How Could You? Hall of Shame-Reece’s Rainbow Ukrainian Adoptee Selah Clanton case UPDATED

By on 8-29-2012 in Abuse in adoption, Florida, How could you? Hall of Shame, International Adoption, New York, Reece's Rainbow, Selah Clanton, Ukraine

How Could You? Hall of Shame-Reece’s Rainbow Ukrainian Adoptee Selah Clanton case UPDATED

This will be an archive of heinous actions by those involved in child welfare, foster care and adoption. We forewarn you that these are deeply disturbing stories that may involve sex abuse, murder, kidnapping and other horrendous actions.

For the benefit of the expected new readers to our website and How Could You? series, cases are placed here when any publicized (in media or government report) foster or adopted child, adoptive parent, or person working with foster or adoptive youth has experienced or allegedly committed a crime and/or been injured in alleged neglect which includes events that may eventually be classified as accidents. The reasons for this archive include enumerating cases by year and type as well as proposing child welfare changes to systems to prevent these actions.

From Rochester, New York, on August 15, 2012, Selah Clanton,8,a  newly-adopted special needs child from Reece’s Rainbow Ukraine program ,was strapped into a double stroller with her brother (also an 8 year old disabled child, biological to her adoptive parents) when her adoptive father Jon paused near the Erie Canal . They were visiting from Florida for medical procedures for more than one of their children. The family blog states that Jon is pastor of a rural church and they have 2 biological children and 3 adopted children. One is a special needs son from China and the two girls were recently adopted from Reece’s Rainbow ministry in Ukraine.

The family blog states “[Jon]stopped for a minute on a level surface, to check the time on his phone & the stroller rolled into the Erie Canal.” The stroller rolled down a 10-foot embankment into the canal. As Jon dove in to save them, a bystander ran into the nearby park and “on a bicycle, sped to the Roundhouse Shelter in Genesee Valley Park where a group of first-year University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry students were taking part in a community service event that doubled as a “get to know you” picnic for the students, who began classes just three days before.

“There are people in the water, they are in trouble, and I can’t swim,” Michael Wentzel, a spokesman for the University of Rochester Medical Center, recalled the witness telling the students.

Lindsay Wahl, Sarah Nevarez and Bridget Hughes stepped forward and ran with Dr. David Lambert, senior associate dean of medical education, to the water. They couldn’t find the three in the water at first; they’d floated some distance down the canal.

When they did locate the Clantons, Hughes, 22, of Williamsville and Wahl, 23, an accomplished swimmer from Pittsford Sutherland High School who is also trained as an emergency medical technician, jumped into the water and swam to the stroller and to Clanton.

Wahl was able to remove Sam and swim with him to the steep wall.

By then, Dondorfer, a cardiopulmonary resuscitation trainer at the police academy, was waiting and took the child.

He performed mouth-to-mouth on the boy and was able to get him breathing again, said  Sgt. Justin Collins.

Nearby, Hughes and Clanton worked toward getting Selah  up to the path where Lambert, Nevarez, 25, also of Pittsford, and Alliet, were waiting.

That rescue proved more difficult because Selah was strapped into the overturned stroller and because her location was near a large cement wall with a lot of foliage, officials said.

Eventually, with the additional help of Rural/Metro Ambulance Services personnel and  firefighters, they were pulled from the water.

Both children were injured, having spent considerable time underwater while in the stroller, officers said, ” according to Democrat and Chronicle.

Democrat and Chronicle also states that “dozens of police officers, firefighters and Rural/Metro were on scene for several hours after the event.

Among those investigating was a team from the department’s homicide investigation unit. Police would not elaborate on the team’s role in the investigation, but said it was standard procedure for an incident of this nature.”

The family has issued a public thanks to those medical students and police officers who risked their lives to save the children.

Sam, the biological child, is out of the hospital and expected to make a full recovery.

Selah, the adoptee, is still comatose on August 29, 2012. Her family’s blog details her challenges. Media articles also discuss these details such as if  she overcomes a serious infection (MRSA), she would need a feeding tube and trach tube to breathe-items not needed prior to this incident.


2 kids, adult pulled from canal after stroller rolled in

[Democrat and Chronicle 8/15/12 by John Hand]

Officers Involved in Canal Rescue Talk About Incident

[Your News Now 8/16/12 by Seth Voorhees]
Zephyrhills pastor loses stroller, children roll into N.Y. canal

[Bay News 9 8/17/12]

Family’s public blog mentioned in articles

Two separate drowning incidents shock Tampa Bay headlines

[The Global Dispatch 8/20/12 by Brandon Jones]

Mom: Daughter pulled from canal has neurological damage

[The Tampa Tribune 8/23/12 by Ronnie Blair]

Zephyrhills child rescued from Erie Canal tests positive for MRSA, says mom

[ABC Action News 8/26/12 by Jacqueline Ingles]

REFORM Puzzle Pieces

 In this case, placing two special needs children at once again needs to be looked at as does the entire operation of Reece’s Rainbow. We are firmly against this placing policy and discuss it in depth in this post which also discusses Reece’s Rainbow. I don’t want to hear about how this situation was “God’s will.”

We would be remiss if we did not mention Nicolai Emelyantsev’s death case from Reece’s Rainbow [Pound Pup Legacy case file]when it comes to a continuation of no accountability.

Update: According to the family’s blog, Selah did have a trach tube and feeding tube placed and has had som etype of corneal response but still is having swings in blood pressure. They are encouraging others to internationally adopt and mention that they originally wanted to adopt 3 more kids before this incident.

“Doctors have told Jon and Yvonne Clanton that the progress their daughter has made to this point is probably all they can expect.

When Selah and Sam, both 8, fell into the canal last month, her parents say Selah was underwater for 30 minutes.

“She suffered more and her heartbeat prevented more, therefore the brain damage occurred to a greater degree,” Jon Clanton says.

Sam is fine. His parents say he’s back to the little boy he was before the stroller he and Selah were riding in accidentally fell into the canal.

“There’s times I lean over the bed when I’m alone with Selah in that hospital room and I say honey, I’m sorry… Daddy loves you Selah,” Jon says. “My wife and I are on the same page when it comes to our faith in Jesus Christ. We know one day healing will come– full healing.”

Now that Selah is breathing on her own, the family is making plans to return to Florida sometime in the next month or so. They’ll be transferring her to a hospital there.

“She’ll be there for awhile then we’ll have to figure out how we’re going to rearrange our home. We have a little house. She has to have her own room where she can have nursing care.There will be some nursing care involved,” Yvonne says.

This has been a tough ordeal for the family, and they have mixed emotions about leaving Rochester. They say the outpouring of love has been tremendous. The family is preparing for the long road ahead, and the promise they made when they adopted Selah and their other daughter Sarah.

“If I didn’t believe in eternity, if I didn’t believe life is but a vapor, yeah I would definitely want to throw in the towel and run as far as I could because it’s hard,” says Yvonne. “Our promise to the judge in the Ukraine was that we would love these little children and care for them their whole life and we will not break our promise or change our promise.”

The Clantons recounted many of the ways the Rochester community has supported them, from letters and cards to a shopping spree for the whole family at Macy’s because they had only brought shorts and summer clothes on their trip to Rochester. One night while having dinner at a local restaurant another family paid for their dinner. That’s just some of the kindness the family shared with News10NBC.

Their only request is for your continued prayers for Selah.”


Family reflects on month since tragic canal accident

[WHEC 9/12/12]

“The Good Samaritans who helped to pull two young children from the Erie Canal last month are being honored.

Medical students Lindsay Wahl, Sarah Nevaraz and Bridget Hughes, along with U of R professor Dr. David Lambert and Rochester Police Officers Paul Dondorfer and Adam Alliet will receive the third annual Camp Good Days and Special Times “Courage Award.”

The award is part of the Camp’s Courage Bowl.

The group pulled the two 8-year-olds, Sam and Selah Clanton, to safety after the stroller they were in accidentally rolled into the canal.

Sam has recovered but his sister, Selah, suffered brain damage and has been at Golisano Children’s Hospital since.

The group of honorees will receive the award during the Courage Bowl football game this Saturday[September 15, 2012]”

Good Samaritans in Erie Canal rescue to be honored by Camp Good Days

[WHEC 9/13/12]

“During their trip in August, Jon was walking with his daughter, 8-year-old Selah and son, 8-year-old Sam in a stroller along the Erie Canal behind the Ronald McDonald House. However, the stroller got away from him and went into the canal.
Jon jumped into the water trying to hold his children above the surface. Three U of R medical students came to the rescue after they jumped in to save the children. They grabbed the children and performed CPR until medics got to the scene.
“They were willing to jump into an old, polluted canal and come to a man on a limb, holding a stroller,” says Jon. “Without hesitation, they swam to me and rescued my children. If they hadn’t we wouldn’t be here talking about what we’re going to do with our children.”
Sam suffered minor injuries but Selah’s injuries were grave. The Clantons say her heart had stopped for 30 minutes. Since the accident, she has had very little activity to her brain.
“We definitely miss her and [her siblings] miss her,” says Yvonne. “We’re coming to terms that life is going to be different, but it’s still going to be our life and we’re still going to go on. We’re going to make things as good for her has possible.”
Selah is able to breath on her own thanks to a tracheostomy, a surgical procedure which creates a hole in the windpipe.
Despite Selah’s severe nervous system injuries, the Clantons say they never worried about making a difficult decision. They plan to give Seleh the best life they can.
“We just know that God allowed her to live and we’re going to cultivate the life that’s in her to whatever is the fullest degree that’s possible for her,” says Yvonne.
Yvonne says her family may be able to go back to Florida with Selah next month. However, Yvonne says she gets nervous thinking about it. She says her family feels comforted at the Ronald McDonald House and that the medical care at U of R is unlike anything she can get back home.
“We kind of know what lies ahead, but that’s a little bit scary,” she says. “We’re in a rural area in Florida and we don’t have the resources that New York has.”
However, the Clantons can be comforted by at least one thought. When they get back home, they will move into a bigger home. Jon is a pastor at a local church and lives in a parsonage. Community members in Tampa and Zephyrhills have partnered up to build the family a bigger home that will help accommodate Selah’s new medical needs. The family is thrilled and grateful.
“Just to think that people were thinking about us and concerned… Wow,” says Yvonne. “That’s really something. That’s amazing.”
Despite the challenges that lie ahead, the Clantons know they will be able to go through it together.
“Our family has to stay together through thick and thin. That’s what love’s about.””

Clanton Family To Receive A New Home

[WHAM 9/14/12 by Angela Hong]

“Yvonne and John Clanton say thier [sic]doctors tell them thier daughter Selah has recovered as much as she well.

Selah was mentally disabled, and sustained a traumatic brain injury when the stroller she was riding in, with her brother, went into the Erie Canal.

Her parents say they’re still holding on to thier[sic] faith, and hoping for a mircale [sic] to bring her back.

“We rescued that little girl from a mental institution,” said Selah’s father, John Clanton, “and then to lose her in that canal.”

Tragedy struck a little more than three months after John and Yvonne Clanton adopted Selah from the Ukraine. She sustained a traumatic brain injury when the stroller she was riding in fell into the Erie Canal. The accident took away the little communication skills she had, “she would kind of make little noises, and when she would do that, then you would do the same noise back and you would banter back and forth,” said John.

Even though she can no longer communicate, Selah’s parents say she can still hear them, “she does move her eyes down and look at me and make contact through her eyes and so that’s what we cherish that’s all we have,” explained John.

The Clanton’s say thier [sic]heavy hearts outweigh their fear of adjusting to caring for Selah, “I really don’t know how everything’s going to work out when we get home,” said Selah’s mother, Yvonne Clanton, “but I know that we’ll learn and do what we have to do, but it’s just that she has to lay there”

As they come to terms with a new life, they’re still holding on to hope for a breakthrough, “even though things look as bleak neurologically as they do you know we still just ask that people pray for her,” said Yvonne, “and that maybe god will have mercy and do a miracle for her.”

John, Yvonne, and thier family have been staying at Rochester’s Ronald McDonald House for the past five years as they have made many visits to Strong Hospital.

They say the support they get from the staff, and other families has really helped them get through this tough time.

They’re not sure when they’ll be able to take Selah back home to Florida.”

[This news station needs an editor! “thier” 3 times ? “mircale”? At least use spellcheck!]

Family Holding on to Hope

[Rochester 9/18/12 by Vanessa Herring]


  1. Part of me feels bad for speculating but my first thought when I heard this story was whether it was really an accident. I can’t help it, I am a natural skeptic.

    And I agree wholeheartedly with you RR placement policy comment. I still am in utter disbelief that a family brought home FIVE SN children at once.

    • Rachel, thanks for the comment. I am also wary of the story as it seems to defy logic but I trust that the investigation that was opened will be thorough. We have several drownings in our archive and they all are head shakers.

      The issue in orphanages is the lack of attentiveness and lack of caregivers and it is sad that this may be the example of what happens when the rush to save is placed above sound placing policies and this one has an outcome that is worse than being disabled in an orphanage.It is hard not to ask What if she waited a bit longer to be placed in the care of a family that was not already undergoing a lot of stressful travel and operations.My heart breaks to read that her birthday was not celebrated (the day prior to the accident) due to the needs of the other children.

      • I will also place my trust in the investigation and leave it at that. It’s just an all around very troubling story.

      • These two children who were adopted from the Ukraine were NOT in an orphanage. They were in an adult mental institution. And the family was not “already undergoing a lot of stressful travel and operations.” They went to Rochester to see about an operation for one of the two girls they just adopted to regain some sight.

        • I find it strange that you are commenting on what others are feeling. What does the type of Ukraine state care have to do with the canal incident?I am not sure what point you are trying to make.

          • Why do you find it strange commenting on what others are feeling? I know this family and know what they were feeling because they expressed it so many times.

            And YOU were the one who mentioned the orphanage, so I was just correcting your mistake. There is a HUGE difference between the care a child in the Ukraine receives in an orphanage and in the adult mental institutions. You should research it and maybe you would applaud those who are willing to save these children from that hell.

          • Strange because you only know what they say not what they feel. Again,what does the type of state care have to do with the canal incident? You are going for the Savior angle I can see. That argument doesn’t fly here. Thanks for correcting me on the orphanage. I didn’t realize that she was in an adult mental institution since birth. Usually that transition happens after a certain age.

    • You should feel bad for speculating if this was really an accident! If you looked into it deeper, you would see that it was a tragic accident and that the family is devastated. And they did NOT adopt FIVE SN children at once. They adopted TWO SN children at once. One of their SN children was born to them. The other SN child is barely SN – he’s blind in one eye because he was abused in China. He is a genius and completely normal in every other respect.

      • No, we have seen too many tragedies with adopted kids. Drownings and head injuries top the list. This case has red flags that may or ay not get answered. They adopted TWO at once, we know that. Read our red flags and child collector posts if you want to understand the issues.

        • I understand the issues. There are too many tragedies with adopted kids. There are too many tragedies with birth kids. Yes, there are horrible situations in which children are being hurt/killed after adoption. The same is true with birth children. It is the whacked out parents who do these horrific things that are the problems, not the process of adoption.

          • I am not sure you do. There is no screening or test to be a biological parent, but there supposedly are hurdles to overcome to adopt. Supposedly the “best” placement for a child is to be considered. That is just not the case in foster care or adoption. We in the adoption reform community are constantly being told to shut our mouths about the issues and recite the Stepford-Wives-Like”adoption is good” line. Adoption is a neutral term. Many people involved are BAD. There are no real regulations or punishment for those that engage in unethical or even illegal behaviors. So, to mention birth children tragedies along with adopted children tragedies is a false premise and downplays how bad the system and processes really are.

    • They didn’t bring home 5 SN kids at once. They brought home 2 SN kids at once.

    • The family did NOT bring home FIVE SN children. Read the reports. Two of their sons are their biological children. Another son was adopted from China several years ago and his SN’s are very minor. They adopted their TWO daughters from Ukraine. Stop judging them. Horrific accidents happen every single day!
      Accidents. Do you know that EIGHTEEN children have died in the last month, because of the FLU? Because, they did not have flu shots? Sadly, children get hurt and get sick and it is NO Ones fault.

    • I know this is old news, but it’s not old news for the Clantons. You can’t know the hurt this kind of idle speculation causes them. They love that child, and care for her beautifully. No child is more cherished than Selah Clanton. I guess my most important point I’d like for people to consider is, are Selah and Sarah better off now than they would have been in the orphanage? The answer is unquestionably yes. They would have a very slim chance of being alive and in any kind of decent help. One must ask the question, what have the critics of adopting families done personally to help any orphaned child, in any country? Almost always the answer is, “Nothing”. Quit taking pot shots at those who at least try and get your own hands dirty doing something worth while.

      • @Lisa – Selah was not comatose or ventilator dependent or in need of a feeding tube while she was an orphan in a grim Ukrainian orphanage. Had Selah remained there, she would likely still be able to move / breathe / eat / drink independently.

        Selah is unquestionably worse off for having been nearly drowned/killed and adopted by the Clantons.

      • Lisa,

        I don’t think you get it: It’s not about Jon and Yvonne Clanton personally– they seem to be great parents– it’s about a basically unregulated profit-driven industry which boosts its “sales” by guilt-tripping PAPs into adopting as many orphans as they can get approved for at once without regards to how risky that is for APs or the children involved.

        Yes, there were a lot of questions about the stroller accident because it did seem like a strange thing to happen until you looked into it more closely. When a strange thing happens which results in a severely-debilitating injury to a child, the moral thing to do IS to ask hard questions about the incident, not refuse to “speculate” for fear of hurting someone’s feelings.

        It should be noted that Selah WAS receiving physical therapy in the orphanage, with the result that she’d learned how to walk. This made her a far more attractive prospect for domestic adoption. Also, her healthy biological sister was later adopted– if the Clantons hadn’t adopted her, Selah might have been adopted as a sibling group.

        Either way, pre-adoption training SHOULD include teaching PAPs how to find safe mobility aids for their newly-adopted kids. One of the lost opportunities of the accident is that none of the news coverage raised the questions of the dangers of jogging strollers in general use. Here’s a story about some parents who weren’t as lucky as the Clantons:

        It IS possible to design strollers that require parents to grip the handlebar BEFORE the stroller can be moved.

        But without widespread awareness, consumers won’t demand this feature, so manufacturers won’t have any incentive to make it a standard feature. I find myself wondering which hideous jogging stroller accident will be the one to go viral and generate enough attention to get this situation fixed.

      • @Lisa — you forgot to mention that Yvonne wants a big house — free!!
        Yvonne is expecting the government to provide a bigger, better house for her family — Selah “needs” it, the Clantons can’t afford it yet they feel ENTITLED to a big house! No subdivisions for them!

        “So we are looking into some programs that are through the federal government but administrated through our county and a private organization for homes. Obviously we need a large home and one that is handicapped accessible. I just do not think I could live in a subdivision. so we are hoping for something out in the country that could be remodeled or built to our needs. The whole house thingy is overwhelming to me. I know if anything works out, it will have to be the Grace of God”

  2. An RR PAP/AP thoughtfully noting  that how they regularly break Ukrainian law for true Lord:

    “Thank you Reece’s Rainbow, for connecting a large network of orphan advocates and potential families, so that when we started meeting the children at Orphanage 39, we could quickly and efficiently share their  information.  “Tyler” is headed home in the next week with his new family, an orphan no more.  “Bernadette” and “Mason” are also headed home this next week with their new family.  “Patti” is currently enjoying the love of her new parents as they get to know her and wait for court.  Other families are in various stages of the paperwork process en route to adopting. God is very good- and I am thankful for what we are seeing”

  3. I forgot to mention the RR AP above is presently in Ukraine simultaneously adopting THREE unrelated kids. All of 5 months after adopting an unrelated ukranian girl.

    • Name:

      Thanks for the link. Boy, that one is deluded. Drinking the koolaid? The woman is in overdrive RR justification land. Out of control! Did it ever occur to her that resources would be better spent HELPING the first families instead of selling the kids overseas to overhwhelmed American families?

      Speaking of overwhelmed – and back on topic – the reverend was, IMO, feeling overwhelmed by the obvious physical and mental needs of his S/N children. And this adoption was a good idea because…?????

      • Thanks for the comment Elizabeth. I look at outcomes in these cases which directly trace back to the placing procedures. None of this was a good idea.Sad all around. The world can do much, much better than Reece’s. I don’t understand why people think that this group is the one and only solution.

        • Rally, What is truly sad is that you would call mother Theresa’s work pointless! Am I right?
          My understanding is that Reeces Rainbow has helped rescue thousands of kids from certain death. What have you done?

          Get of the computer and do something positive for a change! Will you?

          • What have you been smoking? Mother Teresa (at least spell her name correctly if you are going to invoke her name and she is dead by the way) has nothing to do with Reece’s Rainbow. I hope you are not trying to compare an unlicensed ministry that hires (and refuses to fire) people that extort money from PAPs and breaks rules in several countries to Mother Teresa. Your understanding of Reece’s is incorrect. You need to get to a computer and google. Stop trying to shoot the messenger with the extremely weak “do something positive” bit.

  4. The poor girl is not doing well, according to her amom’s blog and will be having trach & feeding tube surgery tomorrow, despite being minimally responsive:

    I haven’t seen any new news reports, so presumably the homicide detectives are still investigating. Such a sad situation.

  5. I am not at all defending Reece’s Rainbow here (and I never would, as I do not agree with their practices), but I must point out that they are NOT an agency, nor do they act like one. They merely list orphans for adoption and provide a place to collect funds for the waiting children/families. A certified homestudy social worker or adoption agency must approve EACH AND EVERY FAMILY for adoption BEFORE the sending o a dossier or reveiving pre approval from another country for a family to adopt. The country, as well, has the burden of allowing the adoptions or not. Get your facts straight people!!

    • Tam, we ALL know that they are not technically listed as an agency, and THAT is the first of a long list of problems with this “organization” They do EVERYTHING that a placing agency does. The placing agency does not have to be the homestudy agency. This type of operation should NOT be allowed to function. They arrange for referrals (in places where referrals are not allowed) They “get” medical info on children that they should not have. They arrange facilitators, travel, have funds that are tied to specific people and children. They have contracts etc. ALL of these actions are the same as adoption agencies. But because they are not listed as an agency, they get to operate without oversight (not like state oversight or Federal oversight happens much anyway). This shows what a gap our laws have.

  6. WOW just read this about my family. You have no idea of anything…. first let me tell you this was a very unfortunate accident. If my website was read at all you would know that our adoption went so smooth. The children adjusted and we were thrilled! We expected some adjustment issues but had NONE! We were in NY for our bio son to have his yearly exam and we had hoped to get one of the girls the same operation that he’d had. We happened to be at the hospital all day due to the doctor’s schedule. not something we could change. The day the accident happened, we were devasted. We love our Selah and had enjoyed everything about being her parents. She was not in the water for 30 min as was reported incorrectly by one station but she was without a heartbeat for approx. 30 min. We do not know why she did so much more poorly than our son did…we so wish that was not the case. It would be a great thing if instead of being so negative that you woudl take the time to say a prayer for our sweet girl!

    Of course there was an investigation, and of course it was seen as the terible accident that it was! This is the worst thing that has ever happened to our family but we will love and give her the very best care for the rest of her life. We are already looking into various new treatments and a few studies for neurological issues that are taking place soon. We hope for some type of treatment to help her.

    Reese’s Rainbow only feautured one of our girls, the only thing we got from them was a very small amount of info…we actually used another facilator. We were approved by our SW, the US goverment and the Ukraine goverment and court system.

    We are so sadden this accident happened but unfortunately accidents happen…they happen to all kinds of families, adopted or biological…. We are careful parents, our kids come first in our lives, and they bring so much joy to our lives. This accident has forever changed our lives…we still pray for a miracle and rejoice in each small thing she does. We made a life long commiment to both girls and we will honor it the rest of our lives. We pray that she will prove the doctors wrong and fully recover but whether she does or not, we will care for her. That is what a family does….

    To say we regret this accident, even takes away from the seriouness of our hearts… either one of us would have given our lives for her if we could have. We live in a fallen world, accidents happen, it took a second or two…as a parent WHO hasn’t had something happen, that but for the grace of God could have been devasting? I’ve had so many people tell me stories of their strollers getting away from them, or a child running out in a road…it goes on and on….they were just blessed that in their cases, there were no consquences other than their hearts beating out of their chests and a renewed understanding to be more cautious. How we wish…..

    But please if you want to attack us, at least read MY blog & story so you can see the real truth. Most of the news stories had mistakes in them such as we are moving into a new house? First I saw of it. We do have a group coming together to build a new room for Selah so she can have her own space…it’s crazy that you thnk you can judge our lives by a horrible accident or that you can judge Reece’s Rainbow in some way based on this accident. We have nothing negative to say about RR and feel they are an organization that tries to give orphans a small vooice and a chance for a family to find them. We are not really in the RR community but are grateful for them.

    I have no idea if you have ever been in an orphange, I have been in two, the girls’ in Ulraine and our son’s in China….if you ever get the chance to go to one…you might change your tune REAL QUICK! It’s a hard life for any child espicially a child with special needs…you might would even soften your hearts and do something for orphans if you were to really see the need.

    I’ll be very curious to see if this is even published……

    • Yvonne,
      Thank you for sharing your perspective with our readers.

      Starting from the bottom paragraph of your comment , as you can see, it is published. We don’t need to “change our tune” about anything as we are adoptive parents who have adopted from institutions and other places. We do not ever,ever say that we want children in institutions. This is something that we have to continue to repeat because commenters come on our site and accuse us of all kinds of things. We DO feel that adoption is one on a long list of options for children and we demand that each child’s case be looked at individually AND within the laws of all jurisdictions. That is the basis for our 9 points of reform that you can read on our home page at Other perspectives can be found in our red flags and child collector definition posts of which adopting two at once is part of. These have been determined from an examination of over a decade of international adoption abuses.

      This case is here because we track every tragedy [edited to say “that we can find”] about foster children, adopted children, surrogate children and those in guardianship. As we stated in this post, we with our readers and commenters then seek to propose changes that can prevent future tragedy and that does mean questioning and analyzing pretty much everything. Yes, some of us and our readers still do not understand the specifics of how the stroller could end up in the canal. We would be happy to listen to an explanation.

      You may not be aware that many individuals have been individually tracking the placement practices of Reece’s Rainbow for years. Several have come on here to comment on this post. You know not what the background of these people are or the vast knowledge of Reece’s that they have.

      As a so-called ministry, they should not even HAVE placement practices nor should they be allowed to operate at all. There ARE other organizations that are licensed agencies that do follow the laws of Ukraine and other countries that place children with special needs. When we talk about other options, that IS one of the options that we mean. Keeping children locked in institutions is NOT an option that we are for. Reece’s Is NOT God and should not be treated as such.

      This case like all the other Reece’s cases that we know (but do not publish because they are not in the public realm and our policy is to only name names that are published ) VERY MUCH affect the future placements from Ukraine. Those include the large number of disruptions. We are VERY tired of people misrepresenting Reece’s as having only a few disruptions.

      We do wish Selah the best and it seems like she is getting the best care that she can. I personally pray for our entire archive of victims daily. That will not stop us from pointing out the changes that MUST be made. This case affects the entire adoption community in many ways as do all of the other cases in our archive.

      [Addition to the first time I posted this: And frankly we are very very exhausted by the utterly specious and bogus b.s. argument that international adoption is the only option for children “languishing” in foreign orphanages. PAPs who see themselves as on a “savior” mission are often the exact same PAPs who end up disrupting or abusing their children once the thrill of the chase has worn off and the reality of the SN kicks in. ]

      • From what I’ve read elsewhere, the kids were in a jogging stroller— i.e., a stroller designed to roll freely. Jon Clanton wanted to check the time on his cell phone. He couldn’t see the numbers because of the glare, so he turned away and let go of the stroller so he could use his free hand to shade the display. He thought the stroller was on level ground, and wouldn’t roll.

        I myself have experienced my mother’s wheelchair rolling on ground which LOOKED flat. I was thankfully able to catch it before it rolled more than a few inches, but the near miss causes me to be careful to set the brakes now. And the Clantons are from Florida, where if the ground LOOKS flat, it is.

        Exercise sites I checked stated jogging strollers shouldn’t be your primary stroller BECAUSE of the rollaway hazard. They’re exercise equipment, not transport. These sites also say to always use a safety wrist strap, which would have either have prevented the rollaway or alerted Jon to the stroller’s movement as soon as it began. None of the articles I’ve read about the Clanton’s accident have mentioned safety strap use or non-use.

        The Clantons may have picked this kind of stroller purely because they have higher weight limits than other kinds, and they had two eight-year-olds who weren’t able to walk for long distances, as well as a five year old who couldn’t walk.

        Still, I can’t see that is was real negligence as much as a lack of knowledge. One possible preventative reform would be requiring parents adopting special needs kids to submit a detailed plan of HOW they intended to accommodate the child’s needs and have it approved. Maybe someone would have pointed out the unsuitability of the jogging stroller to the Clanton’s, and they would have chosen a safer option.

        • Thanks for your commment, Astrin! You are correct about the jogging stroller. I like your idea about requiring parents adopting special needs kids to submit detailed plans.There are special needs strollers available and I know that they run from $500 to over $1000 apiece so it is a large expense and I am not sure that there are double strollers like that, but I feel that should be part of the preparation process to understand what the full needs are. So, great idea to be dovetailed into overall therapeutic training for anyone adopting a special needs child from anywhere!

  7. I am shocked and saddened that people would make such speculations without the facts. The father was not “feeling overwhelmed by the obvious physical and mental needs of his S/N children.” He was going for a walk with two of his children. This family was not in the slightest overwhelmed by their children. If you go to the mother’s blog posts from this summer you will see post after post about how smooth the transition was adding these two girls. ” And this adoption was a good idea because…?????” BECAUSE IT SAVED TWO LITTLE GIRLS WHO WERE LIVING IN AN INSTITUTION, not an orphanage where they were being lovingly cared for, but a mental institution.

    • I find it strange that you want to comment on how someone is personally feeling without being that person. We never said that we didn’t want these children adopted, but there are other options including other licensed organizations placing children in different settings including other adoptive homes. Reece’s does not have any “rights” to these children and their personal information. If you want to understand what we discuss here, then you are going to have to read some other posts and not speculate about us.

      • I just saw the irony of what you wrote and am literally laughing out loud. You wrote “you are going to have to read some other posts and not speculate about us.” Do you see the irony there? You are speculating about the Clantons – perhaps you need to read Yvonne Clanton’s other posts on her blog and you wouldn’t be speculating about their family.

        I actually spent until the wee hours this morning reading your other posts because I was so angry with your speculations about the Clantons. It is HORRIBLE that there are people abusing and killing their kids (bio or adopted), but that has nothing to do with this.

        And I can comment on how someone was personally feeling without being that person because that person has expressed how he was personally feeling – both before and after the accident.

        • Well I laughed out loud at your post because I have read their blog and it fits a pattern that we see every week.We have serious concerns and even offered her the opportunity to explain the stroller incident just this morning and did not get a response except that they were treated well by police and supposedly the case is closed. If we can’t get a response from the actual people, then we will wait for further stories and discuss possibilities. You on the other hand did not read a whole lot on this blog if you still have no clue what we do-it is not just about abuse and neglect (which this case does technically qualify for no matter the reason) but corruption, trafficking and needing to amend many processes. The sheer number of cases in our archives should make you pause and think about how you support the efforts of organizations that do not proceed ethically.

          • I did read a lot of your blog and do understand what you are doing. I agree with much of what you are doing. I just am very offended by your attack on an innocent family. I’m sure you have done good with your mission, but you have also done harm to very wonderful family who has done a lot of good in their family. These are not just stories and names, these are real people and in this case, harm has been done to a family that is grieving.

            I don’t actually support the efforts of any organizations that do not proceed ethically. I don’t support any organizations in the adoption community at all. I just happen to be close friends with Yvonne, and that is why I am responding. To stand up against the lies that are being suggested about my dear friend.

          • Lies that that adopted two at once? That Reece’s Rainbow was part of this? These are not lies. The explanation on the blog again does not make any sense and that is why my readers and I still have questions.

          • Yvonne has responded in her blog exactly what happened in the accident. She doesn’t need to rehash the incident here. If you’ve read her blog, you know what happened.

  8. BTW, the homicide investigators where there because that was standard procedure. There was no speculation by the police that the father had any intent to harm his kids. In fact, if you do the research, you will see that the police and the people that helped the father rescue his children called the father a HERO.

    • We stated the situation of the investigators in the post. And unless you are one of the cops, you cannot say what they were or were not speculating.

  9. I can say that we were treated with nothing but respect from all the officers invovled in the case. Yes they did their job and they should have! We had NO problem with the investigation, we all have seen terrible situations over the years. The case is now closed as the horrible accident it was.

    • That may well be the case, but a quick check of google news does not have any information about the homicide investigation being concluded:

      One of the news reports included a photograph of the location where the accident took place. It showes a paved walking trail that is very flat, grassy and GOOD two car lengths (there’s a police car in the photo) back from the edge of the Erie Canal. Two kids in a stroller + weight of stroller is likely, say, 80 lbs:

      It’s totally possible that turning one’s back on a big, sturdy, heavy kid-filled stroller that has big sturdy wheels (that do not roll so well on nice flat, grass) would roll 20 feet in a nanosecond…

      (It still breaks my heart that a kid who could walk and breathe without assistance in a bad Ukrainian adult mental institution or orphanage for EIGHT YEARS can no longer do either of these things mere months after getting home to their “forever family”. There are also very, very few incidents of parents dropping kids strapped into strollers into bodies of water from 20 feet of not-terribly-steep-of-a-grassy-incline away, but hey, accidents happen, right?

      The key question to ask is “would this kid have been better off in Ukraine?”; in this particular case, the answer may well be yes).

  10. I have been following this blog and must say that I am thankful it has opened my eyes to the reality of of the shady international practices that operate out there.

    I was looking into adoption and of course happened on RR, and after a lengthy inquiry into just what RR’s place is in the adoption process, I am left with a big gnawing question, and I was hoping maybe you can offer an answer to it.

    From what I understand, photolistings of Ukrainian children are forbidden and illegal, per Ukrainian law. I believe Russia also makes the practice illegal. Pre-selection of children is banned in both countries, and yet RR “has” these children’s files (they have said so, and so have agencies who work with RR). My question is, how do they obtain them? Ukraine specifically forbids intermediaries and agency facilitation, so how does RR get sometimes detailed info on these children’s temperaments and health histories, unless they have a “mole” on the other side who retrieves the files surreptitiously?

    My final comment is to say that I have no idea why RR is such a magnetic organization. Compared to the hundreds of thousands of children waiting in Russia alone, and available through a more straightforward process, the children they list represent a drop in the bucket of a vast sea. One thoughtful look at the Russian databank of these kids staggers the imagination and puts RR in perspective.

    • Danielle, Thank you for reading and posting. This is a taboo subject mostly because people are entrenched with the false premise that there are only 2 possiblities for the children-international adoption or stuck in an institution. Instead we feel that efforts should be focused on deinstitutionalization and enforcing and supporting UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. For instance Ukraine has ratified it and it need to be properly implemented. We are not saying that it IS being implemented as it should but it is beginning.

      One can adopt children from Ukraine in a lawful manner and there is a need,but this is not the way. The fees that people have to pay to these intermediaries are very high and out of line but many clients see that as some Biblical paying of a ransom.

      It is our understanding that there are multiple people who obtain photos from the orphanages and official files, so you have to figure that people who work there must be assisting. That is where the high fees go to for *some* of these people. Some are in it for the Savior mentality and I doubt that they charge $. I have seen postings where clients are told to NOT tell Ukrainian officials that their information came from RR, which is a red flag when a client is told to lie and of course it is the AP who is on the hook if they are accused of lying to a US official, not RR.

      Unofficial people and missionaries unfortunately violate privacy rights in many other nonHague countries too by snapping photos of kids and copying information.

      The director of RR is a marketing person-not someone with any type of degree in social work. That is combined with recruiting prospective parents who feel that they are saving the world (while disrupting many in the US and they don’t care about it-I have been directly told that I shouldn’t care that they disrupt within weeks of coming to the US because the children are “saved”). It really is mind-boggling.

    • RR are excellent at publizising their cause with endless YouTube videos with heartmelting music and it was voted best new Charity. Full points to them for bringing awareness to the generally unknowing public.
      I have been donating myself quite a bit of money ,as the pictures and stories obviously pull on your heartstrings.
      But I feel that these adoption which cost 25000-35000 dollar each child are not the best solution.This money would be better spend on improving living conditions for all the orphans in the country it self.Builing new Orphanges, get rid of terrible Institutions where the standard of living for the children is actually inhuman! Pay for better qualified and caring staff!!! Built nurseries/schools specially for disabled and mentally challenged children and staff for physical therapy etc. Most children are regressing so far metally because of lack of care and stimulation.Give the money directly towards some new orphanges to help a lot more than a few hundred who have been ‘selfrightiously’ ‘saved’ (‘because od Gods will’ ) by over the top religious do- -gooders.
      I am also totally against Reeces Rainbow encouraging adoption of more than one special needs child at a time,as I think that these children need a lot of attention to strive and a lot of physical work to look after, if these people adopt 2-3 SN at the same time,do they not eventually ‘crack’ with the pressure,is it not too much ,specially wnen they also have young children of their own?
      I read the successstories on RR and they are heartwarming ,but we do not know how it all ends in 25 years down the line ,when they are old parents and still looking after their adult SN children (the severe cases).
      These are just my personal thoughts and I do not have all the information from all sides, please correct me if you think that my thinking is totally wrong.

  11. I had to comment here to say how cold and insensitive your comments are. I don’t have any adopted children, but if I did I would be FURIOUS to think that someone was judging them any differently than they would my biological children. You state that you have adopted children….. how would YOU feel if say, your childs teacher were to insinuate that those children shouldn’t complete the mother’s day activity because they didn’t REALLY have a mom?? You would (i can hope) be irate…. so how then can you DARE to make a distinction between when and how and WHY an accident happens to a child who was not born to someone. I live in the town where this happened, and I can tell you, that while the canal path looks level it is NOT. I can tell you as a mom, I have let go of my stroller for a moment and am thankful that nothing this serious has happened. And I will never pretend to be in a position to judge another person. I have been taught that is a job reserved only for God. I have been fortunate enough to meet the Clanton family since the accident, and can tell you they are NOT overwhelmed by their children~ and treated them with nothing but love and compassion. ALL of their children! Those who were born to them, and those they sought out to love. And if you had enough courage to look in their eyes while you spoke to them about the accident, you would know~ without a doubt that this was NOTHING but a terrible tragedy. It had nothing to do with whose womb the children came from, who posted their adoption online, what country they came from or any of the other SILLY things you seemed to be indicating may have caused it! Take a step back from your keyboard for a moment and examine your heart… WHY in the name of pete would you spend your time tracking down tragedy’s that happen to people who adopt??? Since I have only biological children I don’t spend my time searching out mistakes other mothers have made…. It doesn’t make me a better mom, and we all know that just being a birth mother doesn’t make you a better mother. God bless dear Selah, and her family! When I think about her situation I think how blessed the sweet little girl was to have had a few months of love and joy with the Clantons. I think that she was able to leave a terrible situation and be a part of a family as she IS now. You see, she is STILL part of a loving family~ special needs or not, walking or not! Her family still loves and cares about and is sticking by her! So focus on the good things that come of life, of all the wonderful parents who open their home and love their children and leave kind people like the Clanton’s who have had their heart broken by this tragedy alone.

    • LizM, I have no idea where your line of questioning is coming from. What are you talking about a Mother’s Day project and “real” mom? What does that have to do with anything about this case?There are 2 moms when a child is adopted-his first mom and the adoptive mom.And no that is not confusing to the child. The pathway to adoptive parenting is of course different than biological parenting as adoptive parents are supposed to be screened and YES judged for all kinds of things from ability to take care of the number of children that they have, to basics in the home to income and more. And the “best” placement is supposed to be made for each child. That starts with Reece’s Rainbow in this case. Perhaps you are not familiar with this organization and the issues so that is why you ask, but maybe you need to read up on what this is all about…and not just on personal blogs and fundraising sites. You are not bright if you think any concern that we discuss here is silly.

      “WHY in the name of pete would you spend your time tracking down tragedy’s that happen to people who adopt???” In order to reform the adoption system, we need to point out the issues. You do not seem to grasp or care about ANY of the issues.Good things don’t need reform. None of this is good.It is hard to make it any simpler than that.You either care to know about the bad things in adoption or you don’t. It makes no difference to me if you are in the latter category.We are here for those that do care.

  12. Where my line of questioning comes from is simple~ you are insinuating that somehow, the tragic accident that happened in some way was because she was adopted to the ‘wrong’ family due to a flawed system. What I hoped you might see was, the fact she is adopted has NOTHING to do with the accident that occurred. She is their child~ regardless of how she arrived to their family! You are judging this family and one tragic occurrance and implying that the fact that this tragedy happened is because they are unfit to be her parents and was somehow related to the fact she was adopted. They are UNRELATED!
    Further~ there is a large difference between pointing out where reform needs to be made to a system and making personal attacks aimed at a family as is the case here. Best wishes to you in your pursuit, but for heaven sake leave this family be, they are hurting enough.

    • ‘the fact she is adopted has NOTHING to do with the accident that occurred. ” If that helps you sleep at night, great.We are trying to get to the bottom of what happened and we may never know. We have their side of the story but not any other side. We analyze case outcomes to point out what needs reform in this column. As we have mentioned many times, two at once is a big deal. You can agree or disagree with that. I really don’t care about your stance.

      • I’m sure the police in Rochester are more than capable of getting “to the bottom of what happened,” and really don’t need your help. They got to the bottom of it – as you so sweetly made sure to mention – the homicide investigators were there and did investigate. They determined that it was an accident. They stated that the father was a HERO! No one needs you to concur with them. But it is near libel to suggest that the parents intentionally caused this accident. It is also mean spirited of you to do so. Can you imagine what the father must be feeling, even though it was an accident; how he must feel so guilty? So sweet of you to help him out with feeling even more guilty!

        • We can hope for that. We haven’t heard from the police on the conclusion of that though, just from the AP. I did not say that anything was “intentional”. Stop being delusional. There are red flags and that is not being mean-spirited, just stating the truth.We are not here to be “sweet” but to find out the truth and to prevent wrongful things from happening to children in the future.Nothing we report in this column ever is sweet for obvious reasons. We have stated the issues ad nasuem in this post. By the way, this column is like any other crime blog column that tracks deaths, abuses and neglects.There are many.This one is told from the AP perspective.

  13. You did not saying anything was intentional, but you suggested, speculated, and agreed that others should speculate. “this column is like any other crime blog column that tracks deaths, abuses ad neglects. There are many. This one is told from the AP perspective.” This wasn’t a crime. Yes, you have “reported” on situations that are crimes against children. This one wasn’t and shouldn’t have been published as such. And it was published as such. Two of your tags were, “abuse in adoption,” “How could you? Hall of Shame.” You said as a preface to telling about what happened to Selah: “this will be an archive of heinous actions by those involved in child welfare, foster care and adoption.” You suggested the accident was either intentionally or because the parents couldn’t handle adopting 2 kids at once (I couldn’t, but they sure are doing great!): “this may be the example of what happens when the rush to save is placed above sound placing policies.”

    I am not at all opposed to your mission to help ensure proper practices in adoption. I applaud that!! I am opposed at how you intentionally misrepresented my friends who are innocent of any wrong doing just to further your cause.

    • Yes, we suggest and speculate here, hence why we call this REFORM TALK and not just REFORM. Abuse refers to anyone involved in the case (ex agency or judge or SW) that occured IN adoption not necessarily the APs or adoptees that this column tracks(we also have adoptees who commit crimes in this column too.)Abuse of power is often involved in these cases and I am speaking generally here.

      I don’t know that this wasn’t a crime as in many states neglect gets legally ruled a crime. Accidental drownings are often ruled as neglectful crimes. I saw one yesterday ruled as the crime of “wanton abandonment” for that particular state. 10 people ( 2 being children) drown per day in the US so there are many stories about arrests and the vast majority are more on the neglect-side of crime. Whether this one will or will not is to be determined. We follow cases as they unfold and we won’t second guess the outcome. “Heinous actions by those involved” is stated that way because the heinous actions can be from many different people. It depends on the case. I still consider it to be heinous to allow two unrelated children to be adopted at the same time. This is NOT considered in the bounds of acceptable by any social worker code -you can look up NASW code of ethics and is forbidden by many states and agencies (all the major ones that have been around a long time forbid it) for good reason. Yet, some social workers, agencies and countries allow it and THAT needs to be reformed.

      These cases are raw, emotional and it is sickening that they exist at all when the goal of placement is to be best scenario for each child.

  14. I won’t be back. I’m pretty disgusted by how you have portrayed the Clanton family. I’m pretty disgusted by how you call all simultaneous adoptions of 2 unrelated children to be heinous. Thankfully you are in the minority with that and many children are in happy homes even though they aren’t related to their new siblings. If you do the research you will see that “An investigation determined that the incident was an accident, said Rochester Police Department spokesman Justin Collins, and the case has been closed. Some police officers and firefighters who helped pull the Clantons from the canal and worked to revive Sam and Selah have become close with the family.” ( You have libeled a wonderful man & father. I think more discretion should be used in furthering your cause. The libelous words and hurtful speculation should be avoided. If your cause is worthy, you don’t need to resort to such low methods to sell your cause. Good bye!

    • Thought you weren’t coming back?I am disgusted with you too. We won’t miss you. We have posted what the media has stated and we have discussed the issues surrounding the case. Posting on a blog about one’s child is what should have more discretion. We post what is publicly available. I will look for that article about the investigation and post it if I find it.

  15. So let’s sum up, shall we? Based upon this incredible dialogue, one can conclude the following about the learned folks at Reform Talk:

    1. Social workers – instead of being the educated, periennally underpaid professionals that they are – are complicit, nefarious jerkwads who randomly approve adopting families for no reason under the sun (thus the smartly placed “puzzle piece” of Homestudy). Is it for the money? I’m sure the thousands these folks are making is enough to buy their ethics, because that’s the suggestion.

    2. Reform Talk chooses to highlight a story, initially in its infancy, to shine a light on “abuse”. Further, the folks here draw obvious conclusions to other legtimiately prosecuted cases of abuse of adopted children and then throw it out to the floor as, “Hey, we don’t know. I mean, look at all of these drownings that really did occur…here’s another drowning. You do the math.” They leave the reader to connect the dots, dots only a three year old might fail at, and then carefully step back and say, “We didn’t SAY that…but you know…until we have a gold plated statement from the authorities…I mean…come on, this is an ADOPTION that involves REECES RAINBOW!” Meanwhile, the case is long closed (and it’s not uncommon for this not to be published) and here we sit….”wondering” and “carefully speculating” because it’s “prudent”. Really?

    3. Reform talk once again draws a ridiculous distinction between adopted and biological children. Nowhere is discussed the thousands of biological parents who abuse, neglect, and otherwise harm their children. Sometimes – believe it or not – people have more than one child at ONCE! Twins, triplets, etc. With the higher rate of birth defects in multiple births, it is more likely that one or more of the children will have different needs. Invariably, these children would be placed in double (or larger) strollers. But it’s the “adoption” part. Adopting two children is bad because they are unrelated. The magics of genetics can wash away the sins of one and illuminate the sins of others.

    4. No one here has ever been to, or seen, the Erie Canal. That’s obvious.

    “We have posted what the media has stated [and haven’t looked for much more] and we have discussed [speculated about] the issues surrounding this case [that we are making far bigger than it needs to be because it’s an adoption.]”

    Fabulous work. To social workers everywhere, you are incompetent boobs who are corruptible and unethical…having two children is only bad if it’s an adoption…oh yeah, and we hate Reece’s Rainbow (actually that last one I can agree with – it’s substantiated, at least). Thanks Reform Talk. I needed some thorough investigational journalism, and this certainly fits the bill.

    • You are too funny!

      I will respond point by point
      To your #1:Some Social workers are definitely complicit in approving certain homestudies. They rubberstamp them. Yes they do. There is NO standardized training of social workers to do homestudies. That is one facet of our homestudy puzzle piece of reform. A second facet is that they are not required to follow any ethical code so situations of multiple unrelated at once are not forbidden by law in many places. In some places, it is. You have come up with a new theory I see about money and social workers. If the social worker works for the placing agency, that may be the case. There are many major adoption agencies that do not allow multiple unrelated at once-they must be horrid, evil people to you, huh?

      The most egregious thing that we see with PAPs and homestudy agents is that they homestudy shop. If one social worker doesn’t approve them, they go to the next and so forth. There is even a case of the heinous felony-convicted FOC owners who actually influenced a temporary 9 month licensure of a retired social worker so that social worker could approve them-convicted felons of crimes against children- and they were allowed to adopt in Utah. It happened. In Indiana a licensed social worker did a homestudy on an out of state male in a hotel room. It happened. I could go on, but you won’t listen because apparently to you, all social workers are perfect and ethical and everyone who passes a homestudy is worthy of adopting a child.

      #2:Highlight *A* story? We report all stories that we can find-there are hundreds of them. We have not made a specific blog about this case. Get a grip! We report all the red flags we can find and discuss them-that again is why it is REFORM *TALK*. Yes we do and won’t apologize for it. My opinion on Reece’s Rainbow stands. Whether it is placing 2 unrelated at once, FIVE unrelated at once or disrupting two unrelated at once within 5 weeks of placement, photolisting children that many of whom aren’t even available for adoption–it all is HEINOUS.

      #3:Again, you are too crazed to understand that there is no test or hurdle to pass to become a biological parent but there supposedly are parameters that must be met for adoptive parents. That is very distinguishing. We are adoptive parents and this blog is specific to foster care adoption and other out of home child welfare situations and industry-related topics. This isn’t a blog about all crimes against children.

      #4:You have no idea about our travels. Way to make something up!Yes we have posted what we have found in the media and looked up much more. Gasp! We are adoptive parents, not investigative journalists, but you are right that many of our posts rise to the level of investigative journalism. Thanks for that prop!Have a nice day!

  16. Name:

    As a matter of fact, I grew up in WNY and yes, I have seen the Erie Canal – the remnants of it. Especially in Niagara County. One could VERY EASILY have their child’s buggy accidentally “slide” into the canal. It’s not deep.

    For the rec ord, I have been following since 2001 the MURDERS of adopted childrren, focusing on the Russian children. Would you like me to name them? I most certainly can.

    There are patterns to these cases.

    1. Two or more children adopted at the same time.
    2. Many of the murdered Russian adoptees were
    adopted as toddlers.
    3. IF an adopted child is to be murdered at the hands of his/her “forever” mommy or daddy, the child will have been in the house less than a year (a few exceptions, obviously).

    Adopted children are different than biological children. If you think it’s the same thing, there’s that bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you. Adopted children and AParents are strangers to one another. AParents make the decision to bring the child into the family. Adopted children don’t “chose” to be placed with them.

    As for social workers being boobs, well, if you were Tedi Hedstrum and ran your own agency (Tedi Bear, Adoption Blessings Worldwide) you could just order up your own homestudy and LIE about how many children you have – and had.

    Don’t forget one thing. PAPs LIE. They LIE ALOT. I personally know a few people who LIED to their social workers about serious medical conditions in order to adopt. I know one single woman who was living with a man who removed all of his belongings from her home prior to her homestudy visits. There’s one family who was in the midst of “re-hioming” their Ukrainian daughter, moved from Virginia to Connecticut and began another Ukrainain adoption. THEY NEVER REVEALED to their CT social worker they’d had a previous, disrupted adoption.

    These cases have been going on too long for it to be a mystery. Adopting two sick children at the same time IS A BAD IDEA for ANYBODY. Why this continues to be promoted and touted is beyond me.

  17. Yvonne (adopted mom of Selah) is now encouraging folks to nominate her family for “Extreme Home Makeover”:

    • The interesting thing is that Yvonne Clanton was upset when Obama was re-elected on the grounds that she’s a conservative, yet she happily accepts and even courts donations. Apparently, she sees no discrepancy there.

      However, she can’t be faulted on advocating for her daughter’s interests. She got Selah into a Omega 3 fish-oil study, and Selah is showing signs of improvement, and possibly coming out of her coma.

      I noticed in a family photo taken after the accident she had a safety strap in use on the jogging stroller–and she had her hand on the stroller’s bar.

      She’s also stated that the reason Jon had to check the time on his phone was that his wristwatch had recently failed, and they had been “too busy” to replace it before the accident occurred.

      Emotionally, I feel the family’s pain over the accident, but I can’t help feeling that adopting Selah in addition to Sarah was a mistake. Sarah was the one Yvonne had bounded with, and who suffered from the same condition their biological son did. Their previous adoption of one child at a time several years ago (Shad) went well. They should have kept to a winning formula.

      • It is also scary that Yvonne cannot afford the basic renovations to her home required to accommodate a child as disabled as Selah without money from strangers or a TV show. She blogs that the family has no savings due to the recent adoptions.

        • I read the post and the comments… RR is not a placing agency. They provide paps info on how to contact the agencies that can help a family adopt. The pics help find families for special kids. It seems obvious that this family suffered an accident. Had nothing to do with rr or with adoption or special needs. This site seems evil to me as your goal seems to be to make villains of wonderful people who are actually making a positive difference. You sit back and criticize yet it only spreads hate. Shame on you. God bless large families with special kids.

          • No one ever said that Reece’s is a licensed or unlicensed placing agency. They are an unlicensed “ministry” that takes a LOT of money, and performs adoption process activities EXACTLY like adoption agencies, yet with even LESS (actually NO) supervision by anyone. Choose to believe what you want. Your belief does not make it true. We are here to share the issues and rally for change. Two or more unrelated special needs children at once in any size family is dangerous to the child. Period.

          • Moma,

            I don’t think the Clantons are villains; I think they were guilt-tripped by the Evangelical Adoption Crusade into adopting two children with severe special needs at once.

            And as a consequence of their trying to juggle too much at once, a moment of distraction led to a horrifying accident– one that the Clantons themselves are guilt-stricken over.

            The policy of not allowing the adoption of two unrelated children at once exists for a reason. So does the policy of requiring that the PAPs have the financial resources to support any children they adopt, without depending on the unreliability of begging for charity.

            Waiving those policies doesn’t benefit the children adopted. Nor the PAPs, for that matter.

  18. First, let me say that while I adopted a little girl whom we located through Reece’s Rainbow, I am no fan of many of their practices and policies, and have openly questioned several situations they have been involved in.

    But I am greatly disturbed by the speculation posed in these comments. Not that it is anyone’s business to speculate in the first place, but you are honestly saying that the father would attempt to kill his adopted daughter by drowning her in the Erie Canal, because he felt she was a burden? You are seriously proposing that this man risked his biological son’s life and made him endure the trauma of a near-drowning in freezing water because he wanted to quickly get rid of his adopted daughter?

    And while I agree that parents definitely need to seek much wisdom and mentoring before they bring home multiple children with special needs— for that matter, before they bring home one child with or without special needs— to make sure that they know the potential reality they are facing, I think it is a drastic overgeneralization to say that bringing home two children with special needs is always a bad idea.

    Moreover, even the suggestion that the “moment of distraction” was a direct result of the stress of parenting these children is ludicrous. Human beings make mistakes. How many parents let go of a stroller for ‘just a few seconds’? Luckily, very few have the moment end in such tragedy— because for the most part, nothing bad happens as a result of letting go of your stroller for just a few seconds. But since Selah’s accident, I have heard many, many stories from families who have the same stroller the Clanton children were riding in, and all of them have said that this particular stroller is a dream to push– but that the other side of that coin is that it easily rolls away. I think this is merely and unfortunately a matter of an accident that could have happened to any parent– regardless of stress, adoption, special needs, etc. We don’t like to face that reality. In fact, psychologists will tell you that it is part of the human condition to search for reasons behind accidents like this, and to blame them on something specific to that person’s negligence, because our fragile psyches cannot handle the reality that “it could happen to us.”

    • Just going to address one of your points as we have gone over the rest ad nasueum. Placing 2 unrelated special needs children simultaenously is beyond not normal, it is disallowed in almost every child placement situation from foster care to major international adoption agencies. That is not because they are mean or not Christian. It is because it is not in the best interest of the child who needs individual adjustment time.It is not a “drastic overgeneralization ” AT ALL.

    • ashleypmo,

      If you’ll check my post on October 18, 2012 at 2:22 am, I made the point about the jogging stroller then. I also said that experts advise AGAINST using a jogging stroller as a primary stroller for that very reason. The Clantons apparently weren’t aware of this at the time. The tragedy would have been avoided had someone simply told them this in required training for parents intending to adopt special needs kids.

      According to the Clanton’s blog, Jon Clanton’s watch had stopped working. He’d asked his wife to pick up a new one, but she hadn’t had time to before the accident occurred. That’s a result of being busy juggling the care of three kids with severe special needs which directly led to the accident. Jon wouldn’t have needed to let go of the stroller and turn away to check the time IF he’d had a wrist watch.

      I don’t think the Clantons are attempted murderers, abusers, or even bad parents. I think the psychological pressure from the “rescue the orphans by adopting them!” movement led them to make a decision based on emotion rather than reason. That didn’t CAUSE the accident as such, but it created a situation where such an accident was more likely than if the Clanton’s had only adopted one child at a time. And unfortunately, the Clantons– and Selah– slid into that gap.

  19. I cannot fathom anyone suggesting the adoption fees would be better spent on improving conditions in the orphanages…theses children deserve families. Eastern European culture by and large place children in orphanages if they are “defective” (words I heard while in Ukraine). What about the children who are horribly abused as our son was. If you have not personally been involved in adopting children from an institutional setting, you have no idea. These children are moved to the “Home imbeciles” (again, their words) as young as age 3 or 4.

    • The children deserve basic necessities,medical care and to live with their original families with support. This is what is not being done at all. Adoption is not the only solution. Unfortunately, this is the solution that was proposed first in most of these places.Adoption is the solution for some No one here wants abuse in orphanages or orphanages in a large sense at all. Transferring to Group homes with properly trained and vetted people would be one step for those that can’t be reunited or are awaiting domestic adoption. Again, there should be multiple options for the children, each individually assessed.Severely disabled young adults and children in the US are in institutions, including nursing homes, sad as that sounds. It is true. See UPdate 6, item 5 of our Russia ban post for the statistics

      • Rally, if you’re trying in any way whatsoever to compare the “institutions” that exist in the US with anything that exists in Eastern Europe or elsewhere, please…just don’t. The comparison is so weak, it doesn’t even hold. However, it’s absolutely true that adults with disabilities – often young adults who have suffered traumatic injury – are in “institutions”. Some are better than others, none of them compare to even the finest “institution” in EE. There are also children in group settings, some institutional or hospital-based.

        This is also the first comment I’ve ever read that actually admits adoption can play a role in the solution for child welfare. I’m not suggesting it’s never been said before – I’m sure if I pored over every teeny tiny comment here, I’d find SOMETHING – but it’s the first time I’ve read it.

        My next door neighbor’s daughter fell and broke 2 bones in her leg while trying to jump from a jungle gym. She has three children. One is adopted (middle daughter). Older son and younger daughter (bio). It didn’t make the news I guess because kids often break bones and it’s rare that they drown in canals. Still, I find the innuendo and suggestion that this topic has been treated with unacceptable. Assumptions about parenting are made, generally with larger families, and I suppose that’s natural…but it’s not fair. In this particular case, the family has suffered and we erode the humanness of the child who is forever changed by not-so-subtly holding the parents responsible because their family was too big and they never should have adopted.

        • Name 10:12 AM – Conditions in the US for the developmentally disabled, mentally ill and vulnerable can be every bit as horrible as in Eastern European mental institutions.

          1) Katherine Boo won a Pulitzer a few years back for a series “Invisible Lives|D.C.’s Troubled System for the Retarded” detailing “wretched neglect and abuse in the city’s group homes for the mentally retarded”.

          2) The Denver Post’s December 2012 “Failed to Death” series detailed the real, meaningful and ongoing ways the Colorodo Child Protection System failed vulnerable kids – 175 of whom have been killed while under CPS “care”:

          It is so sad (and ironic) that little Selah was in significantly better shape in the mental institution (i.e. breathe, eat and move unassisted)… before her forever family got their hands on her.

        • Um, you haven’t read a darn thing on this site if you think we are anti-adoption. We are adoptive parents and believe in ethical adoption. International adoption is the last resort. Domestic adoption comes before that. If you really want to be informed (which I sincerely doubt) look at what anti-adoption is and is not in our post at and the comment from an adoptee who also is an AP and service provider.

          None of US institutions compare to the finest EE institution? You have not read of abuses in US insitutions then. One of our commenters pointed to some articles. I will point you to this one that states 1 in 3 elderly in US nursing homes have suffered abuse. That is pretty darn disgusting and I would bet that you could find at least 1 EE orphanage that has less abuse than that. Actually some of the people who blog for their beloved Reece’s have put pictures of the clean insitutions that the children are in. And once again, we are for bettering all facilities and deinstitutionalization and support of bio families and foster families first.The reason you see so many comments about REFORMING things is because this is not happening in most places. First people have to become aware of what needs to change before it can change and your head-in-the-sand attitude is why things don’t change.

          Here is that elder abuse article link: “Common problems included untreated bedsores, inadequate medical care, malnutrition, dehydration, preventable accidents, and inadequate sanitation and hygiene, the report said” Again, in some states, children are being placed in ELDERLY nursing homes.

          2002 GAO report and sadly most cases are never prosecuted (page 8)

          Also, some of our How Could You?files are cases of abuse or death in group homes in the US and there are neglectful or untrained people in those homes just like in many EE institutions.

          Your comparison of this case to your neighbor’s child is ridiculous.

        • Name,

          And I actually came to the Clantons defense about the stroller accident. I have a background in child development, and all group strollers I’ve seen advertised in child care supply catalogs tout an automatic locking brake as one of their safety features.
          Here are some examples:

          I wasn’t able to find anything comparable for older children with special needs, because kids at that age are increasingly mainstreamed with a 1:1 aides who can push an individual wheelchair. IOW, there’s not that much of a market for anyone to develop such a product.

          Actually, the complaint isn’t that the Clanton family is too big; it’s that they adopted TWO unrelated special needs kids at once. Bonding with an older child from an institutional background takes time and patience, even without any additional special needs requiring attention.

          “…“Our study shows that the early stress of separation from a biological parent impacts long-term programming of genome function; this might explain why adopted children may be particularly vulnerable to harsh parenting in terms of their physical and mental health,” said Grigorenko. “Parenting adopted children might require much more nurturing care to reverse these changes in genome regulation.”…”

    • Jeri – What about the cases in which the kid actually received significantly more individual attention in a grim Bulgarian or Ukrainian orphanage (1:10 or 1:15 caregiver:kid) rather than at home with their new forever family that has 17 or 18 kids already (since daddy travels a lot for work), and soon to be 21 kids (just as soon as Mommy Unroe gets the 3 more SN orphans she’s already in the process of adopting home).

      – Or the cases where mommy can’t afford sedation dentistry so the poor kid has infected, abscessed teeth and horrific pain for however many months until strangers (from whom mommy is begging for cash via chip-in!)?

      – or when the forever family ships the precious child they promised to love and raise as their own to crisis indefinitely bc they are unable/unwilling to cope with institutional behaviors from the kid they adopted from an Eastern European orphanage/institution. I mean, whodathunk an institutionalized kid would display institutional behaviors?

      – or where a newly adopted kid is expected to share a teeny-tiny bedroom with 2 x triple deck bunks bc forever mommy and daddy have 9 kids AND are running a home for developmentally disabled adults who live in a 1300 sq ft house??

  20. I am struggling to understand what exactly you are implying in this post. Are you trying to say this wasn’t an accident? Are you trying to say it would not have happened if the family did not have multiple children with special needs?
    Articles seem to indicate that this was an accident, one that could have happened with any two children who fell into water while strapped in a stroller.

    • Jenny Ramsey,

      I think there was some initial incredulity about how the accident happened. However, a little Google research turned up the known rollaway hazards of jogging strollers.

      It remains a legitimate topic of adoption reform because better pre-adoption training would have made the Clantons aware of the risks involved in using a jogging stroller as a general-purpose stroller. Given this info, they’d have probably either have chosen a stroller with an automatic brake, or used a safety strap with it.

      Another problem is the two-at-once unrelated adoption. These adoptions are associated with more bad outcomes than adopting one at a time. Settling an adopted child into a new culture and a new family takes a lot of individualized attention, especially when special needs are involved. Trying to do it with TWO unrelated kids simultaneously is at least double the difficulty.

      Would the stroller accident have still happened if the Clantons had adopted a single child? Maybe, maybe not; it certainly couldn’t have happened to Selah, because she was the “add-on” child in this adoption, and thus wouldn’t have been there.

      And since John Clanton was strong enough to hold one half of the double stroller out of the water until help arrived, there’s no reason to assume that he couldn’t have held a single stroller out of the water in these circumstances as well. (Sarah didn’t like sharing the double stroller, which is why John decided to leave her with her teenaged adoptive brother when his biological son Sam became restless. Again, if Selah hadn’t been there, the question of taking her “along with” or leaving a teenager to care for two developmentally delayed children while entertaining a friend undergoing cancer treatment wouldn’t have come up.)

      Also, with one less special needs child to care for, the family may have been able to find the time to buy John a replacement wristwatch when his own quit working, and he could have checked the time WITHOUT having to let go of the stroller in the first place. (He let go and turned away seeking to reduce the glare so he could read the time on his cell phone.)

      • just for the record the other THREE children were with me at the RMH while we ordered pizza for another family whose child has had the same eye surgery Sam has had. The ONLY reason I was not with them walking as I am an avid walker is that I had had foot surgery just the week before. As the teenager is our biological son not that it matters and not that he was watching the other children Until the accident happened and I went to the hospital. Just to get the facts straight.

        • Um… I meant that Steve was Selah’s brother by adoption, not that you’d adopted Steve as well. My apologies for the confusion.

          But let’s be honest here: Don’t you WISH someone had warned you that jogging strollers shouldn’t be used as a family’s primary stroller because of the rollaway hazard during pre-adoption training? Wouldn’t you have chosen another option if you’d known that?

  21. OMG! Yvonne Clanton’s just blogged about how she feels little Selah is BETTER OFF for having been adopted.

    No. Just no.

    In grim Ukrainian mental institution: Selah breathed, ate and walked independently. She was not comatose.

    Shortly after adoption by Clanton’s: Comatose, trached, on a vent and fed via tube.

    “When I look at Selah, and now as I’ve learned all she went through before we came and got her, I KNOW in spite of the accident, she is better off. I’ve read things someone wrote about me on a blog and how they said if Selah had just been left in the mental institution at least she would still be the same child and be able to walk….and to be honest, I struggled with that thought myself…..UNTIL these new revelations have come out. Now I KNOW that Selah is so much better off in spite of the injuries from the accident. She is taken care of, every need met, usually before she even realizes she has a need. She has 24 hour care by kind nurses who anticipate her every need”

    • Yes I think Selah is better off with us with every need being met than in Ukraine right now. I have just heard of a bus of orphans from the area the girls were in who were being transported and were shot at by Pro Russian forces. One child died, 8 others were injured. Ukraine has told the orphanges that many needs will be unable to be met for the children.

      Also you are under the impression that Selah was very mobile before the accident. she had just started walking as a SEVEN year old and did not like to walk. NOW we know why her hips are misshapened by all the years left in a crib.

      Dear God we would do anything to change what happened but the accident did not happen because she was our adopted child, it was just a horrible accident.

      I don’t understand weirdos who say some of the things you all say on here. How silly!

      • Selah moved, breathed + ate independently in a terrible Ukrainian institution. For SEVEN YEARS. My bad, she didn’t walk prior to you adopting her.

        Five months with you? Comatose.

        Selah is, empirically, worse off for having been adopted by your family.

        Then again, it could be worse — she could dead like Tommy Musser!

  22. Mrs Clanton also likes to get rude with ANYONE who disagrees with her on her blog….;
    (This is regarding the nurse that was ordered to be on house arrest for possible Ebola.)

    Boohoo….are you watching this wonderful woman on the news??? She is quite the whining brat. she needs to be put in jail for her rebellious behavior! BTW do you know reports say she worked for the CDC and now her attorney is a White House attorney? AND by the way, Gov Christie is not a doctor….neither is the Ebola Czar….BUT Christie is doing what MOST people in his state and throughout the nation WANT!

    I’d love to know just exactly WHAT and for how long this “wonderful” nurse worked in Africa, I’m not impressed at all with her behavior. I don’t care what she did in Africa (although I have a feeling she didn’t do much) even if she saved 100 lives, she is loses it all by acting like she is acting now.

    • True Christians™ are allowed to judge everyone else, while at the same time being entitled to indignantly rebuke anyone who dares to judge THEM. It’s convenient how that works out.

  23. Yvonne Clanton has stereotypically awful things to say about the birthparents of her adopted kids and why the almost fatal drowning of little Selah isn’t related to:
    – adoption (yes, it is!)
    – irresponsibility (near-drowning by preventable stroller accident)

    I don’t get too boggled down thinking about their “birth parents”. Those “parents” did what they did selfishly. That’s how I look at their abandonments. I’ve read a few blogs lately that got all “misty eyed” thinking of the “birth” parents “sacrifice”….whatever….they sacrificed MY children and subjected them to hunger and horrors. I realize if the parents had not abandoned them, we would have never adopted them but did the people even care? I doubt it

    Again accidents are horrible, but to link an accident with an adoption….just is not right

    • Wow, is it just my perception, or is she specifically throwing shade at me for everything I’ve said on this site in an attempt to DEFEND her and Jon from charges of negligence and/or abuse?

      I wonder why she’s going after me– and this site– in particular?

      • Yvonne’s totally totally throwing shade.

        She seems to think Selah’s accident was an Act of God, not a 100% preventable accident.

        While I realise the Clantons were 100% cleared of wrongdoing in the accident… it is still very strange and SUSPICIOUS that the biological kid (Sam) was insta-rescued and UNHARMED but the adopted kid (Selah) ended up comatose. Both kids were in the same damn stroller.

        • Re: “… it is still very strange and SUSPICIOUS that the biological kid (Sam) was insta-rescued and UNHARMED but the adopted kid (Selah) ended up comatose. Both kids were in the same damn stroller…”

          I’d thought about that.

          Still, I don’t know if it was because of which side of the stroller each kid was strapped into, and what kind of leverage Jon had, or what kind of water current he was fighting. I wasn’t there, and I haven’t made a study of how you up raise a double jogging stroller for school-agers in deep water.

          I therefore prefer to stick to what I do know: Two-at-once unrelated adoptions are statistically associated with poorer outcomes than single child adoptions. Based on that, I believe that USCIS should immediately change their policies so that such adoptions are no longer granted immigration approval.

          While I’m at it, I’d require that there be a large sign stating that jogging strollers are EXERCISE EQUIPMENT ONLY due to the rollaway hazard, and parents should ALWAYS use a safety strap with them during their workout.

          Also, they need to purchase a SECOND stroller to be used at all other times– preferably one with a brake that automatically engages whenever the pusher lets go of the handle.