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Friday, February 1, 2013

No limits to violence ─ U.S. torture of foreign-adopted children

Adults starve foster children, wrap  adopted children in carpets, sit on top of them
Excerpting, editing by 
Carolyn Bennett

Svetlana Smetanina reports at Pravda.Ru: “Sadistic methods of raising children are absolutely normal in the United States of America”

Countries restrict adoptions to protect their children

Many countries that had “‘supplied’ their children to the adoption market” now cut back on adoptions, Svetlana Smetanina reports. 

In 2007, 4,726 children were exported from Guatemala to the United States; in 2009, the number dropped to 754; in 2011, to 32.

Vietnam also banned the ‘export’ of its children.

In 2007, U.S. citizens adopted 828 Vietnamese children; in 2010, 9; in 2011, 0.

In the past five years, Chinese export of children to the United States decreased by 50 percent.

wo years ago, a well-known U.S. expert in the field of child psychology and psychiatry, Professor Jean Mercer, sent an open letter to the Russian Ombudsman for Children’s Rights urging a curb on adoptions of Russian orphans by U.S. citizens. Dr. Mercer’s appeal was based on “the fact of too many traumas and deaths among foster children were resulting from the use of Attachment Therapy (AT).”

Dr. Jean Mercer

Psychologist Jean A. Mercer, Ph.D., Professor Emerita of Psychology (teaching retired) at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, is the foremost spokesman for science-based and humane psychotherapy for adopted and foster children.
In the late 1990s, Dr Mercer encountered ‘Complementary and Alternative Medicine’ (‘CAM’) in the form of ‘Attachment (Holding) Therapy’ and ‘Rebirthing.’ After the therapist-caused death of 10-year-old Candace Newmaker in 2000, Mercer began to speak out and publish critiques of ‘alternative’ mental health interventions.

Since her retirement, she has devoted her time to countering the claims of ‘CAM’ psychotherapists that their methods are evidence-based.  Her blog on Psychology Today regularly addressed unvalidated practices.

Dr Mercer has also been involved with issues of inappropriate use of psychological testing in child custody cases and has both testified and published on this topic. She is currently working on a study of historical factors that may help to define ‘CAM’ practices more clearly.  In 2007 she was an expert witness in the child abuse trial of Sylvia Vasquez, a California mother who used Attachment Therapy-related methods with three of her adopted children.

r. Mercer has written many articles on the subject of “Attachment Therapy.” Among them are these:

“‘Attachment therapy’ using deliberate restraint: an object lesson on the identification of unvalidated treatments,” Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing, 2001 Jul; 14(3):105-114. [Abstract]

Attachment therapy: a treatment without empirical support,” Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice, 2002; 1(2):9-16. Reprinted in SO Lilienfeld, J Ruscio & SJ Lynn, eds.,

Violent therapies: the rationale behind a potentially harmful child psychotherapy,” Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice, 2003 Spring-Summer, 2(1):27-37.

“Attachment therapy parenting methods” (with LA Rosa), Report to Advocates for Children in Therapy, 2003 May

Violent therapies: the rationale behind a potentially harmful child psychotherapy,” Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice, 2003 Spring-Summer, 2(1):27-37.

“Coercive restraint therapies: a dangerous alternative mental health intervention,” Medscape General Medicine, 2005 August 9; 7(3):6. Discussion, 2005 November 22; 7(4):58. Author reply, 2005 November 22; 7(4):59.

“Open letter to ATTACh,” Advocates for Children in Therapy, 2006 March 10

“Parsing the ‘Attachment Cycle’: the fox terrier of Attachment Therapy,” The Study of Nonsense, 2012 August 15

Why study nonsense?” The Study of Nonsense, 2012 August 8.

“That old basic trust concept: peddling the ‘Attachment Cycle’,” Child Myths, 2012 August 4.

“ATTACh tells us about attachment disorders: an unrecommended video,” Child Myths, 2012 July 16

Attachment Therapy Savagery

In the United States, Svetlana Smetanina reports, practitioners of pseudo-science have diagnosed “lack-of-attachment syndrome” and administered “Attachment Therapy” in children adopted from Russia.

“This ‘therapy’ has been recommended in the United States to suppress the will of foster children and make them attach to their foster parents. The followers of such practice already actively support and promote it in Russia,” Svetlana Smetanina wrote.

dvocates for children, such as Dr Mercer and her organizations, have described tactics carried out in Attachment Therapy as “wild and downright savage toward foster children”; “dangerous to children’s life and health”; “unbearable suffering inflicted on defenseless and vulnerable children, who live in custody institutions, with foster families.”

Svetlana Smetanina details footage from a video used on television that shows a woman ─

Forcing her adoptive boy from Russia to rinse his mouth with hot pepper sauce [and] forbidding him to spit it out; then

Making the child stand under a cold shower ─ as the boy is heard screaming and begging the woman to stop the tortures.

These abusive acts recommended and supported by pseudo-scientists against children, Smetanina writes, “more than strange methods of ‘education’ (more like tortures), should not be regarded as the fruit of sick imagination of mentally challenged individuals.

“Sadistic methods of raising children in the United States are ‘absolutely normal.

ut Advocates for Children in Therapy call the Attachment Therapy methods “the most dangerous form of fraud in the United States.”

‘How on Earth can the suggestion of fear, hunger, pain and humiliation lead to attachment, faith, love? How can [these methods] make a child happy?’

Echoes U.S. humanitarian foreign relations in violence gaining hearts and minds across the world

Supporting ban on
U..S. adoptions of
Russian children
Consequences in foreign relations

Late last year amid protests from officials, media and public, Russia’s Federation Council unanimously voted for a bill that bans U.S. citizens from adopting Russian orphans.

ubbed the Dima Yakovlev Law, the bill also imposes a visa ban and asset freeze on U.S. officials who violate the rights of Russian citizens abroad, and bans the U.S. sponsorship of NGOs that operate in Russia as well as the work of U.S. citizens in Russian NGOs. Russia’s Lower House also amended the bill with a provision to apply not only to the United States but to any nation that violates the rights of Russians.

Sources and notes

“Sadistic methods of raising children absolutely normal in U.S.” (Svetlana Smetanina, Pravda.Ru
Copyright © 1999-2013, «PRAVDA.Ru». When reproducing our materials in whole or in part, hyperlink to PRAVDA.Ru should be made. The opinions and views of the authors do not always coincide with the point of view of PRAVDA.Ru's editors), January 30, 2013, http://english.pravda.ru/society/stories/30-01-2013/123625-foster_children_usa-0/

Open Letter to ATTACh by Jean Mercer, PhD., Professor of Psychology, Richard Stockton College, Pomona, New Jersey

Overview to letter:

The Association for Treatment and Training in the Attachment of Children (ATTACh) is a self-described “international coalition of professionals and families dedicated to helping those with attachment difficulties by sharing our knowledge, talents and resources.” (www.attach.org) It also is a leading proponent for Attachment Therapy and as such has been a target of criticism by Advocates for Children in Therapy.

Recently, Professor Jean Mercer, who is also President of ACT’s Board of Professional Advisors, sent an Open Letter to the President of ATTACh outlining her — and ACT’s — concerns about the nature of ATTACh and its activities. We reprint that letter here with some slight editorial revisions.

As of this posting, Professor Mercer reports no receipt of a response from ATTACh’s president or anyone else purporting to speak for ATTACh. http://childrenintherapy.org/essays/letter2attach.html

“Advocates for Children in Therapy is an educational and public advocacy organization dedicated to halting the dangerous cruelty done to children by Attachment Therapy, its associated Therapeutic Parenting practices, and other unvalidated, pseudoscientific interventions for the unrecognized diagnosis called ‘Attachment Disorder.’” http://childrenintherapy.org/index.html

Dr. Mercer cont’

Jean A. Mercer, Ph.D., Founding Fellow, Institute for Science in Medicine
Moorestown, New Jersey, USA; Psychologist and the foremost spokesman for science-based and humane psychotherapy for adopted and foster children.

Dr Mercer received her Ph.D. in general psychology from Brandeis University in 1968. Her dissertation investigated the effects of vestibular stimulation on sound localization and was followed by an invitation to apply to the ‘Scientist as Astronaut’ program. Remaining earthbound, however, she began a teaching career that emphasized research methods and statistics. Her research in developmental psychology includes work on factors in the timing of human lactation and on pain responses in premature babies. She was president of the New Jersey Association for Infant Mental Health for five years and remains an active board member.

Dr Jean Mercer’s blog sites: “Child Myths” and “The Study of Nonsense”


“Russian Upper House unanimously passes ban on U.S. adoptions as part of Dima Yakovlev bill” (Published: 26 December, 2012, 14:48, Edited: 28 December, 2012, 14:48, http://rt.com/politics/passes-ban-us-adoptions-834/ 


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