Wednesday, February 3, 2010

In Their Own Voices:--New Lifers on a Mission for God and Adoption

My original blog, from which this is taken, grew and grew, so I'm splitting it up. Part 1 is Laura Silsby, and Charisa Coulter and others in their own words. Part 2 are the voices and narratives of the children and parents exploited by the Idaho christo-suburbanites. If the blog continues to grow I'll split it some more.

Last night KTBV Boise aired an interview with Silsby. You can see the video and read the transcript here

Below are some excerpts from the interview which show clearly that Silsby still doesn't comprehend that she cannot just pick up kids off the street and ship them off to another country, even if God told her to do it. " (This audacious claim will be discussed in a later entry).

We came here to help the children who had no one else, children that kind of were on the streets or in orphanages that were not in line really for other types of aide.


Silsby called it all a mix-up and said the group is not guilty of any crime. We did have documents we had approval from the Dominican government to go over to, to take these children over to the Dominican Republic. We had we believe that we were getting conflicting information on what was required and we understood that Pastor Sandil wrote us a statement and then indicated that he...,"

This is from CNN, American Morning, CNN transcript, February 1, 2010:

LAURA SILSBY, DETAINED IN HAITI: We believe that we have been charged very falsely with trafficking, which, of course, that is the furthest possible extreme, because our hearts here, we literally all gave up everything we had, income and use of our own funds to come here and help these children.

CARLA THOMPSON, DETAINED IN HAITI: God is the one that called us to come here, and we just really believe that this was his purpose.

From CNN, For Haitian Parents Giving Kids to US Group Backfires Painfully, February 2, 2010

Haiti's government requires documentation stating approval for children to exit the country Silby acknowledged she had none.

From the New York Times, February 1, 2010, Case Stokes Haiti's Fear for children, and Itself:

Laura Silsby: "God wanted us to come here to help children, we are convinced of that."


"We intended to raise those children and be with them their entire lives, if necessary," she said, standing behind a door of thick metal bars in pedal pushers, sandals and a blouse printed with palm trees "These kind of children are sold across the border for the price of a chicken We wanted to give them lives of joy and dignity in God's love."

A records check, I made this evening, however shows that incorporation papers for New Life Children's Refuge were only filed with the Idaho Secretary of State on November 25, 2009, and that international adoption is the organization's mission. In part, the papers read:

A. ....The Corporation shall hold and manage funds for the establishment of a Children's Refuge designed to provide a loving Christian environment for abandoned and unwanted children. Plans include orphanages, schools, medical clinics, and villas for adopting parents. The Corporation plans to provide opportunities for adoption as well as a sound education for life skills...

New Life's Haitian Orphan Rescue Mission agenda, (which I'll write about in another blog) admits that it has no orphanage or any other facility outside of a rental hotel that God directed them to, but again, makes clear that its mission is international adoption:

Seaside Villas at Playa Magante: Villas for adopting parents to stay while fulfilling requirement for 60-90 day visit as well as Christian volunteers/vacationing families. Provide opportunities for adoption through partnership with New Life Adoption Foundation which works with adoption agencies in the U.S. to help facilitate adoptions and provide grants to subsidize the cost of adoption for loving Christian parents who would otherwise not be able to afford to adopt.”

But... there is no New Life Adoption Foundation registered with the Idaho Secretary of State. It is not listed as a licensed adoption agency in the state, and obviously is not an accredited international adoption agency with the US State Department. It is probably safe to say that now, it never will be accredited, if and when it rises from the rubble.

Adoptions to the US from the Dominican Republic are rare According to State Department figures, since 1998 there have been a little over 200. In 2009 there were 11. (link is a little wanky.) How the New Lifers thought, without accreditation, they were going to adopt out undocumented Haitian citizens from their group's DR hotel is one of the great mysteries only they--or God--an answer.

But there's more!

Earlier today the Associated Press posted a video of Charisa Coulter, VP of New Life Children's Refuge, guarded by two Haitian cops in a University of Miami field hospital, as she's treated for either severe dehydration or the flu. Lying in bed, she looks and sounds pretty miserable. IRL, Coulter is Laura Silsby's live-in nanny. The link is now gone. I did, however, copy down her short interview. Coulter told the AP:

I am really praying that we'll be able to take these kids out and we will be able to provide a safe and loving home for these kids who have nothing and the charges will be dropped and they'll be able to see our hearts.

Coulter's father, Mel Coulter, an Idaho Department of Transportation spokesperson, has gone to the press to build up sympathy for his daughter and her colleagues. "Outrageous" he declares of the charge that she and her nine companions attempted to traffick or kidnap 33 children."When you are called by God to do something, you cannot say no if you are truly committed to following him." (You can see a picture of Coulter at the hospital in this article.)

Now comes Jorge Puello, an onsite attorney retained to represent the alleged traffickers complaining in the CNN American Morning link above, that the prisoners are living under unsatisfactory conditions:

There is no air conditioning, to electricity. It is very disturbing.

No! Yes! Really!

Would I make this up? He really said this while tens of thousands of Haitians have been left with nothing, living in the streets, or are dead. I bet there's even some homeless Haitians who would would be thrilled to have a roof over their heads at the jail. I'm waiting for Puello to suggest that the suburbanite New Lifers, in deference to their specialness, be held in beach houses at Labadee with meals catered by Royal Caribbean International.

In a phone interview with Fox News' Greta van Susteren, Puello complained that he has been able to meet with only one of the prisoners since no one in authority is handy to give permission to speak to the others. Perhaps the police have better things to do than jump when Americans and their surrogates with special needs say jump.

We get to the police station and we ask to see them and they say we need permission from the director general. When we asked them where is the office of the director general, they keep telling us they don't even know, that the building collapsed and there's no one there and they are just giving us the run-around.

Followed by this exchange between himself and van Susteren:

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you know what your clients intended to do with those children? Was it just to bring them to the Dominican Republic or to the United States?

PUELLO: There was no intention to bring them to the United States. They were only trying to take them to a temporary facility so they can be taken care of. A lot of these kids don't even know that their parents have died. They need psychological help. And it doesn't make any sense when at the border they are not asking for any papers. But Haitians cross over to the Dominican Republic and the Dominican government is not asking for passports or any ID to cross over.

VAN SUSTEREN: Where did they find these 33 children? How did they get these children?

PUELLO: There was an orphanage that collapsed in Haiti. It was called friends of the orphans of Haiti. And there was somebody over there that told them that the orphans had no place, no room to place them. And these people that came to Haiti to help these kids were trying to do a job that nobody is doing right now. There's too many kids in the streets. There's a lot of people starving to death in Haiti. And they were just trying to help them. There was no intention to do anything illegal.

Joining the pity party we have Sean Lankford, husband and father of two of the women being held, (Corinna and Nicole) accusing the Haitian government of not furnishing customary post-quake amenities. Lankford is a business applications developer for Hewlett Packard, Silsby's former employer.

From AEP, Parents "Reclaim Children in Haiti Abduction-Adoption Row

He said he had not been able to speak to them since their arrest and was concerned that they had not received better treatment in detention.

"First off, you know, I think they were required to give them food and water. I mean, the basic essentials for life. And they were to help them to contact counselors on their behalf -- at least to give them the ability to do that. They were late in doing that," Lankford complained. "I appreciate everything they have done. I know that it took them a while to find them first off. I know also that there's a lot of needs that are happening in Haiti," the Meridian, Idaho resident said.


The New Life media blitz so far has been a fizzle. Outside of a relative few supportive comments on the numerous articles and blogs I've read, the New Lifers are being soundly condemned for their actions.

Laura Silsby sitting--or rather standing from the pictures of seen--in her Haitian jail cell, continues to yatter on about good intentions, misunderstandings, and God's work. She hasn't grasped that "permission from the DR government or Pastor Sandil (I'm just beginning to research him) doesn't mean squat. As I wrote earlier, I've given my readers permission to stick up the convenience store of their choice. I trust they are not gullible enough to think that my permission exempts them from the long arm of the law. Now, I'll up the ante. I hereby give permission to all my readers to order online purchases from Silsby's with fraudulent credit cards. Hey, it's OK. In these hard times my readers are desperate for Fendi clutch wallets and Balmain fuck-me booties. God told me so.

I've been working over the question of intent and organization. One one hand I believe they knew exactly what they were doing, since they wrote about and fund raised it all over the 'net before they left. On the other hand, since they were not hooked into any established missions or aid groups who actually know the rules of engagement. Instead, they listened to the voices in their head, which apparently had no clue either. (I'll be writing about that later, too.)

Silsby's story remains full of holes...and she and her lawyer can't shut up. Rule 1 if you're accused of a crime: Don't talk to the media. And don't let your lawyer talk either. For a award winning entrepreneur (with endorsements from Joan London and Dr Phil) she sure is stupid. Or a liar. Or both.

I don't know if I'll put up anything tomorrow outside of adding links.

Addenda: Also read The 10 Arrested Christian Scavengers Had an Adoption Centered "Mission" For the Kids They were Caught Trying to Remove Illegally

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1 comment:

  1. These people are my old friends. As much as I love them, I shake my head... they really don't get it.