After a recent Townhall.com article regarding the Deep State Blocking Adoptions was published, it is apparent that story may be the tip of a much larger iceberg. Deep State Department decisions have caused at least one American family to be stranded in Japan after being promised a visa, by the State Department, for their child Sydney. The family already has legal custody of Sydney as well as having a release from the birth mother for the adoption. Townhall.com is now aware there are several American families in similar situations and one of these families is a sister of a prominent Member of Congress. The Member is not too happy about the situation.
An American Christian family from Georgia, Alex and Samantha Tutterrow, were recently granted permission by the State Department to travel to Japan to obtain the visa from the U.S. embassy for Sydney, whom they had legal custody of, to immigrate to the United States. The Tutterrow’s previously had adopted Sydney’s older sister.
However, the State Department negated Sydney’s visa after the Tutterrow’s already traveled to Japan. The Tutterrow’s were told they had done nothing wrong but due to a change in regulations, Samantha Tutterrow and her husband Alex were stuck in Japan and each had to pull a week in Japan, trying to get Sydney, before returning to America without her. Now the child’s American grandmother is in Japan watching over her and hoping to bring her home. Again, the family merely had to get the visa for the girl whom they already had legal custody for, for whom the birth mother signed her rights away, and for whom the State Department told them to go to Japan to get the visa.
State Department reasons for blocking the Tutterrow adoption varied and progressively became stranger, according to a Townhall.com interview with Samantha Tutterrow. Samantha says that first the U.S. embassy in Japan started asking strange questions. Then the family was told their case was under administrative review.
Then the Tutterrow’s were told that their agency accreditation expired and that a new Japanese law went into effect. The Tutterrow’s found this strange because the agency had proactively sent the packets to the embassy in anticipation of the move to a new adoption accrediting entity; a move facilitated by the State Department and its Office of Children’s issues in the State Department. The State Department refused to grandfather them in.
Regardless of whatever reason, different members of the Tutterrow family were stuck for weeks in Japan rotating shifts. Alex and Samantha have returned home to the U.S. without their Sydney, whose American grandparent remains in Japan at a hotel with their little girl, hoping to get her to America.
The Tutterrow’s wrote in a previous blog post:
“At this point, we feel like our family is being held hostage by our own government while they review a program that has been operating without incident for 20+ years. We are begging for your help to get her home. At ono point throughout this, has the well-being of new our new daughter—who is having to live in a hotel room vs. a home environment—or that of our current children, been considered…not to mention the children waiting for families here in Japan. The financial burden that this has brought upon our family is significant. In addition, we are faced with the enduring costs of a hotel, daily meals, and fees from flight changes, etc. Meanwhile, we have no idea how long this may take. Awareness needs to be brought to the actions of DOS (Department of State). They are clearly not working in the best interest of any child.”
These issues have exploded under the tenure of Trish Maskew, the director of the Office of Children’s issues at the State Department who was hired in 2014 and prominently featured in recent Townhall.com and FOX News stories for questionable viewpoints regarding adoption being akin to Western paternalism. International adoptions by Americans have dropped from over 22,000 in 2004 to around 5,000 this past year. At the current pace, international adoption by Americans will be dead in four years.
Even former Senator Mary Landrieu appears to agree about the Deep State issues at the State Department and the harm they are causing families. While Japan is not a Hague adoption country, Landrieu’s words, as the former Co-Chair of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, are telling:
“Congress passed the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption believing this action would pave the way for a more ethical, transparent, and streamlined process for inter-country adoption….Sadly, several years later, it is clear that this decision was a tragic mistake. Instead of shoring up the process and providing support for sending countries, the State Department has twisted the intent of the treaty to close one country after another. The process has become far more cumbersome and far less transparent. American parents who want to help and lovingly raise a children are often made to feel like criminals. As a result, intercountry adoptions have fallen to a historic low, and they continue to decrease each year as the need of desperate, abandoned, and orphaned children increases. Major change is required now before it’s too late.”
It makes no sense that in a country like Japan, where in the last five years there has been at most an average of 20 adoptions of Japanese kids by Americans per year, that there would be a reason for our own State Department to block such adoptions. However if Maskew’s previous writings, that insinuate Americans and other Westerners adopting internationally is paternalism, are in fact her real worldview then what is happening to the Tutterrow’s begins to make sense.
Now a sibling of a current, sitting Member of Congress has been located by Townhall.com whom is in a similar situation than the Tutterrow family. The Congressman likely will not be pleased. Undoubtedly, other State Department horror stories will come forward. Townhall.com continually will provide updates.
*Views expressed in the article are those of the author and not those of any government agency.