolene and Dan Powell said...

I am so sad for you and this whole situation. I just sat and read this in total shock. I am just so sorry.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry that you have suffered and that your daughter has suffered so much. Through what I have learned in my own journey, I believe that we are all at risk for this kind of thing. All countries are suspect, even those currently considered safe; even the US. If you are taking this forward to try to put a stop to it, please let me know what I can do.

Genevieve said...

Linda,

I am deeply sorry for the loss and pain that has come to you and Alyssa. I feel bereft from merely reading your stories; I can only imagine how you and your daughter are coping.

The poem you wrote to Alyssa is so beautiful. May those kisses speed around the world and allow her to know how deeply she is loved, now and forever. With all my heart, I hope that there is still another ending to your story.

May all those who love you surround you with hugs, strength, sunshine and hope for a better day.

Warmly,
Genevieve

HoneyBugs at RQ

Anonymous said...

All I can say is WOW - can not believe all you went through and this agency still has it's doors open. How do people live with themselves. Prayers for you and you precious Alyssa. I am truly in disbelief. Thoughts, love and prayers

Sue from Illinois

Claire's Mom said...

It took me all morning to read this because I kept crying so much. Let me know if I can do anything, I'm only a short drive away.

The Barr Family said...

Thank you for being brave enough to post this. I would imagine that there are two heart broken families- yours and her birth family - and it always amazes me how people can hurt a child for money. Thank you again for telling your story.

C and G said...

My heart breaks for you and for Alyssa. Keep telling your story - others need to know . . .
peace to you

Heidi said...

I am amazed at your courage--both while in-country in a scary situation and in telling your story to the world. I pray for both you and Alyssa, and will bookmark you so I can follow your story. Please, if there is any way others of us in the adoption community can help--even in raising money to help you with legal fees, please ask!

Deb - said...

Your story makes me cry..I am just too sorry for words. You are so brave...our prayers are with Alyssa and I am hoping you will receive justice for you and your little girl.

Jillian and Crew said...

I am sooo sorry for you, for her, for all the innocence lost...the children lingering in a system doing nothing to protect them...
I am glad you shared your story...so sorry it happened to you ro anything and especially to Alyssa.

Kelli said...

Oh I'm so sorry....what an awful awful awful thing. I cannot imagine how you must feel. I just adopted my daughter in March and the thought that something like that could have happened is just heartwrenching. I hope that Alyssa is safe and you find peace. hugs.

David & Jen said...

I am so sorry. I can't even think of anything to say. I will tell everyone I know what happened to you and to Alyssa.

Kelly said...

Linda, I cannot imagine how devastated you are. I am so proud of you for having the courage to publicly write about your horrific ordeal. Alyssa will not be forgotten and I hope your/her story will bring light to yet another horrible, unethical adoption agency. There are so many bad agencies out there and so few people are willing to speak out against them for fear of repurcussions.

More people need to speak out and tell their stories so these agencies either get closed down or close due to lack of clients. Please know that you have many supporters in the adoption community and if there is something we as a group can do, please let us know. Unfortunately, I have recently learned that there is little that can be done for agencies that are not Hague accredited.

Connolly Family said...

I am so sorry for your incredible loss. My family too was a victim of a horrible agency, Better Future Adoption Services, and like others attempted to sue us. But we spoke truth, just as you have, and they were not able to win. You and your sweet girl are in my prayers. Continue to have courage and speak out.

Lori Printy said...

I am sorry, so very sorry for you both.

I used AA for a kaz adoption and actually contacted them this past summer about the pakistan program. I was told by Alla at AA that it was "not a good program for me".

AA is having issues in Kaz as well maybe other programs too I dont know. I used to recommend them to other pap's but after your story I am done.

You are BOTH in my prayers.

Cramber said...

I am so very sorry for your horrible experience. Please let the adoption community know what we can do to help. If there is someone we need to petition for action, just let us know who to send our letters to, etc. Best of luck to you.

Tonya said...

I am so sorry. For both you and Alyssa. Tears are in my eyes and my heart is aching. I am wondering if you have sought help from the International Justice Mission. www.ijm.org I am not sure if there is anything that they can do, but it would be a great place to start and to seek advice. You and Alyssa, as well as all the babies in child-trafficking will be in my prayers. My heart goes out to you and your precious baby girl.

Melissa said...

I am praying for you both. What a nightmare.

gdaysunshine said...

I'm so saddened by your story. I will keep you and Alyssa in my prayers. My heart goes out to you.

Cami said...

I'm so incredibly sorry. My thoughts are prayers are with you in hopes that you and Alyssa will one day be reunited.

Yoli said...

Today marks Human Trafficking Awareness Day. My heart just breaks for Alyssa and all of the children who are daily being used and abused in this disgusting manner. It is like man forgot his humanity. I hope with your courage, you get to make a change. A change for your daughter and all those children who still remain in danger. This is a story which cannot die, it is too important. The word must be spread.

The Sharp Family said...

I don't even know what to say. Nothing will ease the pain, I know. Please let us know if there is ANYTHING that we can do... anything at all.

Joy said...

I just came across your blog from a link on facebook (on of my FB friends). I am so sorry this happened to you and Alyssa.

Anonymous said...

I am so so sorry to hear of your terrible pain! I will be praying for you and for sweet Alyssa. I am praying God will bring justice to these wicked Agency workers and the wickedness in the country. My heart goes out to you. One day those people will give an account!
Praying!

Julia Rollings said...

I am so sorry you and Alyssa went through this horrific experience. We didn't discover our youngest children had been victims of child trafficking until 8 years after they joined our family but it also tore my heart out to see the grief trafficking caused their first mother, as well as my children. There aren't enough words to rightly condemn those who profit from creating this human misery. Thank you for going public with your story and doing what you can to put a stop to adoption corruption.

Anonymous said...

This story of you and Alyssa is absolutely heartwrenching. Praying for you to be permanently reunited with your daughter.

sheltiehome said...

I knew the story basics from RQ, but actually reading it on the blog seemed somehow to make it worse. You and your sweet Alyssa are in our prayers. Let us know if there is anything we can do.

The Gotch 5 said...

Tears are streaming down my face for you. You do not know me and I do not know you. I do know the pain you have in your heart for we were in a similiar situation almost 5 years ago to the day in Ukraine. We too left with our little girl Dadia in the corrupt system they had in that country at the time we were there. I know the pain of walking away, getting on the plane with a suitcase of things you don't need, the door being closed for a year until you can bring yourself to walk inside of it. However God has a plan and at the time we did not know what it was. It took 5 horrible painful years but we did find happiness again. It took us a year to even begin moving forward with anything the grief over came our hearts and we couldn't heal. Then it all changed when a door opened that we had not even considered before international adoption. I am so sorry for your loss, I pray you can find a way to bring Alyssa home or at least find some peace in your heart. Please feel free to contact me if you ever have any questions or anything. Just know I am praying for you and feel for you and the hurt and loss you are going through right now.

Anonymous said...

keep telling your story - over and over again. You are so brave to do so. That agency must be stopped - - the evil that is going on over there must be stopped.
My heart is broken for you and for your sweet, innocent Alyssa.
May God watch over her and give you strength.
Keep spreading your story....this must be stopped.
PugMama RQ

Jill said...

Praying for you, your daughter and your family.
That is so wrong and heartwrenching.

pastorandpup said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lindsey's mom said...

I just wanted to say how sorry I am. There are no words. I know the loss of a child and it is horrible. I can not imagine losing my daughter the way you lost yours. I am so so sorry. May God hold you close and know that I am praying to my angel, Chelsea to watch over your Alyssa. My daughter's angel day is January 6th.

Mary said...

I am so very sorry for both you and your daughter.

Anonymous said...

I just read your story and I ache for you and for Alyssa. I wish there was something that could be done. I'm so, so sorry.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for telling your story. My heart aches over what you've been through. I have been following the status of IA for over 10 years, waiting for the right timing to begin the process, only to find more and more countries with rampant corruption and stories of trafficking and buying of children. So few stories ever get told. You're a hero in my book for speaking out and thank God you made it home unharmed.

T n' W said...

My stomach has been in knots....this is unimaginable. I have sent emails, posted on my fb status and just sinceerely wish there was more I could do......thank you for sharing Alyssa's story. I am hopefull that by sharing this you will being preventing this situtation from happening to other children and their forever families.

Cindy said...

Thank you for being so strong for Alyssa. I hope that she is safe and warm. I am so sorry.

a Tonggu Momma said...

I am just so very sorry...

Bree said...

I am in tears reading your story. Thankyou so much for finding the courage to post your story so that others will know. I hope you don't mind, but I am posting about your story on my blog....I believe the more people that know...the more that are aware...the fewer children and families are hurt. Your and sweet Alyssa are in my prayers! God bless....

Donna said...

I'm so sorry for all you've had to go through in your adoption journey and wish you strength in pursuing your dream of getting Alyssa back. I'm newly investigating agencies and am so thankful you had the courage to post your story. I wish more people could come forward. AA "was" on my list and I thank you for sparing me what could have been some serious heartache. They failed to protect you and you've endured some serious heartache. I've already lost a child... to lose another one... uggggh.

Linda said...

Donna, thank you... It just broke my heart over and over to read about people walking blindly over to them and hand them their savings without knowing all the truth.

Paul and Megan Hawkes said...

I am so sorry for your heart ache. My husband and I are looking into international adoption, that is my greatest fear. You suggested researching the owners of the agency or all the people that work there? God Bless you and I will keep you in my prayers.

DDBBmom said...

Alyssa's story breaks my heart. The pain, the saddness and all the evil of those who want $. it makes me sick. I'm so sorry. i will be praying for Alyssa to come home to her mommy.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for being brave enough to share your story and for doing all this research to expose the lack of transparency in international adoption. I tried to tell the truth of what we experienced and saw and was "pressured" by my agency to censor my blog and e-mails. I felt scared the entire time I was in Kazakhstan. It should have been a joyful time. I have stopped trying to discuss the truth as many PAP's
want to believe that sparing children from a life in orphanages justifies everything else. I hope you don't give up your fight to bring Alyssa home. Is there any way we readers can do to help you? Have you contacted PEAR (People for Ethical Adoption Reform) they need to hear your story .

Jennifer said...

We were betrayed by a US adoption agency and lost our daughter in Guatemala who we visited 4 times and spent a month with. We have no recourse,
And now she languishes in an orphanage. I know your pain.

Linda said...

Jennifer were you with Main Street Adoptions in PA? If so, I believe they are in the midst of quite a legal battle. Look and see who their former president was.

medical first aid kits said...

Your story makes me cry. I am just too sorry for words. You are so brave. Our prayers are with Alyssa and I am hoping you will receive justice for you and your little girl as soon as possible.

Anonymous said...

I came across your blog and story tonight, just doing a search for Adoption ARK. I was checking up on them as we had begun our adoption process last year before I became pregnant. We were very strongly leaning toward signing on with them. I see from reading your story, that God was protecting us by not giving us a total peace about it. I am so, so sorry for what has happened to you...to Alyssa...to countless other little boys and girls. There's a sickness in my stomach as I just plead with God to protect Alyssa and the others like her. I am just so, so sorry. I want to thank you for sharing your story; it has protected us from signing on with an agency whom we obviously should not. We will be looking for a different agency.

Sana said...

I hope wherever Alyssa is she is happy, and that eventually she finds you or her birth mother if she is good for her. I am a Pakistani living in Canada and one day plan on adopting a child from Edhi foundation. However, I don't know anything about adoption right now and am truly horrified by this story. So far I had imagined that someday I'll visit Pakistan and go to Edhi centre and volunteer there and adopt the child I bond with, but I guess things don't work that way? is that a possibility? to try and adopt a child that u found at Edhi home instead of going through any adoption agency first? cuz at least that way you know that the child you are adopting is just as much in need for you as you are for him/her

Linda said...

That is all well and good if you are muslim, but if you are not then you can't adopt from the Edhi Home

Anonymous said...

The damaging storm of all the innocents continues.