. This is our story of what happened to myself & my wife Vanessa Dupree of Harrisburg Pa. We decided to adopt children after two of our three left home, one relocated to Dover Delaware and the other went off to college. My wife and I agreed that we wanted to help where help was needed the most, so we went through all the training required by law in Pennsylvania and Dauphin County.
The agency we chose to assist us is called Rejoice Adoption & Foster Care Agency. They showed us many children’s photos and background information of each child. We chose a cute little girl named Kanai Brown from Ohio. We knew she had some problems, her former foster mother had in her report of her, lying, stealing and setting fires. She had also been in foster care since age 2, she was at that time in a foster care home where her foster mother had adopted her biological brother but refused to adopt her due to her behavior problems. A month before meeting Kanai she was matched for adoption with another family. She was taken home with that family on two weekend visits, and they changed their minds one day before she was to go live with them for good, so we knew she had some problems.
Our intentions at that time was to adopt Kanai and then adopt her older 13-year old sister named Kimmisa soon after that. After Kanai had been with us about 3 months, in September 2004 we made contact with the Ohio about adopting Kimmisa: at that time Mr.John Roberts her caseworker had informed me that Kimmisa had recently attacked a foster parent in the home which she was staying in and could not be placed in a home at this time and that she was currently being evaluated for mental problems. So that was as far as we had gone with trying to unify the two sisters (there are 5 siblings in all).
Our adoption hearing for Kanai came up about 3 months later in January 2005; adoption was final in June of 2005. In June of 2005 we received two more foster children named Mariah and Jordan Gilbert, ages 9 and 4 from Lancaster Pa. We were willing to adopt them for as long as their mother Nyshell Gilbert was willing to give up custody, the children’s caseworker was a lady named Karen Rosenberg. Karen by law was supposed to stop by our house once per month for home visits to check on the children, but at the time she had classes here in Harrisburg two to three times per week and would visit us once or twice per week. We all became very good friends at that time.
In September of 2005 Ms. Nyshell had a hearing to have her rights terminated by Lancaster County Children and Youth. Karen told us it was okay for us to come, so we did. Karen got up on the stand and talked about how Ms. Nyshell refused to take care of herself or her children. She also pointed out the fact that she had a gay relationship with another female. About three days later Karen came to our house and we talked about the hearing. She then told us that most of what she said in court was made up stories, things that just never happened and the real reason why Ms Nyshell had her kids taken was because she was and still is gay and she stated that the Judge knew the real reason also. My wife and I were very troubled by this and we then asked a few more questions about Ms Nyshell. Karen Rosenberg also confided in us that she does not believe that any child should grow up in a house with two same sex parents and to make sure Ms. Nyshell loses her case, she would always ask her where she was working, and then call that employer and tell them she is a convicted child abuser and of course, she will then be laid off or fired right before every hearing, which was a lie she was never a convicted child abuser.
The way Ms. Nyshell originally got involved with Lancaster County Children and Youth, she was seeking counseling services for her oldest daughter after having being raped by a grown man. Police advised her to do so when Karen first got involved in the case she quickly noted that Ms. Nyshell had an adult female living inside the home. There were also four kids living in the home. Nariah and Hordan were the two youngest ones she (Karen Rosenberg) told us she tried to get the other two older kids to say mom had hit them but it was to difficult. Neither was willing to lie on their mother even after several interviews, so she had six year old Nariah agree to a make up story about her mother hitting her with a strap so Karen used this as her reason for pulling all four children out of the home even though the older two always stuck to their story, that never hit anyone.
Over the next couple of months Karen confided these and many other cases where they would force parents to confess to things they did not do in exchange for visits with their children and then kept them because of their confessions. In January 2006 we told Karen we were having second thoughts about adopting Nariah kordan due to the fact that we believed they were wrongfully taken from their and we just did not feel good about going through with it and to us this is a lifetime decision. We just did not see anything wrong with her raising her kids with a girlfriend, although we (Karen, my wife and I) are all Christian, we disagreed on that one issue. Over the next month she came by a few extra times and tried to convince us to change our minds, even though we loved the kids just as much as our very own; we still told her no.
In February 2006 the children were scheduled for their last and final visit with their mother, which was to be held at Rejoice Foster Care & Adoption agency and be supervised by caseworkers employed by Rejoice. Karen was never involved with the kids visits with their mother, so we did not expect this time to be any different. We dropped the kids off at Rejoice that evening, handed them over to a Rejoice caseworker as usual. We came back two hours later and were told by Karen Rosenberg that Nariah said she was hit with a strap by my wife Vanessa, so therefore she is taking both kids out of our home. We were very upset because she told us she had used the exact same story on Ms Nyshell.
The following day, February 15, 2006 Karen Rosenberg reported the abuse allegations to Dauphin County Children & Youth to a caseworker named Denise Shay. She then came by Kanai’s school that day to interview her. She was asked all kinds of questions, mostly about us (we know this because after every interview she would come home and let us know). After 8-10 interviews in March 2006 we went to school to pick up Kanai and were met by Denise Shay in the parking lot. She told us that Kanai said my wife and I hit her with a strap on at least one occasion; therefore she was taking Kanai into custody. She also informed us there would be a hearing tomorrow before a Master Judge. We found an attorney that evening, Mr Roger Luguana. There was not a lot to say at the hearing because Kanai admitted in court she lied, there the Judge said she is to be returned home immediately.
Once the hearing was over, Denise Shay took Kanai and told us she will be right back, she was going to get her clothes and book bag. She came back out some 30 minutes later and informed us they were going to appeal and Kanai would not be coming home with us until the appeal is over (even though prior to the hearing we were told the Master Judge decision was final). At that time Denise Shay evidently went to a different judge and claimed I admitted in the Lancaster case to punching kordan (which was a lie). All of this was done after our attorney had left.
Over the next couple of weeks we were asked to confess to abusing Kanai in exchange for visits with her – we refused. About three weeks later the county judge, Judge Hoover agreed to meet with our lawyer Roger Luguana, but he refused to meet with us. After that meeting Judge Hoover allowed us to have visits with Kanai. We went to see her twice that week and then I received a call from Denise Shay on our answering machine stating that we were not being very cooperative with their investigation or in other words we refused to admit to anything we did not do, so therefore the visits must stop.
Prior to our next hearing in March 2006, my wife and I received only a couple of phone calls and went down there to sign papers a couple of times for Dauphin County Children and Youth, but every time we were always being told some sort of bad news. We were told the following things would happen if we lost: 1. They would ask the judge at that time to take Jasmin, our biological 15 year old daughter into care/custody. 2. We could never pass a background check again so that meant changing for me and my wife. 3. We would have criminal charges brought against us after that. 4. If we just sign her over none of those three would happen and we will have 30 days to think it or change our minds if we wanted to. Denise also said Karen would be there to let the court know we confessed to her everything, thus letting us know that Karen was willing to lie in court again as she did in Ms. Nyshell Gilbert’s case. Therefore we choose to sign Kanai over giving up our rights, prior to our hearing, knowing we had 30 days to decide if we were going to risk everything or not.
Twenty-eight days later we (our lawyer and us) filled out the paperwork to let the court know we had change our minds. About two weeks later in March 2006 Judge Hoover agreed to meet with our attorney again. At this meeting our attorney was informed we could not change our minds and we had to stick with our first decision where we must sign her over again, but this time the forms will read “by mutual agreement”, unlike the first one that stated there was a hearing and we were convicted even though there was no hearing. Even going as far as to give us only 30 days to sign her over again. We waited about 60 days on July 26 2006 to sign her over again, due to the simply fact it’s getting very costly, about 15,000.00 so far between child support payments for Kanai while back in foster care and attorney fees, for all three children. The worst part of it was here in Dauphin County they attach our wages, even though we were never late with a payment. They kept making the same mistake with the amounts, instead of taking out $800.00 per month, they kept doubling and tripling that amount, thus leaving us at times with less than $20.00 per week.
Dauphin County is not a good place to adopt. But since then the dear sent two people into our lives that change everything for the better their names are Myron Golden and Dwayne Golden, We will like to thank them for all they have done for us since our darkest days.