Family reunited following adoption scam
Sun, 02 Aug 2009 12:00a.m.
By Jessie Gurunathan
A tearful reunion in Samoa has brought together two families unwittingly caught up in an adoption scam.
Nine-year-old Jayden Sawyer was adopted by American Patti Sawyer, who paid $20,000 to the adoption agency Focus On Children after being told that she was an abandoned orphan.
But Jayden's birth parents were told she was only being fostered out and would return when she was 18 with an American education.
Jayden is one of dozens of Samoans adopted out to American families through the agency, whose bosses were prosecuted in the US two years ago for deceiving parents in both Samoa and American.
The two governments have now cut a deal which allows the children can stay with their adoptive parents, but could use money from a trust fund allowing them to keep in touch with their birth parents.
It is understood that the children were trafficked through Auckland Airport. The American families were told to meet an agent there and together they'd meet the children off the plane from Samoa.
Many in the Samoan community have condemned the practice because they say it makes money for middlemen but causes grief for everyone else.
But out of the heartbreak there's at least some comfort for Jayden. She will stay in America but her adopted mum wants her to keep visiting her birthplace.
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8/08/2009 8:47:34 a.m.
I saluted mrs Sawyer and others in the states who worked so hard to finance the travelling expenses for Jayden to visit her biological parents, and i hope samoan parents will not easily give up for children for such reason......we have better education here...we have professional lawyers.....execellent teachers any many many more....so why worry
7/08/2009 3:07:30 p.m.
Gosh, I read this story today as I have been keeping track of adoption agency owners who use children as mere commodities. This Focus on Children owners really takes the case. They went to biological parents and took their kids, after the bio parents were given documents that were in English to sign... and then these kids were taken and stuck in a secret nanny house called the Focus on Children Nanny house. I read where one poor little girl died of malnutrition in the nanny house,,so she did not get adopted out. The after a certain period of time the kids were sorta considered orphans even though their biological parents came to visit them, while the kids lived in appaling conditions. Focus on Children...Bull sheet
3/08/2009 9:29:31 p.m.
hope God will make things easier for both family.. god bless
3/08/2009 3:05:52 p.m.
I remember this.The owners of the Focus for Children Agency were taken to court.Documents were falsified and the childrens biological parents as well as the adoption parents were lied to.Regardless what the adoption agency did was not only unlawful but evil.Later they found out similar fostered children were taken from China.Basically they made a big business out of it and lived a lavish lifestyle.Its a shame they didnt get their hands on you John back in the days.You would have benifiteed from the education.
3/08/2009 1:07:54 p.m.
I Agree that Mrs sawyer done.She is very smart woman,She doe not want her adopted daughter live unhappy or feel sad while she is staying in America,She wants Jayden to see her birth parents while she is growing up so she can imaging the difference between the two famillies,which means love is the core of everythings and without that Jayden wouid not meet her Birth Parents,so I satute myself to Mrs Sawyer and well done job. I say thats a real LOVE in real LIFE living....
3/08/2009 12:06:52 p.m.
Who the hell sends their 4 year old child away for education anyway!!!
3/08/2009 11:58:19 a.m.
I hope this doesnt happen again, it causes so much grief for everyone involved, and I feel sorry for the girl who may have been at first confused about the whole situation, she may be one of the lucky ones who did go to a good home, i would hate to wonder what happend to those who we have not heard of...
3/08/2009 11:53:27 a.m.
Some vasti needs to do his homework first before posting something up here that doesn't make sense
3/08/2009 11:35:13 a.m.
Auckland Girl wrote:
I thought the family didnt know that their kids were being bought out ? I guess Jaydens family thought that Jayden would get a better education outside of Samoa rather than her staying in Samoa and family not having the money to give her the education that she deserves. Its sad that this Lovely Mrs Sawyer is caught up in the middle of this and through all of this she still stands by her adopted daughter which is what really counts in all of this . I feel for both families caught up in all of this!!
3/08/2009 10:47:08 a.m.
I think what John is saying is that you can be adopted by family or strangers. And I think John is under the impression that the birth parents recieved the $20000.00 but it was the dodgy agentcy that recieved the money. The good thing about this situation is that Jayden continues to receive the best of both worlds she gets the American education and the chance to become the proffessional sportsperson or business person (not that she couldn't no matter where she is educated) as well as being able to return to visit her birth parents/place and learn about her culture and heritage.
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