How Could You? Hall of Shame-PA Deputy Atty General Douglas Barbour and Kristen Barbour UPDATED

By on 10-06-2012 in Bethany, Douglas Barbour, Ethiopia, How could you? Hall of Shame, IAG, International Adoption, Kristen Barbour, Pennsylvania

How Could You? Hall of Shame-PA Deputy Atty General Douglas Barbour and Kristen Barbour 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.

From Wexford, Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh-based Deputy Attorney General and Ethiopia Adoptive Parent Douglas B. Barbour, 33, and his wife Kristen B. Barbour,30, have been charged with two counts of child endangerment against their 6-year-old son and 18-month-old daughter. Each also received an aggravated  assault charge against the daughter. Mr. Barbour was charged with simple assault  against his son. The children were adopted from a “religious organization” in March 2012.

“”The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) is in the process of reviewing the  criminal complaint and will closely monitor the charges as they progress through  the criminal justice system,” said a statement from state Attorney General Linda  Kelly released Thursday night.

“Mr. Barbour faces a felony offense. Under OAG policy, he will be suspended  without pay pending the resolution of the charges. At this time, our thoughts  are with the children and the Office of Attorney General will cooperate fully  with this investigation,” the statement reads.

Allegheny County police are leading the investigation.

The Barbours’ daughter is the victim of physical child abuse, including  abusive head trauma [multiple skull fractures], according to Rachel Berger of Children’s Hospital of  Pittsburgh of UPMC, whose examinations of the children was referenced in the  criminal complaint.

Ms. Barbour told hospital personnel last month that their daughter has a  history of banging her head, but the extent of her injuries and the fact that  she had no underlying medical problem does not support that, Dr. Berger said in  the complaint.

The Barbours’ 6-year-old son is “the victim of significant neglect and  possible emotional abuse over a prolonged period of time,” Dr. Berger said in  the complaint.

Doctors who evaluated the boy determined his skin lesions were likely the  result of ongoing contact with urine. He was experiencing weight loss at home  but ate voraciously and gained weight — without medical treatment — when fed  at the hospital, according to hospital personnel cited in the complaint.

The boy told a doctor that when he soiled his pants, his parents would make  him stand or eat dinner in the bathroom, according to the criminal complaint.  Authorities noted his room contained no furnishings, decorations or window  treatments: only a mattress on the floor with sheets.

Dr. Berger recommended the children be removed from the home and cease  contact with their parents. She told authorities the Barbours’ daughter is  likely to be reinjured or killed if she returns.

“I have been part of the Children Protection Team for almost 14 years and  cannot remember the last time I recommended no contact,” she said in the  complaint.”

 

Pa. deputy attorney general, wife charged with abuse of children
[Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 10/5/12 by Molly Born]

“Deputy Attorney General Douglas Barbour, who works out of the Pittsburgh office, and his wife, Kristen, were arraigned Friday on charges stemming from the treatment of their children. The Franklin Park couple are scheduled for an Oct. 9 preliminary hearing.

Allegheny County police said they began an investigation after the children saw a doctor Sept. 14 and the boy was admitted to the hospital. A doctor since then has recommended that the children have no contact with their parents, particularly the girl who the doctor said could be injured again or die if she remains with the Barbours, according to court documents.”

“Chris Capozzi, a lawyer representing the Barbours, declined comment when the arrests were announced Thursday. He did not immediately return a call from The Associated Press on Friday after details emerged from court documents following the couple’s arraignment.

Both children, whose names were not released, went to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh on Sept. 14 after the boy was taken to an urgent care center for hypothermia, rapid breathing and skin lesions, which a doctor later determined were caused by lengthy exposure to urine, court documents say. The boy was admitted to the hospital.

The girl was having difficulty breathing and her eyes were rolling back in her head; Dr. Rachel Berger found the toddler had multiple head fractures in various stages of healing, the documents say.”

“The boy weighed 47 pounds when he came to the U.S. from Ethiopia in March but 37.5 pounds when he was admitted to the hospital, police said. He gained nearly seven pounds during a six-day hospital stay, Berger told police.

When Douglas Barbour was told his son’s body temperature was 93.6 degrees, he reportedly asked: “Would that be from being in the bathroom, cold, wet and naked for an hour?” 

Officials who questioned the boy were told he was forced to eat his meals in the bathroom or sometimes stand there in the dark if he soiled his pants.

Attorney General Linda Kelly said Douglas Barbour has been suspended without pay.

“Our thoughts are with the children, and the Office of Attorney General will cooperate fully with this investigation,” Kelly said.”

PA prosecutor, wife abused adopted kids

[WIVB 10/5/12 by Associated Press]

“According to investigators, the 18-month-old girl is at the Children’s Institute right now and that she may have suffered a stroke from the five different bone fractures and the injuries and that she may be permanently blind as a result.’”

The video also states that the 5 fractures on the daughter were old, healing fractures and that the 6year-old son stated that he was thrown to the ground and hit his head.

Deputy Attorney General, Wife Charged With Abusing Adopted Children

[KDKA CBS 10/4/12]

They are scheduled “for an Oct. 9 preliminary hearing.”

“The couple are currently out on bond. ” [WHY?Oh, that's right Pennsylvania doesn't give a rat's behind about international adoptees with head injuries. See Nathaniel Craver case.]
State prosecutor and wife ‘abused adopted Ethiopian children found near death with skull fractures and bruises’
[Daily Mail 10/5/12]

REFORM Puzzle Pieces

Update: Based on internet searching, we believe that it is a strong possibility that the Barbours are the same as bloggers that go by the handle “Doug and Kristen”. Please let us know if it this is incorrect and we will update it.

They had an active blog and actively posted on other’s Ethiopia blogs since 2011. The blog name was calledtotrust.blogspot.com. Also connected to this blog is an Etsy site that still can be seen as of the time of this posting called MadeForAdoption. The link is  http://www.etsy.com/shop/MadeForAdoption/policy . On the Etsy site, there is a photo of Kristen from Pittsburgh that we believe matched a picture of Kristen Barbour from a media story. She is white.That Etsy site was last updated March 23, 2012. The description is “My family is on the journey of adoption. We  are bringing home 2 sweet Ethiopian children soon. This etsy  shop is being used to raise more funds for our adoption,  help other families finance adoptions, and help the orphans of the world.”

On other’s blogs, “Doug and Kristen” posted frequently about fundraising, discussed making and selling scarves and often used the phrase that others who were  adopting were “Servants of the Lord”.

In one comment on an Ethiopia AP public blog on April 19, 2011 “Doug and Kristen” wrote “…Our family is in the adoption process (we just accepted referrals for 4yr old boy and 1 month old girl from  Ethiopia – will soon publish to the world on our blog). Would be so blessed to be one of your featured families but we don’t have a fundraising to showcase at the moment – in   the next few months we will (I am still crafting the products!). …” This description of the ages of the children matches the ages of the Barbour’s referred children  that month.

You can also see a cached version of a February 2011 post from calledtotrust on the internet called “Homestudy and Dossier”. In that post, it identifies the homestudy agency as Bethany Christian Services and the placing agency as IAG (International Adoption Guides). You can see these two agency names attached to this blog  if you Google  exactly “calledtotrust bethany” (no spaces between calledtotrust).

Their blog description was “We are blessed beyond understanding. We are sinners, saved by grace and striving to serve the Lord daily. The Lord gave us a desire for orphans and has led us to adopt from Ethiopia. We are excited about this journey and how the Lord is working! The Lord does not call us to be comfortable, but to trust Him completely.”

A small update contains an interview with  an “adoption consultant” from Los Angeles as follows:

“”Sally Amete, an adoption consultant in Los Angeles, told Bikyamasr.com that “there must be new regulations and post-adoption procedures in place that makes certain that the adoptive parents and children are finding their way.”

She added that “too often parents cannot manage the children because they have no experience.”

She argued that courses should be taken by prospective parents adopting children who have no children previously.

“We have seen this becoming all too regular in the US and it is something that we must fight against so these children do not end up in foster care,” she added.”

US family charged with abusing adopted Ethiopian children

[Bikya Masr.com 10/7/12 by Brian Tersin]

Update 2: Hat tip to a reader who forwarded a cached blog entry dated January 9, 2012 from another family’s blog called Filled With Praise.  Link as of this posting : here . I do not expect the post to remain up for very long so I will describe it here. It is a photo of the Barbour family with their two biological children who appear to be the same ages as the two they were adopting. (like a double-twinning) .The names of the referred children are visible in cards they are holding up but we will not mention the names unless the media prints them. The couple in this fundraising spotlight post explains that they were married in 2005 and that they only had to wait 2 weeks for their referrals. Their first court date was July 2011 and passed court in November 15, 2011. They were raising money for travel and final paperwork expenses in this posting.

Added: Another line that is important is that they claim that their court papers were lost and that is why the final court passing occurred in November. “Lost court papers” seems to be a common issue in adoptions with certain Ethiopia agencies. This is a red flag.

Update 3: ”A Pennsylvania Deputy Attorney General and his wife were scheduled to appear Tuesday in Leetsdale District Court, but the preliminary hearing for the Franklin Park couple has been postponed to Oct. 23.

Allegheny County and Franklin Park police charged Douglas Barbour, 33, and his wife, Kristen Barbour, 30, of Cole Road, last week with two counts each of endangering the welfare of children and one count each of aggravated assault. Douglas Barbour is also charged with simple assault, court documents show.

Barbour has been suspended from his state job without pay, Attorney General Linda Kelly said in a statement.

The couple is accused of abusing an 18-month old girl and 6-year-old boy they adopted from Ethiopia in March, according to a criminal complaint filed by county police.

An investigation began Sept. 29 after the children were treated at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, authorities said.

The couple posted 10 percent of $25,000 percentage bonds after their arraignments Friday morning and have retained a private attorney.”

Hearing Postponed in Franklin Park Child Abuse Case

[North Allegheny Patch 10/9/12 by Larissa Dudkiewicz]

Update 4: Typical!

“A judge says a state deputy attorney general and his wife can have supervised visits with their two young biological children, but not two adopted children from Ethiopia who the western Pennsylvania couple is charged with abusing.

Allegheny County prosecutors objected to any visits when 33-year-old Douglas Barbour and his wife, 30-year-old Kristen Barbour, appeared in court for a bond hearing Monday.

The couple was charged earlier this month with child endangerment and assault for not properly feeding their adopted 6-year-old son and head injuries suffered by their 18-month-daughter who, prosecutors say, will likely be blind and paralyzed because of a stroke she suffered as a result of the alleged abuse.

The couple will be allowed supervised visits with their biological children, ages 2 and 4, who have not been abused.”

Deputy AG, wife can see own kids, not adopted duo

[WFMJ 10/15/12  by Associated Press]

“Barbour has been suspended from his state job without pay, Attorney General Linda Kelly said in a statement after the couple’s arrest Oct. 4.

The Barbours were in court to ask for visitation and also to have their $25,000 bond reduced, the Post Gazette reported.

Judge Jeffrey A. Manning denied the bond reduction request, and said the parents would be permitted visitation only with the biological children, aged 2 and 4, but it must be approved by the judge who is presiding over the matter in family court, the PG reported.

There have been no allegations of abuse against those two children.

The boy was admitted to the Oakland hospital Sept. 14 after Douglas Barbour initially took him to a Children’s Hospital Express Care clinic in Wexford for treatment of a urinary tract infection, according to the complaint.

At the clinic, the boy’s body temperature was recorded as 93.6 degrees, prompting concerns about hypothermia, police said. According to the complaint. Douglas Barbour asked clinic workers, “Would that be from being in the bathroom, cold, wet and naked for an hour?”

A doctor at Express Care advised Barbour to take the boy immediately to Children’s Hospital, where he was admitted. At that time, his weight was recorded as about 37 pounds, according to the complaint. The boy’s weight had been recorded as 46 pounds, 8 ounces when he entered the United States in March.

Within five days of his admission to Children’s on Sept. 14, the boy gained 7 pounds without specific treatment other than being permitted to eat, police said. Investigators also noted that the boy suffered from skin lesions that doctors determined were caused by ongoing contact with urine.

At the same time the boy was being treated at Children’s on Sept. 14, Kristen Barbour called 911 from the couple’s home and asked for an ambulance, saying the girl’s eyes had rolled back in her head and that she was shaking and having difficulty breathing, police said in the complaint. An ambulance took the girl to Children’s, where Kristin Barbour told workers that the girl had a history of banging her head, according to the complaint.

The girl had not been ill recently, and police said they found no record of medical problems or emergency-room treatment involving her. Dr. Rachel Berger determined at Children’s that the girl had suffered multiple hemorrhages, fractures and injuries to both eyes and had been a victim of physical abuse, including abusive head trauma, according to the complaint.

The doctor recommended that the girl not be returned to the Barbours’ home, and that the boy be permitted no contact with the Barbours, police said in the complaint.

“I have been part of the (hospital) child protection team for almost 14 years and cannot remember the last time I recommended no contact,” the doctor wrote in a report cited by police.

The Barbour’s attorney, Christopher Capozzi, told the Post Gazette his clients “vehemently deny these charges.”

Update: Franklin Park Couple Accused of Abusing Adopted Children Ask Judge for Visitation Rights

[NorthHills Patch 10/15/12 by Richard Cook, Cindi Lash, and Larissa Dudkiewicz]

Update 5: The preliminary hearing was supposed to be at 1:30 PM EST on October 23, 2012  but was again postponed The new hearing date has not been announced.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette did a story on the case at Adoption saga ends with charges for Franklin Park couple

[The PIttsburgh Post Gazette 10/21/12 by Molly Born and Paula Reed Ward ]

The article indicates that they spent two years trying to domestically adopt before switching to Ethiopia in 2011. They say that the personal blog had 200 entries. They mistakenly state that Bethany was “the agency”. Bethany was the homestudy agency and IAG (International Adoption Guides) was the placing agency.

They state “They are scheduled for a preliminary hearing Tuesday [but was postponed again], accused of starving  their 6-year-old son and leaving him with lesions from being kept in  urine-soaked clothing for long periods of time. The 18-month-old girl will  likely be blinded in one eye and paralyzed after suffering abusive head trauma.  Their attorney, Christopher Capozzi, declined to comment.

The two biological children were unharmed.”

They interview Adam Pertman of EBD for some general blah blah blah statements about adoption prep. He does not lay any blame with the agencies. Typical!

“Married in 2005, Douglas and Kristen Barbour live in a two-story home with a  big back yard in the North Hills that they bought in June 2006 for $177,500.

Kristen Barbour, 30, is a college-educated, stay-at-home mom, who blogged  about cooking and craft projects and lavished words of love and praise on her  family and God.

Douglas Barbour, 33, a graduate of University of Michigan Law School, is a  state deputy attorney general — now suspended without pay. The family is active  at Christ Bible Church in Cranberry.

As a teen, Mrs. Barbour had already expressed interest in adoption. She  worked summers with missionaries in two orphanages, according to her blog  posts.

The couple planned on adopting from the start: “After Doug and I got married,  we weren’t exactly sure how the Lord would bring children into our lives. We  didn’t know if He would give us biological children or adopted children. We  prayed for both means!! We weren’t sure what the order would be. But, we knew  that adoption was going to be in our family and we desired to have a mixed  family (adopted — both domestic and internationally — and biological  children).”

In a post by Douglas Barbour titled “Biblical Motivations for Adoption,” a  long list of reasons for Christians to adopt is given, including “Adoption by  Christians brings children into the covenant community and thereby enables them  to enjoy the blessings associated with that connection.”

As they forged ahead in the adoption process — with seemingly strong support  from friends and family and a larger community of adoptive parents — the  Barbours went to great lengths to assure their two young biological children  that they were loved.

The parents encouraged their children to pray several times a day for their  siblings in Ethiopia. They included them in the preparations and were sensitive  to the coming changes on them.

“Just as we are going through a lot of emotions and a ‘roller coaster’ with  the waiting, longing, and praying, so is this little 3-year-old,” Kristen  Barbour wrote in a December blog post about her daughter.She wrote of a bond  already forming between her biological and adopted children. “How can you love  someone you have never met?” she mused in one January post, referring to her  daughter’s recurring prayer that the Ethiopian children “come home soon.”

On Feb. 29, after months of planning, preparation and praying, the Barbours  got clearance to pick up their adoptive children.

“Praise the Lord!” Kristen Barbour wrote that day. “That is what we have been  doing all day!!”

She detailed setting the alarm extra early that day so the couple would be  awake and praying at the time when their adoptive children’s birth families were  being interviewed in Ethiopia.

“So much reflection on this last year … these last five years of waiting  … waiting on the Lord … longing and fighting on behalf of orphans … crying  … sobbing … turning back … disappointment … questioning … confusion  … and yet the Lord’s faithfulness was constant.”

In early March, the Barbours took a 13-hour flight to Ethiopia to bring their  new children home. Mrs. Barbour didn’t write about the whirlwind trip and  orphanage pickup until more than a month later, on April 10 and 11.

“The door opened and I saw [her] being carried in by her sweet nanny. The  tears were flowing (mine that is),” Mrs. Barbour wrote. “I put my head down to  catch [my breath]; this little girl. Well, such a big girl now. A 1-year-old;  not a tiny 4-month-old. …

“Then, at the door appeared our oldest child and cutie pie son. He was  smiling and gave Doug a big bear hug — as I watched them hug, [he] seemed so  much bigger than I had remembered in July.”

The family returned to the United States on March 16. In the first blog entry  made after that — dated March 21 — Mrs. Barbour wrote about the children’s  first few days in this country.

“In the last week, we have cuddled up with a child and gotten puked on.  caught puke in our hands. held back one another’s hair while throwing up.  scooped poop for sampling. and on and on. And each of our children have received  at least one of these ‘love acts’ from us this week (if not more than  one!).”

Then she continued, “Sometimes when people think of adoption, they don’t  think about the nitty gritty, get down and dirty hard times. And we are in the  depths!! But with the Lord’s help, guidance, strength and grace!!”

Later in that same entry, she noted that her husband would be returning to  work the next week and invited friends and neighbors who might read the blog to  offer help with meals, groceries or errands.

As the weeks wore on, Mrs. Barbour wrote proudly about how well all four  children got along, the home schooling she was doing and her first trip with  them by herself to a grocery store.

But she also wrote about challenges, such as the 6-year-old’s oral surgery to  take care of his severely rotten and infected teeth and the need for supervision  of Candy Land because the Ethiopian boy didn’t play fair.

“I would like to blog about what is going on, the good, the bad, and the …  well, the ugly … I guess,” she wrote on June 10. “But my heart isn’t quite  ready to share all of that yet. And, the time isn’t there either.”

Six days later, that theme continued: “Wouldn’t it be nice to read about how  these last weeks and months have gone … how we have grown … how we have  struggled … how we have been taught … stretched … molded … formed …  bonded together … strengthened … rejoiced … endured … Well, sorry to  burst any kind of bubble or false anticipation.”

The increasingly sporadic entries are still peppered with love and faith and  God, but also hint at frustration.

According to the Oct. 4 Allegheny County criminal complaint against Douglas  and Kristen Barbour, their 19-month-old daughter suffered abusive head trauma,  too severe to be from repeatedly banging her head, which is what her mother told  doctors at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.

The examining physician noted to police that the girl would likely be  reinjured or killed if she were allowed to return to her parents.

The 6-year-old told a forensic interviewer that his family would make him  stand in the dark or eat dinner in the bathroom if he soiled his pants. He lost  more than 9 pounds after moving to the U.S. and ate voraciously at the hospital,  without medical treatment.

Police said the boy’s room had only a mattress on the floor with sheets — a  sharp contrast with the elaborate decorating Kristen Barbour envisioned in a  blog post. After their arrest, Douglas Barbour’s father, Donald B. Barbour,  posted 10 percent of the $25,000 bond for each of them, and they were released  from custody.

The elder Mr. Barbour did not return phone calls for comment.

On Oct. 5, the day after the Barbours were charged, about 15 members of  Christ Bible Church gathered for an evening prayer session led by the Rev. Jimmy  Caraway. Two days later, he made an announcement about the situation before  beginning his sermon.

“What is happening is nothing less than evil. I don’t know how else to say  it. It’s nothing less than evil,” he said. “They, the Barbours, did a very good,  very biblical thing that was well thought through — they adopted. And I tell  you, this is not of God. … They need a vast amount of prayer and support in  other ways, and we as a church will be faithful.” A video of the sermon is  posted on the church’s website.

Rev. Caraway twice declined to talk about his congregants for this story. He  would not explain whether the charges or the alleged acts themselves are “evil”  and “not of God.”

A deacon at the church tasked with checking in on the family did not return a  phone message.

The Barbours wrote in their blog that they adopted through Bethany Christian  Services — which facilitates between 1,500 and 2,000 adoptions each year at  both the state and international level and was established in 1944.

The agency would not talk about the Barbours — or even confirm that the  couple were clients — but did talk about the after-care services it  requires.

Once children have been placed, Bethany conducts post-placement visits in the  first year at one, three, six and 12 months. It refers families who are  struggling to additional service, including counseling. It said its services  meet state requirements.

Dr. Mary Carrasco, who leads a team at A Child’s Place at Mercy, spoke  generally about cases in which abuse is alleged. She said many parents have  idealized versions of what their child will be like. “The one thread that runs  through every one of these experiences is unrealistic expectations.”

Mr. Pertman, with the Donaldson Adoption Institute, said follow-up care and  education are essential to having successful family integration.

“Some level of training services and education have to be there, but you have  to avail yourself of it,” he said.”

Hearing Postponed Again for Franklin Park Couple Accused of Abusing Adopted Children

[Pine-Richland Patch 10/23/12 by Richard Cook] says “The couple was to have appeared Tuesday before Leetsdale District Court Judge Robert Ford, but that hearing has been postponed. It is the second time the hearing has been postponed. Patch will report on when a new hearing date is set.”

“According to the criminal complaint, the Barbours are accused of starving their adopted 6-year-old son and leaving him with lesions from being kept in urine-soaked clothing for long periods of time.

The 18-month-old adopted girl will likely be blinded in one eye and paralyzed after suffering abusive head trauma, the criminal complaint stated.

Dr. Rachel Berger determined at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC that the girl had suffered multiple hemorrhages, fractures and injuries to both eyes and had been a victim of physical abuse, including abusive head trauma, according to the complaint.

The doctor recommended that the girl not be returned to the Barbours’ home, and that the boy be permitted no contact with the Barbours, police said in the complaint.

“I have been part of the (hospital) child protection team for almost 14 years and cannot remember the last time I recommended no contact,” the doctor wrote in a report cited by police.

The Barbour’s attorney, Christopher Capozzi, told the Post-Gazette his clients “vehemently deny these charges.”

Update 6: “A judge postponed a preliminary  hearing for a state deputy attorney general and his wife after prosecutors added  additional charges that they physically abused their two adopted children  from Ethiopia.

The hearing for 33-year-old Douglas  Barbour and his wife, 30-year-old Kristen  Barbour, of Franklin Park, is now scheduled for Jan. 18 after Allegheny  County prosecutors on Monday added reckless endangerment and additional  aggravated assault charges.

Defense attorney Charles  Porter says it makes no sense that the Barbours would abuse their adopted  children and not their biological children, who are 2 and 4.

Prosecutors last month charged  the couple with failing to properly feed their adopted 6-year-old son and  inflicting head injuries suffered that could leave their 18-month-daughter blind  and paralyzed.

Porter says the couple did their  best to cope with the children’s extraordinary needs.”

Deputy AG, wife faces more Pa. child abuse charges

[San Francisco Chronicle 11/19/12 by Associated Press]

“Among the new charges filed was an additional count of aggravated assault related to the Barbour’s 6-year-old adopted son. The charge is based on allegations that the couple withheld food from the child, said Douglas Barbour’s defense attorney, Charles Porter.

Porter and Robert Stewart, the attorney representing Kristen Barbour, said it makes no sense that the couple would adopt and abuse two children from Ethiopia, but not abuse their biological children. They say the Barbours are upset and frustrated.

“You can imagine it’s been very difficult on them,” Porter said.

Douglas Barbour, a Pennsylvania Deputy Attorney General, has been suspended from his state job without pay since he and his wife were arrested Oct. 4. He now faces two counts each of simple assault, aggravated assault, endangering the welfare of children and reckless endangerment.

His wife, Kristen Barbour, is also now charged with two counts each of reckless endangerment and aggravated assault, and one count of simple assault. The Barbours previously were charged with aggravated assault solely in relation to allegations of abuse of their 1-year-old adopted daughter.

Defense attorneys today said there was no indication when they spoke to prosecutors last week that prosecutors would amend the charges “at the 11th hour.” The defense agreed to seek a continuance to properly prepare for the new charges.

“We obviously dispute the allegations,” Porter said.

This is the third time the hearing has been postponed for the Barbours, who remain free on bond.

According to the criminal complaint, the Barbours are accused of starving their adopted 6-year-old son and leaving him with lesions from being kept in urine-soaked clothing for long periods of time.

Porter said the older child had serious issues that the parents tried to deal with to the best of their abilities. Stewart said the boy was defecating in his bed and putting his feces under the bed, so the mattress was placed on the floor.

Porter said Kristen Barbour maintained a blog and seemed to consistently be reaching out for help with the family’s situation. Douglas Barbour spent most of his time at work, Porter said, adding that reports indicating the parents gave the boy a barren room with a mattress is “simply not true.”

Dr. Rachel Berger at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC recommended that the boy be permitted no contact with the Barbours. She also determined that the 18-month-old adopted girl not be returned to the Barbours’ home, police said in the complaint.

The girl will likely remain permanently blind in one eye and paralyzed after suffering abusive head trauma, according to the criminal complaint. A doctor determined she had suffered multiple hemorrhages, fractures and injuries to both eyes and had been a victim of physical abuse, including abusive head trauma, according to the complaint.

In October, Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey A. Manning ruled that the Barbours would be permitted supervised visitation with their two biological children, ages 2 and 4, pending approval of the judge who is presiding over the matter in Family Court, the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reported.

Attorneys said the Barbours have had supervised visits with their biological children since their arrests, but the attorneys couldn’t say if the Barbours have seen their adopted children. The matter of supervision is still pending in the courts.”

Franklin Park Couple Face New Charges in Child-Abuse Case

[North Allegheny Patch 11/19/12 by Larissa Dudkiewicz]

Update 7: Douglas and Kristen waived their right to a preliminary hearing. Two aggravated abuse charges have been dropped against Douglas. The formal arraignment is on March 7, 2013.

“A Franklin Park couple has been ordered to stand trial after waiving a preliminary hearing today on charges of abusing and starving two children they adopted from Ethiopia nearly a year ago.

Prosecutors dropped two aggravated assault charges against Douglas Barbour, 33, who appeared in Leetsdale District Court alongside his wife, Kristen Barbour, 30, of Cole Road for a preliminary hearing.

Douglas Barbour, a Pennsylvania Deputy Attorney General, has been suspended from his state job without pay since he and his wife were arrested Oct. 4. He’ll stand trial on two counts each of simple assault, endangering the welfare of children and reckless endangerment.

Kristen Barbour will stand trial on one count of simple assault and two counts each of reckless endangerment and aggravated assault.

According to a criminal complaint, the Barbours are accused of starving their adopted son and forcing him to stay in urine-soaked clothing for long periods of time. The boy, who was 6 at the time the Barbours were arrested, developed lesions from that treatment, according to investigators.

Their adopted daughter, who was 18 months old at the time the Barbours were arrested, will likely remain permanently blind in one eye and paralyzed after suffering abusive head trauma, according to the complaint.

A doctor determined the girl had suffered multiple hemorrhages, fractures and injuries to both eyes and had been a victim of physical abuse, including abusive head trauma, the complaint states.

Neither husband nor wife spoke in the courtroom, and they did not comment as they left court.

A Nov. 19 preliminary hearing for the couple was postponed until this month.

The Barbour’s defense attorney, Charles Porter, previously told Patch the Barbours dispute the allegations against them.

Dr. Rachel Berger, who examined the children after they were taken to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, recommended that the Barbours be barred from contact with the adopted boy. She also determined that the adopted girl should not be returned to the Barbours’ home, police said in the complaint.

Porter said the couple has had supervised visits with their biological children, ages 2 and 4, since their arrests, but do not have custody of those children.

Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey A. Manning ruled in October that the Barbours would be permitted supervised visitation with their biological children, the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reported.

Porter said the couple has not seen their two adopted children.

“We’re still trying,” Porter said.

A formal arraignment is scheduled for March 7.”

Franklin Park Couple to Stand Trial in Abuse Case Involving Adopted Children

[Sewickley Patch 1/17/13 by Larissa Dudkiewicz]

Aggravated and Simple Assault in Pennsylvania

Aggravated Assault

“§ 2702. Aggravated assault. (a) Offense defined.–A person is guilty of aggravated assault if he: (1) attempts to cause serious bodily injury to another, or causes such injury intentionally, knowingly or recklessly under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life; (2) attempts to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes serious bodily injury to any of the officers, agents, employees or other persons enumerated in subsection (c) or to an employee of an agency, company or other entity engaged in public transportation, while in the performance of duty; (3) attempts to cause or intentionally or knowingly causes bodily injury to any of the officers, agents, employees or other persons enumerated in subsection (c), in the performance of duty; (4) attempts to cause or intentionally or knowingly causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon; (5) attempts to cause or intentionally or knowingly causes bodily injury to a teaching staff member, school board member or other employee, including a student employee, of any elementary or secondary publicly-funded educational institution, any elementary or secondary private school licensed by the Department of Education or any elementary or secondary parochial school while acting in the scope of his or her employment or because of his or her employment relationship to the school; (6) attempts by physical menace to put any of the officers, agents, employees or other persons enumerated in subsection (c), while in the performance of duty, in fear of imminent serious bodily injury; or (7) uses tear or noxious gas as defined in section 2708(b) (relating to use of tear or noxious gas in labor disputes) or uses an electric or electronic incapacitation device against any officer, employee or other person enumerated in subsection (c) while acting in the scope of his employment. (b) Grading.–Aggravated assault under subsection (a)(1) and (2) is a felony of the first degree. Aggravated assault under subsection (a)(3), (4), (5), (6) and (7) is a felony of the second degree.

Simple assault
§ 2701. Simple assault. (a) Offense defined.–A person is guilty of assault if he: (1) attempts to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another; (2) negligently causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon; (3) attempts by physical menace to put another in fear of imminent serious bodily injury; or (4) conceals or attempts to conceal a hypodermic needle on his person and intentionally or knowingly penetrates a law enforcement officer or an officer or an employee of a correctional institution, county jail or prison, detention facility or mental hospital during the course of an arrest or any search of the person. (b) Grading.–Simple assault is a misdemeanor of the second degree unless committed: (1) in a fight or scuffle entered into by mutual consent, in which case it is a misdemeanor of the third degree; or (2) against a child under 12 years of age by an adult 21 years of age or older, in which case it is a misdemeanor of the first degree.”

Reminder about the Paltry $25,000 Bail (that the Barbours complained was too much)

“Doctors determined that the boy had lost several pounds since the Barbours adopted him, and he developed a rash that was caused by ongoing contact with urine, police said.

The couple’s then-18-month-old adopted daughter also was taken to the hospital the same day for a seizure, according to a criminal complaint. Police said the girl had hemorrhaging in her brain caused by “abusive head trauma” and had several healing fractures.

The Barbours are free on $25,000 bond each, according to online court records.”

Franklin Park couple faces child-abuse charges

[Times Online 1/17/13]

For Douglas, the felony of “serious” bodily injury or extreme indifference has been thrown out. Go back and read the original comments Douglas made in the ER and the comment of the doctor of how infrequent she recommends no contact between parent and child (hint: she can’t remember ever doing so in her 14 year tenure) to fully understand how despicable it is that these felonies have been dropped.

Update 8: A check of the public Pennsylvania court records shows that a trial is set for July 9, 2013. The pretrial conference was on April 12, 2013. There were no media articles about the March 2013 formal arraignment that we could find.

A Franklin Park couple accused of abusing their two adopted children have  again asked a criminal court judge to reunite them with their biological  children.

 

Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey A. Manning delayed ruling on the  issue for Douglas and Kristen Barbour until Thursday [April 18, 2013] when he will hear from a  doctor who has evaluated the situation.

 

Defense attorneys argued that there is really no question, since a family  court judge found after a lengthy hearing that the children should be reunified  with their parents.

 

A condition of their bond, however, is to have only limited contact with the  children.

 

Robert E. Stewart, who represents Kristen Barbour, said the doctor found that  the children could be returned to their parents without being endangered.

 

But Deputy District Attorney Laura Ditka responded, “if they fall out of  line, then they could be at risk like the other children were.”

 

The Barbours are accused of abusing their two adopted children from Ethiopia  last year by withholding food from the boy, then 6, and causing head trauma to  the 19-month-old girl.

 

Ms. Ditka also argued to Judge Manning that the older biological child, a  girl who is now 5, may be a witness in the case, and that she could be  influenced by her parents if she were returned.

 

The biological children are in the care of their grandparents and have  supervised visits with their parents about twice a week, said Charles Porter,  who’s representing Douglas Barbour.

 

“There’s not a scintilla of evidence they were ever put in harm’s way by  their parents,” he said.”

 

Franklin Park couple accused of abusing adopted children ask for biological children’s return

[Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 4/16/13 by Paula Reed Ward]

Update 9: Judge rules in favor of Barbours to get their biological children back. Typical! Even the article titles this month from the Gazette are quite a spin-Douglas is not identified as a suspended deputy attorney general, but they are just some “Franklin Park couple”…yep…just some random couple…move along…nothing to see here…At least the judge has the sense to collect the older child’s statement first before the child can be coerced.

A Franklin Park couple accused of abusing their two adopted children can be  reunited with their two biological children.

 

A family court judge ruled in December that Douglas and Kristen Barbour  should have custody of their 5- and 2-year-old children, but as a condition of  the couple’s bond, a criminal court judge said the parents were not to have  unsupervised contact with them.

 

Deputy District Attorney Laura Ditka told Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey A.  Manning she had concerns about the older child being returned to her parents  because the girl may be a witness against the Barbours in the abuse case.

 

To resolve the issue, Judge Manning ordered that the girl’s testimony be  provided within the next week and be recorded. Once that is accomplished, he  said she can be returned to her parents.

 

The younger child is permitted to be returned now.

 

Defense attorney Charles Porter, who represents Douglas Barbour, a  Pennsylvania deputy attorney general, said it is likely they will wait to return  both children at the same time so as not to split them up. They are currently in  the custody of their paternal grandparents.

 

The Barbours will still have oversight by Allegheny County Children, Youth  and Families.

 

They adopted two children from Ethiopia last year and are accused of  withholding food from the boy, who was then 6 years old. The girl, who was 19  months, suffered head trauma.

 

The adopted children are now in foster care.

 

A trial date is set for July 9.”

 

Franklin Park couple accused of abusing adopted children get biological children back

[Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 4/18/13 by Paula Reed Ward]

Trib Live tells it like it is in their title: Suspended deputy attorney general, wife regain custody of biological children [Trib Live 4/18/13 by Adam Brandolph] “

Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey A. Manning lifted a  no-contact order covering the 2-year-old son of Douglas and Kristen Barbour and  said a similar order for the couple’s daughter, 5, will be lifted within a week  after she makes a videotaped statement to prosecutors.

 

“The parents very much want their children home with  them,” said Charles Porter, Douglas Barbour’s attorney.

 

Barbour is a deputy state attorney general suspended  without pay.

 

The biological children have lived with their  paternal grandparents since the Barbours’ arrest in October. The couple were  allowed supervised visits two or three times a week since being released on  bond, their attorneys said.”

“Their daughter, 18 months, who also is from Ethiopia  and was hospitalized on the same day, has multiple healing skull fractures,  police said.

The adopted children are with foster families.

Family Division Judge Kathleen R. Mulligan in  December ruled the Barbours may have custody of their biological children, who  authorities said were not abused.

The couple’s defense attorneys said Manning’s  decision was necessary because a no-contact order was a condition of their bail.

“It is neither my duty nor my obligation to interfere  with” Mulligan’s decision, Manning said.

Dr. Ronald Neeper, a psychiatric consultant for the  court who performed a mental evaluation on the couple, said he does not believe  they were a threat.

Neeper, however, said he believes the Barbours could  influence their oldest child, who may testify for the prosecution, which is why  Manning ordered her statement recorded.”

“Kristen Barbour told doctors that the toddler has a history of banging her head.  Doctors found multiple healing fractures and said it was abuse.”

CBS Pittsburgh says “Attorney Robert Stewart, who represents Kristen Barbour, told KDKA-TV’s Harold Hayes after the hearing, “With regard to the older child, the DA’s office apparently intends to call her as a witness and they’re concerned that once she is returned to the biological parents, that they’re going to influence her somehow. So, in order to get around that, Judge Manning kind of did a Solomon thing and literally cut the baby in half by ordering the testimony preserved by way of deposition. That way this witness is testifying as of probably next Tuesday and so the issue of taint no longer exists.”

Attorney Charles Porter, who represents Douglas Barbour said, “We’re more than happy to move the case forward now by preserving that testimony assuming its even competent testimony, which of course will be the first issue we’ll have to deal with before we get into whether or not there’s actual testimony to be preserved.””

Pa. Deputy General To Get Biological Kids Back After Abuse Claim

[CBS Pittsburgh 4/18/13]

Update 10: Prosecutor nixes biological child deposition. They trust that the deputy AG won’t influence the girl (roll eyes).

“The Allegheny County District Attorney’s office decided not to take the deposition of a 5-year-old girl who may be a witness against her parents in a case involving the alleged abuse of their adopted children, according to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

Judge Jeffrey A. Manning last week ordered the 2- and 5-year-old biological children returned to their parents, Kristen and Douglas Barbour of Franklin Park, but only after the older child’s testimony was recorded.

The Barbours face charges they abused the two children they adopted from Ethiopia last year.

Deputy District Attorney Laura Ditka planned to take a videotaped deposition of the 5-year-old on Tuesday, however, she told the judge she did not want to scare the child, the newspaper reports.

“I think this child is very frightened today, and I think we’d do more harm than good,” Ditka said. “If these people will give us assurances, we don’t need to damage the child.”

Under questioning in court, the P-G reports that both Kristen and Douglas Barbour said they would not discuss the case in any way with their daughter.

Barbour, a Pennsylvania Deputy Attorney General, has been suspended from his state job without pay, Attorney General Linda Kelly said in a statement after the couple’s arrest Oct. 4.

The biological children were in the care of their grandparents with supervised visits with their parents about twice a week, Douglas Barbour’s attorney Charles Porter told the P-G.

There have been no allegations of abuse against the biological children.

The couple adopted the children from Ethiopia in March, according to a criminal complaint filed by county police. An investigation began Sept. 29 after the children—a 1-year-old girl and a 6-year-old boy—were treated at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, authorities said.

The couple is due to go on trial July 9.”

Prosecutors Drop Deposition of 5-Year-Old Girl in Abuse Case Against Her Parents

[Sewickly Patch 4/24/13 by Larissa Dudkiewicz]

Update 11: Barbours will move in with parents due to financial issues.

“An Allegheny County judge on Wednesday [May 22, 2013] permitted a  Franklin Park couple accused of abusing their two adopted children to move from  their home.

Douglas and Kristen Barbour, both 31, requested  Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey A. Manning approve a petition to relocate for  financial reasons. Charles Porter, an attorney representing Douglas Barbour,  said the couple plan to move in with Barbour’s parents in Mercer County.

Barbour was suspended from his job as a deputy  attorney general soon after the couple’s arrest in October.”

Couple accused of abusing adopted kids moving in with parents

[Trib Live 5/22/13 by Adam Brandolph]

Update 12: “A Franklin Park couple charged with abusing and starving two children they adopted from Ethiopia more than a year ago are scheduled to go on trial Tuesday, July 9 at 9 a.m.

The case against Douglas Barbour and his wife, Kristen, will be heard before Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Manning.
Douglas Barbour, a Pennsylvania Deputy Attorney General, has been suspended from his state job without pay since he and his wife were arrested Oct. 4.

According to the criminal complaint, the Barbours are accused of starving their adopted 6-year-old son and leaving him with lesions from being kept in urine-soaked clothing for long periods of time.

Their 18-month-old adopted daughter will likely remain permanently blind in one eye and paralyzed after suffering abusive head trauma, according to the criminal complaint.

A doctor determined she had suffered multiple hemorrhages, fractures and injuries to both eyes and had been a victim of physical abuse, including abusive head trauma, the complaint states.

The Barbour’s defense attorney, Charles Porter previously told Patch they dispute the allegations.

Dr. Rachel Berger at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC recommended that the boy be permitted no contact with the Barbours. She also determined that their 18-month-old adopted girl not be returned to the Barbours’ home, police said in the complaint.

The couple also has two biological children. They are not accused of abusing them.”

Franklin Park Couple’s Trial on Child Abuse Charges Begins

[North Allegheny Patch 7/8/13 by Richard Cook]

A search of the Pennsylvania public online court records shows that the trial has been continued to October 7, 2013.

Update 13: “Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Manning Tuesday approved the prosecution’s request for a continuation of the trial of Douglas and Kristen Barbour, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

The delay was requested because the lead officer on the case is on vacation Smiley, the P-G reported. A new trial date was scheduled for October 7.”

Trial of Franklin Park Couple Charged With Child Abuse Delayed

[North Allegheny Patch 7/9/13 by Richard Cook]

Update 14:“A judge on Monday postponed the trial of a Franklin Park couple accused of abusing their two adopted children because a defense attorney had difficulty finding an expert witness to rebut a diagnosis of shaken baby syndrome.

Douglas, 34, and Kristen Barbour, 31, are accused of denying proper nutrition to their adopted son, 7, who was taken to Children’s Hospital in Lawrenceville on Sept. 14, 2012, and physically abusing their 2-year-old daughter, who was taken to the hospital the same day.

“We do not believe the head trauma to the infant was the result of shaken baby syndrome,” said Bob Stewart, an attorney representing Kristen Barbour. “We believe it’s something they term rebleeding.”

Stewart said he is trying to find a neurosurgeon from out of state to contradict the diagnosis of a UPMC physician.

The couple’s trial is now scheduled to begin Jan. 13. Douglas Barbour was suspended from his job as a deputy attorney general soon after the couple’s arrest in October 2012.

The Barbours are charged with simple assault, endangering the welfare of a child and reckless endangerment. Kristen Barbour also is charged with aggravated assault. They are free on bail.

When their son was admitted to Children’s, he weighed 9.5 pounds less than when he entered the United States from Ethiopia six months earlier, police said. Their daughter, 18 months, who also is from Ethiopia, had multiple skull fractures that were healing.

Kristen Barbour told doctors that the toddler has a history of banging her head. Doctors said it was abuse.

The Barbours sat quietly in the second row of the gallery in Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey A. Manning’s courtroom. They did not speak and declined comment afterward.

Manning previously granted them custody of their two biological children they are not accused of abusing — a son, 3, and daughter, 6.”

Trial delayed for Franklin Park couple accused of abusing adopted children[TribLive 10/7/13 by Adam Brandolph]

A check of the Pennsylvania Court Records shows that the jury trial  has been continued until 3/24/14.

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38 Comments

  1. These horrible people are sinners, all right. And if they dare to presume to call themselves “Servants of the Lord” I daresay that God needs a new butler and maid right about now.

    And you know what else? They remind me of the horrible Bible-spouting sub-humans who killed Hana Williams. (See the links on this site for details.) Wanna bet that “Training Up” factors into this? It’s just a hunch. But the sadistic kind of punishment the Barbours inflicted on this little boy is all-too-familiar to those of us who track this kind of heinousness.

    • I believe that Bethany requires post placement reports at 3 and 6 months for all international adoption clients (you can check their process section on their website for each country, here is Etiopia’s: http://www.bethany.org/main/ethiopia-adoption-requirements)- I wonder if these were completed? Or maybe they wash their hands of their homestudy clients once the homestudy is complete?

      International Adoption Guides doesn’t list anything on their website about post placement reports or follow up, do they provide anything?

      What is IAG’s parent training program (do they even have one??), what is Bethany’s? What type of post placement support was offered to this family? Did they use anything available to them?

      There is a real need for post placement supervision in IA, just as it is needed in foster-adopt cases. How many more kids are going to be abused before someone takes responsibility and acts in the best interest of the children????

      • Great questions. I would be especially interested in the 6 month timepoint because it appears that their public blog was taken down on September 2, the hospitalization was on Sep 14 and the 6 month report should have been in this timeframe.

        I used a different homestudy agency and placing agency and it was up to me as the client to initiate the postplacement visits with the homestudy agency. The homestudy agency did not initiate, so it would not surprise me if these were not done. It is possible that Bethany conducted that 6 month visit and recommended that the child go to the doctor which led to this, though.

        Another point about this whole investigation involves the lag time between the incident and the first media report. The hospitalization was on Sep 14 but the first media report is dated Oct 4.

        • How often do the follow up agency social workers really give a rip how the kids are doing? How many times have we seen social workers write up happy reports about kids even when the kids are not doing well or something seems off? Time will tell what happened in this case. I support PP visits and reports, BUT they are only as useful as the professionals conducting them. Several balls were dropped in this case from the start to the tragedy we have now.

  2. If that is the correct family blog – a cached version from Feb 2012 states that the US Embassy requires birth family interviews and several times in the post they speak of the childrens “birth families”.

    Two children from two different families being adopted into the same family to first time adopters.

    • Thanks for that catch! My mind is still reeling from the referral of a 1 month old at all in the year 2011 and now possibly two unrelated…these children need a lot of prayers. I wish the fundraising would center around helping these victims…

  3. You’re correct that this was their blog, etsy shop, etc. as a fellow adoptive parent, I followed their blog.Many would be surprised to know that they also have 2 biological children, who were mentioned in their blog, but maybe were not abused because I didn’t see them mentioned in the articles about their disturbing crimes.

    • Thank you for that confirmation and sharing that they have 2 bio children. So 2 unrelated and 2 bio…this scenario sounds so familiar…

  4. I agree in part with the adopti0n consultant, but unless she was misquoted this is incorrect, ‘”She added that “too often parents cannot manage the children because they have no experience.”
    She argued that courses should be taken by prospective parents adopting children who have no children previously.’

    ALL PAPs should be educated and prepared. Even if PAPs parented previously this does not mean they are qualified or up for parenting an older infant or child.

  5. Yes, that is absolutely their blog and etsy page. Their homestudy was done by Bethany Christian Services, and International adoption guides did the adoption – one of a handful of agencies who will adopt unrelated children ( out of birth order, no less) at the same time. They (IAG) are responsible for placing these two kids into what is a no-win situation – young parents with FOUR kids ages 6 and under, only two of whom are related. Most agencies will not place out of birth order unless it is a birth sibling who has suddenly been put up for adoption.

  6. I would be careful about judging to soon on this one. I listened to a sermond by their church and found out the church believes them innocent of these charges. I also have found other sources that believe Douglas and Kristen Barbour or being wrongly charged. Trusting the Lord’s hand to bring about the truth through all of this.

    • Predecessor…I am lucky that my lunch was already digested before reading your comment or else I would have found it on my keyboard. We report the cases here as they unfold. We are not the cops or judge in this case, don’t worry.I couldn’t give a rat’s behind less if their church believes them or not (a common occurrence in our cases here, by the way. The Leschinskys (Russia adoptive parents in Colorado –see case at http://www.reformtalk.net/2011/05/02/how-could-you-hall-of-shame-updated-2/) even got their local Knights of Columbus to schedule a fundraiser for court costs before they came to their senses) and they had better not be on the jury in this case as they are clearly biased. The children had serious injuries and maltreatment. That is who we care about here. The placement practices were outside the bounds of ethical and acceptable–another part that we care about. And yes, we want justice in this case as well.

      They seriously gave a sermon on an arrested congregant? What is the church’s name? If you want to be so bold to defend, tell us that.

      I wish it was as simple as trusting the Lord for justice on Earth, but we have to trust the cops and prosecutors for that to happen. I have no worries for correct judgment in the afterlife.

      • I apologize for not writing more clearly. As a result, I think you misinterpret my actions. I’m not vouching for their guilt or innocence. That will hopefully be brought to full light in time. ( *update: I saw their hearing has been postponed for some reason) I did not mean to offend anyone. I also do not doubt any of the injuries. However, I will say the reports still leave a lot unquestioned (for me personally) that I dare not give over to my imagination. I will commend the site for containing most, if not all of the information currently out there on this topic. I have seen many who have used bits and pieces to twist the issue. I’m glad that doesn’t appear to bet the case here.

        I ultimately want justice for the truth though. If they are guilty, it is good that these children get moved to safety and the parents handled under the law. However, if something else is going on here, I look forward to justice there too. I agree, counting noses, church leaders or other groups, does not decide the issue. It just gave me reason to tread lightly.

        Also, it was not a sermon on the issue. It was an announcement given at the beginning of the sermon mentioning prayer groups for the family and describing what they are going through. Sorry again for the misunderstanding.

        I’m unsure about naming the church personally, but it can be found out if one looks. I simply Googled around for it. I hope that clears up any issues. Not trying to argue at all! Just hoping for a full picture soon. Take care and thanks.

        • Thanks for clarification on the sermon part. Praying for the family makes sense. I agree that there are a lot of questions still to be answered.Sadly there are many similarities of this case and others and we do look for those similarities to see if in fact it fits into a profile of adoptive parents who abuse. Right now there are quite a few red flags. We will be updating the post shortly with the hearing postponement and we will look for that church too. Part of the reason for asking about the church is that some faiths have specific “disciplinary” methods that involve withholding food and other descriptions that this case seems to have as well.

  7. These people are innocent. There is much much more to the story.

    • Do you have any details to back up your view that these folks are innocent? Perhaps a link to a news article?

      Because a starved boy and nearly-beaten-to-death little girl, well, I’m having a hard time imagining how, exactly, they ended up in such awful shape when the biokids have healthy weights, no multiple skull fractures, etc.

    • One of my concerns, Rox, is the 5 previous fractures that were discovered on the child that according to the media had not been treated. Perhaps they have that incorrect..is that what you are saying? If that is true about the old fractures, regardless of who inflicted injuries or if they were self-inflicted, that still is neglect…perhaps prosecutors won’t want to legally charge neglect, but that doesn’t make someone “innocent”. Not treating self-inflicted injuries still is neglect and really horrendous.

    • THIS IS ONE OF THE KINDEST, HARDWORKING, LOVING MOTHER’S I KNOW! I hope the truth of this story comes out soon. To know Kristen, her faith, love and enthusiasm for life, her family and others….. I DO NOT believe this! These children had so many problems before adoption. They were so loved, prepared for and wanted by the Barbour’s.

      • Beating a little girl until she’s blind and paralyzed – sounds like love to me! NOT!

        Not taking your baby girl who has FIVE skull fractures to the hospital – what a loving, responsible thing for a parent to do!! NOT!

        Starving your little boy, making him wear the pants he wet until he gets skin leisions – so loving! NOT!!

        It is appalling that you would blame the horror and abuse that befell the little boy and baby girl adopted from Ethiopia on the KIDS rather than the Barbours (the adults who swore to love and protect these children).

        • Don’t believe the media… just don’t! Unless you know this family and what happened then you do not know the truth. The Media is full of lies.

          • Seriously? So Rachel Berger of Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC who says that their daughter is a victim of child abuse is lying? Or did we miss where she is suing the newspaper for quoting her on that? Not getting appropriate medical care for these children for starvation, fractures and hypothermia is extremely important in this case. That duty falls COMPLETELY on the parents regardless of who you are trying to pin the blame of any injury on or do you believe that these children are not injured? Or are you going with the “child is a liar” or attachment defense here? I guess those cops also are liars. Wow, so many liars in one community!I guess Judge Jeffrey A. Manning also is a liar for restricting parental visitation. Everyone is a liar except the Barbours. Sure….

  8. The male child was starved. He gained 7 pounds without any medical interventions, he has no parasites and no other medical condition to blame for the weight loss.

    As for the female, she had multiple injuries including healing fractures that the parents could not provide a plausible explanation for.

    Shame on the providers in the home for not paying closer attention. Shame on the parents for whatever they did to cause the injuries.

    Good job CYF and the Police for your quick response to finally assure safety of all four children.

  9. Here’s an update on the case from the Pittsburgh paper. What is scary as hell is that despite the charges and evidence the family’s pastor says:

    “What is happening is nothing less than evil. I don’t know how else to say it. It’s nothing less than evil,” he said. “They, the Barbours, did a very good, very biblical thing that was well thought through — they adopted. And I tell you, this is not of God. … They need a vast amount of prayer and support in other ways, and we as a church will be faithful.” A video of the sermon is posted on the church’s website.”

    http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-north/adoption-saga-ends-with-charges-for-franklin-park-couple-658454/

    • Yea I decided not to quote that part as it is a bit wacky. You are right that it does show the environment that they are in though and I think that is what another commenter was alluding to about addressing the issue at a service. We have seen this type of support in other cases even in the face of shocking evidence to the contrary of pure innocence.

  10. I was Kristen’s college roommate for two years. We (my husband and I) became acquainted with Doug also and sang in their wedding. I have not been in contact with them regarding the allegations but know they would not hurt their children. There are probably many people who dropped the ball for the situation to get so bad, possibly even Doug and Kristen in some way. But they did not hurt their kids. This blogger paints a picture of what is an entirely more likely scenario.
    http://liberty5-3000.blogspot.com/2012/10/in-defense-of-douglas-and-kristen.html?m=1

    • Andrea Pittman, I read your link before posting your comment. That link suggests that the 6 year old brother injured the 18 month old girl. Um, are you freaking serious? Did you even read what the injuries are to these children? The 6 year old boy lost 8 and a half pounds in their care and GAINED 7 back by JUST ALLOWING HIM TO EAT and you have the audacity to say that they didn’t hurt their children? He had HYPOTHERMIA and you have the audacity to say that MANY people dropped the ball in this situation?The daughter had FIVE HEALING FRACTURES. FIVE! She is blind and partially paralyzed. That blogger does NOT paint a more likely scenario.NO freaking way. While orphanage behaviors are common, there is no evidence to state that these children had those behaviors and EVEN IF THEY DID, the way these so-called parents reacted is despicable. To defend them is despicable.

      • The reports say the Barbour’s did not abuse their biological kids and that is probably true. The logic that because they were not abusers prior to adopting these two kids does not mean they did not start abusing the new children.

        One of the issues we have tried to hammer home again and again here is the absolute necessity of pre-adoption training and education and not just the skimpy 10 hour fluff class required by the Hague. Unless they are fully prepared, adopting families HAVE NO CLUE what issues, challenges, acting out they may face. In cases where the family was not abusive prior to an adoption the situation can quickly escalate to abuse and lethal abuse as parents scramble for control and have no idea how to address the child(ren)’s needs. Yet, no matter what the child presents abuse is always wrong.

        In this case the older child lost 7 lbs (and the blogger who thinks it is due to eating healthy food is ridiculous). That is a significant amount of weight for a 6 year old lose. I have no idea what exactly happened in this case, but food abuse is so common in adoptive/foster families Washington state put together a task force to address it: http://www.reformtalk.net/2012/01/15/washington-state-reports-15-cases-of-starvation-in-adoptionguardianship-since-2009-governor-orders-work-group-to-investigate-foreign-and-domestic-adoption-abuse-updated/

      • Rally, I’m with you. There seems to me an under-current in all these pro-Barbour comments that suggests a lessening of responsibility over these ‘alien’ adoptees. As an adopter, that sickens me. Take the fact that these children were adopted and from Ethiopia out of the equation (because, sadly that seems to colour many people’s perception) – the simple fact is the Barbours were not capable of keeping their own children safe. They need to explain why and face the consequences.

        • Kim, thanks for your comment.It is even more concerning to me that they have 2 biological children around the same age-they were spared, so the injuries were only on the adoptive children. I find it hard to believe that if the 6 year old adoptee would attack just his sibling and not the other children. Again this no harm to bio kids, just the adoptees is sadly typical of many cases of transracial adoptions gone bad. Trebilcocks and Williams cases both come to mind.

    • No offense to anyone here, but this comment is for Andrea and any other Christians.

      Hey Andrea, thank you for your post. I can tell you care for the Barbours (B) and desire an equal hearing. I may be mistaken, but withy your relationship with the B’s, I’m going to assume you a fellow believer. I apologize if I’ve made a mistake.

      During this time, I have been reminded of Proverbs 18:13,15,17, “He who answers a matter before he hears does a stupid and disgraceful thing…The discerning heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge…The first one to present his case seems right until another comes and probes him.” (Christian Counselors New Testament, Timeless Texts)

      I was reminded because I immediately wanted to come out defending the B’s when I first heard. However, I now think its wise not to lay blame nor claim innocence before hearing all sides of this case, which would include the children and the B’s themselves. Unfortunately, most of us will never hear directly from them nor have the ability to make a discerning judgment. We are left with second hand accounts which in and of themselves can be very dangerous (regardless of whether the are for or against). I have since moved to this position: as my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, I would be devastated to learn they have fallen into this sin. My prayer is that this is not the case because I desire the Lord’s name to be glorified through us. However, I know He is in control of even this outcome.

      To move towards encouragement, I would say please pray for the B’s. Pray that the Lord will bring the truth to light (whatever that may be) and that this will be used somehow to bring others to Christ. Pray that regardless of their innocence, the Lord brings the B’s closer to Him, either through reconciliation or loving dependency. Pray for the Children that they shall be safe and receive quick healing from whatever the causes. And finally pray for all those involved that they will be wise and God honoring in the decisions. For me, until I know personally (which I may never) I will refrain further from claiming innocence or guilt, lest I look foolish and bring shame upon ourselves and God. My heart does break for this case. While I have never met them, there is a bond of love that unites all Christians.

      Take care Andrea and perhaps you may have an opportunity to love on the B’s through all this? Whether they need encouragement to endure a trial or loving guidance back onto God’s path, I can not say. But, “A friend loves in every situation, and a brother is born for trouble.” (Proverbs 17:17, CCNT) Thanks again.

      • Thank you so much for your reply, Predecessor. It is a good reminder that I needed. I misspoke when I insisted on their innocence because, you are right, I do not know. I was not there. You are also right that i want them to get a fair hearing and i want truth to come out. And ultimately i too want God to be glorified. It can be so hard in a world as messed up as this one is. Sigh.

        I know they appreciate all the prayers people are willing to offer on their behalf. Thank you again.

  11. Andrea – it’s a hurricane outside and my rage for the sheer heinousness of your completely stupid comments is as bad as the wind and the rain. I cannot believe any sane adult can look at the kind of abuse and injuries suffered by these children and BLAME IT ON A 6-YEAR OLD, who was himself injured, starved, and abused. YOU MAKE ME SICK.

    One of the biggest problems with adoption is Bible-thumping “saviors” like the Barbours who are busy shoving their religious beliefs down the throats of children who can’t even speak their language. Their blog showed a willful denial of the REALITY of how hard it can be to bring international adoptees into a home.

    And the other problem with adoption is horrible people like you who are more willing to accept the word of Bible-thumping hypocrites than to be able to believe that the “nice” people you knew might actually snap and become monsters. IT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME AND THE “NICE” PARENTS ARE THE ONES WHO KILL AND INJURE THEIR CHILDREN.

    So save your sanctimonious denials for the other idiots in your church who think these cretins are innocent. I suggest you spend some of your time going through the archives here where you will see copious evidence of how many other parents have hurt or killed their children. Then if you have the audacity to post here again with your theories I will blast you again to Kingdom Come and hope you stay there and rot along with your precious friends.

  12. So it’s guilty until proven innocent then? Would you even believe the truth if it was determined that they were innocent of the charges and they weren’t “locked away like animals”?

    • We are not a court of law here, so stop pulling out the old guilty until proven innocent strawman. You didn’t answer my questions about the 5 old fractures on the daughter and the boy’s hypothermia and loss of weight. Are you claiming those injuries are falsified or that the doctor is lying? Whose responsibility is it to get proper care for the children when they suffer fractures, hypothermia and starvation? Society’s or the adoptive parents? Is starving a normal thing that should happen in a loving home?Trying to defend the parents inactions (aka neglect at best, abuse at worst) by explaining *possibilities* of common orphanage behaviors is appalling. Sadly, we have heard this blame the child line before. We don’t know how the legal case will go forward and they may be found “not guilty” in a court of law just like international adoptee Isaac Dykstra’s adoptive dad who was the only person with him when he died of a head injury. Isaac’s AP was found not guilty in a court of law, but Isaac still DIED from a head injury in his presence after his dad who did not take him to the hospital for many hours…none of these people are “innocent”. That blog you linked to also tried to justify what happened by explaining conditions of the orphanage. Again, that has NOTHING to do with the actions or inactions of the adoptive parents.

      • You are right, Rally, your questions deserve answers. I apologize for letting my emotions get the better of me. It is hard to not get emotional about topics like this, isn’t it??

        Let me clarify I’m not trying to justify any wrongdoing–I’m trying to make sense of a terrible tragedy. Only i don’t have the luxury of assuming their guilt since i know Doug and Kristen personally. I have the same feeling you expressed of incredulity about the possibility of the 6-yr-old doing the injuring only mine is incredulity about Doug and Kristen doing the injuring.

        I don’t think the doctors are lying–they are professionals trained to diagnose those things. Let me reiterate that none of us know for sure what happened so I’ll frame my ideas as possibilities only.

        First of all it has been said In these comments several times “there isn’t evidence of orphanage behaviors.” That is an odd thing to say. From what i understand of attachment theory the assumption should start with “What are the emotional issues this child has from his first years of life?” Kristen did in fact make a comment early on that they were heartbroken to learn of his early years. So there absolutely was something out of whack from the start.

        Then there is the hypothermia. Didn’t you notice that is when/why they took him in to the hospital? Doug’s question about what could cause that could well have been for the boy’s sake, a “this is why locking yourself in the bathroom after your bath/soiling yourself/whatever is not a good idea” sort of question.

        Then there is the weight loss. The blogger’s point was not that eating healthy food caused weight loss–her point was that maybe he refused to eat enough. If your psyche is messed up enough you can definitely starve yourself. Anorexia, anyone? So the weight gain in the hospital? The blogger implies that children that young can definitely play games and think they can win. Maybe he wanted to “stick it to” these strangers who took him from everything he’d ever known, regardless of how bad that previous reality was.

        The little girl’s injuries are definitely the most troubling. Why the neglect of treatment, even if it wasn’t caused directly by the parents? I confess my only answer is far from satisfying, even for me. Perhaps, with the boy’s difficulties, they didn’t notice. Perhaps he inflicted the injuries out of their sight and her symptoms weren’t bad enough until, well, they were bad enough and they called the ambulance. Like i said, i don’t like that answer so i certainly don’t expect you to. But coming from my perspective, and given the other plausible (in my opinion) explanations it is the best I’ve got right now.

        I know we have in common a desire for these sorts of things to never happen. So I appreciate you letting me get these other possibilities out there, whether you agree with their plausibility or not.

        • Andrea,
          I understand emotion involved. It is sickening to read story after story like this. We actually have several cases that are similar to this. I am glad you are not trying to justify wrongdoing. As for the evidence of orphanage behaviors, not every child exhibits orphanage behaviors. While common, it should not be assumed to be the case here. Many children only experience mild symptoms for the first few weeks. Attachment is not necessarily the reason behind the behaviors.

          Hypothermia is not normal for a child that has been in an adoptive home for several months. It takes quite a bit to do that to a child. Why would the parents allow a child to lock himself in the bathroom repeatedly. Wouldn’t it make more sense to NOT have a lock on the door?Again with “anorexia”, it is the parent’s responsibility to ensure that the child has food. The child gained 7 pounds quickly in the hospital. You think he ate in the hospital to “stick it” to the adoptive parents?

          Anything is possible, but I stand by my opinion that these suggestions are not plausible.

  13. I have been following this and the case is now continued (delayed) until Jan 13, 2014.

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