Skip to comments.Rejected adoptee launches $7M suit (Canadian couple send 9 yr old girl back to Romania)
Posted on 02/16/2005 7:46:17 PM PST by FairOpinion
Romanian-born girl sent home after 5 months Faced poverty, deprivation as a stateless person.
Romanian-born Alexandra Austin, who was adopted by an Ontario couple but sent back five months later to poverty and deprivation, has launched a $7 million lawsuit against her adoptive parents, the Canadian and Ontario governments and Swiss International Air Lines.
The suit, filed by Toronto lawyer Jeffrey Wilson, is also a landmark human rights case that aims to eradicate inequalities in the federal Citizenship Act that allow foreign-born adopted children to fall through the international cracks, becoming stateless if their new parents fail to apply for Canadian citizenship.
"Internationally this will be a landmark case," says Wilson. "It forces us to look at the issue of `What do we, the international community, owe to an adopted child?'"
Austin, a slight, fragile-looking woman of 22, has been in a permanent identity crisis since she was returned abruptly to Romania in 1991, alone, at the age of 9. With neither Romanian nor Canadian citizenship, she lost entitlement to education, health care and the use of her original name.
The civil suit, filed in the Ontario Superior Court, charges her adoptive parents with negligence, "reckless infliction of nervous shock, mental distress and abandonment of a child." It is based on the income and benefits that Austin would lose over a lifetime as a result of the failed adoption, Wilson said. The total sum could exceed $7 million.
"Nobody should ever do this to a child," Austin told reporters yesterday . "I've lost my childhood and my identity."
Fourteen years ago, Austin was adopted by Ontario surgical resident Joseph John Austin and his wife Silvana di Giacomo. The couple is now divorced: he is a prominent doctor in Bellevue, Wash., near Seattle; she is a resident of Rome.
But after five months in the Austins' Ancaster home, Alexandra was driven to the airport and put on a plane for return to Bucharest. Shortly afterward, the Austins adopted a Romanian baby girl.
Alexandra was welcome in neither world. In the Bucharest airport she waited for two hours, alone, until she was met by Stephan Tinculesco, the Romanian "middleman" who had helped to facilitate the adoption. He returned her to her mother. But the Romanian government refused to repatriate her, as her original documents had been changed to reflect her new status as an adoptee. She was issued with a Romanian passport, but listed as a Canadian citizen.
Canada had accepted her as a landed immigrant when the adoption was approved. But as she left the country before her adoptive parents filed a citizenship application, she never became Canadian.
Years of desperation followed, as Austin was denied the right to use her original surname, and her mother had no parental rights or benefits. Austin was denied medical care or education, leaving her with only Grade 3 educational level.
"I do some house cleaning," she said. "That is all I can do."
The Romanian authorities have also refused to grant Austin's daughter citizenship, and the child has no right to state education or health services.
Joseph Austin refused to comment on the case, and cannot be extradited when it comes to trial if he chooses not to appear in court.
The lawsuit charges the federal government with violating Alexandra Austin's rights and causing her harm by failing to grant her citizenship urging that the law be changed so that future adoptees are automatically made citizens. It asks that Austin now be awarded citizenship.
The suit also claims that the Ontario government failed in its responsibility to evaluate the adoptive parents and to follow up the adoption once Austin was in the province,
They adopted a 9 year-old, but dumped her when a baby came along. Reminds me of the scum who buy puppies and then abandon them when they get a little bit older.
We give border jumping illegals EVERYTHING for the asking...
We give Islamanazi illegal combantants -- Constitutional Protection in Federal Courts....
We give convicted felons better care than this child received.....
The "Doctor" in Washington should be rendered a pauper for "dumping" a child on the streets..
It looks to me that the Canadian couple treated a 9 year old girl as a throwaway pet-- brought her to Canada then abandoned her for reasons probably having to do more with their lifestyle issues than anything the girl did. The Romanian government is also acting irresponsibly by rejecting one of their own who spent only five months of her life outside the country. What has been done to this girl is child abuse pure and simple. I hope she collects enough to get a decent education and counseling to straighten out her messed-up life.
"Joseph Austin refused to comment on the case, and cannot be extradited when it comes to trial if he chooses not to appear in court."
He's in the US, we don't have an extradition treaty with Canada? Not for civil suits? What the dilly-o is up with this? We don't want to be a Mexico for Canada, I wouldn't think.
Meanwhile, this woman was ill-served, most esp. by the gov't of Romania, which is a whole BUNCH of people, as British grammer reminds us; not to mention two slimes late of Canada, oh yeah and the airline, but I think they are off the hook, but I understand why they were named. They are the "deep pocket" most likely to produce some cash.
This is either a ruse or a scandal. But I wouldn't mind seeing it litigated out.
This suit will be more honorable if the attorney gets paid only for his/her time.
As it is, I suspect the attorney will get $4 million.
That's what it looks like.
I've known of similar 'black holes" cases like this. Bureaucracy is mindless
But I thought that our socialist neighbors to the north were people who want to take care of everyone from cradle to grave with freebies galore. Canadian beaurocracy a failure? No way! I refuse to believe that the benign benefactors in Ottawa would ever do this to a child! Must be some other Canada. (sarcasm off)
Unbelievable story. Hope she wins.