Tuesday, August 19, 2008

AUGUST 19,1991

This has nothing to with adoption.

Today is the 17th anniversary of the collapse of the Soviet Union--the failed coup.

I began visiting the Soviet Union in 1988. I returned in 1989, and twice in 1990. In 1991 I had my first extended visit. That year I lived at Plekhanova, the international student hostel at the Herzen Institute. located just off Nevsky behind Kazansky Sabor Ostensibly, I was there to study Russian. Within less than 24 hours of my arrival my good intentions were out the window. My time was taken up with shopping, sitting in the bar, clubbing, riding the metro, partying all night, ...and as it turned out, overthrowing the government. Sort of.

Below are some pictures from Leningrad/St. Petersburg, August 19-23, 1991.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


Recently I visited the graves of my local Forever Dead adoptees: Liam Thompson and Maria Bennett. Below are some pictures. For Details on their cases go to Forever Family - Forever Dead.

November 22, 1999-October 23, 2002

Adopted from: Ussurisk. Died: Children's Hospital, Columbus, Ohio. Official cause of death: non-accidental head injury. In Forever Family: 9 months.

Maria is buried in a family plot at St.Mary's Catholic Cemetery in Lancaster, Ohio. Her grave is kept up and flowers planted on it.

October 16, 2000-October 16, 2003
(died on 3rd birthday)

Adopted from: Blagoveshensk, Died: Doctors Hospital, Columbus, Ohio. Official cause of death: thermal injuries. In Forever Family: 5 months.

Liam/Dmitry is buried in Sunset Cemetery in Galloway, Ohio, just west of Columbus. I was glad to see that his grave is marked and kept up, especially since, according to his death certificate there was "no embalmer requested," suggesting to me that he was the ultimate throwaway adoptee. Both "parents" are in prison.

The objects left at the grave are a weather-worn yellow bird and a little lamp driving a blue truck.

Friday, August 15, 2008


Chris Hilt and his daughter Natalyia have posted Remembering Nina, a lovely tribute page to their daughter and sister, Nina. Nina was beaten to death by Chris's now ex-wife, Peggy Sue, in July 2005.

The page holds dozens of pictures of Nina. They show her happy, playful, affectionate, and loved by Chris, Natalyia, extended family, and friends. I especially like the picture in the top left corner of the front page: a very determined little girl looking like she's ready to take on corporate America or a particularly difficult math problem.

I am so happy to see this page. These children are not abstractions They need to be remembered as real people with context, dignity, and lives that were worth living and were lived--not just statistics or ideological props in a grubby adoption war.

Please remember Nina and light a candle for her on her page.


Also go to Viktor Matthey's memorial page, Viktor's Promise,

Both memorial pages are permanently linked here.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Kimberly Emelyantsev caught a small break Friday, when 3rd District Judge Mark Kouris ordered a 60-day stay in sentencing while Emelyantsev undergoes a "diagnostic evaluation to determine appropriate punishment."

Emelyantsev, 34, faces 1-15 years in prison on a charge of second degree felony child abuse homicide in the March 7 death of 14 month old Russian Down Syndrome adoptee Nikoli Emelyantsev. She admitted dropping Kolya on his head "out of frustration" a day earlier. He died of a significant skull fracture caused by blunt force trauma to the head. Court documents indicate that Kolya also had bruising on his face, head, knee and anus. Emelyantsev was charged originally with 1st degree murder, but pled down in June.

Koyla lived with his Forever Family less than a month when he was killed.

Kimberly and her husband, Russian national, Fyodor Emelyantsev, were also charged with third degree felony child abuse due to the alleged malnourishment and dehydration of 4-year-old, Luka, adopted by the couple from Russia two months earlier. Those charges were dropped in June due to insufficient evidence, and F. Emelyantsev was released from jail. K. Emelyantsev has remained in jail under a $500,000 cash-only bond.

Luka has Down Syndrome as does K. Emelyantsev’s 10 year old biological daughter from her first marriage. Luka was adopted via Adoption Ark; Kolya through About a Child. (Russian sources claimed they were independent adoptions) The agencies are now Hague accredited; About a Child was accredited just days before Kolya's death. Both children were part of Reece's Rainbow Down Syndrome Orphan Ministry that helps place DS children for adoption worldwide. The couple also has two biological children, 5 and 2. The Emelyantsev children were placed with a maternal uncle in nearby Dugway after the arrest of their parents.

Emelyantsev's family and friends gathered en masse in Judge Kouris' courtroom Friday t0 show support, but the judge warned they would not influence his sentencing decision. You can read earlier comments from friends (and the not so friendly) on this local ABC4 forum. Other friendly comments, are here.

The Emelyantsevs, in fact, seem to have gathered quite a bit of local sympathy as family and friends hit the Internet portraying Kimberly Emelyantsev as a blameless martyred babysaver persecuted and prosecuted by an overbearing and over-zealous legal system out to make some unrevealed "point." These sentiments are expressed nicely in a post by Rochelle Christley who describes herself as "close family of the Emelyantsev's" and has defended the couple on various web and news sites:

As we said in the beginning, this was an accident and Kim is innocent. Anybody who has dealt with our justice system, a prosecutor with a point to prove, or just has no money to defend themselves knows that sometimes people are put in a terrible position. Go to trial and risk spending most of your life in jail or take a plea because a child was hurt in your care and the law demands that some kind of restitution be paid.

The probable influence of LDS cannot be dismissed. Unfortunately it will also probably go unexplored. Though no Mormon population figures can be located for Tooele County, 21 of the county's 33 churches are LDS. Given those demographics and the fact that the Emelyantsevs are identified as Mormon and K. Emelyantsev reportedly was a paralegal in her church office (no church or ward listed) it is highly likely, then, that LDS Social Services was involved in the adoptions. Possibly a local affiliate conducted the home study. Since LDS holds a stranglehold on adoption in Utah, information on its involvement won't be forthcoming.

Deputy Tooele County Attorney Gary Searle initially took a hard line approach on Emelyantsev, charging her with first degree murder. Calling her a flight risk he asked for a $1,000,000 bond. Later his position softened. When Emelyantsev pled guilty to the lesser charge of second degree felony manslaughter, Searle said that although the death of Kolya "wasn't an accident, it wasn't intentional either." While amended charges may well have been in order, Searle, in my opinion, made an extraordinary move for a prosecutor last week. According to the Salt Lake City Tribune:
It was Deputy Tooele County Attorney Gary Searle who asked that Emelyantsev have the diagnostic evaluation before sentencing. He said both the Russian children, as well as one of the couple's three biological children, have Down syndrome and "demanded a lot of attention.

(1 ) Isn't such a request the job of the defense not the prosecutor? Did heat come down from LDS or Searle's boss--beholden to LDS votes-- to mitigate the initial prosecution? Did the prosecutor play public good guy in requesting the evaluation? (2) Shouldn't a mental evaluation have been made between the dates of the plea and sentencing hearings?

Unfortunately, the legal manoeuvring that followed the arrests of the Emelyantsevs, has gone unreported, and Searle's contradictory prosecution (go here for some Salt Lake City Tribune reader comments on it) has increased the difficulty to figure out what's going; thus, leaving us with many questions:

What led to K. Emelyantsev’s plea bargain?

Why were additional charges dropped against the couple?

What role (if any) did F. Emelyantsev play in the prosecution and plea bargain of his wife?

Why did About a Child allow the placement of Koyla with the Emelyantsevs so soon after they had taken custody of another institutionalized non-related Russian DS child ?

Did Adoption Ark know the Emelyantsevs planned to adopt a second institutionalized DC child from Russia immediate after Luka's placement?

Has any agency been investigated by their individual state's social services of attorney general?

Last June Gary Searle said more details regarding what actually happened to Nikolai would come out at sentencing. A odd denouement to be sure.

Emelyantsev, scheduled originally to be sentenced August 15, will return to court on October 10. Given the support the prosecution has offered Kimberlely Emelyantsev, I won't be surprised if she tales a walk in the park.

NOTE: Most news reports of the Emelyantsev have gone it paid archives I am using Pound Pup Legacy's permanent archive of articles when necessary.

Thursday, August 07, 2008


To no one's surprise, European Adoption Consultants beat the rap. Last night, EAC announced on its webpage :

EAC is proud to announce that we have received confirmation from the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation that our accreditation will remain in tact and valid. Our staff is honored to be allowed to assist you in completing your forever family.

Honored? Don't they mean "relieved"?

When you invest as much time and money in the post-Soviet nomenclatura as EAC has, can there be any other outcome? In other words, the Ministry ka-chinged. The cows graze contentedly.

Let the good times roll!

BTW, does anyone know the provinace of "forever family?" I've heard it comes from dog rescue.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


Although this entry is about murdered American adoptee Candace Newmaker/Candace Elmore, I am including it in Nikto Ne Zabyt -- Nichto Ne Zabyto because she died like three Russian adoptees, a victim of Death by Therapy. Their fates are intimately connected.


In her latest blog, Lainie Petersen informs us that attachment bitch...excuse me... unlicensed "attachment therapist"and murderer Connell Watkins has been released from prison to a half-way house in the Denver metro area where she will serve out her remaining term.

In 2001, Watkins was convicted and sentenced to 16 years in prison for the death by therapy the year before of Candace Newmaker --born Candace Tiara Elmore, 10. The girl had been removed from her family by the State of North Carolina and adopted by connected trust fund baby Jeane Newmaker. When Candace, ungratefully remained attached to her real family and didn't "bond" appropriately with the replacement, she was subjected to the best "alternative therapies" money can buy. When Candace refused to cooperate and continued to insist she already had a real mother (below right)-- and it wasn't Newmaker-- she was taken to Watkins' Evergreen, Colorado residential clinic for the ultimate bonding experience: "rebirthing." After two weeks of weird therapy and abuse at a cost of $7,000, in full view of her Forever Mommie, who participated in some of the "therapy" herself, Candace was wrapped in pillows and a flannel blanket "representing" Jeane Newmaker's' womb, while Watkins (who weights 215 pounds according to Colorado prison records) and three assistants sat on the little girl exerting 700 pounds of pressure, to force her through the birth canal to come out the other end or thereabouts, and attach to the needy Newmaker.

Here's what happened next (emphasis mine):

Forty minutes into the session, Jeane (left) asked Candace "Baby, do you want to be born?" Candace faintly responded "no"; this would ultimately be her last word. To this, Ponder replied, "Quitter, quitter, quitter, quitter! Quit, quit, quit, quit. She's a quitter!".Jeane Newmaker, who said later she felt rejected by Candace's inability to be reborn, was asked by Watkins to leave the room, in order that Candace would not "pick up on (Jeane's) sorrow". Soon thereafter, Watkins requested the same of McDaniel and Brita St. Clair, leaving only herself and Ponder in the room with Candace. After talking for five minutes, the two unwrapped Candace and found that she was motionless, blue on the fingertips and lips, and not breathing. Upon seeing this, Watkins declared, "Oh there she is, she's sleeping in her vomit." Whereupon the mother, who had been watching on a monitor in another room, rushed into the room, remarked on Candace's color, and began while Watkins called When paramedics arrived ten minutes later, McDaniel told them that Candace had been left alone for five minutes during a rebirthing session and was not breathing. The paramedics surmised that Candace had been unconsciousness" and possibly not breathing for some time. Paramedics were able to restore the girl's pulse and she was flown by helicopter to a hospital in Denver; she was declared brain-dead the next day, the consequence of asphyxia

Here are three excerpts from Lainie's powerful analysis and deconstruction of the event So What if the Kid Just Doesn't Like You? which says it much better than I ever could:

See, the truth is that a lot of people just don’t like each other. This is true of humans at all stages of development, and in all sorts of family configurations. Families that have never even heard the word “adoption” can have conflicts that make the Hatfields and McCoys look like The Brady Bunch. So it doesn’t seem to be a huge stretch to imagine that, despite the best efforts of everyone involved, there are going to be adoptive placements where the parties involved don’t much like each other. I’d further argue that when the adoptive parents are insisting that a child ignore reality and become “instant family” to them, this dislike is going to be intensified.


These kids are expected to respond appropriately to the “needs” of their adoptive parents, which typically includes the expectation that the child will behave as if family intimacy and love exists, regardless of their attachment to and feelings for their first family. When the child can’t, or won’t, participate in this charade, and expresses his/her rage, frustration, and anger, the child is blamed and ends up with a psychiatric diagnosis.


Unfortunately for the kids, though, the “adults” hold all the cards, even if these adults don’t want to think and behave like adults: After all, it is the adults who get to select advocates and therapists and consultants and doctors who will meet their own needs, not the needs of the child. And as Candace learned, if you don’t respond in the way that these adults want you to, you are going to be tossed by your adoptive parents and their advocates into a downward spiral of unmet parental need:

First they will say that you are sick.

Then they will medicate you with strong drugs.

Then they will terrorize you in the form of “therapy” on a regular basis.

Then they will take you across the country and make you live with people who cut your hair, threaten to shave your scalp and tattoo it, yell at you, and call you names.

Then they will wrap you in a sheet and push on you.

And then they won’t let you have any air.

And then they will mock you when you begin to die.

And then after you are dead they will call you a twerp.

At least two Russian adoptees murdered by their US Forever Families-- David Polreis and Viktor Matthey--underwent "attachment therapy" which led directly or indirectly to their deaths.

Writing of the Polreis case, the anti-attachment therapy activist, group Advocates for Children in Therapy (ACT), "says:" (emphasis mine)

The parents had been taking AT therapists, Byron Norton and Lloyd Boggs, the latter trained at the Attachment Center of Evergreen (ACE). Mourners at little David’s funeral were asked to make contributions in his name — to ACE. From that point on, the AT community rallied to her defense. (adopter Renee Polreis)

Polreis’s lawyers called Foster Cline to the stand at the sentence-reduction hearing in 2000. Cline, a former Evergreen psychiatrist who lectures and publishes out of Idaho, has been one of Colorado’s most controversial medical figures, and a founder of the AT movement. In his opinion, Cline said on the stand, David Polreis had suffered from RAD. But that wasn’t why he’d paid his own way to testify. Cline had come to Colorado to plead for leniency for Polreis.

“I’m doing it because there’s been a great wrong, and I don’t feel this woman’s life should be ruined because of this incident,” Cline told the court. “I believe in justice, but in an abnormal situation like I believe this is, the justice system can go wrong. In an abnormal situation, a mother can go wrong.”

According to ACT News, the group believes that the Matthey trial revealed a number of features and associations with Attachment Therapy and AT parenting methods:

1. ADOPTION AGENCY INVOLVEMENT. The Matthey’s adopted Viktor using the services of the Adoption Alliance of Aurora (Colorado) — an organization that “highly” recommends Attachment Therapy literature. A spokesman also told AT NEWS that the Adoption Alliance holds “occasional classes” on Attachment Disorder and Attachment Therapy.

2. DIAGNOSIS. Psychologist Anait Azarian, testifying for the parents, claimed Viktor had Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), which led him to need to be “in control.” Needing to be in control is not a feature of RAD. The parents, however, reported this behavior and others consistent with the unrecognized diagnosis called “Attachment Disorder.”

3. BLAME THE CHILD. The parents claimed Viktor self-inflicted the injuries that covered his body. Expert testimony claimed that some injuries, such as those on the boy’s back and buttocks were of the type and severity that could not be self-inflicted.

4. RESTRAINING DURING TANTRUMS. Viktor’s parents claim they held him down (sometimes in bath water) for “five minutes of being still and calm.”

5. AVERSIVES. Viktor was sprayed with cold water for bedwetting. His father admitted to duct-taping Viktor’s mouth closed. Viktor was fed foods, such as oatmeal, suggesting AT “soup kitchen” regime. “[Viktor’s brother] described a mixture of beans and barley that was used to punish Viktor: he was forced to eat the mixture before a buzzer went off — if he failed to finish, he would not be allowed to have a drink.” A pediatrician who saw Viktor in the hospital ER claimed: “He was remarkably wasted. There was muscle wasting. You could see all his bones.”

6. SCREAM ROOM. Viktor was allegedly shut in the basement pump room. AT survivors report long stays isolated in basement “scream rooms.”

7. RE-PARENTING. Mrs. Matthey fed her three adoptive children (ages 4, 4, and 7) with a baby bottle for “bonding time.” She claimed to spoon feed Viktor like a baby.

8. PARENT REACTION. The parents believed Viktor’s behavior problems were typical of foreign adoptees, according to their research. This was apparently their explanation for failing to seek medical or psychiatric attention for Viktor.

9. CHURCH SUPPORT. The parents apparently had the support of their church congregation despite Viktor’s deteriorating state. The parents claim they consulted informally with their friends about Viktor; those friends are two physicians who run an “evangelistic medical ministry.”

10. STATE SUPPORT. The State of New Jersey DYFS has created a climate favorable to Attachment Therapy/Parenting. DYFS has itself published a paper favorable to Attachment Therapy and has recommended a number of AT websites to the public.

From news reports, it appears that Jessica Albina Hagmann was also a victim of death by therapy, though it's unclear if Jessica was subjected to "professional" therapy or was simply home-theraputized by her adopter without supervision.

Manassas Journal-Messenger, January 21, 2004: According to court records: Jessica threw tantrums that sometimes lasted up to three hours, which 'consisted of flailing arms, legs and head.' Jessica, who would have turned 3 last week, beat her head against her crib, and frequently ran pigeon-toed with her hands behind her back.

Court records indicate Hagmann made a practice of wrapping her arms and legs around the toddler to 'calm her' during such fits...

On Aug. 8, Jessica went limp and never regained consciousness. She was taken to Potomac Hospital, then transported to Inova Fairfax, where, according to an autopsy report, doctors found evidence of brain damage caused by a lack of blood and oxygen.

The official cause of death was: 'smothering and mechanical asphyxia due to compression against an adult...

Anything she did [to control Jessica] ... was copiously researched, thoroughly researched and backed by authority,' said Hagmann's lawyer, Demetry Pikrallidas. Police seized from Hagmann's home two books: 'Help for the Helpless Child,' and 'Life Books: Creating a Treasure for the Adopted Child.'

(NOTE: I believe the correct title of this book is Help for the Hopeless Child by Ron Federici.)


Manassas Journal-Messenger, March 11, 2004: Hagmann's defense attorney said Jessica died during a tantrum, and Hagmann was trying to control her, using a method she read about in a book entitled 'Holding Time.'

She was trying to stop this child from hurting herself, trying to subdue a tantrum,' defense attorney Demetry Pikrallidas said. 'She blames herself. It was too long, too much and it suffocated the pathways of this child.'...

Court records indicate Jessica had tantrums that sometimes lasted as long as three hours, and consisted of 'flailing arms, legs and head.' Jessica beat her head against her crib and often ran pigeon-toed. Court records indicate Hagmann wrapped her arms and legs around Jessica to calm her.

Medical examiner Dr. Frances Field noted bruises all over Jessica's body in her autopsy report. Field found five 'purplish' bruises near Jessica's right eye, seven on her forehead, two on her scalp, a bruise on each of her cheeks, and further bruises on her upper body, leg, back and abdomen....

In order to cause this death, she had to be placed upon the body [so Jessica] couldn't get any air for a period of time after she went limp,' Richardson said.

Connell Watkin's "therapy assistant Julie Ponder (left) remains in prison. Candace's "theraputic foster parents" and co-sitters, Brita St. Clair and Jack McDaniel, (left) who later married, received 10 years probation and 1000 hours of community service each after pleading guilty to criminally negligent child abuse. Jeane Newmaker (below)was found guilty of abuse and neglect and received a 4-year suspended sentence with probation. At the end of that period her record was expunged.

Candace Newmaker is still dead.


Attachment Therapy on Trial: The Torture and Death of Candace Newmaker, by Jean Mercer, Dienke Hondius, Larry Sarner, and Linda Rosa, Greenwood Press, 2003.

For an excellent article on Candace and her family see Candace Was Her Name Denver Rocky Mountain News, October 29, 2000

Death by Therapy, The Weekly Standard, May 28, 2001

Check out Watkins and Ponder through the Colorado Prisoner Locator

Finally, a collection of the blood curdling wit and wisdom of AT guru Foster Cline Among them:

Can This Child Be Saved? (1999), p. 86: The adoptive mother often becomes the target of rage that would be more appropriately directed at the birth mother.

— Quoted in High Risk (1987), p. 217: Well, pal, let’s get started. I’m up here on top of you and you’re on the bottom and you’re being held with your permission by 6 people so who is boss right now?”

Conscienceless Acts (1995),* pp. 152-153: When Chris was four years old, he was diagnosed as schizophrenic. When I first saw Chris at age three, he had a vocabulary of less than a dozen nearly incomprehensible words. … Although he flailed and struggled, his therapist, Laurie Smith, was relentless. Holding Chris’s eyes open, she forced eye contact, and stroked his face and gave him unwanted kisses in the midst of his wails. … Being swung in a circle or being held upside down terrified Chris, and he would then reach out for his therapist.…

Conscienceless Acts (1995),* p. 51: Generally, bonding is possible between individuals … when one of them is in a position of helplessness and the other is in a position of helpfulness or authority. … The first time in life that this occurs is with the fetus in the womb …

Can This Child Be Saved? (1999), p. 27: Children with severe attachment disorder must be in very difficult situations before they can easily accept attention, relief, and rescue from the adult caretaking individual. The most valuable times are when the child is scared, anxious, or sick. These are golden opportunities …

[quoting Bob Lay, “therapeutic parent” in] Conscienceless Acts (1995),* p. 201: During the holding, the child will complain that the holder is hurting him. … ”Pains you may feel are old memories. Being close brings up past pain. Let it out. Free yourself from it.”