Jump to content

Adoption Angels - In honor and memory of...

Recommended Posts

Recently there have been a few articles posted on precious children who were adopted (or fostered) and either endured horrific abuse or died as a result of abuse. I thought this would be a special place to keep the memory alive for these children who are being loved in a much better place, but will also be missed here on earth and for those who have found new homes, we can honor their new lives here.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lisa, the case to which you refer is the tragic murder of six-year-old Lisa Steinberg, who was placed for adoption as a baby in 1981. However, the adoption attorney (Joel Steinberg) kept her as well as another child (Mitchell, who'd also been placed for adoption by a well-intentioned birthmother), and he and his de facto wife, Hedda Nusbaum, were ultimately responsible for the repeated abuse that resulted in her death. See the Full Story.

Interestingly enough, the birthmother (Michele Launders, who wrote a book about the experience called "I Wish You Didn't Know My Name") was later awarded nearly a million dollars by the City of New York for its failure to protect Lisa after receiving reports of suspected abuse prior to her murder: Birthmom Wins Lawsuit.

Joel Steinberg was released from prison in 2004 after serving 15 years:  Killer Released. 

Lisa's "adopted" brother, who was returned to his birthmom after her murder, was renamed Travis Smiegel, and is now in college.

Hedda Nusbaum reportedly fled New York upon his release and is living in seclusion.

It's a horrific footnote in adoption history, but hopefully it will serve as a reminder why birthparents have more reason to fear secrecy than adopting parents who "risk" openness.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

And to look at this from a different perspective...

If you're in the process of trying to adopt and you're scared of the idea of "having" to get to know the birthparents of your future child and keeping in touch: here's the kind of press that birthparents often see, leading them to fear adoption altogether. (Perhaps this also illustrates why openness is so healing, as is the opportunity for all parties to maintain contact in the years following the placement): http://www.washtimes.com/culture/20060301-...1751r_page2.htmAdoption In Shadow of Abuse.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dead Child's Mom Sought Discipline Tips (Sean Paddock)

Dead child's mom sought discipline tips

Lynn Paddock ordered books by a minister and his wife that recommended using pipe to spank kids

Mandy Locke, Staff Writer

A few years ago, Lynn Paddock sought Christian advice on how to discipline her growing brood of adopted children.

Paddock -- a Johnston County mother accused of murdering Sean, her 4-year-old adopted son, and beating two other adopted children -- surfed the Internet, said her attorney, Michael Reece. She found literature by an evangelical minister and his wife who recommended using plumbing supply lines to spank misbehaving children.

Paddock ordered Michael and Debi Pearl's books and started spanking her adopted children as suggested. After Sean, the youngest of Paddock's six adopted children, died last month, his older sister and brother told investigators about Paddock's spankings.

Sean's 9-year-old brother was beaten so badly he limped, a prosecutor said. Bruises marred Sean's backside, too, doctors found.

Sean died after being wrapped so tightly in blankets he suffocated. That, too, was a form of punishment, Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell said.

The Pearls' advice from their Web site: A swift whack with the plastic tubing would sting but not bruise. Give 10 licks at a time, more if the child resists. Be careful about using it in front of others -- even at church; nosy neighbors might call social workers. Save hands for nurturing, not disciplining. Heed the warning, taken from Proverbs in the Old Testament, that sparing the rod will spoil the child.

Paddock and other moms in her rural Baptist church chatted about the Pearls' strategies for rearing obedient children, Reece said.

"I think she was trying to do the right thing by her children," he said.

Paddock, 45, faces a possible lifetime behind bars or execution if convicted of causing Sean's death.

Paddock seems to have carefully followed the Pearls' teachings. Investigators found 2-foot lengths of plumbing supply line in several rooms of her remote farmhouse.

The Pearls offer shopping advice on their Web site, www.nogreaterjoy.org: "You can buy them for under $1.00 at Home Depot or any hardware store. They come cheaper by the dozen and can be widely distributed in every room and vehicle. Just the high profile of their accessibility will keep the kids in line."

The Pearls' first book, "To Train Up a Child," has sold more than 400,000 copies since it was published in 1994, according to Mel Cohen, general manager of the Pearls' business, No Greater Joy Ministries. After the book came out, so many readers wrote in with questions that the Pearls started a newsletter. Every two months, Cohen said, the Pleasantville, Tenn.-based ministry mails more than 60,000 newsletters to parents around the world.

The Pearls declined to be interviewed. "They feel the material speaks for itself," Cohen said.

Christian evangelicals who, like the Pearls, teach the importance of corporal punishment have loyal followers. The results are tangible, said Dot Ehlers, executive director of a Smithfield nonprofit who teaches parenting skills to mothers and fathers referred to them by the Johnston County Department of Social Services. She said about a quarter of the 60 parents she instructs each week say their faith defends and encourages corporal punishment.

The Pearls' techniques helped Sandy Hicks, a mother in Texas who said she was desperate to restore peace in her home.

"Some people would rather spend an hour reasoning with a defiant 5-year-old instead of requiring the kid to behave and giving him a swat if he doesn't," said Hicks, who said she has used a peach-tree switch to spank her four children. "Some people are just queasy about swatting their kids."

The Pearls' teachings helped mobilize another group of Christian parents to speak out against such corporal punishment. The Web site Stoptherod.net rails against the Pearls' first book; the Web site's founders, Susan and Steve Lawrence of Virginia, say the book "reads like a child abuse manual." The Web site encourages parents to post critical reviews of the book on Amazon.com.

Some of the Pearls' defenders say you can't blame them for parents who take their advice to an unhealthy extreme.

Gena Suarez, publisher of a magazine for home-schooling parents that publishes advertisements for the Pearls' books, said their teachings are often inappropriately used to defend child abuse.

"[The Pearls] are talking about something that would fit in a purse," Suarez said. "The only way you can kill a child with that is by shoving it down his throat."

The Pearls acknowledge that discipline turns to abuse when the "child is broken in spirit, cowed and subdued ..."

The minister advises one mother on his Web site: "I always give myself one swat before I swat the child to remind myself how much force to exert. It stings the skin without bruising or damaging tissue. It's a real attention-getter."

(News researchers Susan Ebbs, Becky Ogburn and Lamara Williams-Hackett contributed to this report.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...