[Update: Wednesday, August 25, 2010, 3:25 PM]: Just a reminder for all the readers to vote for Leah and Russell! (Yes, it is called "stuffing the ballot box," but since everyone else is stuffing the box, we might as well do it better!) [End Update]
As I note on my website, I have four children, three of them adopted from overseas. One is a girl from Guatemala, now age 11, and two boys from Ethiopia, now 14 and 15. The process of adoption was expensive and time-consuming, and the process of integrating three very different children into our household understandably has been difficult and always is a work in progress.
In fact, I know that two of my children were sexually abused in their home country before coming here, and we have had to deal with the consequences of what other people did to these youngsters. Thus, when someone tells me that I don't know anything about sexual abuse, or that my standing up for Tonya Craft was a slap in the face of abused children, I have to tell them that they don't know of what they speak.
For the past two years, we have looked to adopt again, this time a girl anywhere from ages 9-13, and from the USA, and the process has been extremely difficult, and generally has involved pushing a rock to the top of a hill, only to see it roll to the bottom time after time. More than once, we have given up altogether, but still continue to pursue what might be an opportunity.
Last week, an organization contacted us to see if we were interested in adopting a 13-year-old girl who grew up in Russia, but was adopted here at age 9. The child has severe attachment problems, and huge amounts of anger directed at her adoptive mother due to things that happened to her in Russia.
First, she was sexually abused by her father from ages 3-6, and then, second, her mother committed suicide. The family here hoped that they could make a difference, but try as they might, the efforts to achieve meaningful bonding failed, and now she is in a group home, which financially is draining her family.
Obviously, we knew that this would be problematic, but we pursued things on a preliminary basis, including contacting a very highly-regarded attachment and bonding clinic (which we have used for our other children) to get a sense of what the therapists there had to say. We then had the parents get in touch with us.
Unfortunately, the child is interested in all things sexual, and here is where the modern child molestation witch hunt policies kicked in. First, this girl would be in close proximity to the bedrooms of both of our boys, and it does not take much imagination to understand the things that could happen, all of them destructive.
Second, and more important, this young girl would be a potential fountain of false accusations of sexual abuse against the boys and against me. Let me explain.
We limit the access our children have to television (we don't have cable or satellite, nor local reception, just videos), the children do not have cellphones, and we limit their computer access. That is not the case in most households, and from what I understand, this child almost is addicted to these things.
Thus, if I were to say "no" to her regarding these things, there is no telling how she would retaliate, and one of the things that young girls are taught to do is to make accusations of sexual abuse. As my wife and I see it, bringing her into our house, given her situation and given how the law encourages false accusations, would be like bringing a stick of dynamite with a lit fuse into our family.
Thanks to federal laws, which mandate that states have specific guilt-assuming procedures when accusations are made, I would be arrested, have my mug shot in the paper (as a child molester, no doubt), be subject to abuse myself as prisoners love to go after "child molesters," and then have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars just to have a fighting chance to stay out of prison for the rest of my life.
I'm not being paranoid. Right now, false accusations of the sort we saw with Tonya Craft are epidemic in this country, and even though the majority of these "reports" are deemed false, each one must be investigated as though it were true. Furthermore, when there are Children's Advocacy Centers like the Greenhouse and in Fort Oglethorpe, and prosecutors like Chris Arnt and Len Gregor, and judges like "judge" Brian Outhouse all over the country, then one can see the danger.
If it were not for current law and the ease at which false accusations destroy lives, I believe my wife and I would have taken a chance with this young lady, or at least seriously looked into it. We know how to deal with bonding issues, but there is nothing, NOTHING one can do to avoid false accusations of sexual abuse, especially when the system is tilted toward them.
When Buzz Franklin claimed that the acquittal of Tonya Craft would keep others from reporting real instances of abuse, he was not telling the truth. Because the law does not permit punishment of people who make false accusations of child abuse and molestation, there is no downside to an estranged ex-spouse trying to gain custody of children (as in the case of Joal Henke) by telling lies.
Furthermore, not only is there no punishment for children who make false accusations, but the law and current government policies actually encourage false abuse claims. Don't kid yourselves. Arnt and Gregor LOVED the challenge of trying to get a conviction on Tonya Craft, even if they themselves never believed the charges. (As Kerwyn and I note in the article we sent to Reason Magazine, had prosecutors actually believed Tonya was guilty, they would not have tried to add what clearly was perjured "evidence," and their strategy would have been different that what it actually was: pure character assassination.)
So, this young lady will remain in a group home, and her family will continue to be bankrupted. Here is one child who might have had a chance, but given the Mondale Act and the outright lies that come from prosecutors and CAC "interviewers," there is no way that my family and I can take even a chance in adopting this child.
The consequences of false accusations are horrendous, but don't tell that to Arnt, Gregor, and Outhouse, not to mention Holly Kittle, Ione Sells, Suzi Thorne, Tim Deal, and Sharon Anderson. They are having too much fun trying to put innocent people into prison to pay any attention to the wreckage they are leaving behind. As the woman at the Georgia State Bar told me, "They are just doing their jobs," and their "jobs" today involve the destruction of innocent life.