Now We Are Sending Our Children Out of The Country to Foster Care and to Be Murdered

Oregon welfare officials to resume adoptions of foster children to families outside U.S.
By Amy Reifenrath, The Oregonian
April 17, 2009, 8:59PMSALEM — Child welfare officials testifying before two legislative committees Friday said the state will resume international adoptions after May 8.

Five children from state foster care were slated to go to Mexico to be raised by relatives when the state announced a 60-day moratorium on international adoptions in March.

Adrianna’s story

Read The Oregonian’s series about the death of Adrianna Cram that spurred action in the Oregon Legislature at

The moratorium came days before The Oregonian published a two-day series describing how child welfare authorities in Oregon and in Mexico failed to protect 4-year-old Adrianna Romero Cram.

Born in Hillsboro and taken into foster care when she was 1 year old, Adrianna was sent by the state to live with relatives in Omealca, Mexico, in July 2004. She was still in Oregon’s legal custody when she was abused for months and then murdered in June 2005. Her aunt and uncle, selected by Oregon authorities to adopt the girl, were convicted of aggravated murder.

Adrianna’s teachers in Mexico told The Oregonian that they had tried to find help for the bruised and battered girl but couldn’t get local child welfare workers to act. Meanwhile, child welfare workers in Oregon relied on phone calls with the girl’s abusers and sporadic updates from Mexican authorities to find out how the girl was faring.

Legislators held hearings Friday on two bills drafted in response to Adrianna’s death.

“I want to make sure that this can’t happen again to the extent we can do that,” said Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem.

Senate Bill 10 would require the state Department of Human Services to meet requirements established under The Hague Convention on Protection of Children. The international treaty, which took effect last year, is intended to protect children from abuse or exploitation.

A companion measure, House Bill 3471, would require specific adoption agreements spelling out the responsibilities of child welfare officials on both sides of the border to ensure that a child is safe. Those agreements would include extensive background interviews and require training for relatives in other countries before they take in a child from Oregon foster care. Once the child is placed, the agreement would require regular checks and written reports to Oregon officials until the adoption is final.

If these agreements are spelled out in Oregon law, then state child welfare workers would not place a child in another country without them, said Erinn Kelley-Siel, who heads the state Children, Adults and Families Division.

From 1999 through 2008, the state has placed 27 children in foster care for adoption with families outside the United States. If children cannot be returned to their parents, Kelley-Siel said, the state tries to place them for adoption with relatives in Oregon or elsewhere.

Eight children from Oregon foster care have been sent to live with relatives in Mexico since Adrianna’s death. Beth Englander, Oregon adoption program manager, said state officials recently checked and confirmed “that they’re all safe and happy.”

But legislators also heard pleas Friday from Adrianna’s biological mother and grandmother, who testified that the state should not send children to other countries.

“It’s deceptive and dishonest” for the state to promise that a child will be safe when they know they can’t keep that promise, said Tausha Cram, Adrianna’s mother. “I can’t let my daughter’s death be in vain.”

Cram lost her parental rights due to neglect and drug abuse.

Senate Bill 10 is being considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee. House Bill 3471 is in the House Human Services Committee. Both panels could vote on the bills as soon as next week.

— Michelle Cole;

About yvonnemason

Background:  The eldest of five children, Yvonne was born May 17, 1951 in Atlanta, Georgia. Raised in East Point, Georgia, she moved to Jackson County, Ga. until 2006 then moved to Port St. Lucie, Florida where she currently makes her home.  Licensed bounty hunter for the state of Georgia. Education:  After a 34 year absence, returned to college in 2004. Graduated with honors in Criminal Justice with an Associate’s degree from Lanier Technical College in 2006. Awards:  Nominated for the prestigious GOAL award in 2005 which encompasses all of the technical colleges. This award is based not only on excellence in academics but also leadership, positive attitude and the willingness to excel in one’s major. Affiliations:  Beta Sigma Phi Sorority  Member of The Florida Writer’s Association – Group Leader for St Lucie County The Dream:  Since learning to write at the age of five, Yvonne has wanted to be an author. She wrote her first novel Stan’s Story beginning in 1974 and completed it in 2006. Publication seemed impossible as rejections grew to 10 years. Determined, she continued adding to the story until her dream came true in 2006. The Inspiration:  Yvonne’s brother Stan has been her inspiration and hero in every facet of her life. He was stricken with Encephalitis at the tender age of nine months. He has defied every roadblock placed in his way and has been the driving force in every one of her accomplishments. He is the one who taught her never to give up The Author: Yvonne is currently the author of several novels, including:  Stan’s Story- the true story of her brother’s accomplishments, it has been compared to the style of Capote, and is currently being rewritten with new information for re-release.  Tangled Minds - a riveting story about a young girl’s bad decision and how it taints everyone’s life around her yet still manages to show that hope is always possible. This novel has been compared to the writing of Steinbeck and is currently being written as a screenplay. This novel will be re-released by Kerlak Publishing in 2009  Brilliant Insanity – released by Kerlak Publishing October 2008  Silent Scream – Released by October 2008- Slated to be made into a movie Yvonne’s Philosophy in Life - “Pay it Forward”: “In this life we all have been helped by others to attain our dreams and goals. We cannot pay it back but what we can do is ‘pay it forward’. It is a simple
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2 Responses to Now We Are Sending Our Children Out of The Country to Foster Care and to Be Murdered

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