Allegations of a Forged Signature on the ICPC, Moving A Baby Across State Lines?
I don’t know if adoption agencies are just getting cocky, or even more desperate or maybe we are finally, FINALLY, catching on as a society that these things are wrong, but mothers are fighting back for their rights.
This is also a case of a revocation of an adoption relinquishment consent in Pennsylvania, but Golden Cradle Adoption is insisting that the Adoption in a New Jersey Adoption.
Met Ana; she was told that she had the 30 day revocation time frame under PA law because she is from PA, she lives in PA, she was told the family lived in PA, and the baby was born in PA, only to now be told that it’s a New Jersey adoption. Of course, New Jersey does not have a revocation of adoption consent period recognized by law. How convenient.
Ana’s son Veer was born on April 9th. That makes him about 6 weeks old.
A Rushed Last Minute Adoption; Bait and Switch State Laws
Ana had never intended to relinquish her baby boy while she was pregnant. She had everything ready for her son to be home with her, but was overcome by panic attacks induced by her hormones and labor.
“I did NOT consider adoption until a day before I went into labor. I was a 100% ready for my son to be with me, I was prepared for 9 months in every way. EVERYTHING was ready, and I panicked. I had a panic attack …. about how my son was going to go to college, how I was going to take him to school, how was I going to buy him a house for us to live in. A panic attack that came and went with my pregnancy and labor hormones.
I was scared, felt alone and felt I had no option.”
Overwhelmed by the horrible feelings of inadequacy, Ana decided at the last minute to place her baby for adoption. She was referred to an adoption agency a day after her delivery and was put into contact with Golden Cradle on April 10th.
“Because I wasn’t aware of ANYTHING at all about adoption, I asked the hospital to refer me. I was given 3 options with one of them being Golden Cradle. I chose a family that just happened to be with Golden Cradle, NOT the agency directly.”
An day before her discharge, Ana and the baby’s father met with the Golden Cradle representative social worker, Kim Joan. They were told that their child would be placed in Pa. Both mom and dad wanted an open adoption. They had a five minute conversation with the prospective adoptive parents.
“We were told after the phone call that the parents wanted a closed adoption and that they were located in Pa. So we were NOT education on these matters and let it be, at least he would be close by… Then Joan left.”
The next day Ana was discharged from the hospital and went home without her baby, but with 2 hours had called Joan Kim and had Veer returned to her care.
“I had a very severe panic attack again! Again, these are NOT normal for me, and now that the hormones are leveled off, I AM back to normal. I have everything ready for my son to be home with me. I just had a panic attack that happened to convince me otherwise and I didn’t talk to anyone to discuss this issue, just panicked. So I contacted Joan again.”
So less than one week later, Ana signed away her rights away and her newborn son was taken away to be with the prospective parents in Pennsylvania, Siji and Veena.
Pennsylvania Revocation of Adoption Consent Laws
All this happened in the state of Pennsylvania. Adoption laws fall under jurisdiction of the states. In Pennsylvania, there are 30 days allowed to revoke an adoption. So even though Ana knew she was unsure, she understood that she had time to make up her mind because she is from Pennsylvania and her child was born in Pennsylvania and the adoptive parents were from Pennsylvania. That makes it an Pennsylvania adoption and under Pennsylvania law Ana has been granted a 30 day “grace period” where she is legally allowed to change her mind and have the adoption relinquishment consent revoked. 30 days.
“He left and 30 minutes passed. I didn’t want to place him for adoption and lose my child, but I told myself I was doing the best. A day passed and another and the feelings of just horror from being away from my son got worse. As the panic attack subsided and the grief took hold, my head became much clearer. The things that seemed threatening as giant obstacles were just NOT and all I wanted was my son. I knew I could do this like I planned, like I wanted. College was a good deal away. School was a good deal away. I have a home. A job. My son would not want for anything.”
Now, here is the part we would might think that a social work who is trained to work directly with potential birthmothers relinquishing a child for adoption might actually realize some hesitancy in Ana’s “decision”. Perhaps, you think that they are told what to look for, how to help their clients make an informed accurate decision? That in serving the best interests of all involved, a pause might be in order? Isn’t that how adoption is supposed to work? The potential birthmother is supposed to have all the information so she can fulfill her adoption plan and be empowered by her ability to do right by her child. Where’s all the counseling (waived), education (denied), representation (also waived)? Nope, in one week post birth, among ranging hormonal imbalances, Ana was able to make a life altering decision that not only directly affected her life, but the lives of many others and Golden Cradle seems all too happy to be the adoption agency to reap the rewards of her current misfortune. Swooped right in and preyed upon her venerable mind.
“Aside from that, I hadn’t slept in days when I signed. I was delirious most of the time. I was given double doses of whatever medicine it is that makes you sleep when they induce you, and as an after effect, I didn’t sleep at all for almost a whole week after. I remember I barely got an hour or two worth of naps with Veer. It wasn’t until the weekend after I signed that I crashed and slept for almost 24 hours. In my transcripts from the nurses, it says that they noticed I was not sleeping and was extremely agitated, showing signs of extreme sleep deprivation. Which is verified by the text messages I exchanged with the social worker and the fact that before I signed my papers, I was awake all night and messaged her at 2 am and at 4 am. And my baby sleeps through the night.”
Oh, you doubt yourself, are panic stricken and exhausted?? Never mind that anyone can clearly see you are in crisis and disproportionately worrying. We won’t question the whys; we’ll just hurry up and take your baby. Oh and while you aren’t looking, we switched the states!
” I then contacted Joan again because I realized that she didn’t leave me a shred of paper work to account for the adoption that happened. She scanned all the paper work and sent it to me. I read in one of them that the adoption was revocable and I quickly said I wanted to revoke it.
She said it wasn’t possible because I signed my rights away by NJ law.”
Why Birthmother Almost Never Have Legal Representation in Adoptions Consents
Now, yes, if you do look you will see the words New Jersey plastered all over the actual relinquishment consent ( TPR ) for that Ana did indeed sign. Now, I wondered too how that happened. In an relinquishment consent, one is SUPPOSED to know what the heck they are signing, right? The adoption professionals JOB is to ensure that one is aware of what it all means in a voluntary consent. Now granted, it does often get more difficult as most potential birthmothers WILL indeed waive their rights to counsel. IN a perfect world, we would have our own legal representative there for us to check over everything and make sure that our interests are properly being protected when we make these monumental legal decisions, but it’s funny, (and when I say “funny” I mean kind of like unethical) how the agencies tend to explain that we CAN have our own legal representative.
The conversations kind of go like this:
” You have the right to have your own legal counsel.
“Why do I need that?”
“Oh just to make sure that everything is on order. The adoptive parents will pay for that.”
“Oh, they do? Is it expensive?”
“Well of course, it’s a lawyer so a few thousand dollars?”
Now mom is thinking about how much a few grand is in her world and imagining that this might be taking needed funds out of her child’s college funds.
“Well do I have to one?”
“Oh no, you can waive your rights” Because you know, you waive one set of rights to your own child, what’s the big deal about waiving your right to be protected? It’s like a waive your rights free for all. If you can’t handle your baby, then you surely don’t deserve the APs spending money on you!
“Oh yeah, I’ll do that.”
How Can a New Jersey Adoption Happen in Pennsylvania?
So back to Ana, so she didn’t have anyone there looking out for her best interest, but again, It DID say New Jersey all over the damn relinquishment consent, so I had to ask. Like I know when I consented they READ everything out loud to me. I can still hear the voices echoing in my head 26 years later like a bad dream.. over and over.. forever and ever, so how did Ana miss this?
“I said in an email I sent to the social worker at 4 am that I did not want to read the paper work because if I did, I would have a mental break down. Yes, I said that I knew what I was doing and was ok, but I wouldn’t handle the implications of it. So, no no…I didn’t read it. And Kim Joan just flipped pages in front of me and told me where to sign. I didn’t see anything saying NJ or PA or anything. I just saw paragraphs in front of me. “
You know people love to say to think alike this; “Well that’s your own fault for not reading it,” or” Well, you should have been more careful” or “No one held a gun to your head. You signed it. You called the agency. What did you expect? They were doing what you wanted.” And granted, it is easy to think that and to put the blame on the panic stricken, sleep deprived mother, but is it fair to put ALL the blame on her? How can we ignore that the adoption agency social workers are supposed to be trained in recognizing that a mother might NOT be in the position to make this decision and to actually BE her advocates and look out for her best interests as they pretend to do? Either these social workers are untrained, or horrible at their jobs, or perhaps, the other option is that they really are NOT there to serve the moms in crisis.
“I guess it was a God send for her that I didn’t want to read any of the paperwork. Joan Kim didn’t even give me the option to re-think it or briefly mentioned to me “just to remind you, we are signing NJ papers”. She just told me there was traffic and really cold and I asked how much should I bundle Veer up because I did want him to be warm. Reading back the paper work, now that I have it, since I never even got a copy…a lot of it says NJ. But none of it was read to me.
Then she said that’s all the paper work and I wouldn’t need any more from her. Then watched as I played with Veer, got him ready to go out and hovered again while I reluctantly put him in a car seat and didn’t want to let go. She almost had to pry the car seat from me, saying she had to go.”
See, no one is contesting that. She did sign a consent to relinquish her son to adoption IN what she believed was Pennsylvania, so she also did believe that she had 30 days to change her mind. So when she goes and does what she felt she could by law, she gets told no?
What does the Golden Cradle say about the switch?
“Joan Kim keeps saying she completely and utterly explained to me in the hospital the difference between NJ adoptions an Pa adoptions and I should have understood. But I was drugged in a hospital and thinking of adoption for the first time…I didn’t know anything. I swear I do not think she ever discussed anything about NJ adoption vs PA adoptions. At any point.”
Now one MIGHT wonder if Ana knew NOTHING about adoption, then how could she know and believe that she had 30 days to change her mind under PA law? And how is it that she remembers THAT part about an adoption that she supposedly was told she would not have, and remembers NOTHING about the actual adoption law that she was signing?
Legally, It’s a PA Adoption, Even if Golden Cradle says NJ
One might think it is because she was TOLD about PA adoption law and NJ law was left out of the picture. Now the funny things is, what Ana remembers and what she thought would legally apply to her, is actually correct.
“I was upset and contacted a lawyer. I got enough information that yes, because I am a resident of PA, my child was born in PA, resides in PA, and I signed NJ papers in PA and had they PA notary seal, that I could revoke it and PA law applied. I filed all this at the PA court to legally revoke my consent to my son’s adoption.”
Further complicating the validity of this relinquishment consent, Joan Kim notarized docs outside of her notary state of PA. She also notarized her OWN docs which you cannot do as it kind of goes against the whole purpose of notarizing documents! And to make it even better, a witness signature appeared on Ana’s paper work that was NOT present at the time of signing.
Ana officially revoked her adoption consent not even two weeks after she signed. She has proof that Golden Cradle received her certified letter of revocation in time under PA adoption law. Of course, Golden Cradle is not giving in easily. They ignore the revocation until she served them with court papers.
They are coming up with a million and one excuses not to return this child back to his mother. Golden Cradle is also now saying the adoptive parents are residents of NJ, or Pa, or NJ.. which is it? One of the reasons that Ana did consent was that the hopeful adoptive family was IN PA. Now one thing that is curios is how the baby was moved from PA where he was born, to NJ. We know that this takes a bit longer as interstate adoptions must follow the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (“ICPC”). It is illegal to move a child across state lines without first complying with the ICPC requirements.
Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children and a Forged Signature on the ICPC?
In court, Ana is presented with a “signed” the 100A form saying that under the laws of ICPC the agency could take her son out of PA. Ana never did sign the 100A form. She states beyond a doubt, her signature has been forged on the ICPC form.
“If you have ever seen it, the 100A form is NOT a paragraph. It’s a straight up form with squares and boxes. That is why I know I didn’t sign that form. I have never seen it before and it is NOT my signature. It was forged so they could move my child to New Jersey without my consent”
But here is the crazy thing; the adoptive parents are NOT in New Jersey. They DO live in Pennsylvania. So the only reason that Golden Cradle would bother to go so far as to forge a signature is to push Ana to believe that she had no revocation period under PA law because the NJ adoption laws applied. Are you beginning to see what lengths these adoption agencies will go to pushing a mother to relinquish a child and then keep holding on to that baby against a mothers wishes; lying, forging, tricking… oh, it gets better.
Golden Cradle made a second 100A form to send the baby from NJ to PA. Whether or not this baby has actually crossed the state line physically is anyone’s guess, but if he did get taken out of the state on forged documents, the removal was never legal. However, with more trickery on the part of Golden Cradle, the second ICPP form, allows NJ to be the “sending” state further making it seem that the NJ lack of revocation time frame might be applied.
It’s basically a ply to confuse any judge overseeing the case in Pa. By the double forgeries and either by faking a move across state lines or actually illegally moving the baby across state lines, it prevents a judge immediately stating that the 30 day revocation rule applies and demand the immediate return. If the baby is FROM NJ then does NJ adoption law apply even IF the relinquishment consent was signed IN PA?
Even the timing of the ICPC paper that they forged is questionable and lends credence to Ana’s story. The ICPC paperwork was sent to the office in Harrisburg, Pa over a week after Golden Cradle got served. The agency pushed back the court hearing date in the beginning of May in order to have the ICPC paper returned to them and verified. The ICPC was verified May 9th which was not until after the original hearing date. Golden Cradle requested an extension to May 20th.
So on May 20th, Ana has a court date. She was threatened by Golden Cradle that if Pa law continued to be applied they would find ways to demonstrate that she is an unfit mother and in turn, forcibly keep him and terminate her rights that way.
Golden Cradle has hired 2 lawyers to fight Ana in court. They will try, as many agencies do, to beat Ana down with litigation and wear her down until she have no more money left. The whole purpose, once again, is clearly that they want her child and they do not care at all about how they get her baby.
Makes you wonder what happened to the whole concept of “voluntary” consent.
Once again, adoption is SUPPOSED to be an INFORMED CHOICE made by the biological mother and father who are of sound mind and body, not under duress, not in a panic state, to VOLUNTAIRLY relinquish their parental rights to their child. Their interests are supposed to be protected by both the laws and those professionals involved in the adoption industry who are SUPPOSED to be looking out for the BEST interests of all involved. It is NOT supposed to be a series of lies and opportunities used to trick and defraud parents out of their children and the legalities involved are NOT supposed to be used to make it all but impossible for parents to retain the rights to their child.
It is high time that these unscrupulous and unethical agencies are HELD ACCOUNTABLE for their actions. They have gotten away with for so long because NO ONE stands up to them and when people try they are stonewalled, pushed to the edge of mental, emotional and financial exhaustion under they just give up. This is why the unethical forced adoption practices continue. We know that one way to hurt them is to make as many people as possible to be aware of their actions. Let Golden Cradle Adoption know that you are AWARE of what THEY DID and that you find it unacceptable.
- Mobile Phones: (856) 428-1180
- Other Phones: (800) 327-2229
- Address: 95 West Gate DriveCherry Hill, NJ, United States 08034
- Website: http://www.goldencradle.org
- Facebook: http://facebook.com/goldencradle
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/GoldenCradle
Sadly, it seems that Ana has a long fight ahead of her. Once again than adoption agency is CHOOSING to fight a mothers right to revoke and is holding an innocent baby as a pawn in their legal games. So much for “best interest”. Ana has set up a fund to help defray the legal costs.