Thursday, August 22, 2013


I've posted on here a lot more than usual lately because I've been finishing up posting about summer. I just realized that I haven't posted Jasmine's journal because I hadn't typed it in with the others. So there's another summer post. The kids have started school, and I'd planned that to be my next post sometime over the weekend.

But the Hana William's trial is really bugging me this week. Have you noticed the lack of interest in it in the news? I figured someone against international adoption would jump all over it and try to stop adoption. That may happen yet.

I'm going to re post part of what I posted when this first happened:
I read the whole 16 page report filed and it was ugly reading. The parents had very strict punishments that included Hana eating alone outside no matter the weather. She was often given frozen vegetables as her meal. She had to use an outside port potty and was often showered with an outside hose year round (she lived in WA state and it gets cold!). She was put outside hours at a time in the cold as a punishment. She basically lived in a dark closet. One of the biological children said in an interview that she was taken out every other day to walk around and exercise. She hadn't participated in family meals or home schooling for over a year because she was living in the closet. She had gone up to two days at a time without eating. She was not allowed to celebrate her birthday or Christmas because she didn't deserve to. She stood outside in the cold on Christmas day watching through the window. Excuse me, but wasn't Christmas about Jesus coming to give us abundant life through his own life, death and resurrection?

There was such a long list of inhumane punishments that I can't remember them all but you can find the 16 page report on line. But she finally died because she was out several hours in cold rain without adequate clothing. She was so thin she didn't survive it.

I have seen people comment that the girl probably had reactive attachment disorder and a very difficult child. There is nothing to indicate that. Her crimes were not knowing how to shower correctly or moving off a certain spot.

Even if she was difficult, she deserved food, clothing, shelter from the cold and somewhere appropriate to sleep. The price for a warm shower or meal was 30 days of good behavior--by the parent's standard of good. And if she had attachment disorders--and who could blame her--locking her in the closet days on end is not a good attachment tool!

Now the trial has started and some things really bother me. Especially things the mom has said. Like this from a news report:

MOUNT VERNON — In an interview with a sheriff’s detective hours after her adopted daughter collapsed in the family’s backyard and succumbed to hypothermia and malnutrition, Carri Williams said she thought the girl was staying outside just to be rebellious.

“I thought she was just pretending that she couldn’t walk, because she’s done that before,” Carri Williams told Skagit County Sheriff’s Detective Ben Hagglund. “I just kind of ignored it.”

Or this from the same report:
Later, when Hana was lying face down on the patio and grass, Carri Williams still thought the girl was pretending, she said. But then another daughter pointed out Hana wasn’t moving.
“And the way she was laying, it didn’t look like it was pretend,” Carri Williams told Hagglund, describing later not being sure if she felt a pulse. “I said, ‘She killed herself. I think she’s dead.’”
Carri Williams spanked Hana during the six or so hours she spent outside the night she died, but only after asking her to come inside, the 16-year-old said.
The boy said he did not see Hana shivering leading up to her death, but she did remove her clothes. Both are signs of hypothermia.
So much of this is senseless. But the stuff about the girl being outside and the mom thinking she was pretending is crazy. And in a news video it was said that the mother stated she couldn't get the girl inside. Really? She could force her into a closet for days at a time, but she couldn't force a starved, half frozen girl into the house? If that's true, it was only because the girl was crazy from hypothermia. But there were also three teen boys there. They couldn't go get one 80lb girl into the house? Bologna. 
And what kind of person thinks shaving a child's hair off, putting her in shorts and a T-shirt and sticking her outside in the cold is a good way to help the child overcome behavioral issues? I wonder who exactly had the behavioral issues. 
No one in the family was allowed to talk to Hana, and when she complained of being cold, the mother told her to do jumping jacks and exercises to stay warm. When she stopped, she was spanked for stopping. 

I know we can't really judge the parents because we don't know them. But I think it's pretty obvious that things were very, very wrong in that home.
Most of you reading this blog have dealt with adoption related behavioral issues. You know how crazy it can get. Me too. And most of us have tried all sorts of things to try and get those behaviors to end. But there is a big difference between trying to get the child to have more positive behavior and harming the child in order to have control. It appears this family was all about control. Their birth children grew up with the overly strict rules and probably learned as an infant not to break or question those rules. 
Then two older children from a totally different culture and with a different language arrived. They didn't know the rules. They didn't know how to live in this home. They may not have had enough language to even understand.
The mom (and I refer mostly to mom here because she was the one home with the kids) was disgusted by Hana's preteen issues, especially "girl issues." She had wanted a toddler. So why did she accept a preteen girl and a deaf, handicapped boy? Did she picture them automatically behaving exactly like her birth children? Really?
Someone once suggested to her that she relinquish the children because she had talked a lot about not liking the children and being disgusted by them, and she said she wouldn't wish them on anyone.
No, I don't think so. She didn't relinquish them because someone else might let Hana have hot food, a hot shower and privileges. In mom's eyes that would make Hana the "winner."
If she really didn't like Hana, she could have sent her to school. That would give the mom a seven hour break, longer if she rode a bus. And if Hana's behaviors were so bad, the school would have the same problem and would have set up a plan for her.
But that would have also kept the parents from having total control over Hana. They wouldn't have been able to beat her or starve her because the school would notice. She would get food and positive reinforcement, which mom probably thought she didn't deserve.
Sometime even those who strongly believe in homeschooling send their adopted children to school so they can learn English more quickly and so they can get special services they need. The adopted son was deaf so public school would have been a great help to him.
I hope the truth comes out in this trial. But I wonder. Saying they thought Hana was pretending and that Hana died because she was rebellious is not truthful. Her being starved over a long period of time and sent out into the cold for hours killed her. If she was truly rebellious, she could have been given a couple of sandwiches and an apple and have been sent to bed early. She could have lost privileges, but not basic rights such as food, proper clothing and a place to sleep.
Well, I am going on and on about this. And the things I've said are my opinion not fact.
Have any of you been following the trial or the story in general? What are your thoughts?
I don't know about you, but I would have taken Hana in and given her a home rather having her despised. Yeah, it might have required a lot of emotional energy along with personal and family counseling or therapy, but it would have been worth it to see this beautiful young lady blossom and grow and discover all she could be.


One Crowded House said...

it is very sad... I have thought with a couple of our adopted children that had other families adopted them, that perhaps the adoption would have been disrupted because they were THAT difficult and it took so much work...

but like you said, it is so worth it to see breakthroughs with these kids, no matter the amount of time and energy and patience it takes.

And in the end- I always remind myself that THEY are the ones that lost everything- not me. Why shouldn't they be difficult? Why shouldn't they be angry? Everything was taken from them, and not by choice.

No matter- I can't imagine that girl doing anything so horrible to deserve anything like the treatment she got. We don't even do that to dogs. It's sick really.

kayder1996 said...

Haven't been following it (other than knowing about it) mostly because it makes me sick. RAD behavior has nothing to do with this case. Even if she had the worst RAD behavior ever (hurting others and herself), none of it justifies the stuff that went on. I completely recognize that we are all humans who make mistakes, who get sucked into cycles of bad behavior, who have parented in ways that we feel guilty about or ways that others would see as wrong. But the difference here is that this lady did it for years. At what point does common sense sink in and you as a parent say "we need some help" or "we need to rehome" or "we at least need to consider public school so I can get a break."? Sin is sin and it creeps in and ruins our lives and for whatever reason, it certainly set up camp in this mom's heart, despite her perhaps believing she was doing the right thing. It also makes me think about several kids who were on an agency website this summer, who needed new homes and whose adoptions were being dissolved yet neither had any actual diagnosis because neither current family had sought counseling. Um what? You are to the place where you don't think you can parent this child but you have not exhausted every option? Totally respect and love on anyone who has disrupted/dissolved/made alternative plans for their kids but why on earth would you not have at least tried counseling and therapy?

Sarah said...

I don't live to far from Mt Vernon and it isn't in the news at all here. In this are we have had several cases like this and always 3 or 4 faith based healer cases where kids have died each I guess to our local media it isn't anything new. How sad is that?!

I'm surprise that it hasn't been in the national news as much either.

To be honest I'm not convinced Hanna or her brother actually had behavioral issues. I just think they didn't behave and fir the perfect image the mom had for them.

Kathy C. said...

Tanya--I know you've gone through some tough behaviors with children who were adopted at an older age. Maybe the thing was that you didn't have the perfect, structured life this family had so you recognized normal childhood behavior :) I think anyone would be a behavior problem there. One of her crimes was stealing bread and jelly--after she hadn't been allowed food for over a day or two. Yeah, I'd do that too. Depriving a child of food, especially for a day or two at a time, is not a way to bond and doesn't teach them not to steal! Sadly, she probably had more food in her home country.

Kathy C. said...

Kayla--I think you're right that we've all made parenting mistakes. But when a child is starved to death, yikes. They had to have seen that coming. A child needs food in order to grow and learn. What child can make good decisions with no fuel. It's crazy.

This family probaby would not have accepted any counseling that didnt' back up their totally strict home and their need to control.

Kathy C. said...

Sarah--I agree with your thoughts. It didn't sound like she did anything that unusual. She was a preteen girl with all the normal preteen girl type issues and that disgusted the mom. Really? Like we don't all have that? Maybe she needed to find someone who spoke Hana's language to help explain things to her. I don't understand the locking her in the closet for most of her days and nights for a year. It said she hadn't been with the family for meals or homeschooling for over a year due to being in the closet. You might break her that way, but you sure won't heal her.