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Three children still missing from Hart family crash

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11 hours ago, SKL said:

I don't understand why the environment would expose children to violence even if the parents had not been abusive.  In all statistical likelihood, they were removed from an environment that was much more likely to expose them to violence.

You're right, we don't know why they were removed.  However - and I've studied a lot of cases - I'm not aware of a trend toward permanently removing black sibling groups from their parents and making them available for adoption without there being significant long-term problems with the parents.  I did know of a mom who lost 5 kids due to drug abuse and other issues.  They let her keep her 6th baby against the strong advice of the social workers.  The baby was murdered within 6 weeks.  But the social workers must have been racist.

Racism does play a role at times, e.g. when a parent has been accused of neglect for letting a kid play at the park while she works nearby during summer vacation.  I believe race was a factor when a woman was charged because her 4yo darted in front of a speeding drunk driver as the family crossed the street with their groceries.  I'm sure it's a factor other times.  But I think it's quite a stretch to imply that nice black families are having their kids systematically snatched from them so they can grow up with dangerous white people.

You say why didn't people believe the kids - that is always a question.  It happens to kids of all colors when they report abuse.  However, we do know that people did report this family on multiple occasions.  They were investigated.  They were charged.  They were convicted.  They kept doing it anyway.  This also happens to kids of all colors.

people not believing kids complaining "something is wrong" in their home, is hardly new.   abused kids for years have complained they weren't believed.   re: larry nassars victims.   years ago (80's) - sesame street had a snuffeluppagus who was only seen by big bird.  they thought it was funny to have no one believe big bird about his friend.   they got a heck of a lot of letters complaining about the message they were sending kids about adults not believing them.   especially abused kids.   so, for months they would run the story line that one adult believed him - and was waiting around to try and meet snuffy - but always missed him.  the message was - the adult believed even without "proof".

2 hours ago, Tsuga said:

Race-based placements are to me insane simply because race doesn't exist. There's just a bunch of coloring and characteristics that usually go together. I get that race exists in our minds, but for the purposes of something like this--there aren't defined enough lines.

And what about a white mom whose baby is black? Can she keep her own biological kid? Should they have taken me from my white mom and given me to the aunt whom I look like who is not white?

Would this factor into custody cases? "Well, the white looking kids go with the white parent, the dark kids go with the dark parent..."

I think the best thing would be to continue to emphasize possibility of a relationship with the birth parent except in worst-case scenario, so that kids stay in their communities. This would prevent more removal of kids from their heritage.

 

or the very recent case in florida of the indian mom with the white boyfriend whose mother manipulated both the tribe and the hospital to take the baby from the (non-reservation) hospital and run.  because indian grandma didn't want the baby anywhere near a white man.  (there were many who violated the law/policy - from the tribal police to the hospital staff - but that doesn't get the baby back if they can't find her.)

 

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17 minutes ago, texasmom33 said:

This isn't directly aimed at you Farrar, I'm just using your quote because this is something I keep hearing- about some of these behaviours as being typical of kids who came out of the foster system......Can we talk about this a little further? I'm not familiar with adoption or fostering really- we never have nor do we have any friends that have, so this statement sort of surprised me. It seems like maybe training people to expect issues and overlook certain behaviors because they're a result of trauma, fostering or other things rather than an indication of abuse leaves the kids even more open to falling through a crack? I get that kids can have bad behavior issues, but it seems like training teachers to view these issues as "kid" issues rather than potential abuse issues is going to leave a lot of kids in a lurch. They're already vulnerable, and it just seems like that view makes it way too easy to pass off abuse as a kids' behavior issue rather than a parental issue. I know there is a fine line, and I've read about the RAD kids and whatnot, but at what point do we give the kid the benefit of the doubt and look a little closer at the parents?  

The one article upthread had one of the women blaming bruises on falling down the stairs. How many adolescents fall down stairs? And did no one really notice the missing front teeth of the one child? I mean really. It's like an excuse out of a bad 80's Farrah Fawcett movie. "Oh I walked into a door." 

I guess I'm curious about how much is overlooked, or how often teachers and/or others in a similar position like camp counselors or coaches are told to overlook certain things as being typical of fostered kids with abusive pasts (I'm assuming these kids were abused and not orphaned into the system......). I just feel like it leaves the kids completely exposed to being targeted by abuse. They're already so vulnerable and it's pretty obvious that abuse of children is a global issue, with no country or organization being exempt- not churches, not schools and teachers, not sports, etc. The mindset that these kids are prone to food issues or lying would seem to paint a target on them for other potential abusers, because who is going to believe them, and probably even as much, after what they've been through are they really going to bit the literal hand that feeds? 

It's really upsetting that in this day and age, there is still NO totally safe, or even mostly safe place for children. I know there's probably no answer. This is just one of those stories I can't shake. I think because these kids weren't chained in a cage or locked in a basement. They were out on social media, being traipsed around at rallies to the glorification of their sadistic mothers while no one did a thing to help them. It's just so f-ed up. 

It's really a complicated issue.  It is true that kids who are adopted have a higher rate of many mental health problems and also of being abuse victims.  (The rate increases with the number of custody disruptions and the age at placement.)  There is probably much interplay between the two statistics - a child who is very troubled can be impossible to manage with the usual discipline methods, so some people will up the discipline until it is abuse.  This can be reduced by giving adoptive parents much better training and support throughout the years.  However, it can be scary to ask for help and really hard to know what kind of help to request.  There is a huge amount of judgment out there from people who don't get it.

And yes, kids with adoption-related emotional issues do sometimes present or talk as if they were maybe being abused / neglected.  Like the "always hungry" of a food hoarder who is actually in danger of health problems from over-eating.  I know one mom whose kid started hollering (at a party) "don't hit me again" when she had never ever hit him in his life.  Some kids engage in self-harm which may look like abuse or may be suspected to be a symptom of torture.  Adoptees also have a high rate of suicide / attempted suicide.  And yet, we know for sure that some adopted kids are abused.

Reporting is tough because it's hard to know whether the child and parents are going to be treated fairly / helped vs. just traumatized.  The last thing an adoptee needs is another disruption.  Maybe it would help if there were a special section of CPS that specialized in adoptees, so they could look at a situation through an educated filter.  But all I ever hear about is how they are under-resourced, so I don't see that happening.

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Regarding the discussion about cultural continuity ....

First and foremost, I don't think we know that that has anything to do with this case.  I don't know that the moms didn't care or didn't try to help the kids connect with / celebrate their culture of origin.  The fact that they adopted two sibling groups of all AA children could indicate that they were considering their kids' needs to have someone to share that with at home etc.  I haven't heard any proof that they were unaware or disdainful of the potential need to connect.  (Obviously talking about before they took the kids off the grid all together.)  The crying photo with the cop was weird, knowing that it was forced, but the fact that they were at a blm rally says something too.

Second, this is another complex issue, but based on my observations and experience being in the interracial adoption community, this is something that needs to be largely child-led.  Opportunities, information, and openness need to be provided, but children will differ in the degree to which they are interested, and this also changes for each child over time.  It's wrong to assume my kids are going to prefer friends with similar skin color or family backgrounds.  It's even more wrong to assume they will like Hispanic food or Latino music or prefer Latina role models.  Being an adoptive parent, like any other kind of parent, is often more about listening to our kids than anything else.

This is another thing that is easy to judge from the outside.  People like me went into this thinking of all the ways we were going to keep the connection for our kids.  We bought Mayan dolls and bought toys that spoke Spanish.  I could fill a book.  Some of that was valued by the kids, but most of it wasn't.  And that's OK.

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So, I’m going to try to explain my feelings WRT my own family, which might be a total fail but please know that I'm not trying to dig at anyone.

I grew up living near and interacting with a very large extended family. Both sides of my family are very different. One side is more learned, traveled and high-income. The other side is more coarse and working class. Both sides, however, are multi-racial. We moved away from family when my sister was very young so she didn’t get the benefit of building meaningful/shared relationships with our family. I did.

I learned things like, who gets served first, who wont eat soul/southern food, who preps the best dishes, etc. My sister did not. Where I learned what hot topics will trigger Uncle J to blow his top, my sister did not. I knew not to play Scrabble with my aunts (they are cut throat); my sister did not. Cousin C, like her mother, is a bully so I steered clear. My sister did not. You get the idea.

My sister often struggled to find her place and feel comfortable at family gatherings. She had no shared experiences on which to draw and didn’t know all the small, hidden ways that we communicated with each other or the unwritten rules of behavior. For ex. no, ma’am, you cannot sit down to play dominoes/card games with your paternal elders unless/until you are invited. It wasn't the stuff of life that made us family. It was the deep, meaningful, regular, common interactions with this diverse group of people that made the difference between my comfort and her discomfort. It was knowing the songs they liked, the dances they performed, the speech patterns and being comfortable with it (not necessarily enjoying or participating).

When you’re immersed in a diverse family like this (which is really like most families, no?), you begin to realize that the things that make you family aren’t your skin tone, hair texture, favorite foods, income, occupation, etc. Family is not something you have to try to be, it’s just who you are. It took my sister a lot longer to figure that out and find her way amongst them than it did for me. It’s not that it couldn’t be done but that it was harder for her and she had lots of stumbles along the way. Her relationships with them will never be as free and easy as my own.

With that said, I’m not just part of my immediate family. I have a black American identity/family as well. Despite the many variations in this family there are many commonalities as well. In my maternal family, they substitute Scrabble and bridge for spades and whist, but the rules of engagement were the same...enter at your own risk.

What I’ve seen in the writings of many adult transracial adoptees reminds me of this dynamic. Some of them struggle to see themselves as part of a larger ethnic family. Sometimes they sense adoptive parent discomfort (even when it may not be there). Sometimes, they reject what they’ve heard/seen of the family. Sometimes they feel rejected by the family when they do make contact. I think, though I could be wrong, that some don’t see it as inclusive because they haven’t grown up knowing or seeing that there’s no one way to be a part of it. They see/define the family by its stereotypes (the things people observe when they peek in the window) and either fail to, choose not to, or take longer to see that the culture is so much more than that.

OK, so to strain the analogy even more, could my mother and father have let us choose whether we wanted to attend these family gatherings and get to know our family culture? Sure, that’s a perfectly valid choice, rather like unschooling I think. Would it have been even harder for us to find our place within our family if they had? Most definitely. Do people walk away from their families, of course! They may experience it and decide they hate it. I still think it's important to know it for what it is though.

There are many different ways these things can turn out and many ways parents can approach things. There’s no guarantee of anything and many lines of inquiry/study with no solid conclusions. At the same time, I just know that it’s sad to watch people, as I did my sister, struggle to find commonality with people who could enrich their lives tremendously.

As for this Hart family, I think it's hard to argue that the parents weren't intentionally isolating these kids, using them as props, and sharing their stories for their own gain and not that of the children. They uprooted them multiple times in a very short period of time, something no trauma mamas that I know would willingly do.

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I have enjoyed reading through this tread.  I am an adoptive mother of 5 children, adopted in three separate adoptions through the foster care system. One of our children is bi-racial, and the other 4 are Hispanic, which is the dominant culture in our area. As I read through this thread I had something to say in my mind about most posts. It is a hard thing to discuss, because there is nothing hard, fast, or regular about adopting or foster care. All three of our adoptions were as different from each other as can be. All of our children’s back stories are different, the way the system dealt with them in foster care, the social workers we dealt with.... everything was literally flying by the seat of our pants. It was a very difficult time in my life because the system can be abusive and traumatic to foster/adoptive parents as well.

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3 hours ago, texasmom33 said:

This isn't directly aimed at you Farrar, I'm just using your quote because this is something I keep hearing- about some of these behaviours as being typical of kids who came out of the foster system......Can we talk about this a little further? I'm not familiar with adoption or fostering really- we never have nor do we have any friends that have, so this statement sort of surprised me. It seems like maybe training people to expect issues and overlook certain behaviors because they're a result of trauma, fostering or other things rather than an indication of abuse leaves the kids even more open to falling through a crack? I get that kids can have bad behavior issues, but it seems like training teachers to view these issues as "kid" issues rather than potential abuse issues is going to leave a lot of kids in a lurch. They're already vulnerable, and it just seems like that view makes it way too easy to pass off abuse as a kids' behavior issue rather than a parental issue. I know there is a fine line, and I've read about the RAD kids and whatnot, but at what point do we give the kid the benefit of the doubt and look a little closer at the parents?  

The one article upthread had one of the women blaming bruises on falling down the stairs. How many adolescents fall down stairs? And did no one really notice the missing front teeth of the one child? I mean really. It's like an excuse out of a bad 80's Farrah Fawcett movie. "Oh I walked into a door." 

I guess I'm curious about how much is overlooked, or how often teachers and/or others in a similar position like camp counselors or coaches are told to overlook certain things as being typical of fostered kids with abusive pasts (I'm assuming these kids were abused and not orphaned into the system......). I just feel like it leaves the kids completely exposed to being targeted by abuse. They're already so vulnerable and it's pretty obvious that abuse of children is a global issue, with no country or organization being exempt- not churches, not schools and teachers, not sports, etc. The mindset that these kids are prone to food issues or lying would seem to paint a target on them for other potential abusers, because who is going to believe them, and probably even as much, after what they've been through are they really going to bit the literal hand that feeds? 

It's really upsetting that in this day and age, there is still NO totally safe, or even mostly safe place for children. I know there's probably no answer. This is just one of those stories I can't shake. I think because these kids weren't chained in a cage or locked in a basement. They were out on social media, being traipsed around at rallies to the glorification of their sadistic mothers while no one did a thing to help them. It's just so f-ed up. 

SKL addressed some of this stuff with more nuance than I feel like I can, but I'll say I never felt like I was getting a training that encouraged me to overlook signs of abuse. It was more like, here are some behaviors that are common among some adopted kids that you may be thinking are huge problems or "weird" but are actually totally within the realm of being normal parts of transition and here's why. I guess I thought of it more as being like learning to recognize that stemming behaviors are normal for some non-NT kids and don't need to be stigmatized or given special negative attention in and of themselves. I think... a child who is always hoarding food and always asking for food is different from a child who is literally saying, "my parents don't feed me" or coming to school showing signs of actually being underfed. Like, in this case, the girl going next door and begging for food and saying don't tell my parents... that I might give the benefit of the doubt because maybe the parents are trying to work on these issues, etc. But her saying, they beat me, they don't feed me... more concerning. Like, way more. And her being so thin that she seems to have not gone through puberty and to be so underweight... majorly concerning. None of that is within the realm of normal.

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2 hours ago, Sneezyone said:

So, I’m going to try to explain my feelings WRT my own family, which might be a total fail but please know that I'm not trying to dig at anyone.

I grew up living near and interacting with a very large extended family. Both sides of my family are very different. One side is more learned, traveled and high-income. The other side is more coarse and working class. Both sides, however, are multi-racial. We moved away from family when my sister was very young so she didn’t get the benefit of building meaningful/shared relationships with our family. I did.

I learned things like, who gets served first, who wont eat soul/southern food, who preps the best dishes, etc. My sister did not. Where I learned what hot topics will trigger Uncle J to blow his top, my sister did not. I knew not to play Scrabble with my aunts (they are cut throat); my sister did not. Cousin C, like her mother, is a bully so I steered clear. My sister did not. You get the idea.

My sister often struggled to find her place and feel comfortable at family gatherings. She had no shared experiences on which to draw and didn’t know all the small, hidden ways that we communicated with each other or the unwritten rules of behavior. For ex. no, ma’am, you cannot sit down to play dominoes/card games with your paternal elders unless/until you are invited. It wasn't the stuff of life that made us family. It was the deep, meaningful, regular, common interactions with this diverse group of people that made the difference between my comfort and her discomfort. It was knowing the songs they liked, the dances they performed, the speech patterns and being comfortable with it (not necessarily enjoying or participating).

When you’re immersed in a diverse family like this (which is really like most families, no?), you begin to realize that the things that make you family aren’t your skin tone, hair texture, favorite foods, income, occupation, etc. Family is not something you have to try to be, it’s just who you are. It took my sister a lot longer to figure that out and find her way amongst them than it did for me. It’s not that it couldn’t be done but that it was harder for her and she had lots of stumbles along the way. Her relationships with them will never be as free and easy as my own.

With that said, I’m not just part of my immediate family. I have a black American identity/family as well. Despite the many variations in this family there are many commonalities as well. In my maternal family, they substitute Scrabble and bridge for spades and whist, but the rules of engagement were the same...enter at your own risk.

What I’ve seen in the writings of many adult transracial adoptees reminds me of this dynamic. Some of them struggle to see themselves as part of a larger ethnic family. Sometimes they sense adoptive parent discomfort (even when it may not be there). Sometimes, they reject what they’ve heard/seen of the family. Sometimes they feel rejected by the family when they do make contact. I think, though I could be wrong, that some don’t see it as inclusive because they haven’t grown up knowing or seeing that there’s no one way to be a part of it. They see/define the family by its stereotypes (the things people observe when they peek in the window) and either fail to, choose not to, or take longer to see that the culture is so much more than that.

OK, so to strain the analogy even more, could my mother and father have let us choose whether we wanted to attend these family gatherings and get to know our family culture? Sure, that’s a perfectly valid choice, rather like unschooling I think. Would it have been even harder for us to find our place within our family if they had? Most definitely. Do people walk away from their families, of course! They may experience it and decide they hate it. I still think it's important to know it for what it is though.

There are many different ways these things can turn out and many ways parents can approach things. There’s no guarantee of anything and many lines of inquiry/study with no solid conclusions. At the same time, I just know that it’s sad to watch people, as I did my sister, struggle to find commonality with people who could enrich their lives tremendously.

As for this Hart family, I think it's hard to argue that the parents weren't intentionally isolating these kids, using them as props, and sharing their stories for their own gain and not that of the children. They uprooted them multiple times in a very short period of time, something no trauma mamas that I know would willingly do.

 

I get what you are saying, and I don't disagree.  That said, kids who are available for adoption often don't have the option to experience childhood the way you describe yours.  For those kids, foster parents (from whatever ethnic background) do the best they can.  To the extent there are AA foster families available to mentor AA children, I am all for that, but I would not deny a child an available placement just because of anybody's skin color (or gender etc. etc.).

I do think the Hart moms were isolating the kids and moving them far too often, but I don't assume that this was something they planned or that could have been predicted when they took custody.  (Though, of course I don't know enough to judge whether they were properly screened.)  I'm not trying to excuse the Harts, but I am responding to some comments regarding any white people adopting nonwhite kids.  I think most adoptive parents do a reasonable job, just like most bio parents do.

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Also - from the perspective of an adopted kid, in their heart it may be more important to be part of a nuclear / extended adoptive family than to be part of an ethnic group / community.  The feeling of belonging is relevant on many levels.  Many of us get to take it for granted, but an adopted kid has to build it up on each of those levels.  What's most important to him at a given time will depend on things outside anyone else's control.

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7 hours ago, gardenmom5 said:

people not believing kids complaining "something is wrong" in their home, is hardly new.   abused kids for years have complained they weren't believed.   re: larry nassars victims.   years ago (80's) - sesame street had a snuffeluppagus who was only seen by big bird.  they thought it was funny to have no one believe big bird about his friend.   they got a heck of a lot of letters complaining about the message they were sending kids about adults not believing them.   especially abused kids.   so, for months they would run the story line that one adult believed him - and was waiting around to try and meet snuffy - but always missed him.  the message was - the adult believed even without "proof".

 

or the very recent case in florida of the indian mom with the white boyfriend whose mother manipulated both the tribe and the hospital to take the baby from the (non-reservation) hospital and run.  because indian grandma didn't want the baby anywhere near a white man.  (there were many who violated the law/policy - from the tribal police to the hospital staff - but that doesn't get the baby back if they can't find her.)

 

The scenario you describe in Florida has nothing to do with ICWA. Non-Indian parents of Indian children have the same rights Indian parents do, and ICWA does not cover custodial disputes between parents. Issues between biological parents are outside of the purview of ICWA.

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2 hours ago, Ravin said:

The scenario you describe in Florida has nothing to do with ICWA. Non-Indian parents of Indian children have the same rights Indian parents do, and ICWA does not cover custodial disputes between parents. Issues between biological parents are outside of the purview of ICWA.

as I said - the hospital and the tribal police didn't follow the law or policy.  (the retired tribal police chief was livid when he found out about this.)

if the hospital had followed the law, the would have made it go through the legal system instead of just handing over the baby.   the tribal police - backed grandma and went to the hospital - which was outside their jurisdiction and lied to get the baby.

neither party followed the law.  

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7 hours ago, gardenmom5 said:

as I said - the hospital and the tribal police didn't follow the law or policy.  (the retired tribal police chief was livid when he found out about this.)

if the hospital had followed the law, the would have made it go through the legal system instead of just handing over the baby.   the tribal police - backed grandma and went to the hospital - which was outside their jurisdiction and lied to get the baby.

neither party followed the law.  

Familial kidnappings happen all the time. Not sure what that has to do with anything, including any of the rabbit trails from this thread.

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AP and Daily Mail are reporting that the driving Mom was drunk, and that her wife and at least two of the kids had high levels of Benadryl in their system.

 

I'm wondering if there was any domestic violence in their relationship.  It wouldn't surprise me. :(

 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5613925/Police-Woman-drove-SUV-family-cliff-drunk.html

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So the kids and passenger mom had all taken benadryl, maybe to sleep during the nighttime drive. Driver mom consumed alcohol (maybe while stopped at the pull-over), then took them over the cliff.

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56 minutes ago, Ravin said:

So the kids and passenger mom had all taken benadryl, maybe to sleep during the nighttime drive. Driver mom consumed alcohol (maybe while stopped at the pull-over), then took them over the cliff.

Oh my gosh. Kind of like Diane Schuler. Those poor kids.

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Has anyone heard why the cinder block wall by their garage was torn down?  The neighbors have said when the family left, they torn the wall down.  I don’t know what it looked like or how big it was; I’m envisioning a half-wall type thing.  Anyway, I keep coming back to that wall.   Did the one driving hit it with the car because she was drunk?  Did they bust it up to get to the cinder blocks to use as a weight?   Anyone heard more on it?  

The whole thing is just sad beyond belief.   I hope and pray those kids were asleep and totally unaware of what was about to happen.  

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5 minutes ago, onelittlemonkey said:

Has anyone heard why the cinder block wall by their garage was torn down?  The neighbors have said when the family left, they torn the wall down.  I don’t know what it looked like or how big it was; I’m envisioning a half-wall type thing.  Anyway, I keep coming back to that wall.   Did the one driving hit it with the car because she was drunk?  Did they bust it up to get to the cinder blocks to use as a weight?   Anyone heard more on it?  

The whole thing is just sad beyond belief.   I hope and pray those kids were asleep and totally unaware of what was about to happen.  

AFAIRecall, it looked like a small retaining wall that held up part of the driveway.

Did you see the picture? When I saw the picture a few days ago, it seemed like they cou!d have accidentally backed into it. A few blocks were knocked out. But I didn't really put a lot of thought into it, how it happened or the mechanism of the damage, etc.

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No, I didn’t see the picture.  I’m going to see if I can find it.  That makes me feel a little better though, that just a few blocks were off.   I was coming up with different scenarios and none were good.    

I think domestic violence is a very real possibility in this case. 

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Ok, I found a picture.  It looks like someone hit it as they pulled out of the garage.   Maybe they were already drinking or maybe driving recklessly in a rage? 

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3 minutes ago, onelittlemonkey said:

No, I didn’t see the picture.  I’m going to see if I can find it.  That makes me feel a little better though, that just a few blocks were off.   I was coming up with different scenarios and none were good.    

I think domestic violence is a very real possibility in this case. 

It was on a media site where there was a slide show of 40+ pictures ( at the time) related to the situation. The slide show was at the top of the page, above the latest story.

I just can't remember what the site was. If I find it, I'll link it.

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neither of these women are innocent.  Jennifer drove over the cliff - and sara was the one who pled down the child-abuse charge.

 

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On 4/10/2018 at 2:12 PM, SKL said:

 

Second, this is another complex issue, but based on my observations and experience being in the interracial adoption community, this is something that needs to be largely child-led.  Opportunities, information, and openness need to be provided, but children will differ in the degree to which they are interested, and this also changes for each child over time.  It's wrong to assume my kids are going to prefer friends with similar skin color or family backgrounds.  It's even more wrong to assume they will like Hispanic food or Latino music or prefer Latina role models.  Being an adoptive parent, like any other kind of parent, is often more about listening to our kids than anything else.

This is another thing that is easy to judge from the outside.  People like me went into this thinking of all the ways we were going to keep the connection for our kids.  We bought Mayan dolls and bought toys that spoke Spanish.  I could fill a book.  Some of that was valued by the kids, but most of it wasn't.  And that's OK.

When I was contemplating the idea of foster and/or adopt, it wasn't about assuming *preferences. It was about maintaining cultural connections that may or may not be appreciated at any given point in time.  And not only directly for hypothetical children, but as a parent who may or may not have a need for additional perspective at any given point in time.  Perhaps that varies by the age of kids at placement, but my white bio kids participate in cross cultural groups anyway.  I never really asked about their "preferences", because it's been about connecting with the wider community, not about trying to like one thing more than another.

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5 hours ago, gardenmom5 said:

neither of these women are innocent.  Jennifer drove over the cliff - and sara was the one who pled down the child-abuse charge.

 

Yes, but there's a gigantic difference between killing your wife and six kids and pleading down a child-abuse charge.  Also, the daughter said Jennifer had hit her, but then Sarah said she did it.  To me, that speaks to possible abuse of Sarah.  Telling her to accept responsibility whether she did it or not.  

"In November 2010, an allegation of abuse surfaced again, when one of the Hart children told a teacher “that she had owies on her tummy and her back,” according to a police report. The girl said “that her mom had put her in the bathtub and turned on cold water and then hit her” with a closed fist “because she had found a penny in her pocket.” While the girl said Jennifer Hart had hit her, when interviewed, Sarah Hart said she had been the one to spank their daughter. “By Sarah’s own admission, she stated that the spanking got out of control and was not proper and was ‘too much,'” the police report stated."  http://time.com/5230702/california-cliff-crash-hart-family-child-abuse/

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I know someone above linked to stories about the birth mother and how the children's aunt petitioned for custody. I wrote above about how race is part of this case. When the facts began to come out, I was not surprised. The mother lost custody because of her addiction issues. A family member offered to care for the children. She made some mistakes (letting the mother interact with the children) and the state had zero tolerance and took the children away. Then the state of TX places the children with this family who lives in Minnesota. Those white parents had chance after chance and eventually murdered the children. 

What was the difference between the bio mother and aunt and the Harts? 

 

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5 hours ago, umsami said:

Yes, but there's a gigantic difference between killing your wife and six kids and pleading down a child-abuse charge.  Also, the daughter said Jennifer had hit her, but then Sarah said she did it.  To me, that speaks to possible abuse of Sarah.  Telling her to accept responsibility whether she did it or not.  

"In November 2010, an allegation of abuse surfaced again, when one of the Hart children told a teacher “that she had owies on her tummy and her back,” according to a police report. The girl said “that her mom had put her in the bathtub and turned on cold water and then hit her” with a closed fist “because she had found a penny in her pocket.” While the girl said Jennifer Hart had hit her, when interviewed, Sarah Hart said she had been the one to spank their daughter. “By Sarah’s own admission, she stated that the spanking got out of control and was not proper and was ‘too much,'” the police report stated."  http://time.com/5230702/california-cliff-crash-hart-family-child-abuse/

physically abusive people escalate to killing their victims all the time.  usually with a triggering event.  so - suggestions are this is a version of "the most dangerous time for an abused spouse (and children) is when they try to leave" ... or CPS starts to investigate.. . .    since the CPS visit earlier in the day seems to have been what sparked them to flee.

 it is still possible sara was the one who "spanked" the child, as opposed to taking the fall.  when spanking gets out of control, it's usually because of the parents own frustrated emotions lashing out.   if jennifer was physically abusive with her too (which none of the kids ever mentioned) - I can see that happening. 

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To me in the pictures Jen looks.....overbearing. Abuse by her would not surprise me.  And let's face it....she did drive the vehicle over the cliff. And the 6 year old did identify her as the one who hurt her. 

And  I find it sickening the aunt was not allowed to adopt the kids.  

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From recent reports, it's looking like over-the-limit alcohol in the driver and heavy concentration of a drug found in Benadryl in the rest of the passengers...  :0(

 

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Another issue here is that the Harts were so young when they adopted all of these kids. They had no children of their own. There is no indication that they had experience raising children. Then the same state that had zero tolerance for the children's mother and aunt places them with these twenty something year old white women. I'm willing to grant that they probably had good motives at first. They probably got in over their heads quickly and then the abuse started. 

The ignorant, inexperienced, and ignorant white women were assumed to be capable. They were assumed to be innocent. The black family members were not given the same benefit of the doubt. 

It's fitting that the Devonte was photographed at the Black Lives Matter protest because this is another example of a racist system that devalues black lives. 

 

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56 minutes ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

I know someone above linked to stories about the birth mother and how the children's aunt petitioned for custody. I wrote above about how race is part of this case. When the facts began to come out, I was not surprised. The mother lost custody because of her addiction issues. A family member offered to care for the children. She made some mistakes (letting the mother interact with the children) and the state had zero tolerance and took the children away. Then the state of TX places the children with this family who lives in Minnesota. Those white parents had chance after chance and eventually murdered the children. 

What was the difference between the bio mother and aunt and the Harts? 

 

The Harts killed the six children.

The bio mom: "According to the appeals court opinion, the children's biological mother had three older children, one of whom had several bone fractures before being removed from his mother's care, who were born before the four trying to be adopted by the aunt. Of the second group, one sibling, Jeremiah, tested positive for cocaine when he was born in 2004, leading to family and protective services becoming involved with the family again, the appeals opinion said.

After the mother tested positive for cocaine when her seventh child was born in 2006, the state agency took custody of her four remaining children, and her parental rights were terminated. "

The aunt:

"The appeals court opinion mentions that the aunt, Priscilla Celestine, had "ample opportunities" to argue why the children should be returned to her care in prior hearings and that her fitness to care for the kids had been called into question before the caseworker visit. The opinion doesn't elaborate on what those allegations were. "

Also about the aunt:

"Shonda Jones, a Houston family law attorney who represented Celestine at the time, told The Oregonian/OregonLive on Thursday that she agreed the children shouldn't have stayed with their parents, but she thought the courts acted too rashly in removing them from their aunt.

 

Jones said the mother's visit was the only infraction Celestine committed, and it occurred over a 45-minute window when the caseworker arrived at her home unannounced while the aunt made a trip to her workplace. The kids were immediately removed from the home, she said.

Celestine had stable employment in Houston, no previous criminal history, raised an older daughter and had taken steps to accommodate the kids, such as moving to a larger home to care for the children, Jones said. "

XXX XXX

I'm wondering where is the seventh child/the fourth one who wasn't adopted by the Harts? 

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There is another article floating around by a woman who was fostered as a teen by the women. This prior fostered woman has also brought up some WTH questions about the 2 Hart women's behavior.

This fostered woman said she went to a counseling appt. And the counselor was the one who told her she would NOT be going back to the Harts. But this was AFTER the Harts told this teen about plans to adopt the first 3 kids. The implication being, the teen was dumped for the younger kids.

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8 minutes ago, unsinkable said:

The Harts killed the six children.

The bio mom: "According to the appeals court opinion, the children's biological mother had three older children, one of whom had several bone fractures before being removed from his mother's care, who were born before the four trying to be adopted by the aunt. Of the second group, one sibling, Jeremiah, tested positive for cocaine when he was born in 2004, leading to family and protective services becoming involved with the family again, the appeals opinion said.

After the mother tested positive for cocaine when her seventh child was born in 2006, the state agency took custody of her four remaining children, and her parental rights were terminated. "

The aunt:

"The appeals court opinion mentions that the aunt, Priscilla Celestine, had "ample opportunities" to argue why the children should be returned to her care in prior hearings and that her fitness to care for the kids had been called into question before the caseworker visit. The opinion doesn't elaborate on what those allegations were. "

Also about the aunt:

"Shonda Jones, a Houston family law attorney who represented Celestine at the time, told The Oregonian/OregonLive on Thursday that she agreed the children shouldn't have stayed with their parents, but she thought the courts acted too rashly in removing them from their aunt.

 

Jones said the mother's visit was the only infraction Celestine committed, and it occurred over a 45-minute window when the caseworker arrived at her home unannounced while the aunt made a trip to her workplace. The kids were immediately removed from the home, she said.

Celestine had stable employment in Houston, no previous criminal history, raised an older daughter and had taken steps to accommodate the kids, such as moving to a larger home to care for the children, Jones said. "

XXX XXX

I'm wondering where is the seventh child/the fourth one who wasn't adopted by the Harts? 

I read somewhere that the oldest child is now in jail. Allegedly the Harts didn't want him because he was older and starting to act out. 

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1 hour ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

 

What was the difference between the bio mother and aunt and the Harts? 

 

Yep. The answer is pretty obvious though I'm sure there are some who (in general, not necessarily here) will argue that wasn't it.

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The Mother who was driving the car was legally drunk. The other Mother and the 3 children whose bodies were recovered have Benadryl in their systems. None of them were wearing Safety Belts.  They are trying to identify the body that was recovered, to determine whether or not it is one of the other 3 children. 

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12 minutes ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

I read somewhere that the oldest child is now in jail. Allegedly the Harts didn't want him because he was older and starting to act out. 

So that boy is older than Devonte? But who raised that child when the aunt lost custody? Does that mean Sierra was the 7th baby born when the bio mom tested positive for crack cocaine?

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11 minutes ago, unsinkable said:

So that boy is older than Devonte? But who raised that child when the aunt lost custody? Does that mean Sierra was the 7th baby born when the bio mom tested positive for crack cocaine?

Supposedly the boy was the oldest of the 4 siblings. He was sent to foster care and is now in his early 20's and is in jail. I'm not sure about the age of the other kids. 

One of my law school classes required us to observe a day in family court. It was the saddest thing I ever seen in my life. The judge was checking on foster children. It was obvious that there was a cycle. The children were all African American. Every child had been taken from their parents because of drug issues. Several of the hearings addressed boys who were about 13 who were being moved from foster care to institutionalized settings because they were beginning to act violently. Then there were some hearings about boys who were already in these institutionalized settings who were being moved because there had been sexual abuse; either they were the victim or the abuser (after they had already been the victim). 

Something is very wrong with the entire system. 

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10 minutes ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

Supposedly the boy was the oldest of the 4 siblings. He was sent to foster care and is now in his early 20's and is in jail. I'm not sure about the age of the other kids. 

One of my law school classes required us to observe a day in family court. It was the saddest thing I ever seen in my life. The judge was checking on foster children. It was obvious that there was a cycle. The children were all African American. Every child had been taken from their parents because of drug issues. Several of the hearings addressed boys who were about 13 who were being moved from foster care to institutionalized settings because they were beginning to act violently. Then there were some hearings about boys who were already in these institutionalized settings who were being moved because there had been sexual abuse; either they were the victim or the abuser (after they had already been the victim). 

Something is very wrong with the entire system. 

We have a child in our family that was taken into care for truancy (her primary caregiver became incapacitated by stroke). It took over a year to get her out during which time she suffered mightily. Something is definitely wrong.

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56 minutes ago, Sneezyone said:

We have a child in our family that was taken into care for truancy (her primary caregiver became incapacitated by stroke). It took over a year to get her out during which time she suffered mightily. Something is definitely wrong.

 

Were you approached as extended family to possibly take this child or did you not qualify / or were able to take the child?

I am asking out of curiosity because in my neck of the woods, relatives are approached first if they can be found and if they qualify in terms of space available and resources.

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51 minutes ago, Liz CA said:

 

Were you approached as extended family to possibly take this child or did you not qualify / or were able to take the child?

I am asking out of curiosity because in my neck of the woods, relatives are approached first if they can be found and if they qualify in terms of space available and resources.

We were out of state at the time but weren’t contacted, no. A local cousin had to go and ask for the child after the biological grandmother (whose parental rights had been terminated so there was no legal kinship) was given custody. She wasn’t a safe person. Maybe cousins aren’t high up on the list of possibilities?

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On 4/9/2018 at 10:45 PM, Sneezyone said:

I have a personal pet peeve with adoptive parents sharing their childrens' back stories without permission or in a way that constantly paints their families of origin in a negative light. That is also a red flag for me. It’s not sharing funny/enlightening/endearing stories common to parents in general. It’s a way to improve their own social standing and glorification when compared to the ‘savages’ (I’ve actually seen this said) who once parented them.

We're adoptive Caucasian parents of a Korean adoptee. We were certified as fosterparents in our state, but took the international route instead.

Fostercare seems to be doing a terrible job preparing adoptive parents when it comes a child's backstory. I hear of fostadopt parents telling this kind of things to friends and family and they go on about it with other people.  It's never OK to share details of your adoptive child's backstory. Ever. What a child might want and agree to as a minor could be entirely different than what they want looking back as adults. Adoptive parents should say, "It's not my story to tell." when someone asks.  By the way, don't ask.  It's an outrageous boundary violation to ask an adoptive child or their family member for details of their backstory. If you've ever done it, apologize.  When they're adults they can choose who to tell what if they decide to.

My husband, the adoption agency, and the pediatrician and I have read our daughter's file with those details.  Our bio kids, our closest friends, and our closest relatives have never been told because it's not our story to tell. 

Yes, general information is OK like, Chinese place children for adoption in special needs cases and because of their 1 child policy.  Or Koreans place children for adoption because single parenthood isn't socially acceptable there.  But details about your child's drug addicted, prostitute mother or abusive father aren't anyone else's business.  Even if it's a not a terribly tragic scenario, it's not appropriate to discuss it with others.  It's soooo incredibly disrespectful to your child.

My step-brothers have no contact with their mother.  Even if though it's entirely justifiable to be angry about her behavior toward them before contact ended, it wasn't OK for my former SIL to go on about how terrible a person their mother was.  I jumped in and kept derailing the conversation even though they were 40+ year old men at the time, because I knew, as an adoptive parent with some decent parenting classes and as a decent human being, that private pain isn't for public consumption.  Their intense feelings about it actually made them quiet with a neutral facial expression in that situation, where as I had been taught how conflicted kids can be about that kind of thing. They thanked me later.  You know what former SIL was doing professionally at the time? She was a social worker with CPS.  The training is so bad in some places.
 

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7 minutes ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

We're adoptive Caucasian parents of a Korean adoptee. We were certified as fosterparents in our state, but took the international route instead.

Fostercare seems to be doing a terrible job preparing adoptive parents when it comes a child's backstory. I hear of fostadopt parents telling this kind of things to friends and family and they go on about it with other people.  It's never OK to share details of your adoptive child's backstory. Ever. What a child might want and agree to as a minor could be entirely different than what they want looking back as adults. Adoptive parents should say, "It's not my story to tell." when someone asks.  By the way, don't ask.  It's an outrageous boundary violation to ask an adoptive child or their family member for details of their backstory. If you've ever done it, apologize.  When they're adults they can choose who to tell what if they decide to.

My husband, the adoption agency, and the pediatrician and I have read our daughter's file with those details.  Our bio kids, our closest friends, and our closest relatives have never been told because it's not our story to tell. 

Yes, general information is OK like, Chinese place children for adoption in special needs cases and because of their 1 child policy.  Or Koreans place children for adoption because single parenthood isn't socially acceptable there.  But details about your child's drug addicted, prostitute mother or abusive father aren't anyone else's business.  Even if it's a not a terribly tragic scenario, it's not appropriate to discuss it with others.  It's soooo incredibly disrespectful to your child.

My step-brothers have no contact with their mother.  Even if though it's entirely justifiable to be angry about her behavior toward them before contact ended, it wasn't OK for my former SIL to go on about how terrible a person their mother was.  I jumped in and kept derailing the conversation even though they were 40+ year old men at the time, because I knew, as an adoptive parent with some decent parenting classes and as a decent human being, that private pain isn't for public consumption.  Their intense feelings about it actually made them quiet with a neutral facial expression in that situation, where as I had been taught how conflicted kids can be about that kind of thing. They thanked me later.  You know what former SIL was doing professionally at the time? She was a social worker with CPS.  The training is so bad in some places.
 

 

Ugh, liking wasn't enough.

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One way to get good training as a social worker, agency worker, or adoptive parent, is to listen to adult adoptees.  Korean adoptees have done an excellent job of networking and innovating adoption policy for new adoptees. http://www.ikaa.org/start/ Some of their workshops are open to adoption workers of all types, but only adoptees may speak during a workshop.  Anyone else must be there to listen.  It seems to be effective.  It's one of the many reasons we chose Korean adoption.  We wanted our child to have a thriving network to plug into.  Our agency and our local Korean immigrant community have several heritage activities per year that the adoptees and their families are invited to.  There are also Korean adoptee heritage camps available across the US for adoptees and their families. 

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Why the bio family lost the children - the bio mom thinks it has to do with the fact that she has a long history including losing her 3 oldest kids due to abuse etc.  I could definitely understand them taking the younger ones after finding the mom is back to her old behavior.  Babies die in cases like that.  As for the aunt, the case worker made an unannounced visit and the mom was there alone with the kids.  The bio fam says it only ever happened once for 45 minutes.  Hard to believe that happened to be the time the unannounced visit was made.  If I were the case worker, I would suspect this was the new arrangement and case workers were being lied to.  Happens all the time.  Sorry.

Obviously the harts were not a good placement, but that does not mean the kids were safe with the bio family.

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2 hours ago, Sneezyone said:

We were out of state at the time but weren’t contacted, no. A local cousin had to go and ask for the child after the biological grandmother (whose parental rights had been terminated so there was no legal kinship) was given custody. She wasn’t a safe person. Maybe cousins aren’t high up on the list of possibilities?

 

I think there is some kind "hierarchy" they follow here too. Maternal and paternal grandparents are possibly first on the list, then other extended family members provided they qualify.

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46 minutes ago, Liz CA said:

 

Sigh. More are missing, aren't they?

 

If this is another of the Hart children, then there is just one still missing.

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1 hour ago, Liz CA said:

 

Sigh. More are missing, aren't they?

I think that would leave one missing.

 

those children do have other family members.  for their sakes,  I'm glad the last bodies are being found.   I hope the last one turns up.

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Hopefully this is one of the missing two and the last child is found soon.  Hopefully they can all be laid to rest.  I didn't read y'all's thread on the incident (haven't been very active on the WTM boards in awhile); but I'm terribly saddened that these children were so failed by so many adults who could have made a difference in their lives. 

 

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