Here it’s background: When Adoption Goes Wrong
When Sterkel, a nurse, first started working with international adoptees in the early ’90s, she didn’t see many deeply troubled children. But 10 years ago she adopted two Russian boys whose American parents had given up on them. One of them, a 14-year-old boy, had just been released from a juvenile-detention center after trying to poison his mother. Over time, Sterkel was approached so often about adopting other children that she decided to open her camp. Today it houses 25 to 30 kids from all over the country, and has a waiting list. The overwhelming majority are from Russia, Romania and Bulgaria, but she also has had children from South Korea and Colombia. Some were bullied or raped while institutionalized or were the children of prostitutes, drug addicts or alcoholics. “I have gotten calls from parents who say the child they adopted has killed the family dog, threatened to kill them, and no one will help them,” she says.
In 2012 we informed the Russian Children Ombudsman about the Ranch.
We had heard already about the doubtful practices there.
Russia’s lower parliamentary body on Tuesday approved the agreement signed last year by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that regulates the adoption of Russian children by Americans. Negotiations began in 2010 after Torry Hansen sent her then 7-year-old adopted son, Artyom Saveliev, back to Russia with a letter saying he was violent and disturbed and she didn’t want to be his mother anymore.
That led to outrage in Russia and temporarily halted American adoptions of Russian children, of which there have been more than 60,000 to date. That anger has now landed at Sterkel’s doorstep, with Astakhov making serious allegations against her Ranch For Kids.
He claims the Ranch For Kids is a place for American parents to cast off their adopted children, and that the children there receive substandard education, health care and lack security.
Astakhov did not get access.
And now, finally, the US authorities intervened:
However, an investigation by the board previously responsible for program oversight, the Private Alternative Adolescent Residential or Outdoor Program (PAARP) Board, found “reasonable cause” that Ranch for Kids “failed to meet accepted standards of practice.” In the notice to the program, the board cited disciplinary measures that included 5- to 22-mile “therapy walks,” removing mattresses from participants who wet their bed, and withholding phone calls from parents.
Despite the board’s proposed action against Ranch for Kids, the program still received its annual license renewal under the same board. On July 1, the oversight of private alternative residential programs was moved to the state health department.