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Marshallese adoption authority begins getting a trickle of calls ; Operations began Oct. 1 in effort to stem abuses
[FINAL Edition]
The Sun - Baltimore, Md.
Author: Roche, Walter F, Jr
Date: Dec 20, 2003
Start Page: 1.A
Section: TELEGRAPH
Abstract (Document Summary)

A pregnant young woman from the Marshall Islands had traveled to Hawaii to visit friends and family. Shortly after her arrival, she was approached by an agent from an adoption agency, and she signed over her unborn child for adoption.

Under the new law, all adoptions of Marshallese children must go through [Michael Jenkins]' agency, which has three major objectives: the licensing and regulation of adoption agencies; ensuring that birth parents understand the concept of a permanent international adoption; and recording and reviewing complaints and referring violations to the Marshall Islands attorney general for prosecution.

Jini Roby, a professor at Brigham Young University who helped the Marshall Islands government set up the new agency and has studied the issue extensively, said she knows "that some agencies are doing business as usual through Hawaii." It was Roby's study that found that the majority of Marshallese birth mothers did not understand the concept of permanent adoption.

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